Instagram photo by firefightinirishToday's adventures took me to the grave of Thomas Burke he was born in Galway, Ireland around 1747, the son of Ulick Burke and Letitia (Ould) Burke. By 1764 he had emigrated to Virginia and practiced medicine for a number of years. He studied law, and began its practice in Norfolk, VA. He became an early supporter of the American Revolution, writing tracts in opposition to the Stamp Act of 1765.
On March 28, 1770, Thomas Burke married Mary "Polly" Wilson Freeman in Norfolk, VA. They had one known daughter, Mary Wilson Burke. In 1772, Thomas Burke and his small family moved to Hillsborough, North Carolina. There, he practiced law and operated his Tyaquin plantation.
In 1775, Thomas Burke was first elected as one of five men to represent Orange County in the, 3rd Provincial Congress that met in August of 1775, 4th Provincial Congress that met in April of 1776, and 5th Provincial Congress that met in November of 1776 in a special election after voting irregularities found.
In the last Provincial Congress, Thomas Burke had a major part in the debate that led to North Carolina's new state Constitution.
Thomas Burke was chosen as a delegate to the Continental Congress on December 20, 1776 and arrived in Philadelphia to take his seat on February 4, 1777. He was a strong state's rights advocate, In the debate over the Articles of Confederation in 1777, Burke introduced a resolution guaranteeing those powers to the states that were not explicitly granted to the Confederation. This safeguard was incorporated into the Articles and later was the basis for the Tenth Amendment to the federal Constitution. In September 1777 most of the Congress were preparing to flee Philadelphia as the British advanced. Burke instead went to join Brig. Gen. Francis Nash's North Carolina Continental troops defending the city. He was present at the Battle of Brandywine, Pennsylvania before rejoining the Continental Congress.
Also in 1777 and 1778, Thomas Burke was elected to represent Orange County in the North Carolina House of Commons, but he could not take his seat since he was in Philadelphia. Special elections were held to replace him. (Continued in comments)