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Biography of George Birch

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George Birch, farmer; P. O. Charleston; was born near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England, March 25, 1815; he is a son of William Birch, a farmer who, in 1833, came to America with his family, and lived for three years near Philadelphia, occupying an old house, once the residence of William Penn, on the bank of the Schuylkill, near Fairmount Park; in 1836, they removed to Illinois, and settled near Hitesville, Coles Co., where his father died April 15, 1864, at the age of 88 years; Mr. Birch spent the first few years of his residence in this county in working at farm labor; he has worked for 50 cents a day and waited until Christmas for his pay. He was married on his twenty-sixth birthday, March 25, 1841, to Miss Catherine Jones, a daughter of William Jones; she was born in Jefferson Co., Ky., March 19, 1820, and came with her parents to Coles Co. about 1831; in 1844, they settled on a farm near Hitesville, where they resided for more than thirty-three years, and, in 1878, removed to Charleston, where they now reside; Mr. Birch, in 1842, hauled wheat to Chicago, a distance of 180 miles, and there sold it for 62 cents per bushel; he has driven hogs to Clinton, Ind., and sold them for $1.25 to $2 per hundred, net weight; Mrs. Birch, when a girl, has dropped corn for 25 cents a day; and, after her marriage, worked in the field until near noon, and would then go to the house and get dinner. Mr. Birch is an example of a substantial, successful farmer, and feels a pardonable pride in recalling to mind the hardships of the early days in Coles Co.; he has recently purchased the Glassco farm of 300 acres two miles west of the Court House, and still retains 40 acres of land in Ashmore Tp.; he has served as School Director and School Treasurer. They have had twelve children, eight of whom are living – Willliam, a resident of Ashmore Tp., Jacob, of St. Clair Co., Mo., Martha J. (now Mrs. Lafayette Connelly, of Henry Co., Mo.), George and Jonathan (both now of Henry Co., Mo.), Lizzie E., Frank and Mary S.

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