Charles Burks of Washington County

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Charles Burks of Washington County's Geni Profile

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Charles Burks, Sr.

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Prince Edward, Virginia
Death: 1816 (65-66)
Washington, Kentucky, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Burkes the Storekeeper and Mildred Burks
Husband of Sarah Burks
Father of Samuel R. Burks; Richard F Burks; Mary King, 'Polly'; Charles Burks, Jr.; Sarah Sally Back, "Sally" and 4 others
Brother of Elizabeth Burks; Mildred Raines; Philemon Burks; Mary Rice; Thompson Burks and 4 others
Half brother of George Burks

Occupation: grist mill and distillery operator
Managed by: Debora Ann Baxter
Last Updated:

About Charles Burks of Washington County

Charles Burks was born about 1750 in Prince Edward County Virginia. He was the son of Richard Burks, proprietor of Burk’s Old Tavern, a combination bar, inn and general store. Charles left home some time before 1793 for the new lands being opened up in Kentucky. This much we know. Richard Burks mentions Charles in his will and states that his son had moved to Kentucky. His date of birth is estimated based on the birthdates of known siblings. His place of birth is accepted as Prince Edward County because his parents lived in that county all their married lives.

From there the trail gets murky. The only Charles of the appropriate age found in Kentucky settled in Washington County and operated a grist mill. I cannot definitively prove that Charles Burks of Washington County is the son of Richard and Mildred Burks of Prince Edward County, Virginia. On the other hand I can find no facts to prove that he was not their son.

Two facts about Charles Burks of Washington County make it likely he was Richard’s son. First, he married Sarah or Sally Rice, born before 1765 in Virginia. Two other children of Richard Burks had spouses named Rice. Second, he named a son Richard F. Burks. The “F” is believed to stand for Floyd. Richard Burks named one of his sons Richard Floyd Burks. Based on these two facts, I believe I am on the right trail.

After settling in Washington County, he applied for a permit to build and operate a grist mill in 1805. The grist mill was built at Burks Springs on Hardin Creek, near present-day Loretto, Kentucky. Many grist mill operators ran small distilleries, taking in corn from the farmers when their crops were too large for their own uses. Burks and his sons operated the distillery until the 1830’s. After that, the widowed Sarah Burks could not keep it running. The grist mill, however, continued to run for many years.

In the late 1880’s, George R. Burks, the founder’s great-grandson, reopened the distillery. A lien filed in 1889 gives a list of buildings on the property – Still House; Boiler Shop; Warehouse A; Office (at that time a barrel shed); Quart House; Distiller’s House; and the Toll Gate House. In the early 1900’s, George built himself a home on a knoll overlooking the distillery.

In 1919, with the advent of Prohibition, George R. Burks sold the distillery to J. E. Bickett, who farmed the land around the distillery. At the end of prohibition, Bickett had begun to refurbish the distillery to reopen it. It was back in production by 1937. During the 1940’s and early 1950’s, the property changed hands several times.

In 1953, Bill Samuels, Sr., purchased the property known as Burkes Spring Distillery, which had been unused since prohibition. Few changes had been made since the distillery had been built as part of a water-powered grist mill. Bill Samuels, Sr., restored the mill and distillery. It is now known as Maker’s Mark, the smallest active distillery in Kentucky, and the only operating distillery that is also recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

For more information, you may want to visit these sites:

https://www.makersmark.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_ca... http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ourfamilyconnecti... https://spotisadog.wordpress.com/?s=Burks http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NRHP/Text/74000893.pdf

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Charles Burks of Washington County's Timeline

1750
1750
Prince Edward, Virginia
1775
1775
Washington Co, KY
1777
1777
KY?
1782
1782
Washington Co, KY
1783
January 20, 1783
1787
1787
KY?
1792
1792
KY
1794
1794
VA or KY
1794
VA or KY
1800
1800
KY