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Burch: an ample man with ample talents

(This article is continued from the Aug. 13 edition of the Pioneer Journal.)

In 1897, Wadena pioneer Henry Burch built his beautiful home on the corner of Jefferson and Emerson. It is now the location of Kennedy & Nervig who purchased the home for a law office after Burch's death. The house was a very lavish home made of Menomonie brick and as I earlier described of beautiful oak woodwork. The home contained five rooms on each floor with a full basement. The second floor containing pine wood work. There were two fireplaces on each floor which were used in milder weather, but a hot water heating plant was installed for colder weather.

In 1898, an article in the Tribune states that Henry Burch killed his first prairie chicken the other day, making as pretty a double as one could wish to see. It further stated that Burch had been an ardent hunter for many years but he was never able to hit a chicken until this year.

In 1920, the Pioneer Journal announced that among the candidates for the vacant Wadena post master job was Henry Burch, a long-time business man, an excellent accountant and with fully demonstrated abilities However, he didn't get the job.

In 1924, an article in the Pioneer Journal announced that Henry Burch was seriously ill at his home and that he had lapsed into unconsciousness at about 7 a.m. that morning but at 10 a.m. had regained consciousness and was feeling much better. He did recover and led a much longer life.

In 1925, with the closing of the Meyer & Coon General Store, Henry Burch's Department Store across the street competitor for 45 years, Coon remarked, "Well Henry Burch was here when I came."

In 1938, the Burches celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with all of their children present and grandchildren. The golden wedding dinner was served by Louisa Burch Barron at her home.

Anna Donahue Burch died in Wadena on Aug. 28, 1942, at 77 following a long period of ill health, survived by her husband, four children and four grandchildren.

Henry died in 1950 at the advanced age of 95 years. He was a true pioneer, an entrepreneur and typical of the type of pioneer who made small towns on the frontier succeed and flourish. They were buried in St. Ann's Catholic cemetery in Wadena.

Quoting from Harald Boen's column a Progress Report:

"Mr. Burch was active in social and civic affairs, indulged in hunting and fishing. He was organist at the Methodist church and also 'laying out' the deceased preparatory for services and burial. Embalming of bodies was yet to come.

"He joined the Masonic Lodge at Verndale and held office in that organization. He was a member of the Knights of Pythias, Woodmen and others. He was reputed to be something of a Christian Scientist.

"Henry was a very personable fellow and when this writer came to know him in 1912 he was a familiar figure walking to work in the early morning, rarely wearing an overcoat in the most severe wintry weather. His walk was brisk and his pudgy figure seemed ample to provide enough warmth as he moved down the street."