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10 April 2015

John W. Burke Struck Down at 24

Enhanced Photo. Click for
original photo by James Allen.
John W. Burke, born 18 June 1869, was the youngest son of Rev. J. W. Burke. He graduated from Emory College (Oxford) about 1890, and in the summer of 1893, young John was a corporal of a local military company (the Macon Volunteers). While at an encampment on Cumberland Island, during a heavy thunderstorm, Corporal John W. Burke was struck by lightning and died instantly.

Macon Weekly Telegraph (Georgia)
24 July 1893, pg. 1
Via GenealogyBank.
JOHN BURKE STRUCK DEAD.

Awful Calamity at Cumberland Island During Yesterday's Heavy Thunder Storm.

IN THE VOLUNTEERS' CAMP

Alone in His Tent When the Bolt Fell. Death Was Instantaneous -- The Remains Arrived in Macon This Morning.


From the Telegraph, July 17.
Brunswick, July 16 (Special) -- At Cumberland Island about 2 o'clock, while the Macon Volunteers were preparing for dinner, a pretty hard thunder storm came up. Most of the members had left their tents and gone to the hotel. Mr. J. W. Burke, Jr. was among those left behind. A blast of lightning struck a tree in the midst of the tents. A few moments after a negro porter passed by the tent occupied by Mr. Burke and saw his head lying on the outside of the tent.

Death was Instantaneous.
He notified the members of the company and several physicians on the island were called in. They pronounced death instantaneous.

An examination showed that the lightning had struck him, coming up through the ground, tearing a shoe off one foot. Every hair on the body was singed and it has the appearance of being that of a much older man.

The Company Grief Stricken
The company is grief-stricken over the death of their comrade and accompanied the body to Brunswick, where Undertaker Moore prepared it for shipment on the 8:10 East Tennessee train. It is supposed that the lightning struck the centre pole of the tent and then passed through his body from the ground.

A gun in the next tent was torn literally to pieces...
John's funeral took place at the Mulberry Street Methodist Church. "The church was filled until the aisles and vestibule were crowded with the friends of the deceased..." [Most Solemn Obsequies, Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 18 July 1893, pg. 6 - via GenealogyBank.] He rests in the Burke lot, Central Avenue Division, Rose Hill Cemetery. A granite obelisk marking the spot is not far from the entrance to the cemetery.

(Photo by James Allen.)

John W. Burke, Jr.
June 18, 1869
July 16, 1893

To Live In The
Hearts Of Those
We Love Is Not
To Die

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