John Burke (politician)

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.[2]

John Burke
John Burke, Treasurer of U.S. LCCN2016828802 (2) (cropped).jpg
Governor Burke, 1908
24th Treasurer of the United States
In office
April 1, 1913 – January 5, 1921
Appointed byWoodrow Wilson
Preceded byCarmi A. 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
Spouse(s)Mary Kane


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.[citation needed]

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

Death and legacyEdit

He later served as a justice of the North Dakota Supreme Court from 1924 until his death on May 14, 1937. Burke County, North Dakota is named in his honor. 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. There is also a statue of Burke at the State Capitol grounds in Bismarck, ND.

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Profile Archived 2015-04-27 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed April 19, 2015.
  2. ^ "John Burke". National Governors Association. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
  3. ^ "John Burke". Soylent Communications. Retrieved September 5, 2012.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Carmi A. Thompson
Treasurer of the United States
April 1, 1913–January 5, 1921
Succeeded by
Frank White
Preceded by
Elmore Y. Sarles
Governor of North Dakota
Succeeded by
L. B. Hanna
Legal offices
Preceded by
William Nuessle
Chief Justice of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Adolph M. Christianson
Preceded by
Alexander Burr
Chief Justice of North Dakota
Succeeded by
Adolph M. Christianson