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Frank Birch

Frank Birch


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Francis (Frank) Birch, the third son of John Arden Birch, banker, and his wife, Charlotte Stopford Birch, was born in London on 5th December 1889. He was educated at Eton College before going to King's College, Cambridge, to study history and modern languages. In 1912 he obtained a double first. (1)

During the First World War Birch served as an able seaman and saw action in the Dardanelles. In 1916 he was recruited by the Admiralty. As he was fluent in German he was appointed to Naval Intelligence. He operated from Room 40 in the Admiralty and was involved in intercepting, decrypting, and interpreting naval staff German and other enemy wireless and cable communications. Alastair Denniston, who worked with Birch, later pointed out: "There were never more than 40 people working full time shifts on the deciphering work... Cryptographers did not exist, so far as one knew. A mathematical mind was alleged to be the best foundation... As time went on, when assistance of a less skilled nature was urgently required to work for these self-trained cryptographers who knew German, ladies with a university education and wounded officers unfit for active service were brought in." (2) The great success of Room 40 OB was decrypting the notorious Zimmermann Telegram in 1917. (3)

After the war he returned to Cambridge University where he was a history lecturer from 1921 to 1928. This was followed by a brief spell as a theatre producer and actor. He also advised the Government Code and Cypher School (GCCS) on recruiting academics. Josh Cooper, told Michael Smith, the author of Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (1998): "He (Alastair Denniston) dined at several high tables in Oxford and Cambridge and came home with promises from a number of dons to attend a territorial training course. It would be hard to exaggerate the importance of this course for the future development of GCCS. Not only had Denniston brought in scholars of the humanities of the type of many of his own permanent staff, but he had also invited mathematicians of a somewhat different type who were especially attracted by the Enigma problem." (4)

Francis Harry Hinsley later claimed: "Denniston... recruited the wartime staff from the universities with visits there in 1937 and 1938 (also 1939 when he recruited me and 20 other undergraduates within two months of the outbreak of war). I believe this was a major contribution to the wartime successes - going to the right places and choosing the right people showed great foresight." (5) According to codebreaker, Mavis Batey, the mathematician, Alan Turing, went to one of the first of the training courses on codes and ciphers at Broadway Buildings. Turing was put on Denniston's "emergency list" for call up in event of war and was invited to attend meetings being held by top codebreaker, Alfred Dilwyn Knox to "hear about progress with Enigma, which immediately interested him... unusually, considering Denniston's paranoia about secrecy, it is said that Turing was even allowed" to take away important documents back to the university. (6)

On the outbreak of the Second World War a special unit of the GCCS was established at Bletchley Park. This was selected because it was more or less equidistant from Oxford University and Cambridge University and the Foreign Office believed that university staff made the best cryptographers. The house itself was a large Victorian Tudor-Gothic mansion, whose ample grounds sloped down to the railway station. Lodgings had to be found for the cryptographers in the surrounding villages. (7) Birch was billeted in the Duncombe Arms at Great Brickhill.

Barbara Abernethy recalled that Birch was a popular figure at Bletchley Park: "He (Birch) was a great person. I knitted him a blue balaclava helmet which he wore throughout the war. He was billeted in the Duncombe Arms at Great Brickhill. They had a lot of dons there, Gordon Welchman, Patrick Wilkinson. It was full of dons all the time. All of them having such a jolly time that they called it the Drunken Arns." (8) Penelope Fitzgerald described him as "a many-sided human being - a rather dull historian, an acceptable drinking companion, a mysterious private personality, a brilliant talker and a born actor". (9)

Alastair Denniston appointed Frank Birch as head of the German subsection of the naval section. Frank Birch was based in Hut 4. He told Francis Harry Hinsley that they were trying to read intercepted German naval messages. "The code used by the Germans had not yet been broken. That being the case, Hinsley was to do his best to find out as much as he could from the information they did have about these messages. It was quickly apparent that there was not much evidence to go on. There was the date of the messages, their time of origin and their time of interception, and the radio frequency used by the German morse code operators. Sometimes Hinsley would be told where the messages came from, information which had been gleaned using the Royal Navy's direction finding service." Hinsley became involved with what became known as "traffic analysis". This was defined as "looking at all the evidence relating to enciphered messages which could not be read, and reaching a conclusion on what the enemy was doing." (10)

