John Burke, for whom the town was named, laid out the plots in 1844, although settlers had apparently been in the area for some time. Upon discovering that Quicksand Creek, the place where the court officially first met, was not at the true geographic center of the county as was formerly supposed, Burkeville citizens petitioned in 1847 for their community to become county seat. Burkeville secured the honor in 1848, and an election the following year confirmed its position by a narrow 86-82 margin. The county courthouse, paid for by subscription, was located on a small tract donated by John Burke. The courthouse question was reopened, however, in 1853, when another election made Newton, a newly established settlement at the geographic center of Newton County, county seat. Burkeville citizens refused to allow the transfer without a struggle; indeed, they succeeded in temporarily restoring Burkeville as county seat in 1855. However, county officers refused to leave Newton, and the state legislature ruled in 1856 that Newton should remain county seat. As a center for local agriculture and trade, however, Burkeville remained active. It served as a Confederate arsenal during the Civil War. It had a newspaper, the Newton County Record, and profited from the growth of the lumber industry in the early 1900s. Some 600 bales of cotton were shipped from Burkeville in 1882. A small school, Blum Male and Female College, was chartered in Burkeville in 1880; it was named for Leon Blum, a Galveston merchant who owned a majority of stock in the private corporation that established the school. The institution soon became known as Burkeville School. A fire destroyed every business in Burkeville except one in 1906. Read Burkeville History from the Handbook of Texas Online >>
Burkesville, Texas Fire, May 1906 at GenDisasters.com
Burkeville Church of God. The Church of God reformation began in Indiana in 1881 as a Christian unity movement opposed to undue organization. This congregation, founded in 1901, is the oldest known Church of God fellowship in the state. Alice McAlfin, a teacher in the Pine Knot School (4 mi. NE), brought information about the Church of God from Leesville, Louisiana. Several area residents, including John Cousins, Jim Smith, and Will Smith, began attending the services. With their leadership the Burkeville congregation was established. Services were first conducted in the Pine Knot Schoolhouse. Annual summer camp meetings, often lasting several weeks, were held in a tent on the banks of McGraw Creek (3.5 mi. NE). Since services were held three times each day, family camps were set up on the banks of the creek. A wooden house was constructed for use by the preachers. A nearby water mill regulated the level of the creek, allowing it to be used for baptisms year-round. Members built a wooden tabernacle on the creek site that was used until 1927 when the congregation moved to a new tabernacle in south Burkeville. A wooden sanctuary, constructed at the present site in 1944, was replaced by the current edifice in 1973. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1980. Located 2 blocks S of SH 63 on FM 1414 Burkeville.
Burkeville Methodist Church, Original Site. In 1850 John R. and Mary W. Burke sold for one dollar to the local Methodist Episcopal Church, South, a tract of land at this site for a church building and cemetery. The oldest known grave here is that of Burke (d.1855), a Roman Catholic who founded Burkeville. In that era, circuit riders served the congregation, which included both black and white worshipers. A simple frame church with bell tower and steeple erected here doubled as a schoolhouse in the 1870s and served all faiths as a funeral chapel. The structure was removed from this site in 1948. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1977. Located at Burkeville Cemetery, 2 blocks S of Juc. SH 87 & SH 63, on SH 87 in cemetery.
Colonel John R. Burke Home Site. A few feet west of this marker was built, 1845, first home in Burkeville, by founder of the town, donor of land for Newton County Courthouse; friend of Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston; an 1853-55 member of Texas Legislature. Burke died in 1855. heart pine house, razed in 1947, was rebuilt elsewhere. - Historical Marker Text.
Blum Male & Female College. Chartered February 26, 1880, by 36 incorporators; named for Leon Blum, Galveston merchant, largest holder in $20,000 capital stock -- $5 per share. First directors were: R. J. Brailsford, H. J. Casey, W. W. Downs, W. A. Droddy, T. W. Ford, M. D. Hines; First president was Joseph Syler. Pupils ranged in age from 5 to 50 years; those under 12 met in downstairs of 2-story building; older pupils and adults met upstairs. Average enrollment per term was 100 resident and boarding pupils. School "took up" at 8 a.m.; closed at 4:30 p.m. Students entered and left school by lining up -- boys on one side and girls on the other -- a division which continued inside the school room. Lessons were recited on a recitation bench; all tests were oral, often an occasion for community gathering. Subjects offered besides the 3 R's were: philosophy, Latin, grammar, algebra, history, geometry, rhetoric, and geography. Friday afternoons were devoted to spelling matches, recitations. A well in school yard furnished water; most students brought lunch from home in a tin bucket which was covered with a lid ventilated by nail holes. Soon was called Burkeville School, and after expiration of College Charter on February 20, 1905, the building served that purpose until torn down in 1912. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1967. Located 100 ft W of SH 87 & SH 63 on N side of SH 63, Burkeville.
Round Table Inn. On this site stood Harrell House, built in 1865 by Confederate veteran David F. Harrell to serve stagecoaches and others traveling military road. Renamed for its food-laden, hand-made lazy Susan table, seating 12 to 15 quests. Burned, 1927. Rebuilt and still run by granddaughter Helen Duncan. - Historical Marker Text. Marker erected 1965. Located 1 block S of SH 87 & SH 63 Intersection, Burkeville.