Descendants of the late Charles Mitchell and Mary Matilda Denniston Burke of Ridge gathered for the annual event.
The couple were parents of William “Bill”, Johnny, Caroline, Ebenezer, Flora, Marvin, Ella, Henry, Thomas, and Katie Burke, who are all deceased.
Honored during the day-long reunion were Aline Nugent Hoffpauir, eldest female in attendance, and Leon Foreman, eldest male, who were also named king and queen.
The youngest family members in attendance were Nevarh Danielle Abshire, 18-month-old daughter of Lance and Debby Simon Abshire of Kaplan; and Robert Paul (RJ) Rich, Jr., five-month-old son of Raquel Lee and Robert Rich, Sr. of Kaplan.
Reunion committee members included Thomas Ray Foreman, Sue Foreman Cole, Danny Paul Foreman, Debby Foreman Simon and Jeanne Foreman.
The menu provided for the descendants and guests included barbecued chicken and pork steaks, rice dressing, potato salad, beans, home-made bread, garlic bread, vegetables, and a variety of desserts. Cooks were Thomas Roy and Jeanne Foreman, Danny Foreman and Chris. The anniversary/reunion cake was provided by Sue Foreman Cole and Debby Simon Abshire. Many cousins also provided food for the celebration.
Entertainment for the reunion was a “50th Reunion” program, while decorations included a 50th reunion decor including posters. The program was given by Debby Foreman Simon, who also wrote a poem in honor of the original couple and their family.
Special guests in attendance were Matthew, Julie, Jace and Kayden Adamson, whose attendance was the family’s first visit to a Burke reunion.
Approximately 100 family members attended from Rayne, Duson, Indian Bayou, Crowley, Ridge, Lafayette, Kaplan, and numerous points of Texas.
Charles Mitchell Burke was born May 6, 1849 near Berlin, Germany and came to America in 1867 by way of ship. He came to Louisiana prior to 1872 and married the former Mary Matilda Denniston (DOB June, 20, 1853) of Morgan City on April 9, 1872.
The couple had three children born near Bayou Chene near Morgan City, including William (1873), John (1875) and Caroline (1876). Once they moved to Ridge in Lafayette Parish, the couple had 11 more children, Ebenezer (1877), Flora (1883), Marvin (1891), Ella (1879), Henry (1881), Thomas (1884) and Katie (1895). Four additional children were born but the names are not know, totaling 14 children.
Charles homestead on land near Ridge in 1877, with he and his wife raising their large family. Many of his descendants stil reside on that same farm land today.
The first Burke reunion was held in June of 1958 and was held at the home of Katie Burke and Lawrence Hoffpauir, the youngest daughter. Many cousins were in attendance, in addition to some of the surviving children, including William (Bill), Johnny, Ella, Henry, Thomas and Katie. It was a huge success and has continued for the last 50 years.