Burke, David N. (ca. 1809–unknown)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: June 18, 2020

David (Daniel) N. Burke (Burk), soldier, was captain of the Mobile Grays, a company of Alabama volunteers that took part in the Texas Revolution. Gen. Sam Houston welcomed Burke to Texas on November 30, 1835, commending "the manly and liberal feelings which have been manifested by you in the tender of your services in behalf of Texas." The company disembarked at Copano and arrived at San Antonio soon after the successful storming of the town by Texas volunteers in December 1835. On December 25 Burke joined John J. Baugh, William Gordon Cooke, Thomas Llewellyn, B. L. Lawrence, and Thomas K. Pearson, all captains of volunteer companies, in protest against being placed under the same regulations as the regular army of Texas. Nevertheless, on December 30 Burke and his company left Bexar with the army of Col. Francis W. Johnson, having volunteered for the expedition against Matamoros. In February 1836 Burke and a number of other volunteer officers in Refugio signed a letter protesting a local official's ruling that volunteers, "claiming Texas as [their] adopted country," not be allowed to vote in the constitutional election. That spring Burke and the Mobile Grays accompanied James Grant as far as Goliad, where they subsequently became part of the army of James Walker Fannin. Most of the company was killed on March 27, 1836, in the infamous Goliad Massacre. Burke, however, was absent from his command and was thus spared. Although the company's muster roll dated February 29 indicates that he was on furlough at that date and had "since died," on March 29 Sam Houston reported to William Christy, a New Orleans merchant friendly to the Texas cause, that he had dispatched Burke to New Orleans and Mobile to recruit more volunteers. At Galveston, however, Burke encountered Robert Potter, who placed him in charge of the brig Pocket. After the battle of San Jacinto Burke rejoined the army and arrived at Houston's headquarters on the Yellow Stone.

Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Harbert Davenport, Notes from an Unfinished Study of Fannin and His Men (MS, Harbert Davenport Collection, Texas State Library, Austin; Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin). John H. Jenkins, ed., The Papers of the Texas Revolution, 1835–1836 (10 vols., Austin: Presidial Press, 1973). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).

Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Burke, David N.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/burke-david-n.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 18, 2020