John Burke (North Dakota politician)

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John Burke
BURKE, JOHN. GOVERNOR LCCN2016857013 (3x4a).jpg
24th Treasurer of the United States
In office
April 1, 1913 – January 5, 1921
PresidentWoodrow Wilson
Preceded byCarmi Thompson
Succeeded byFrank White
10th Governor of North Dakota
In office
January 9, 1907 – January 8, 1913
LieutenantRobert S. Lewis
Usher L. Burdick
Preceded byElmore Y. Sarles
Succeeded byL. B. Hanna
Member of the North Dakota Senate
In office
Member of the North Dakota House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
BornFebruary 25, 1859
Keokuk County, Iowa, U.S.
DiedMay 14, 1937(1937-05-14) (aged 78)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseMary Kane

John Burke (February 25, 1859 – May 14, 1937) was an American lawyer, jurist, and political leader from North Dakota. He was the tenth governor of North Dakota from 1907 to 1913,[1] and also served as treasurer of the United States under President Woodrow Wilson.[2]


Burke was born in Keokuk County, Iowa of Irish ancestry to John and Mary (née Ryan) Burke. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a law degree in 1886. He married Mary E. Kane, a teacher, on August 22, 1891, and they had a son, Thomas, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Marian.[3]


Burke's legal career was established in Iowa and Minnesota before he moved to the Dakota Territory. After North Dakota was admitted to the union, he served in the state's House of Representatives in 1891 and in its Senate from 1893 to 1896. He served three terms (1907–1913) as the tenth Governor of North Dakota.[2][4]

Portrait of John Burke, 1913

At the 1912 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore, Burke enthusiastically supported the candidacy of Woodrow Wilson. Burke swung all of North Dakota's votes to Wilson on the first ballot. William Jennings Bryan, himself a supporter of Wilson and also a good friend of Burke's, wanted Burke to run for Vice-President. Burke demurred, however, due to a promise he had given Indiana delegates for their votes. As a result, Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana was chosen for Vice-President. Burke was named United States Treasurer following Wilson’s election victory in November 1912. From 1913 to 1921, Burke was Treasurer of the United States under President Woodrow Wilson.[2][4]

Burke ran unsuccessfully for the United States Senate in 1916.[5]

He later served as a justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court from 1924 until his death on May 14, 1937.

Death and legacy[edit]

Burke County, North Dakota is named in honor of John Burke. His remains are interred in Saint Mary's Cemetery, Bismarck, North Dakota. The State of North Dakota donated a statue of Burke to the United States Capitol's National Statuary Hall Collection in 1963.[6] There is also a statue of Burke at the State Capitol grounds in Bismarck, ND.[7]

Statue of John Burke at the State Capitol grounds, Bismarck, ND.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "John Burke". National Governors Association. Archived from the original on 2016-04-10. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "John Burke - North Dakota Governors Online Exhibit - Exhibits - State Historical Society of North Dakota". Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  3. ^ NNDB. "John Burke". Soylent Communications. Archived from the original on 2021-05-07. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Profile: John Burke | North Dakota Studies". Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  5. ^ Vossler, Bill. "The Governors Burke". Retrieved 2021-09-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "John Burke Statue, U.S. Capitol for North Dakota | AOC". Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  7. ^ Center for Heritage Renewal. "Remembrance in Stone". Remembrance in Stone. Archived from the original on 2021-09-08. Retrieved 2021-09-08.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Marthinus F. Hegge
Democratic nominee for Governor of North Dakota
1906, 1908, 1910
Succeeded by
First Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from North Dakota
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of the United States
April 1, 1913–January 5, 1921
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Legal offices
Preceded by Chief Justice of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Justice of North Dakota
Succeeded by