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Mary Overton Burke


Mary Overton Burke

Mary Overton Burke made her journey to Texas in 1849 with her six children, the oldest being fourteen. Her husband, Evan, had found land south of Fort Worth, along the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. Evan had died in a river crossing in 1846 on his way back to Missouri to bring the family to Texas. After waiting into 1849, Mary loaded up the family and made the journey to Texas, just her and her six children. She first stayed with her parents, Aaron and Rachel Overton, in Dallas until 1851. She then made her way with her 6 children to Fort Worth to settle on the land her husband had founded.

The new land wasn’t easy to tame in 1851. With her oldest son, William, only being 16, they had a cabin to build, crops to plant and cattle to raise. Mary was able to make friends with the Indians by trading with them. Very few women of that time would have undertaken running a farm and raising a family without a husband, especially since her land was outside the bounds of “civilization”. The Burkes became known as the “outside family” because their home was the last part of the county, and they were the only white family on that side of the Trinity.

Mary showed determination and the true Texas pioneer spirit as a widowed mother in a new land. Against great odds and danger of the time, after losing one son in the Civil War, she was even able to hold onto her land after Texas was financially ruined because of the war. Mary passed away in 1867 at the age of 51. She is buried on what was the original Burke land at the Burke Cemetery in Fort Worth. Many of Mary’s descendants still reside in Fort Worth and Texas.

The first known burial in this graveyard was that of Mary (Overton) Burke, widow of Evan H. Burke, who came in 1851 with her children and widowed mother to settle this land previously chosen by her husband. Her death on Dec. 30, 1867, was followed two days later by that of her mother, Rachel (Cameron) Overton. On Mar. 12, 1900, this one-half acre of land was deeded as a family burial ground. Relatives of the Burkes include members of the Magers, Overton, and Edwards families. More than 100 marked and several unmarked graves have been recorded here. (1984)"

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