Early recognition of the legal abilities of Edward Martin Burke followed his establishment in practice in Westerly in 1895, he having been elected in 1898 the first judge of the Probate Court in this place, an office he has filled continuously ever since. Judge Burke is a citizen of high standing, a lawyer of finish and a jurist of impartial decisions. His popularity in legal, social and fraternal circles is a matter of common knowledge and a host of loyal friends attest to an attractive character and friendly nature.
He was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, November 11, 1869, a son of Michael W., a native of Ireland and a stone cutter by occupation, and Honora (O’Brien) Burke, a native of Massachusetts, both deceased. The family came to Westerly in his youth and he received his education in this town, graduating from high school in 1889. He then attended Union College and received his degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1893, following this preparatory work with matriculation at the Law School of Yale University, from which institution he was graduated in 1895 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, cum laude. In that year he was admitted to practice at the Connecticut bar, and in 1896 to the bar of Rhode Island. Establishing himself in practice in Westerly, he became judge in 1898, as related. He is a member and past president of the Westerly Bar Association and is politically allied with the Republican party, having served on its town committee for fifteen years. During the participation of the United States in the World War he served as a member of the legal advisory board for Westerly. His favorite recreation is motoring and his club memberships include the Yale of Rhode Island and the fraternity of Delta Upsilon. He is also a member of the Westerly Board of Trade, and of Misquamicut Tribe, No. 19, Improved Order of Red Men, of which he has served as Great Sachem of the State of Rhode Island.
Edward Martin Burke married, in 1908, Mary E. Currier, of Sunapee, New Hampshire, deceased in 1927.
Source: Carroll, Charles. Rhode Island: Three Centuries of Democracy, vol 3 of 4. New York: Lewis historical Pub. Co., 1932.