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Hon. George L. Burke. In the field of general law, Hon. George L. Burke, senior member of the firm of Burke & Harrison, of Sapulpa, is acknowledged as one of the leaders of the Creek County bar. He has fairly earned his position in the profession, since he has not only been for many years an earnest student of its general principles, but also has served with honor and distinction in a judicial capacity. When he came to Sapulpa, in 1910, the bar of this locality secured a valued and valuable addition.
Judge Burke is a Tennessean by nativity, born at Athens, McMinn County, December 8, 1858, a son of H. H. and Sarah C. (Rucker) Burke, natives of the same county. H. H. Burke was born in 1832, and passed his life as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church until superannuated, when he was elected county assessor of Loudon County, whence he had moved in 1876, and acted in that capacity for four years. He died November 5, 1908. During the Civil war he was connected with the Federal service in the civil department, being a superintendent of pontoon construction. Mrs. Burke, who was the mother of seven children, of whom the eldest and only one living is Judge Burke, died December 26, 1887, when about thirty-eight years of age. The father was later married again.
Gcorge L. Burke received good educational advantages in his youth, attending the public schools of Eastern Tennessee, and the East Tennessee Wesleyan University, which is now a part of the University of Chattanooga. There he was graduated after a scientific course, June 4, 1879, following which for five years he taught school. During this time he applied himself to the study of law, and in 1885 was admitted to the bar and at once engaged in practice at Kingston, Tennessee, where he soon attracted to himself a representative practice of the most desirable kind. In 1887 and 1888 he represented his district in the Tennessee Legislature, subsequently became mayor of Kingston, and in 1902 was elected judge of the Circuit Court, a capacity in which he served for eight years. With this broad and comprehensive training, in 1910 he came to Sapulpa, where he at once took his place among the leading legists of the Creek County bar. He is associated in practice with W. Morris Harrison, and the firm of Burke & Harrison is accounted one of the strong legal combinations of this locality. Judge Burke is a member of the Creek County Bar’ Association and holds a high place in the esteem and regard of his fellow-practitioners. Politically he is a republican, but since coming to Oklahoma his professional duties have been so heavy as to demand his entire attention, and he has taken but a good citizen’s part in public affairs. He was reared in the faith of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Fraternally, the judge is affiliated with the Masons.
In 1888 Judge Burke was married to Miss Varina Davis Wardlaw, who was born at Clarksville, Tennessee, daughter of the Rev. De Lacey Wardlaw, a minister of the Presbyterian Church and a member of an old and distinguished southern family.