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Rollin Burch (1836-1915)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 4/5/2022 at 12:38:44

Rollin Burch
(April 10, 1836 March 20, 1915)

In the pioneer epoch in the history of this section of Iowa, Rollin Burch came to Calhoun County, and has been an important factor in its substantial development and permanent improvement. He has seen its wild lands transformed into fine farms, while industrial and commercial interests have been introduced and thus towns have become thriving cities. In the work of progress he
has ever borne his part and has been particularly active as a representative of the agricultural interests of Logan Township, his home being on section 6.
Mr. Burch was born in Chautauqua County. New York, April 10, 1836, a son of Oliver W. and Mary S. (Tower) Burch, who were both born in New York state and are now deceased. By occupation the father was a farmer. Our subject remained with his parents until grown and received his education in the common schools near his boyhood home. On leaving home he went to St. Clair County, Michigan, where he spent two years, being engaged in teaching school during the winter months, while through the summer season he worked on a farm. In 1859 he went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and during the two years passed at that place he taught two terms of school. When the country became involved in Civil War Mr. Burch offered his services to the government, enlisting in Company D,
Eighth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, under Captain James L. Geddes, who afterward became a colonel. Subsequently his company was commanded by Captain Andrew Geddes and still later by Captain Alexander Harper. Mr. Burch was sworn into the United States service at Davenport, Iowa, September 16, 1861. He participated in the sieges of Vicksburg, Shiloh and Spanish Fort, besides numerous battles and skirmishes. At Shiloh he was captured with some of General Prentice's men and taken to Mobile, Alabama, and later to Tuscaloosa, where he was confined one month under charge of William Wurtz, who was afterward in charge of Andersonville prison. Mr. Burch was later taken to Mobile and from there to Montgomery, where he was finally paroled May 30, 1862. He was sent to Huntsville, Alabama, by way of hattanooga, and on to Nashville, Tennessee, and then to Cairo, Illinois, and St. Louis, Missouri, where he was exchanged in November, 1862. The regiment to which he belonged was reorganized at St. Louis, January 1, 1863, and then went to Rolla, Missouri, and later took a number of prisoners of war from St. Louis to Washington, D. C. Returning from Washington, D. C, to St. Louis, the regiment soon afterwards went down the river and participated in the siege and capture of Vicksburg. In January, 1864, Mr. Burch re-enlisted, at Pocahontas, Tennessee, in 1864, and was granted a veteran furlough. At the expiration of the furlough the regiment was sent to Memphis, Tennessee, where they later did provost guard duty. He was subsequently sent with his command to New Orleans, and after a short time spent in that city went to Spanish Fort and Fort Blakely, taking part in the seiges there. Companies D and C, Eighth Iowa Infantry, were then detailed as a guard for General Canby, serving as such until the last of June, 1865, when they were ordered to report to their regiment then at Montgomery. Alabama, where they remained until the last of August. The regiment was then broken up and scattered over that state, our subject's company being quartered at Tuskegee, Alabama, where they remained until January 20, 1866, and were then taken to Selma, Alabama, where they were mustered out, being honorably discharged on the 20th of April, 1866.
After visiting relatives in New York, Mr. Burch returned to Iowa in September,
1866, and settled in Calhoun County, purchasing one hundred acres of wild land in Jackson Township, on which he built a house and made other useful improvements. The following year he returned to New York, where he was married May 1, 1867, to Miss Esther C. Hulbert, who was born in Westfield, that state, October 20, 1842, and remained with her parents until her marriage.
The bridal trip of the young couple was their journey to Iowa, and they took up their residence on the farm which Mr. Burch had previously bought, making it their home for eight years. On the expiration of that period he traded the farm for one hundred and sixty acres of land in Logan Township, which he at once began to improve and cultivate. He planted thereon both fruit and forest trees, and for eight years successfully engaged in its operation. Mr. Burch then removed to Rockwell City, having been elected county treasurer in the fall of 1881, and there made his home during the four years he filled that office. He owned property in that city. On his retirement from office he resumed agricultural pursuits, having purchased forty acres of land in Logan Township where he now lives and which he has greatly improved. He has bought and sold other property, owning at one time one hundred and eight acres of land, and still retains ninety-four acres, which is under a high state of cultivation and improved with good buildings.
Mr. and Mrs. Burch have three children: Guy W., born May 30. 1868; Edwin W., born November 5, 1869; and Denton L.. born September 25, 1871. Guy W. is a farmer by occupation and living near Rockwell City. Although only fifteen years of age, Edwin W. served as his father's assistant in the county treasurer's office for two years, and later was engaged in office work with G. L. Brower in the land, loan and abstract business. He subsequently entered the bank of that gentleman, and is now filling the responsible position of cashier. Denton L. is now engaged in a general store at Port Arthur. Texas. In his political affiliations Mr. Burch is a stalwart Republican and his fellow citizens recognizing his worth and ability have honored him with a number of local offices. After serving as supervisor for two years he was re-elected in the fall of 1877 but resigned before the expiration of his second term that he might accept the office of county treasurer, previously referred to. He was assessor of what is now Jackson, Elm Grove, Garfield and Williams townships when they were included in Jackson township. He also served as the first clerk of Logan Township and taught the first winter school within its borders. He built the second house in the township, and is today its oldest permanent resident. As a citizen he has always been true and faithful to every trust reposed in him, so that his loyalty is above question, being manifest in days of peace as well as when he followed the old flag to victory on southern battle-fields. As an honored pioneer and representative man of the community he is worthy of the high regard in which he is uniformly held. [Source Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S. J. Clarke, 1902, p.287]


Calhoun Biographies maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
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