Frances R. Burke



(presbyterian missionary and teacher)


Frances Rosilla Burke (aka Frannie Burke, Miss Burke) was born on June 2, 1844.

Frances attended the National Normal University in Lebanon, Ohio from 1874 to 1879 to be trained as a teacher.

Frances went to Salt Lake City in May of 1881 intending to be a missionary and school teacher. After four days, she was sent to Toquerville to start a mission school. She was not well received and was unable to find a place to rent. So she ended up going down to the Presbyterian mission in St. George for a couple of weeks.

Eventually, Ash Nebeker, invited her back to Toquerville. He helped Miss Burke and the Presbyterian Board of Missions negotiate a purchase of the unfinished Richard & Theresa Fryer home which some considered to be haunted after Fryer murdered his neighbor, wife, and young son in 1875. The home was converted into a chapel, school, and living quarters. In September of 1881, Frances moved in and started her work.

In spite of significant initial distrust and opposition, opinions of her gradually softened as she worked to educate and help all who needed and wanted it.

Frances was postmistress of Toquerville for seven years, beginning on October 12, 1887.

In the early 1890s, the Women's Board of Home Missions decided to shut down the the Toquerville and other mission schools in Utah. Frances protested, but to no avail. She decided to stay in Toquerville on her own. She purchased the Orley Bliss home and became a respected member of the community.

As time went on, Frances developed a number of severe medical problems. By 1925, she could no longer take care of herself and was taken to St. George by Sarah Louisa Conklin, a Presbyterian missionary there.

Frances died on January 8, 1927. Funeral services were held in St. George and at the LDS meetinghouse in Toquerville. She was buried in the Toquerville Cemetery.


Frances Rosilla Burke was orphaned at an early age. She was adopted by ??? & Esther Young in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was befriended by Mary E. Kennedy who became a benefactor. Frances never married.


Photos on the web:
Photo of a young Frances R. Burke
Photo of a young Frances R. Burke
Photo of the Frances Burke as a missionary teacher in Toquerville
Photo of Frances Rosilla Burke of Toquerville
Photo of Frances Burke as an Older Woman
Photo of the Fannie Burke Cottage in Toquerville
Photo of the Fannie Burke in front of her Cottage in Toquerville
Photo of the Frances Rosalie Burke headstone in the Toquerville Cemetery
Photo of the Frances Rosalie Burke headstone in the Toquerville Cemetery


Frances R. Burke: Toquerville Presbyterian Missionary
by Sandra Dawn Brimhall and David A. Hales
Utah Historical Quarterly,   Volume 72, Number 2, Spring 2004

The Postmistress of Toquerville
by William M. Paden
The Presbyterian,   November 2, 1927,   Page 67.

Frances R. Burke Collection
Archives, Giovale Library, Westminster College, Salt Lake City.

Frances Rosalie Burke death certificate

Find-A-Grave entry for Frances Rosalie Burke

BillionGraves entry for Frances Rosalie Burke