Frank Birch clashed with two of the leading codebreakers, Alan Turing and Peter Twinn but was popular with junior members of the GCCS. Ralph Erskine admits that "although he was not a born leader, and at times had a heavy-handed managerial style, which was an unwise approach to GCCS's free spirits, he cared deeply about his staff and was highly popular with the junior members of his section in consequence". (11) Birch complained in August 1940: "Turing and Twinn are brilliant, but like many brilliant people, they are not practical. They are untidy, they lose things, they can't copy out right, and they dither between theory and cribbing. Nor have they the determination of practical men." Birch was concerned that Turing and Twinn were not making the most of the suggested cribs he and his team were passing on to them. He even suggested that if Turing and Twinn had used this material correctly we "might have won the war by now". Birch went on to argue: "Turing and Twinn are like people waiting for a miracle, without believing in miracles." (12)

Frank Birch became increasingly dissatisfied with Alastair Denniston, who he believed lacked the drive to press for enough deciphering machines (known as bombes). Ralph Erskine argues that Birch's views were a major factor in Denniston's replacement by Commander Edward W. Travis in February 1942. Birch was responsible for all naval crypt analysis (except Enigma) and for translating and analysing the decrypted signals of the German, Italian, Japanese, French, and Spanish navies. (13)

It has been argued by Birch that the success of this work played an important role in winning the war: "British resources were so meague that even with all the information in the world only moderate immunity could have been obtained. By March 1943, when Special Intelligence was coming along strong, though not yet at full strength, the Germans had become incapable of reading our stuff and in the great showdown of that month the U-boats were, as a result of Special Intelligence, driven off the convoy routes for six months." (14)

Frank Birch, who was head of the historical section of the post-war Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) after the war, died on 14th February 1956 at his home in Knightsbridge, London.

Frank Birch was head of the German section in Hut 4. He told Hinsley that they were trying to read intercepted German naval messages. The code used by the Germans had not yet been broken. Sometimes Hinsley would be told where the messages came from, information which had been gleaned using the Royal Navy's direction finding service.

Using all of the available information, Hinsley worked out that the German Navy only had two radio networks: one for the Baltic and one for outside the Baltic. There did not appear to be a separate network for surface ships and a different network for U-boats. Hinsley could only hope that would change once the Germans began conducting major naval operations. For the moment, he was stuck in a dead end job with no opportunity to make his mark.

ID8G, its relations with us and its attitude to our staff. Here the prime test is Hinsley and his dope; practically we stand or fall with him. I believe that anyone who reads one or two of Hinsley's best Y serials, (especially the Glorious one, of course), and bears in mind that A.C.N.S. has been letting him send signals to the fleets, must conclude that there is something in it, that Hinsley's linkages do give him "indications" of future activity, which examination of the bulk of the traffic do not give. But ID8G, not least the day and night watchkeepers, who are the people concerned, seem never to have studied a Y... and if one discusses the validity of the linkage approach with them one has to start at the very first principle, and say that a non-linked message may be dummy, or weather, or "I have anchored because of fog", or even 'The captain's wife has had twins', whereas a linked message is pretty certain to mean something. In their present state of ignorance, these people are not able to interpret and pass on any information they receive from Hinsley or the watch. That they should be jealous of his success is understandable, and that they should dislike him personally is a small matter, but that they should be obstructive is ruinous.

The only conclusion is that they not only duplicate our work and other people's work, but duplicate it in so aimless and inefficient a manner, that all their time is taken up in groping at the truth, and putting as much of it as is obvious to all on card indexes. If they duplicated in the right spirit, and with some purpose, they would be able to answer questions properly, and also possibly to contribute to general advancement... One reason that prevented them from doing this, appeared to be a competitive spirit, which instead of being of a healthy type, is obviously personal and couched itself in a show of independence and an air of obstruction. It appeared to be based on personal opposition to Bletchley Park. It was increased by the fact that the presence of one person from BP appeared to them to remove all their raison d'etre. They felt themselves cut out... Apart from the above, I suspect that another reason for their inadequacy is incapacity, pure and simple. They know facts... But they seem to have no general grasp of these facts in association. They lack imagination. They cannot utilise the knowledge they so busily compile.

(1) Ralph Erskine, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(2) Alastair Denniston, Room 40: 1914-15 (1919)

(3) Michael Smith, Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (1998) page 11

(4) Francis Harry Hinsley, quoted by Robin Denniston, the author of Thirty Secret Years (2007) page 24

(5) Michael Smith, Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (1998) page 16

(6) Mavis Batey, Dilly: The Man Who Broke Enigmas (2009) page 71

(7) Penelope Fitzgerald, The Knox Brothers (2002) page 228-229

(8) Barbara Abernethy, quoted by Michael Smith, the author of Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (1998) page 26

(9) Penelope Fitzgerald, The Knox Brothers (2002) page 93

(10) Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, Enigma: The Battle For The Code (2004) pages 55

(11) Ralph Erskine, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(12) Frank Birch, letter to Commander Edward W. Travis (21st August, 1940)

(13) Ralph Erskine, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(14) Frank Birch, quoted by Michael Smith, the author of Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (1998) page 116


Frank Birch


Frank birch was the owner/operator of Birch Models.

