24. William BIRCH
(59) was born in 1807 in Philadelphia, PA. He died on 24 May 1852
in Guernsey Co., OH. "Here (Philadelphia) he grew up in good society and
received a fair education. This later, he was able to absorb as he was possessed
of one of those rare minds that are able to absorb and retain almost anything
that enters it.... Physically he was almost a giant and quite athletic for his
age.... He stood 6 feet and 6 inches in his bare feet when grown and weighed
260 pounds when in middle age.... He was but a young man, perhaps about 20 years
old when his father died. According to the will he received one silver dollar.
Gathering together all of his worldly goods, he set out for Ohio. This was
around the year 1830. ... he engaged in farming and dabbled a little in politics.
... he married ... His greatest interest was law and politics. He was finally
elected sheriff of his county and the family moved into town (Senacaville I believe)
to live. As a sheriff he was a decided success, and was easily re-elected....
Before he was elected sheriff, his reputation as a legal advisor had been growing,
and while he never took up law as profession, his farm home became something
of a rendezvous for lawyers who came to him seeking advice and discussing political
problems. After taking the office of sheriff he came more and more into the
political limelight of the state. After holding the office of sheriff ... for
twelve years he decided to go after bigger game and accordingly announced himself
... for governor of Ohio. Because of his imposing appearance and easiness of
speech he was a commanding figure and felt certain of election. This assurance
was heightened by the fact that he was a leader in the then dominated party of
Ohio, the Democratic. While preparing for his campaign he suffered from an attack
of apoplexy (stroke) and died at the age of 44 years, leaving a family of eight
children, the oldest of which was little more than twenty years." (Mehl
In the 1840 US Census 6 individuals (including himself) were listed in his household in Oxford Township, Guernsey Co., OH; 4 males were listed (William in the 30-40 age group, Thomas and Theodore in the 5-10 group, and John in the under 5 group) and 2 females were listed (Hannah in the 30-40 group and Rebecca in the 5-10 group). In the 1850 US Census he is listed as head of the household living in Cambridge Township, Guernsey Co., OH, and his occupation is listed as "Sheriff." Listed in his household in 1850 were his wife Hannah, the following Birch children: William L. or T., Rebecca, Theodore B., John A., Mary M., Samuel W., and Phebe E. Also listed in the household was a Martha Canada age 18.
His obituary in the "Guernsey Times," Cambridge, Ohio, Vol. 28, No. 21, May 28, 1852, reads as follows: "DEATH OF SHERIFF BIRCH On Monday afternoon last William Birch Sheriff of this county, died suddenly of an affliction of the heart. For some days he had been confined to his bed and room by illness, but on Monday afternoon was considerably better, and he expressed the hope that he would soon be able to walk about out of doors. this hope was a doomed one. - Death struck at his heart and in a moment he passed away from this life. Sheriff B. possessed many fine traits of character, which gave him the confidence and respect of all those who know him. He has left a wife and nine children to deplore the loss of an affectionate husband and kind father. Peace to our worthy friends ashes, and may a kind Providence shed His blessings upon the sorrows-stricken family."
He was married to Hannah DURNAL on 1 Jun 1830 in Belmont, Belmont Co., OH. [sources: LDS FamilySearch, IGI Record, Batch number: M513102 and Belmont Co. Marriages 1803-1908 with thanks to Kim Conley of Clairsville, OH, for the "Lookup." Now have a copy of Marriage Certificate from Belmont Co. Probate Court indicating that the License was issued 31 May 1830 and marriage performed by Wm. Taggart, Minister, on 1 Jun 1830.]
25. Hannah DURNAL(169)
(photo) was born on 9 May 1810 in Fayette Co.PA. She died on 12 May 1885
in Flora, Clay Co., IL. [Some family information has her death year as 1874
and another source has 1889; a photograph of her gravestone indicates 1885.
