Today is the birthday of John Burke, an important figure in North Dakota history, as evidenced by the state’s placement of a bronze statue of Burke in the U.S. Capitol. He shares the honor with one other beloved figure in state history—Sakakawea.
Among his many accomplishments Burke served as the tenth Governor of North Dakota, from 1907 to 1913. He was nicknamed “Honest John,” for his unquestioned integrity. He succeeded in ridding the state of corrupt political control, and supported progressive laws that showed his concern for the public welfare.
In 1913 he was appointed treasurer of the United States by President Woodrow Wilson, and served until 1921. He was elected to the North Dakota Supreme Court in 1924, and served until his death in 1937, at age 78.