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Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Karl Berk ~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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Karl "Charley Bismarck" Berk
BORN: Jan 1825 DIED: 26 Aug 1889 BURIED: 27 Aug 1889
ETHNICITY:   OCCUPATION:  Miner, Brickmason
BIRTH PLACE:  Goessitz, Saxon, Germany
DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
IOOF REGISTER - Karl Berk (Charlie Bismarck), died in Salem, dropped dead at table, buried by county;
    "BISMARCK" DEAD. One of Salem's Landmarks Passed Away at His Breakfast Table Yesterday Morning. "Charley Bismarck" is dead. The old German who has been known by that name in Salem for years and years died yesterday morning while eating breakfast. He was seen around town as usual early yesterday morning, and, after wheeling a keg of beer from the brewery to one of the saloons, he went into the Bon Ton restaurant of W. M. McIntire and sat down to breakfast. He had nearly finished his meal, when Mr. McIntire noticed him gasp two or three times, and fall back into his chair. When Mr. McIntire went to him, the old fellow was dead. He had died of heart disease or apoplexy.
    His body was removed to the rear of the Columbia saloon, where the old fellow had for a long time occupied a rude bed in a tumble-down old shed. Coroner Byland, of Woodburn, was notified and came up on the 11 o'clock train to hold an inquest. He secured a jury consisting of Lot Ellis, John Farrar, Clel Nash, J. H. Hass, George Anderson and Henry Carter. After inquiring into the case they brought in a verdict in accordance with the above facts, stating that death resulted from apoplexy.
    "Bismarck's" real name was Karl Berk, and he was born at Goessitz, province of Saxon, in Germany, in January, 1825, and was therefore 64 years of age. He received a good education in Germany, his parents being in good circumstances. He came to the United States in 1849, and in 1852 went to California. He was in that state ten years, engaged in mining, and was afterward in British Columbia in the same business. He was at one time worth about $13,000, but, through dissipation and bad speculations, lost it all. He came to Salem in 1864. He was a brick layer and worked on the penitentiary, the opera house, the Methodist church and the Chemekete hotel while in process of construction. For many years, on account of constant dissipation, he has not been able or willing to do hard work, and he has chored around the saloons, performed odd jobs and lived off of the alms of the kind hearted. He has certainly lead a precarious existence; but the German citizens generally and others say he had a good heart under his tattered vest, and that he was a well posted man on the events of the day, especially those of Germany.
    He got his nickname, "Bismarck," from the bricklayers on the Chemekete hotel in 1870-71, during the progress of the Franco-Prussian war. During that time he daily looked for news of the impending great struggle, and he always yelled for Bismarck, the great figure of German history, who has so persistently pursued his policy of "blood and iron." Nothing ever riled up the Teutonic blood of the old fellow more than for someone to say Blaine (or any other man) was a greater statesman than Bismarck. He thought Bismarck was the most important man living--and he wasn't far from right.
    The funeral will be held from Clough's undertaking establishment at 10:30 this (Tuesday) morning; thence to the I. O. O. F. cemetery, where services will be held by a visiting German minister.  Oregon Statesman 27 Aug 1889 4:3
IOOF Register of Burials DOS 27 Aug 1889 4:3 OS 3 Jan 1890 (Necrology)

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