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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Desha County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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William A. Birch is a merchant and farmer now doing business at Tillar, Ark., the style of the firm with which he belongs being Henry Bros. & Birch. Since February he has been associated with Dishough & Tillar, at Winchester, Drew County, Ark. Mr. Birch was born near Lake village, in Chicot County, Ark., March 22, 1840, and is a son of William and Pherbia (Haskins) Birch, the former a Kentuckian born about 1813. Ho was of Scotch Irish descent, a carpenter by trade, and emigrated from his native State to Arkansas with his parents when a small boy, and was here reared and married, the last event taking place in 1837, his wife being a daughter of Cyrus and Leanah (Ward) Haskins. He died at Point Comfort, Chicot County, February 27, 1867, and his wife in 1844 at the age of twenty-two years. A family of three children was born to them: William A., Calvin (deceased), and Hiram (deceased). After the death of the mother of these children Mr. Birch married Mrs. Adaline Sullivan, the widow of Warren Sullivan, of Chicot County, their marriage taking place in 1857, and their union resulting in the birth of three sons and one daughter, Thomas W. being the only one now living. Alonzo, Joshua and Priscilla are deceased. Mrs. Birch died on March 5, 1867. William A. Birch began life for himself as a farmer on his father’s land in the spring of 1866, and continued to till the property until 1876, when he purchased land of his own, and now has a nicely improved farm of 116 acres, on which is a good frame residence, barns and tenement houses, all of which have been acquired since the war, as during that time he lost all his property to the amount of $27,000. May 10, 1861, he enlisted in the Mounted Riflemen, a company made up at Lake Village, under Capt. Jacob McConnell, and with him be participated in the battles of Oak Hill, Farmington, Murfreesboro, Richmond (Ky.), Chickamauga, and all the engagements from Rocky Face Ridge to Atlanta, Jonesboro, Franklin, Nashville and Bentonville. He was paroled at Meridian, Miss., May 10, 1885. January 3, 1867, he was married to Miss Mary J. Scott, a native of Louisiana, born on July 27, 1849, being a daughter of David H. and Eliza (Estill) Scott. Mr. Birch’s union resulted in the birth of the following children: Andy, Hiram, Austin, Edwin and Leon living, and David, Ruth and Myrtie dead. Mr. Birch, in addition to managing his farm, is engaged in general merchandising, and carries a stock of goods valued at $5,000. He belongs to the Masonic order, Bronson Lodge No. 113, the K. of H., Tillar Lodge No. 3215, and he and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and he is a steward in the same. Mrs. Birch’s father and mother were born in Ohio and Kentucky, respectively, and the former was engaged in farming throughout life. His wife is related to Capt. James Estill, who was massacred by the Indians at the present site of Estill Station, Ky.

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This family biography is one of 80 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Desha County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Desha County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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