Her grave stone clearly reads,"HANNAH DURNAL wife of Wm. BIRCH died May
12, 1885 aged 75 Y. 3 D." It is interesting to note that her maiden name
is used on her grave stone.] She was buried in Flora, Clay Co., IL. "Mr.
Durnal, Hannah's father, served in the Revolutionary War under Washington, and
was excommunicated* from the Quaker Church because of this service." (Gladys
Austin's Birch Genealogy) *(Thanks to Cheska Wheatley, a "Lookup" volunteer
for Chester Co., PA, he "would have been disowned, not excommunicated, by
the Society of Friends... This would mean that he could attend meetings for worship
if he so chose but could not participate in the business meetings of the Society.")
After her father's death, and when she was about the age of 16, she apparently moved with her family from south western PA to Flushing Township, Belmont Co., OH. About a year later the family moved to Union Township, also in Belmont Co. (Caldwell) and it was in this county that she married William Birch when she was 20 years old.
She "was so much shorter than (her husband) that she could stand under his arm pit when his arm was extended out horizontally. She was not only handsome, but very religious and it is said she did much personal evangelistic work. ... She lived to a good old age, cared for in her latter years by her children... It has been said that she never passed up an opportunity to inquire of the spiritual welfare of anyone she might meet up with, whether a tramp or a person of means and she had a way of doing it that never called for a rebuff" After her husband's death, it is said that she and her children were not left destitute, "but the lawyer administrator apparently succeeded in getting away with the bulk of the property. Grandmother Birch was devoutly religious but never had been obliged to give much thought to business affairs and knew little of making a living." (Mehl & Birch Family History, 1967)
i. Thomas (William?) BIRCH(172) (35)(59) was born about 1831 in OH. [His birth year is based on the assumption that this Thomas was the William L. or T. listed in the 1850 census as age 19.] In the family history by Mehl & Birch, Thomas is listed as the eldest male child in the family; however in the 1850 census no Thomas is listed but a William L. or T. is listed as age 19, the eldest along with Rebecca who was also listed as age 19. This Thomas' occupation in 1850 was listed as "Clerk." (Could it be that his name was William Thomas Birch??)
He reportedly "inherited the mind and memory of his father and used to shock his mother by returning from church and repeating verbatim large sections from the preacher's sermons." Upon father's death, took over family's affairs and became a cabinet maker; unfortunately absorbed some poison from the materials with which he worked and died at an early age unmarried. He was deeply religious and of the Methodist denomination. (Mehl/Birch)
In the 1860 US Census, there is a Thomas Durnal listed as a 21 year old "Sawyer" born OH living with his 19 year old wife Hannah, born OH, in Marion township, Noble Co., OH. (There is no confirmation that this Thomas is Hannah's son.)
ii. Rebecca 'Becky' Ann BIRCH(173) (35)(59) was born about 1831 in OH.(35) [Birth year based on 1850 census data indicating she was then 19.] "... was married to a wagon maker and general mechanic by the name of John Shadwell. They had three children..." She lived to the "age of 93 years or there about."
In the 1880 US Census Rebecca is found living with her 48 year old husband John
F. Shadwell. John's occupation is listed as "Wagon Maker" and place of birth as
OH. Rebecca is listed as age 47 and "Keeping House." The family is living at
Flora, Clay Co., Illinois. Their children are listed as:
John E, age 19, born IL, "Works at Printing Office"
Emma P, age 14, born IL, attending school
George W., age 6, born IL
Also living in this household in 1880 are:
Hannah Birch, age 70, born PA (both parents born PA), "Mother in Law"
Samuel W. Birch, age 38, born OH, "brother in law," occupation: painter
In the 1900 Census Rebecca is listed as age 67 and living with her husband John at Flora, Harter township, Clay Co., IL. Here John is listed as "Farmer." Also living in this household on 4 Jun 1900 is:
Daughter Emma, born Nov 1865, age 34, "school teacher"
Son George, born Oct 1873, age 26, "day laborer"
"Bro in Law" Wesley Birch, born Apr 1843, age 57, "Horticulturist"
iii. Theodore Benton BIRCH(174) (35)(59) (175)(176) (177) (photo) was born on 26 Feb 1835 in (near) Cambridge, Guernsey Co., OH. He died on 5 Aug 1902. [died of tuberculosis] He was listed in the 1850 census as age 15 and occupation as "Clerk." According to the 1918 History of Colusa and Glenn Counties, he acted as his father's deputy at a young age.
