Head of Family
Richard McArthur Burke died in June 1888 at the age of 23. Miriam Sophia was two years older, and at the age of 25 she became head of the Burke family. In those days if the parents were deceased the position went to the oldest male, provided he was over twenty-one. Emily and John Jasper were both minors, it was to Miriam that the Clonmel Freemasons wrote regretting their brother’s death.
The poignant entry to the Minute Book of Lodge 44 for 3rd July 1888 reads:
That with the deep regret we hereby record our heartfelt sorrow for the death on 26th who of Bro. Richard McArthur Burke, one of the officers of out lodge, who by his kind and gentle manner had won our love and esteem, but whom it pleased T. G. A. O. T. V. to remove from amongst us in the early dawn of his manhood.
we also beg to tender to his sister and other members of his family the assurance of our sincere sympathy and condolences in this their sad hour of grief and bereavement.
The foregoing resolution was signed in large by the [W all] secretary and the latter was requested to send it to Miss Burke.