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Martin Jackson Birch
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Birth: Oct. 17, 1824
Death: Oct. 12, 1903

Name: Martin J. Birch
Sex: M
Birth: 17 OCT 1824
Marriage 1 Christina Bain b: 3 MAY 1822 in Dundee, Scotland
Married: 15 FEB 1847
George Mills Birch b: 26 NOV 1848
Sandy Clark Birch b: 18 JAN 1852
David M. Birch b: 18 JUL 1853
Sarepta Ann Birch b: 20 DEC 1854

Marriage 2 Octavia Washborn
William Birch b. 1860
Allen D. Birch b. 1866
Ella May b. 1867
Miriam b. 1870
Ida Bell b. 1872
Anna Nora b. 1874

MARTIN JACKSON BIRCH, (Montgomery Township) born October 17, 1824, is in the fifty-ninth year of his age. He came into this (Montgomery) township, with his parents on the 15th day of February 1835. Although a boy of ten years, he began his experience as a pioneer in the "big woods," as at that time there was scarcely a tree cut in the township. They were the ninth family to come in as "settlers." The first thing, then, in order (the household effects being unloaded by the roots of a beech tree), was to prepare a shanty to sleep in, which was done by cutting some poles and fixing them up beside a big log. No sooner was the shanty completed and all comfortably seated within, than nature tendered them a hearty welcome, in the form of a rain, which continued to pour down in torrents during the night. About a week later, they were ready to build a "cabin." They had cut small logo, and cleared away a small patch of brush, and now they procured a few men from around Scott Town, and carried the logs together, built a hut, and covered it with clapboards. During the winter season, they would clear as much ground as they could, and in the spring dig around among the roots with a hoe, plant a little corn, and attend it with the same implement. For the first year or two, they would go to the "plains" to work for corn, getting two bushels for a day's labor, and "tote" it home on their backs. Those who were wealthy enough to afford an old horse could take their corn to Big Island to the horse mill and got it ground for bread; those who had no horse, after carrying their bard earned grist home, must dig a hole out of a log, and pound the corn with a pestle until they could sift out some of the finest for meal, and use the rest for hominy. For meat they would take the gun and kill a deer, which was readily found at no great distance. The first thing to market was maple sugar and mo. lasses. After sugar-making was over, the father and sons would each take a sack of sugar upon his back, walk to Marion, "sell out" for 6 to 9 cents per pound, and take pay in merchandise, at the merchant's own price, walk home again with another back-load, feeling thankful that they had done so well. Every man had free access to the woods for his stock, and as a natural consequence, every man had some stock that was more or less wild. In autumn, a buyer would come to some central point and give out word that he would pay from 1 to 1 1/2 cents a pound for hogs on foot. Each man would deliver his hogs at some named point on the road, where they were weighed in the following manner: A pole about ton feet long was used as a pry over some object as a fulcrum. At the short end of the pole was tied a rope, in which were hooked a pair of large steelyards; at the other end was a man to "swing up" the hog and handle the pole. The breeching was then taken off the harness, the hogs were caught by two or three men, who would hook them up in the breeching and in this manner the whole drove was weighed, one hog at a time. The weights were taken down when called out by the weigh man, by a man with a pencil and paper. After all were weighed and paid for, it was the duty of every man (except those well on in years), to help take the drove to Scott Town, whence they made their final start for Philadelphia or Pittsburgh. In those days, to be an expert at driving hogs one must be strong, athletic and long-winded. When a hog got his bristles up," and would not go in the right direction, he was caught and hold by dogs, while a man sewed his eyes shut. After this, he was led back to the drove, and could not again be forced away. Cattle were driven over the mountains in large droves, wheat was hauled to Sandusky City in wagons, and sold at 55 to 75 cents per bushel. A man who had two wagon loads of wheat to sell was considered a big farmer. Schools were then unknown, consequently Mr. Birch, like others of his day, had but small opportunity of acquiring an education. However, he improved what little chance he had, by studying at night, after working hard all day in the clearing. He would carry home a load of shell bark hickory for light and fuel by which to study. By this means, in connection with a few terms of subscription school in after years, he obtained a sufficient education to teach a common school and to conduct business in after life. February 15, 1847, Mr. Birch was married to Christina Bain, who was born in Dundee, Scotland, May 3, 1822, and emigrated to Marion County with her parents, John and Anna Bain, in 1837, and died July 2, 1856, aged thirty-four years one month and twenty-nine days. By this union were George Mills Birch (born November 26, 1848, and died September 17, 1852, aged three years nine months and twenty-one days), Sandy Clark Birch (born January 18, JON, died September 2, 1852, aged --even months and fourteen days), David Birch (born July 18, 1853, is still living) and Sarepta Ann Birch (born December 20, 1854, died May 26, 1882, aged twenty-seven years five months and six days). After the death of his wife, Mr. Birch again married, and March 1878, with his family, including his wife, five daughters and two sons removed to Jewell County, Kan., where he still lives in the fifty-ninth year of his age. Such is a sketch only of a few of the trials and inconveniences of pioneer life in the early history of Montgomery Township, and, with this township, so has it been with a large portion of the territory over which this history extends. How wide the difference between that and the present time! Industry and frugality on the part of the early settlers have wrought a great change, and, as a result, how glorious the advantages of the present and future over those of the past. Our fathers have made the country what it is today. They have performed the laborious task of clearing away the vast forests, and reducing the fields to a state of cultivation. They have borne the trials of the pioneer that we, their children, May reap the cowards their labor has bought. As we raise our eyes from these pages to fall upon the few pioneers who still remain, and behold them bowed down with the labors they have performed, gray with the trials and cares of time, one by one dropping off to eternity, it is then we realize the great debt of gratitude we owe to them. It is then we read with grateful hearts and cherish this memento as a gift well suited to our wants.

Family links: 
  Christian M Birch (1822 - 1856)
  Octavia Washborn Birch (1839 - 1906)
  George Mills Birch (1848 - 1852)*
  Sandy Clark Birch (1852 - 1852)*
  David M Birch (1853 - 1951)*
  William Birch (1860 - 1909)*
  Allen D. Birch (1865 - 1933)*
  Ella May Birch Van Scoyk (1867 - 1952)*
  Ann Nora Birch McGaugh (1874 - 1966)*
*Calculated relationship
Scottsville Cemetery
Mitchell County
Kansas, USA
Created by: Judy Lynch
Record added: Oct 21, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 60423902
Martin Jackson Birch
Added by: Judy Lynch
Martin Jackson Birch
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Judy Mayfield
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 Added: Jun. 17, 2011

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