SPRINGFIELD'S SCULPTURES,            Carl and Roberta Volkmann
MONUMENTS, AND PLAQUES              cvolk@aol.com
Oak Ridge Cemetery
John M. Burkhardt was born on February 2,
1807, in Württemberg, Germany.  He came
to the United States in 1832 and spent
several years working in Pennsylvania.  He
moved to Springfield in 1836 and   married
Mary E. Nagle, also from Germany, on
August 18, 1843.  The couple had eleven
Burkhardt operated a general store on the
east side of the downtown square in
Springfield from 1850 to 1859.  He and a
partner also owned a tavern that was first
licensed in 1839.  Although Burkhardt was
a Democrat and supported Stephen A
Douglas, he did vote for Abraham Lincoln in
the 1860 presidential election.
Burkhardt was a member of the local German community and owned a German-language
newspaper called The Illinois Staats-Anzeiger.  Abraham Lincoln purchased the
newspaper’s printing press and German language type from Burkhardt in 1860 in order to
publish the Republican platform in German.  Burkhardt became a charter member of the
first Board of Trustees of Illinois State University in 1851.  The university later became
Concordia Seminary.

In the early 1850s, the Burkhardts built a 5,000 square foot Greek-Revival style house just
east of Springfield.  Despite efforts by local preservationists, the home was unfortunately
razed in 1991 in order to make room for the expansion of a mobile home park.

Burkhardt was a member of the Lutheran Church that is now called Grace Lutheran
Church.  One of the stained glass windows on the north side of the church contains the
following inscription: “In Memory of My Husband, John M. Burkhardt.”  Mary Burkhardt
provided the funding for this lasting remembrance.