Spotlight: Thomas Burke, Patriot
Thomas Burke, for whom Burke County was named, was born in Galway, Ireland and immigrated to America at the age of fifteen. He settled in Virginia where he practiced medicine and law.
In 1772 Burke moved with his wife and daughter to Orange County, near Hillsboro, North Carolina and began his career as a statesman, serving in the provisional government that wrote the NC Constitution and as a delegate to the Continental Congress.
Burke was a leader in the radical movement, an early supporter of the American Revolution and a States’ Rights advocate.
Burke County, formed June 1, 1777, was named in his honor at the height of his political career. A photo of his painting, pictured left, hangs in the Museum lobby.