"... having progressed well in school was continued in school and sent to college. He became a school teacher and taught and worked in several different states when he was not attending school. He aimed for the degree of Master of Mathematics but 6 months before he was to receive the degree, he was obliged to quit because he had contracted tuberculosis. ... decided to go to Pikes Peak ... in company of his next younger brother John" " ... three years service in the Union Army in the Civil War (Colorado Volunteers Apr 1862 to Jun 1865)" Married a sister of the wife of his brother John; had 10 children; moved his family to California with brother John and his family; farmed unsuccessfully for 7 years; moved to Kansas for 2 years, then returning to CA to settle near Orland, CA. (Mehl/Birch)
"... taught school in Ohio, and later in Illinois. At one time he took a trip to Pike's Peak, Colo., with ox teams. While he was there, the Civil War broke out, and he enlisted in Company F, Second Colorado Volunteer Regiment of infantry. He saw service on the frontier in Kansas, taking part in the battles of Big Blue and Little Blue Lakes, and was also with the party that had the skirmish with the notorious Jesse James.
After the war, Mr Birch went back to Flora, Clay County, Ill., and was there married in 1865. After his marriage, he again taught school for a time; but in 1871 he once more answered the call of the West, and, coming to California, located a government claim on one hundred sixty acres, ten miles southeast of Orland, Colusa County, in the Emigrant district. This later became a part of Glenn County... For a time he was employed in St. John (located south of present day Hamilton City), besides running his ranch, which he later sold. He then spent two years in Kansas, but in 1881 returned to Orland, and lived and raised grain in this county for six years. He saw the opportunity to buy some property in the town, and for seventy-five dollars bought one and one quarter acres, then at the edge of the city. .... From a grain field Mr. Birch developed a fine residence...
During his lifetime Mr. Birch worked at the mason's trade; and even in his later years he did plastering, laid brick, and built chimneys and flues in many of the buildings now standing in town, and in the country about it. He also worked on the old Orland College during its construction. Mr. Birch was an active and earnest Christian. Both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and gave freely of their means to assist in the work of its various societies. He helped organize the Grand Army Post at Orland and for years served as its adjutant. He was a charter member of Ivy Lodge, No. 218, I. O. O. F., of that city, and passed all the chairs of the order, serving many years as secretary. As a Republican, he wielded a strong influence for good in politics, and his counsel was often sought in the interests of the party." (Hist. of Colusa & Glenn Counties)
The following was written by his grandson, M. B. Durfee, M.D.: "(Theodore Benton Birch) was suspiciously over-shadowed by his father's greatness and was forever chasing shadows of opportunity about the land. On a Saturday in 1861, he agreed to do some work for a man in, I believe Colorado Springs, in return for a silver claim. Monday, however he was off with the Union Army to fight the southerners. The man who took the claim took a half million out of it. Later, after he had married Hattie Maria Ross of Kansas, one might almost say that he shuffled back and forth between Kansas and California because opportunity lay at the other end. He came to California in 1871, two years after the Union Pacific (Some thrifty and shrewd German wheat farmers had anticipated this railroad and were already out here). Grandfather Birch's loud lament was 'all the good land is gone,' by which he meant all the land that he could claim with his Civil War veteran pre-emption papers."
In a 2001 Wagon Wheels article on Glenn County Civil War Veterans, the following is said about Benton: "... Company F, 2nd Colorado Volunteer Regiment of Infantry (McCormish, pp. 775-77). 'He saw service on the frontier in Kansas, taking part in the battles of Big Blue and Little Blue Lakes, and was also with the party that had the skirmish with the notorious Jesse James. His military service was from April 1862 through June 1865. He helped organize the Grand Army Post at Orland, and for years served as its adjutant.'"
