Researched and compiled by Faye V Bell (SLC) 2013



Milo Burke, Senior, was born to John and Margaret Burke in 1863, in Nebraska. Both parents were born in Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. The Burkes had seven sons: George, John, Peter, Louis, Milo, Charles and Willie Burke. They lived in Cottonwood, Lincoln, NE for some time.


He married Bessie C Tannyhill on the 27 July 1887 in Jackson, Missouri—she was 21 and he was 24 years of age. Their children were: Bessie, Milo, Jr., Linn, Mildred and Cecil. Milo and Bessie came to the Big Horn Basin before 1896 and established themselves in the Ten Sleep Canyon area and built a lumber manufacturing business there on the edge of what would become the Big Horn National Forest. They were considered prominent members of the community and friends of the cattlemen and associated with the then Governor DeForest Richards who also owned land in the Ten Sleep Canyon (Vanguards of the Valley, Faye V ell, 1987, p. 76) .


Milo Burke, Sr., participated (according to the Basin Republican 1901?) in the jail heist that was to take care of horse thieves, but ended up in a shooting that killed Jim Gorman (suspect of murder of his brother Tom Gorman) and a Sheriff’s deputy named Will Price. Things cooled down and those who attempted to take law into their own hands managed to be treated lightly.


In January of 1920, he and Bessie took a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii. According to the Basin news, Milo was not in good health at that time and hoped to be

restored in a more temperate climate. As it turned out, he came back to Wyoming and was in Cheyenne, WY when he passed away in 1921.


Obituaries provided by Terril J. Mills – 2014

Family Tree provided by Frederick A. Drake


Burke, Milo Sr.

BURKE, MILO Sr.-obituaries

Sheridan Enterprise no. 34 September 25, 1921, page 1

Riverton Review no. 13 September 28, 1921, page 1

News Letter no. 33 September 22, 1921, page 13, Newcastle

Laramie Republican (Semi-Weekly ed.) no. 13 September 24, 1921, page 8

Casper Daily Tribune no. 294 September 22, 1921, page 8

Basin Republican no. 14 September 23, 1921, page 1,

Basin Republican no. 14 September 23, 1921, page 5


Milo Burke of Tensleep expired Tuesday afternoon at Cheyenne, the immediate cause of his death being blood poisoning. Mr. Burke was in Basin a short time since and was not in good health at that time and stated that he expected to spend the winter in Arizona, and was enoute to the south when he was stricken.

   Milo Burke came to the Basin country in the fall of 1884 and assumed the position of manager of the Bar X Bar ranch. He later acquired considerable property in the vicinity of Tensleep and for the past few years operated the dude ranch known as the "Wigwam” above Tensleep.

   Having bought some mining interests in Arizona a year ago, Mr. Burke had spent most of this summer in that section. He returned August 17 to his ranch near Tensleep, but found the altitude too high for him and started south again the first of this week. At Thermopolis Monday, he was taken ill, but it was deemed advisable to continue the journey. Upon his arrival In Cheyenne Tuesday, he was removed to a hospital, where he passed away at 3:30 p. m.  Death was due to liver trouble and anemic poisoning.

   Five years ago a team ran away with him, throwing him to the ground, knocking him unconscious and causing the fracture of two ribs. This accident is believed to have been one of the factors which eventually led to his demise.

   Mr. Burke spent a lifetime in preparing the way for the present development and possibilities of Wyoming. One of the real pioneers of the state, he devoted 34 years to the work of helping to lift it out of the wilderness and make of it the producer it is today.

   Born at North Platte, Neb., in 1866 he received his education in the public schools and laid the ground work for his future success. His friends like to tell how, when he was so small that it was impossible for him to mount a horse, he devised a rope ladder with which to climb to the saddle. In 1883, he moved to this state and at the age of 19 was made manager of the Bar X Cattle company. His youthful appearance caused him to be dubbed "The Kid," by which name he was known for many years in what is now Washakie county. In 1887 he was married to Miss Bessie Tannehill of Kansas City, and (Basin Republican, page 5) the two of them began life on their own hook. From the small beginning they made at Tensleep they developed a ranch of 1,300 acres, well improved, brought to a high state of cultivation, and known as one of the beauty spots of Wyoming.

   When they started out they had to haul their goods overland from Rawlins, a distance of 300 miles, and the nearest doctor was at Buffalo, 90 miles away. Isolated from civilization, they reared a splendid family and sent each child away to school.

   Besides the widow he is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Cecil Morris of Lincoln, Neb., Mrs. Betty Hales of Thermopolis and Miss Mildred of Tensleep, and two sons, Milo, Jr., and Lynn, both living at the parental home. Mrs. Burke, Mrs. Morris and Lynn were with him at the end.

   Funeral services will be held at Tensleep this afternoon at 2:30.

   The news of the death of this old settler came as a distinct shock to the hundreds of friends in this locality who will tender to the family sincere sympathy in their hour of sorrow.


Buffalo Bulletin no. 6 September 22, 1921, page 5

Information reached Buffalo last evening that Milo Burke, for many years a prominent rancher and stockman of the Tensleep country, west of this city, died suddenly at Cheyenne Tuesday morning. According to report Mr. Burke was enroute to Denver and the south when he was taken ill and passed away shortly after reaching Cheyenne. Mr. Burke disposed of his holdings in the Tensleep country some two years ago, since which time he has resided in Arizona. He is survived by a widow and three grown children.


Buffalo Bulletin no. 7 September 29, 1921, page 5

The funeral of the late Milo Burke an account of whose sudden death at Cheyenne appeared in these columns last week, was held from the Burke ranch home at Tensleep last Friday afternoon, the services being attended by a multitude of neighbors and old friends of the deceased from Tensleep, Nowood, Hyattville, Basin. Worland, Greybull and Buffalo. Mr. Burke had been a resident of the Tensleep country for the past thirty years. He was exceptionally well informed on early-day history in Wyoming, and he was a pleasant conversationalist, entirely likeable, and always buoyant hopeful and entertaining. He will be missed by a large circle of friends throughout northern Wyoming.