- Harry M. Ward
Burke, Thomas (1747–02 December 1783), congressman and governor, was born in County Galway, Ireland, the son of Ulick Burke and Letitia Ould. The family apparently fell on hard times. Burke wrote John Bloomfield on 25 April 1782 that “misfortunes reduced me to the alternative of domestic indolent dependence or an enterprising peregrination, and I very early made choice of the latter.” At an early age Burke was blinded in one eye (the circumstances are unknown). As a youth he lived with an uncle, Fielding Ould, a “man-midwife,” who had a practice in Dublin. Burke had university training, probably at the University of Dublin, and some medical education. Having quarreled with his uncle, he went to America in 1763. After a few months in Philadelphia he resided in Accomac County on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for a year and then in Norfolk, Virginia. Burke had several essays and poems published in the ...