John Burkhart, a native of Marion county, Indiana, was born near the city of Indianapolis, October 14, 1864, the son of John and Josephine (Barnard) Burkhart. John Burkhart, the father of John Burkhart, Jr., was born in Davidson county, North Carolina, in 1833, and died in 1906 on the home farm of the subject of this sketch. He was the son of John Burkhart, the first, who was a native of Germany, where he spent his young manhood on a farm. He later learned the cooper's trade, at which he worked for some years. He came to America with a party of young friends, on a sailing vessel, the trip requiring six weeks. He landed in New York and located in Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. He remained there for some years and was married, after which he removed to Davidson county, North Carolina, where he engaged in farming and was most successful. He owned over four hundred acres of land which was well developed and improved. There he died in 1847.
It was on the old homestead in North Carolina that John Burkhart, the second, was born and grew to manhood. At the age of twenty-one he and a party of five friends came to Indiana in the spring of 1854. Here he worked on the farm of Reuben Barnard, in Sugar Creek township, for a year or so. Here he was married to Charlotte Josephine Barnard, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Barnard. After his marriage he rented a farm in Marion county where he remained for two years, after which he removed to Butler county, Ohio, where he remained for five years, after which he came back to Indiana, locating in Shelby county and bought a farm in Moral township. This he made his home until 1905, at which time Mrs. Burkhart died. A short time later he made a trip to North Carolina and on his return to Indiana he made his home with his son, John Burkhart, in Sugar Creek township. He lived here but a few months when he died at the home of his son. To John Burkhart and wife were born seven children, five boys and two girls: John, the subject of this sketch Charles, Unice, deceased, the wife of C. E. Crum; Adrin, Ernest, Edna, wife of J. E. Barcus, of Indianapolis, and Jessie.
John Burkhart was two years of age when his parents went to Butler county, Ohio, and at the age of seven years moved with his parents to Moral township, Shelby county, where he grew to young manhood. There he attended the home schools and later the Danville Normal after which he taught school in his home township for eight months. After completing his term of school he engaged in farming on a rented farm in the township. He continued to farm in the neighborhood for some five years.
On March 16, 1898, John Burkhart was married to Maggie B. Murnan, who was born in Sugar Creek township on January 21, 1881. She was the daughter of George and Matilda (Hutchinson) Murnan, both of whom were pioneers in the locality. Her grandfather, Jacob Murnan , entered the land on which is now situated the Crown Point cemetery and of which John Burkhart is at present the secretary. George Murnan was a prosperous farmer and died near where he was born in the township. His death occurred in 1905, his wife surviving him four years.
George and Matilda Murnan were the parents of eight children, only four of whom lived to the age of maturity; Amanda, deceased, the wife of E. O. Brandenburg; Jane, the wife of J. C. Brandenburg; Maggie B., the wife of John Burkhart, and Mollie, the wife of Fritz Rogers.
After his marriage, John Burkhart farmed in Shelby county for three years after which he located in Sugar Creek township and two years later bought one hundred and fifteen acres of land, known as the Kaspari farm. Five years later he bought forty acres of the Murnan homestead adjoining the land belonging to Mrs. Burkhart. Mr. and Mrs. Burkhart now own two hundred and forty acres of well improved and well cultivated land. John Burkhart and wife are the parents of two children: Matilda Josephine, who was born on March 25, 1899, and John Barnard Burkhart, born on July 191, 1915.
John Burkhart owes much of his prosperity to his success in the raising of corn and hogs. He usually cultivates sixty to seventy acres of corn on the home place, which yields on the average fifty bushels to the acre. He also raises about fifty acres of small grain. He generally markets one hundred and fifty head of hogs and ten head of cattle each years, he also has on hand about twenty head of fine Herefords and twelve head of Belgian draft horses, besides many good sheep.
Mr. Burkhart attends the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he is a supporter, and to which his wife and daughter belong. Mr. Burkhart is a member of the Free and Accepted Masons, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Red Men and the Modern Woodmen of America. He is a past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias and a past sachem of the Red Men. Politically, Mr. Burkhart is a Democrat and served as trustee of his township from 1908 to 1914. He is well known and highly respected, being a man of high ideals and excellent judgment.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Page 1070-1072.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI November 12, 2001.
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