Jurisdiction: Oronoko Township Section 27
Status: Inactive. BCGS Cemetery Records updated July 31, 2007.
Location: Southeast Corner of Snow Road and Garr Road
Cemetery Governing Body: Oronoko Township
Size: 120 feet x 100 feet
Burke Cemetery is small, fenced cemetery measuring approximately 120 feet x 100 feet. Many large trees grow within the cemetery that is elevated above the road. If traveling down Snow Road, the cemetery is easy to pass by. Depending on the map, the road running North/South may be called Garr Road or Terra Coupe Road.
Located at the next intersection South of the cemetery at the corner of Garr Road and Grange Road is a stone marker with a mounted plaque which reads:
“In memory of Jesse and Elizabeth Helmick who settled this quarter section in 1836 erected by their descendants in 1936.”
Examination of the cemetery records finds a listing of a Jesse Helmick that died March 7, 1881 at age 82 years 4 months and 7 days and his wife Elizabeth, who died January 3, 1887 at the age of 83 years 10 months and 14 days. Further research is needed to positively confirm if this is the same couple. A total of 46 stones were found within the cemetery, 18 of which bear the name Helmick. Three are markers for members of the Burk family. Notice that these three are spelled without the "E" on the end as is most commonly associated with the name of the cemetery.
In October of 1980, David Savage, of the Berrien County Genealogical Society transcribed the headstones and found that the oldest one was that of Mary Helmick, who died on September 22, 1838 at the age of 11 years, 3 months and 24 days. She was the daughter of Jesse & Elizabeth Helmick. The most recent burial found was that of Louisa Alice Clark, who was born in 1848 and died in 1936.
In a book published by the Daughter's of the American Revolution in the 1930's, this cemetery was mistakenly referred to as being in Buchanan Township. The 1880 History of Berrien and Van Buren Counties refers to this cemetery as Maple Grove Cemetery located in school district No. 4. It is located one mile east of Oak Grove/Storick Cemetery.
Written By David Barricklow