Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm. Scanned from a copy held by the State Library of Kansas.
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JOSEPH ELIJAH BURKHART. J.E. Burkhart is one of the oldest settlers of Oakland township. He came to Kansas in 1870, and bought property in Topeka, The following year he came to Cloud county and settled in the Solomon valley, where he took up a homestead in Oakland township.

Mr. Burkhart was born January 3, 1838, in Butler, Pennsylvania. In 1872, he was ordained as a clergyman in the United Brethren church, filling the pulpit for twelve years; many of the citizens of Oakland township have been members of his congregation. Under personal conviction Mr. Burkhart withdrew from the ministry, and from the church, and was dismissed at his own request. He has since become an agnostic, assuming thought is God. He is author of the following poem which was published in a standard work:

"A thinking man's akin to God,
   Great fountain of mind,
A quenchless flame let nature laud
   All living men that's kind,

To think a thought must be divine,
   Supreme in peace in rage of storm,
Oh mighty fortress thought's sublime,
   'Tis here and there in human form.

To think a thought must be divine,
   Weaving friendship true and pure,
Grander than the stars that shine,
   And leads to duty plain and sure.

In thought perhaps the weak is strong;
   A herculean in might,
To turn the tempest into song,
   Of intellectual light.

Go get your thoughts from nature true,
   The budding rose or roaring sea,
The singing streams and arch of blue,
   Which teach the soul and makes it free.

Mr. Burkhart has also composed numerous other poems, among which are Taboo's: Tumult? Anarchy. The Recoil of Force. Why Be Your Brother's Keeper?

Mr. Burkhart has been honored several times by the election as delegate to state and district conventions of Kansas, and in 1896 was a Republican candidate for the legislature but was defeated in convention and again defeatedt - o put it mild - he says, "by conspiracy against the majority for district clerk, in 1900." He has filled the chair of editor on several Kansas newspapers. In 1884-5, edited the Miltonvale News, and has contributed to various papers and periodicals. He is a writer of considerable note and some of his poems have been incorporated in standard works.

Mr. Burkhart was a soldier in the Civil war; enlisted as a private in Company A, Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, and served till the close of the war. A brother, Baxter Clay Burkhart, was a member of the famous Bucktail Zouaves, Ninth Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserves, McCall's Division. He contracted measles and died. He was one of the first to go over the stone wall at the battle of Chancellorsville, and it was conceded that his act saved the day. He was but sixteen years old and would have been given a medal for his brave deed had he not died.

Mr. Burkhart is one of the pioneers of Cloud county and helped in the organization of Oaklond township, which was then a part of Meredith. He has been a notary public for several years and also engaged in real estate business. He was married in 1857, to Miss Eleanor N. Stewart, of Dryden, New York. Mrs. Burkhart is a graduate of Butler College, Butler, Pennyslvania, and was a teacher for many years, beginning at the age of sixteen. She taught the first school in Oakland township, in a dugout, free gratis, to secure the new district ratio of state fund. She also taught the first school in the new school house at a salary of fifteen dollars per month, and again in 1878. The dugout was simply a hole in the ground, and the school numbered less than a dozen pupils. To Mr. and Mrs. Burkhart have been born one son and three daughters, only one of whom is living: Mrs. Clara Watson, wife of David Watson, a farmer of Oakland township.

Mr. Burkhart is a son of Elijah Burkhart, who was born in Butler, Pennsylvania, January 3, 1803. He was a millwright, carpenter, joiner and widely known in politics. Was one of the Republicans and original Whigs in Pennsylvania. He started on a career with practically nothing, but died wealthy. Mr. Burkhart's grandfather was born near Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, of Dutch origin. He was a prisoner with the Indians four years, escaped and joined Washington's army and served with him at Valley Forge, Trenton and White Marsh, until the close of the war. His paternal grandmother was Miss Margaret Powell, of English ancestry. Mr. Burkhart's great-grandfather was from Frankfort, Germany. Mr. Burkhart's mother was formerly Miss Rebecca Richardson, daughter of Joseph Richardson, whose grandfather came with him from England and settled in Philadelphia. The marriage relationship between his parents connected the Washingtons, Lees, Custers, Harpers, Neglies, Pattersons, Kenedies, Richardsons, and Burkharts.

Mr. and Mrs. Burkhart live on the old homestead and enjoy the fruits of their labors in a little vine clad cottage. Mr. Burkhart is interested in the North American Crude Oil Company, in California, and the Beaumont (Texas) on wells, Chanute and Buffalo, Kansas; and Belton, Missouri. The company's oil lands in California consist of five thousand acres. The Belton (Missouri), Kansas and Beaumont properties are large, and the syndicate is reaching out to other fields; a strong company with a bright future, a leader in the world's great enterprise.