BURKE, STEVENSON (26 Nov. 1826-24 Apr. 1904), noted jurist and expert railroad litigator, was born in St. Lawrence County, New York, son of David and Isabella Burke. He was 8 years old when his family moved to North Ridgeville in Lorain County, Ohio were he received his early education. After attending Ohio Wesleyan University, he studied law with Horace D. Clark in Elyria and was admitted to the bar in 1848. He practiced law there and was elected judge of the Common Pleas Court in 1861, serving until 1869 when he came to Cleveland. In Cleveland he joined in partnership first with Franklin T. Bachus and E. J. Eastep, and after 1870, with William B. Sanders and Jonathan E. Ingersoll where he was instrumental in effecting a number of railroad mergers.

In addition to his legal representation, Burke took an active part in the management of several railroads, including the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis, the Cleveland and Mahoning Valley roads, and Central Ontario Railways serving as their president. He is perhaps best known for his 1881 purchase of controlling interest in the NICKEL PLATE RAILROAD, acting as the agent for William K. Vanderbilt, who owned the competing Lake Shore and Michigan line.

Burke married Parthenia Poppleton 28 Apr. 1849. After her death in 1878, he married Mrs. Ella M. Southworth 22 June 1882. Burke died in Washington, D.C.

Article Categories