#142h Any Burketts in Burket?

Fleeter Log #142h
Any Burketts in Burket?

Day 10 - Tuesday
June 16, 2009
207 miles

Warren, IN to Coldwater, MI
Entire trip here on Spotwalla
What's a four letter word for Sicilian volcano? Any halfway serious cross-worder will know the answer is ETNA. More obscure trivia may be that Mt Etna is "Indiana's smallest town" and the Purple Martin Capital of Indiana. Now you know some Indiana trivia, but the crossword answer will likely be more helpful.

On the night of March 31, 1880 the moon was entering into the last quarter, but the City of Wabash, Indiana made the phase of the moon seem less significant . . . at least to the folks on the city streets of Wabash. That was the night that Wabash became the First Electrically Lighted City in the World. At 8pm the local population of 320 was joined by 10,000 other people to witness the streets being flooded with electrical light. The lighting test was a success and the taxpayers agreed that the annual cost of $712 was worth the benefit of having lit streets all night, every night. 

In other Wabash trivia notes:  
  • Country singer Crystal Gayle (born Brenda Gail Webb) is from Wabash . . . moving there from Butcher Hollow, Kentucky with her parents when she was four years old.
  • Wabash was named after the Wabash River and has nothing to do with the fictitious train, "The Wabash Cannonball."

The Stockdale Mill caught my eye as I traveled east on IN16.

Then, as an additional bonus in the area, I spotted a covered bridge just around the corner. The Roann Covered Bridge (built in 1877) over the Eel  River.

You can see the newer bridge framed by the timbers of the old Roann Covered Bridge.

Checking roots in Burket, Indiana. Burkett is a family name so a little history research seemed the appropriate thing to do when passing through the small town of Burket. The whole town is only about ten blocks total and only as many streets.

Much can be learned from small towns at the local tavern, cafe, or post office. It wasn't hard to locate the post office. That's where I make my first stop to inquire of the town's history.

The woman running the post office wasn't a long time resident, but she did have a newspaper clipping of one of the town's early residents: Joe Burket.

My next stop in search of historical information was the Methodist Church where a few church members were in the basement sorting items for a yard sale. They didn't know much more about the history of the town's name than the postal clerk, but they did agree on who the town's resident historian was. Unfortunately, she was not in attendance at the yard sale preparations today.

I did learn that the Burket name in this area was likely shortened from the name Burkhardt or Burkhart, (Johann Jacob Burkhardt immigrated from Germany 1754). The spelling Burket added a "t" somewhere in the 1800s making this family tree filled with Burkhardts, Burkets, and Burketts as they then moved from Ohio into the Indiana area. 

My Burkett History:
  • My grandfather is Edgar Lorenza Burkett born in 1889 in Texas.
  • My great grandfather is Joseph Lafayette (J.L.) Burkett born in 1853 in Tennessee. 
  • My gg grandfather is Jacob Lorenza Burkett born in 1830 in Tennessee. 
  • My ggg grandfather is Henry Burkett Sr. born in 1796 in Virginia. 
  • Possible information on my gggg grandfather is that he emigrated from Germany during the time frame that the Johann Jacob Burkhardt listed above arrived from Germany.
Unknown whether my family line is connected to these Indiana Burkets or not, but it was fun to stop and ask the questions. No more answers for me today in Burket, Indiana so time for me to continue my trek northward.

Etna Green has a grain elevator right across the street from the town's central park.

Enough playing around in Indiana. Time to move into Michigan.

The Cass County Maintenance Department building in Cassopolis, Michigan showcases several murals depicting the auto dealership that was housed in the same building in past decades.

The huge rainstorm that has been nipping at my back tire ever since leaving Cassopolis caught up with me as I was eastbound on MI60 and MI66.

I get slightly ahead of the rain then stop for the night in Coldwater, Michigan.

Copyright 2009 Fleeter Logs


  1. Did the information on Crystal Gayle in Wabash include that her sister is Loretta Lynn? Of course, Loretta wasn't there when Crystal was born. At sixteen, she and "Mooney" had been married for three years by then.

  2. Yep, Jerry, it did. Of course, folks like us already knew that. But I didn't know that her and the family had left Butcher Holler in Kentucky. From listening to Loretta Lynn's music, I only knew about Butcher Holler.

    Did you ever find out what was "behind the green door"?

  3. Interesting and fun story about the Burkardt/Burkett/Burket name and family.