James V. Burke
James V. Burke, a leading and representative business man of Chicago, was a marine engineer for a number of years, but is now successfully engaged in a business at No. 51 South Canal street, as a dealer in machinery and supplies, and also as a manufacturer of Burke's smokeless furnace, Burke's shaking grates and oil filters. Although the business is comparatively new he has already built up an excellent trade. Mr. Burke was born in Grand Haven, Mich., in 1854, a son of John and Catharine (Furlong) Burke, natives of Ireland. During early life the father was a sailor on salt water, and after coming to the New World located at Grand Haven, Mich., and engaged in sailing on the lakes, principally from Chicago to Michigan ports. He owned two vessels, the Ithaca and the Illinois, both engaged in the lumber trade. He was one of the well-known and prominent lake men for several years. His death occurred in Chicago, in 1893, and his wife died in the same city in 1890.
Coming with his parents to Chicago in early life James V. Burke was reared and educated in that city, and there learned engineering, and also the machinist's trade, on Canal street. In 1873 he commenced sailing from that port as engineer on the New Era, and for seven years was engineer on the Gen. Payne, which belonged to the Michigan Barge Company, and was engaged in towing lumber barges from Chicago to all Michigan ports. One year he spent on the Chicago river as engineer of the tug Constitution; the following two years was chief engineer of the city of Rome; and for the same length of time was engineer of the Roanoke, which was engaged in carrying general merchandise and grain to Ogdensburg, N. Y. Quitting the lakes in 1886, he was chief engineer of the city hall for two winters, and then had charge of the Michael Reese hospital one winter. His next position was as chief engineer of the Charles Counselman building at the corner of Jackson boulevard and LaSalle street, where he remained eighteen months, and on the completion of the Home Insurance building, was appointed chief engineer of it, holding that position for six years. He then began the manufacture of the Burke smokeless furnace, which patented in 1891, and he since successfully engaged in business along his present line.
Mr. Burke is one of the leading and influential members of the M. E. B. A., No. 4, of which he was president in 1890; and he also belongs to the Stationary Engineers Association, No. 1; the Engineers Club; the Royal Arcanum, of which he is vice-regent; and the Independent Order of Foresters, of which he has been presiding officer. In 1891, in Chicago, he was married to Miss Catharine Miller, and to them have been born three children: Vincent, Frances and Mary Margaret.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.