Francis Burk

Spouses and children


Francis was one of 21 children. Life was hard for the catholics in Ireland. In the winter of 1739-40, one fifth of the population of Ireland died from starvation. Emigrated to the United States and arrived in New Jersey circa 1739. He married a New jersey girl of German extraction, the daughter of a physician. Later they settled in Pennsylvania at the limits of indian territory. South of lake Ontario (Western NY state) was Iroquois territory with Mohawks to the east up to the lake Champlain, then to the west, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and finally Senecas just east of the Niagara river.

They suffered through several major conflicts: first the French-English Seven Years war then the American revolutionary war and finally the war of 1812. Conflicts started in 1754, 2 years before the formal declaration of war in Europe. The French from Canada and the English from Virginia (with their indian allies) clashed over the Ohio valley. Fighting went on 3 fronts: the west (ohio + lakes Erie & Ontario), the Hudson/Champlain valleys and the St. Laurent. The French built Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburgh) where the Allegheny meets the Ohio. The Quakers in Pennsylvania refused to fight so the whole burden of protection fell on the other settlers. Frontiersmen in New York and Pennsylvania bore the brunt while the sea-board colonies suffered less. In Sept. 1759, Wolfe defeated Montcalm at Quebec and by 1760, England had taken over Canada. The treaty of Paris in 1763 ended the conflict. Lands to the west of rivers flowing into the Atlantic (the Susquehanna, Potomac and the Savanna) was considered Indian land from which settlement was excluded and trade carried on under licence. All land west of the Mississipi (Louisiana) were granted to Spain. Later in 1768, the treaty with the Iroquois at Fort Stanwix (probably now Utica NY) moved the boundary of Indian territory west to the Ohio river.

In 1763, populations were as follows:
Canada: 65,000
British colonies: 1,5 million

- American Revolutionary War: 1775-83. This led to several campaigns up and down the Champlain valley with incursions through the Mohawk river to Lake Ontario. After the end of this conflict, Many Loyalists came to Canada: about 25,000 in the maritimes, 1000 in Lower Canada and 6,000 in Upper Canada. Several military units were given land: The majority in Upper Canada settled west of Cataraqui (Kingston) around Prince Edward County, Butler's Rangers settled in the Niagara, Iroquois were given land along the Grand river (Brandford/Kitchener).

John was the eldest of 7 children: John, Mical, Joseph, James, Luke, Mary & Katurah.