20 Aug 2005
Source: Portrait & Biographical Album of Whiteside County, IL
Originally published 1885
Transcribed by: Denise McLoughlin
Tampico Area Historical Society
THOMAS J. BURCH
Thomas J. Burch, a farmer of Garden Plain Township, was born Nov. 9, 1835, in La Porte Co., Ind. Ira Burch, his father, was born May 24, 1800, in Steuben Co., N.Y. The latter entered the lake service when a young man, and operated as a sailor on the chain of the great lakes until 1832. On the 5th of April in that year he was married to Joanna W. Bacon. She was born Aug. 1, 1817, in Sunderland, Bennington Co., Vt. For a year subsequent to their marriage they lived in Ripley, Chautauqua Co., N.Y., and in 1833 went to La Porte Co., Ind., whither they moved their family and household fixtures by the aid of an ox team. The father secured a claim of 80 acres of land near the present city of La Porte, where they set out to find a home in an untried region, traveling with a pair of horses and a wagon, and were on the road a little more than a wreck. Mr. Burch had made a trip to Whiteside County a little before and made a claim on section 18, in Union Grove Township, as it has since been designated. He also built a house for a shelter for his family. They remained in it but a short time, as Mr. Burch sold his claim and secured another on section 7, in the same township, and built a pioneer cabin. He had also entered a claim on section 12, of township 21, range 3, now Garden Plain. To this the second log house was afterward removed. The father died March 11, 1846. The widow survives, and is a resident of the homestead in Union Grove Township. Of eight children born to them four are deceased. Harrison D. lives in Whiteside County. Thomas J. is the second in order of birth. Eliza is the wife of G.A. Clauff, of Ringgold Co., Iowa. Ira S. is the youngest.
Mrs. Burch was married again to Ezekiel Perry, who died in June, 1860.
Thomas J. was in his second year when his parents settled in Whiteside County. He was educated in the log and stone school-houses of the township of Garden Plain, and was trained in a knowledge of agriculture. In 1858 he went to Missouri, going there through Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. While in Missouri he was married to Mary A. Cooley, in July, 1859. She was born Sept. 13, 1834, in Ohio. In 1860 they returned to Garden Plain Township, and were residents on the homestead two years. In 1862Mr. Burch bought 55 acres of land on section 1, to which he removed. He is at present owner of 160 acres on the same section, having since purchased 105 acres, the remainder of the northeast quarter of section 1. He also owns 33 acres of timber in Union Grove Township.
Four of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Burch are living at this date (1885), Harry D., Henry, Alvin and Elmer. Mr. Burch has been a Prohibitionist in principle several years. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.