BURCH, Chauncey R.
Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 487-488
Chauncey R. BURCH, following the occupation of farming in Seward Township, was born in Erie County, PA, 20 Oct 1838. He is a son of Chauncey and Nancy (COLE) BURCH, the former a native of Westfield, Chautauqua County, NY, born in Apr 1803, whle the latter was born in MA in 1805. Both died at the age of 76 years. The father followed the occupation of farming in order to provide for his family, and was also well known as a Freewill Baptist preacher, devoting many years of his life to the work of the ministry, preaching for 30 years in one church in Erie County, PA. His influence was of no restricted order, and proved a helpful factor in the moral development of the communities in which he made his home. In his family were eleven children, but only four are now living: Mrs. Emeline LOOMIS, Mrs. Mary COLBURN, Chauncey R., and Mrs. Delia LOOMIS.
Chauncey R. BURCH, spending his boyhood days under the parental roof, worked upon the old homestead farm until 21 years of age. He assisted in the tilling of the soil, in cutting timber and wood, and in all of the various duties that fall to the lot of the agriculturalist. Thinking that he might have better business opportunities in the west, he came to Winnebago County, IL, in November 1859, settling in Pecatonica. During the first winter he worked for Elisha WOODRUFF, cutting wood, and in March 1860, he entered the employ of M. L. LOWRY, for whom he worked as a farm hand at $13 per month. He was thus employed for nine months, and in the succeeding winter he worked for $9 per month. He continued his work as a farm hand until 24 May 1861, when he offered his services to the county, enlisting [p 488] at Freeport, IL, in Company C, 15th IL Infantry, for three years of service. He was under the command of Captain E. F. W. ELLIS. This was the first IL regiment enlisted for three years, and with that command Mr. BURCH went to Alton, IL, thence to Fulton, MO, and on to Rolla, MO. Because of illness he was granted a furlough, and returned to his home, but he rejoined the regiment at Fort Donelson and participated in the engagements there and at Fort Henry. He was wounded in the battle at Pittsburg Landing, the engagement occurring there on 06 and 07 June 1862. After his injury he was taken to Savannah, GA, but later joined his regiment at Corinth and participated in the siege of that city. Subsequently he went to Memphis, TN, and later to LaGrange, TN, where because of disability he was honorably discharged on 28 Jul 1863.
When no longer able to serve his country, Mr. BURCH returned to Pecatonica, and the following year because of his ill health was unable to work. At a later date he purchased the property known as the Deacon WOODRUFF farm, comprising 160 acres, and upon this he yet lives, carrying on general farming and stock raising. He sells cattle, hogs, and horses, and the products of his farm which he markets return to him a good income. His fields are well tilled, and everything about the place is kept in excellent condition, the farm being productive and his care and labor being the source of his success.
Mr. BURCH has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Mary WHITTLESEY, on 24 Dec 1863. Her parents were Eliphalet and Lydia (HITCHCOCK) WHITTLESEY. The father was born in MA in 1816, acquired his early education in the public schools, and afterward attended Oberlin College, at Oberlin, OH. He came to Winnebago County, IL, in 1837, and later removed to IA, where he died in 1902. He was one of the pioneer residents of this section of the state, and is yet remembered by early settlers here. Mrs. BURCH departed this life in Jun 1878, leaving two sons, Charles W. and Eliphalet C. For his second wife Mr. BURCH chose Mary E. SHORT, a daughter of James and Rosa A. (REDMAN) SHORT. Her father, who was born in St. Lawrence County, NY, died in Sep 1837, and her mother, who is a native of Wexford, Ireland, is now living in Pecatonica with her daughter, Mrs. SHORT. They were the parents of three children, all born in Essex County, NY, namely: Mrs. BURCH (born 20 Sep 1859), Isador C. (born 28 Jul 1867), and James E. (who was born 05 Jul 1871, and died at the age of five years). The father was a farmer by occupation, and also acted as a guide in the Adirondack Mountains. He was murdered by Otis ARNOLD, who destroyed himself on the same day that he committed the crime. The second marriage of Mr. BURCH occurred in Seward Township, 11 Apr 1880, and by this marriage there were three children: Edna R. (who was born 30 Jul 1883, and died 06 May 1885), James H. (who was born 30 May 1886), and Mary E. (who was born 04 Jul 1889, and died 22 Nov 1892).
Mr. BURCH is one of the influential citizens of his township and his neighbors, recognizing his worth and ability, have called him to public office. He has served as trustee, collector, assessor and road commissioner, and for 20 years was school director. He is likewise a member of the Modern Woodmen camp, and for 15 years has been a member of Ellis post, No. 320, G. A. R., at Pecatonica, has served as commander for 15 years, and also is a member of the Knights of the Globe. He belongs to the Congregational church at Seward, and in his political views is a republican. He is found true and faithful to every trust reposed in him, and his official record, his military service and his private life alike entitle him to mention with the respected and representative citizens of his community.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.