William W. Birch



In doing research for our book on those buried in the Lincoln Township Cemetery south of Walnut, I wondered why 30 year-old William W. Birch was buried by himself.  What had happened to his family?

We had found him listed in the 1880 Census as William Burch, 28, a farmer, living in Valley Township.  Valley is just west of Lincoln Township.  William was born in Pennsylvania and his wife, 31, Annie Burch, was born in England.  Their daughter, Ada Burch, age 6, was born in Wisconsin.

William passed away on January 12, 1883; his will and probate records are on ancestry.com.  They are very lengthy and showed that he had 40 acres of land in Section 1 of Valley Township, Pottawattamie County, Iowa.  It was the SW SW and was sold for $1200 to pay the debts of the estate.  He also owned 80 acres in Section 2, E1/2 SE of Valley; the 1885 map shows this belonging to the Birch estate. 

On the 1885 Iowa Census for Valley Township, Annie F. Birch, was listed.  She was 35, widowed, farming, born in England.  Children with her were Ada E., age 11, born in Wisconsin and Raymond E., age 4, born in Iowa.  They were living in Section 2, SE SE, Valley Township.

Mrs. A. F. Birch is listed as living in Valley Township with a Hancock address in the 1892 Farmer’s Directory.  By 1902, their land was no longer Birch property.

I found that Anna F. Birch, widow of William, was living in Hooker Township, Gage County, Nebraska in 1900.  Her son, Raymond, age 19, born in Iowa, was listed with her.  By 1910, Annie F. Birch, 60, was living with daughter Emily Ada Price, her husband, Charles A. Price, and their four children in Oakwood, Dewey County, Oklahoma.  Emily was 21 when she and Charles, 34, had married on February 7, 1895 in Hooker Township, Gage County, Nebraska.

Emily Ada Price, sometimes recorded as Ada E., died on April 19, 1966 at Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas.  Her death record lists her parents as Wesley Burch and Anna Robinson.  William’s middle name was surely Wesley, Burch is really Birch, and Robinson was Anna’s maiden name.

Emily and Charles Price are buried in Mount Hope Cemetery at Fay, Dewey County, Oklahoma.  Their daughter, Josephine May Price, was born and died on May 26, 1906 and is also buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.

Since I could not find where Anna Birch had died or was buried, I put the first name Ann into Mount Hope Cemetery on findagrave.com.  It worked!  There were only 8 Anna’s and I knew her approximate date of birth.  I discovered the marriage license for Anna F. Birck [Birch], 61, and John A. Jewett, 80.  They married on January 4, 1911; both were from Oakwood, Oklahoma.  They are buried together in Mount Hope Cemetery.  John Atherton Jewett was born on October 23, 1830 and died in Oakwood on March 15, 1918.  Anna was born on June 20, 1849 and died, less than 2 months after John had passed, on December 13, 1918.

Anna and William’s son, Raymond E. Birch, married Laura O. Hillman on January 23, 1902 in Gage County, Nebraska.  Raymond, February 5, 1881 – February 12, 1968, and Laura, November 4, 1879 – May 3, 1951, are buried in Cottonwood Cemetery at Burwell, Garfield County, Nebraska.  Their son, Lavern Edwin, was born on May 20, 1911 and died on February 5, 1912.  Their daughter, Laura Mae, was born in 1920 and died in 1923.  The children are buried in Gracie Cemetery at Taylor, Loup County, Nebraska.

William W. Birch may be buried alone in Lincoln Township Cemetery, but at least he can be linked with his family on findagrave.com and in our book on the cemetery.