12 iv. John Allen BIRCH.
v. Mary Catherine (or M.) BIRCH(178) (35) was born about 1840 in OH. [Birth year based on 1850 census data indicating she was then 10.] Listed in the 1850 census as Mary M. Birch. "... married a man by the name of Mr. Cassady. He was addicted to drink and while under the influence of alcohol was inclined to be abusive. They had two children." (Mehl/Birch)
vi. Samuel Wesley BIRCH(35) (179) (photo) was born about 1843 in OH.(35) [Birth year based on 1850 census data indicating he was then age 7.] In the 1870 Census he is listed as "Samuel W." living with his mother "Hannah Birch" in Flora, Clay Co., IL. He is listed as age 27 and occupation of "work on R. Road."
In the 1880 US Census Samuel is listed as living with his sister Rebecca and her husband John Shadwell in Flora, Clay Co., IL. His 70 year old mother Hannah is also listed in this household. He is listed as: Samuel W. Birch, age 38, born OH, "brother in law," occupation: painter.
In the 1900 Census Samuel is listed as age 57 and living with his sister Rebecca and her husband John at Flora, Harter township, Clay Co., IL. Here Samuel is listed as "Wesley Birch," "Bro in Law," born Apr 1843, "Horticulturist." Two of Rebecca and John's adult children are also living in this household.
Samuel served with the Union Army during the Civil War enlisting in Company A, 98th Illinois Infantry Regiment, on 2 Aug. 1862. He mustered out on 27Jun 1865.
vii. Phoebe E. BIRCH(180) (35) (photo) was born about Feb 1846. (Calculated from grave stone information which stated she was aged 16 years, 7 months, 24 days at death.) She died on 14 Oct 1862 in IL. She was buried in Flora, Clay Co., IL. "... was not strong physically, never married, and died while still in her twenties."
viii. George Emanuel BIRCH(181). Russ Ball of OH has sent copies of some old letters from this family. In one of them Hannah's son Samuel "Wes" Birch of Flora, IL, is writing in 5 Feb 1895 to his Durnal cousin in Barnsville, OH. In this letter this Wes Birch states, "your cousin George Birch, my youngest brother now living at Vina, Tehama Co. California, send his best wishes too." This is the first indication that another member of this family came to CA. The town of Vina is only about 20 miles northeast of the town of Orland where brothers John Allen and T. Benton first settled. Henleyville (see below) is about the same distance to the northwest of Orland.
Found by Del Osborn, an entry in the 1875 Registrar of Voters as follows:
Name: Birch, Geo. Manell (blurred)
Age POB Prof. Local Res. DofReg
24 OH Farmer Henleys 13 Apr 1875
"Does this fit what you have on George Emanuel Birch, b latter part of 1840's, b OH? pretty close! so he was born c. 1851, living in Henleyville... a lot can happen before 1895 letter." Del also mentions (9 May 2001), "checked your George Birch in Lingenfelter Pioneers (available on line) and 1900 Census. nothing. also checked California Death Index, available on line 1940-1997). nothing, though would not expect him to be that late." [Note: he is listed among the "Unmarried" in Lingenfelter as: "BIRCH, GEORGE MANELL, Born Ohio 1851. Henleyville farmer 1875," this probably from the above mentioned 1875 Registrar of Voters.]
In the 1870 Census he is listed as "Geo. M." living with his mother "Hannah Birch" in Flora, Clay Co., IL. He is listed as age 20 and occupation of "work on R. Road."
In the 1880 Census a George Birch is found living in Wallawalla City, Wallawalla Co., Washington State. This George Birch is listed as age 27, born in Ohio with both parents born in PA. He is here listed as single "Laborer" and living with a young couple.
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