BURKE, TEXAS. Burke, in southwestern Angelina County, was founded in 1881–82 at the northernmost point to which the Houston, East and West Texas Railway had then been constructed, on the edge of what was called Bradley Prairie. The town was originally named Rhodes for general store owner W. R. Rhodes and postmaster H. R. Rhodes but was renamed about 1885 for Ed Burke, a civil engineer who took part in the railroad survey. In 1885 it had three sawmills, three cotton gins, a church, and a school. From 1886 to 1955 Burke had a post office. By 1888 it had a larger school, three general stores, a drugstore, a sawmill, a dentist and watchmaker, and a Farmers' Alliance store. In 1897 Burke had an estimated population of 650. The Burke Methodist Church was organized in 1899–1900, and the First Baptist Church of Burke in 1905. The Baptist church grew steadily until it's membership reached a high of 302 in 1965. By 1904 Burke's population had plummeted to 161, a loss that may be explained by the rise of Lufkin, eight miles north, as an industrial center for the county. However, by 1915 the population had risen to 200, and by 1925 it stood at 300. In 1964 the Burke school was consolidated with the Diboll Independent School District. However, by 1966 enough new arrivals were building homes to warrant incorporation and the construction of a municipal water system. Burke had a population of 322 in 1980 and 314 in 1990. In 2000 the population was 315.
Angelina County Historical Survey Committee, Land of the Little Angel: A History of Angelina County, Texas, ed. Bob Bowman (Lufkin, Texas, 1976). Richard W. Haltom, History and Description of Angelina County, Texas (Lufkin, Texas, 1888; rpt., Austin: Pemberton, 1969).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Megan Biesele, "BURKE, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hlb63), accessed April 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.