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James H. Birch
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Birth: Mar. 10, 1839
Death: Nov. 2, 1927

Manufacturer. In 1862 he founded a carriage and rickshaw repair and production factory in the heart of Burlington, New Jersey, and developed it into a renowned worldwide business. At it's peak it encompassed 15 acres, and contained innovative techniques that helped facilitate easy mass production.

He bought the former residence of Governor Joseph Bloomfield on Burlington's High Street, and his carriage-making business was located behind it. He later built the Birch Opera House in the land to the right of his house, which became a popular destination for the patrons of the arts. He was also considered for a seat on Congress, a nomination he declined. However, he was still involved in politics, and in 1903 when Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan visited New Jersey during his campaign, he stayed at James H. Birch's residence.

Ohe of his sons, Thomas H. Birch, became US Minister to Portugal, was an adviser to Governor Woodrow Wilson, and served as a Colonel in the New Jersey National Guard.

Although very successful, times would pass Mr. Birch by. When auto magnate Henry Ford visited Mr. Birch's factory, he offered to have it produce his automobiles. However, Mr. Birch rebuffed Henry Ford's offer, believing that motorcars would never replace horse-drawn carriages. His business dwindled, and in 1918 the factor was shut down forever.

Today, although Burlington has changed a great deal since James Birch's time, reminders of that by-gone era remain. The Bloomfield-Birch House still stands on High Street, used as law offices, and is a preserved part of Burlington History. The Opera House, which had hosted such luminaries as Buffalo Bill Cody and John L. Sullivan, closed in the 1927 and was torn down in the 1960s. The present Burlington Post Office occupies the site. In front of the post office still stands a statue of the Greek god Mercury, which James H. Birch erected at his Opera House. It reads simple "Birch 1881". 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Hannah M. Birch (1845 - 1884)
 
 Children:
  Thomas Howard Birch (1875 - 1929)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Odd Fellows Cemetery and Mausoleum
Burlington
Burlington County
New Jersey, USA
Plot: Section I
 
Created by: Russ Dodge
Record added: Dec 02, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23212224
James H. Birch
Added by: AngelTowes
 
James H. Birch
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Terri Rinyu
 
 
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