Friday, July 6, 2012

Martin Burke

Martin Burke

[Martin] Burke, a pitcher for the Morning Stars was born in Canada in 1836.  Living in St. Louis by 1860, he was a partner in a small grocery store and lived on N. 16th Street near Carr Square Park. 

While living in St. Louis, Burke joined the St. Louis Greys, the oldest volunteer militia unit in the city and by 1861 he was the Greys' commanding officer.  The Greys were mustered at Camp Jackson in May of 1861 and it can be assumed that Burke surrendered to Union forces along with the other Missouri militia units at Camp Jackson.  While he was most likely released upon promising not to take up arms against the Union, Burke joined the 1st Missouri Infantry on the Confederate side, serving as Captain.  In "short time [he] was brought home severely wounded.  He did not long survive..."
-Base Ball Pioneers 1850-1870

I started reading a biography of John S. Bowen, whose staff Edward Bredell served on, and I quickly came across the name of Martin Burke.  Bowen lived in St. Louis prior to the war and moved in the same circles as some of the city's pioneer baseball players.  He most likely knew the Bredell family prior to the outbreak of the war and, given the nature of their roles at the time of the Camp Jackson affair, he also probably knew Basil Duke.  Burke served under Bowen at Camp Jackson and, later, with the 1st Missouri Infantry.  It appears that the two men were friends.

The above photo of Burke comes from the Missouri History Museum

1 comment:

Bruce Allardice said...

Burke won promotion to Lt. Colonel. He was captured at Egypt Station, MS, Dec. 28, 1864, while commanding some "galvanized" iish ex-Union POWs. He was part of the general end of war parole. I've not been able to find his burial record in the St. Louis Catholic Cemetery online archive.