Frank Birch, from 1959 "The Model Engineer"

Frank Birch and Frank Steward discuss Birch's locomotive at the Ontario Sunparlor Line Fall Meet, September 1966. From Live Steam Newsletter, Dec 1966.

This 3/4 in. scale New Hudson in 3-1/2 in. gauge was designed by Mr Frank Birch, of Essex, Ontario

Frank Birch and his South African Locomotive. Photo by Steve Bratina.

Frank Birch at Jack Spalding's track in Monroe Michigan, August 1967. Photo by Steve Bratina.

This little duplex pump is of LBSC design and was built by Frank Birch. It has 5/16 inch bore (steam) and 5/32 inch water pistons. Although made to pump water, this tiny rig withstood a test by steam as it pumped up a toy balloon with air.


Lance Corporal Thomas Frank Birch

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

Thomas Birch Birth Registration Transaction © findmypast.co.uk

Thomas Frank Birch was born on the 18 th of September 1895 in Dorking, Surrey to railway porter Thomas and Laura Florence Birch (nee Reed).

Thomas’s father Thomas was born about 1867 in Hockliffe, Bedfordshire to labourer Jabez, born about 1840 in Battlesden, Bedfordshire and Elizabeth born about 1834 in London. At the time of the 1881 Census, Thomas was working as a farm servant. Thomas’s mother Laura Florence Reed was born in the 1 st quarter of 1869 in Croydon, to bricklayer James, born about 1827 in St Mary’s, Devon, and Elizabeth, born about 1837 in Yockleton, Shropshire. Thomas and Laura married in the 4 th quarter of 1892 in Croydon.

Thomas had six siblings: Edith F. born about 1891 in Croydon Bertha A. born about 1894 in Dorking and Harry Walter born about 1899 in Capel. Laura Mary born about 1901, Albert born about 1901 and Ernest Edward born about 1909, all in Holmwood.

Thomas Birch 1898 South Holmwood School Admission Register © Surrey History Centre findmypast.co.uk Thomas Birch 1898 South Holmwood School Admission Register © Surrey History Centre findmypast.co.uk

On 10 th October 1898 Thomas was admitted into the South Holmwood Church of England School. At the time of his admission the family lived at Warwick Road, Holmwood. Thomas left the school on 15 th September 1909.

Thomas Birch 1901 Census © findmypast.co.uk

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at Church Terrace, Holmwood. Thomas snr was working as a railway porter and Laura was at home. The household further comprised of their children: Edith, Bertha, Thomas, Harry, Laura and Albert.

Thomas Birch 1911 Census © findmypast.co.uk

At the time of the 1911 Census, the family were still living at 2 Church Terrace. Thomas was still working as a railway porter and Laura was at home. The household further comprised of their children: gardener Thomas, Harry, Laura and Ernest along with Mr Birch’s father, railway porter, Jabez Birch. Laura stated that she had given birth to seven children of whom six were still alive. The accommodation had five rooms.

Thomas Birch attested on 14 th September 1914 in Canterbury into the 3 rd Line Depot of the Surrey Yeomanry (Queen Mary’s Regiment). He was a Private with regimental umber 2001.

Later he was transferred into the 10 th Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. His new regimental number was G/207915.

Thomas Birch served from 14 th September 1914 to 23 rd July 1916 on the home front as the part of the B.E.F. from 24 th July 1916 to 29 th August 1918 in Bavlecourt, France, he was on leave from overseas from 30 th August 1918 to 12 th September 1918 and from 13 th of September 1918 he was again part of the B.E.F.

On 9 th February 1918 he was admitted with pyrexia of unknown origin (trench fever) into the 139 th Field Ambulance. On 22 nd February 1918 he was transferred into the 138 Field Ambulance and on 25 th February 1918 into the 39 th Casualty Clearing Station.

Thomas Birch 1920 Electoral Register © ancestry.co.uk

The 1920 Surrey, England, Electoral Register reads that Thomas and his parents lived at 2 Church Terrace, Holmwood.

Thomas Birch Death Registration Transaction © findmypast.co.uk

Thomas Birch died on 21 st April 1920 in Southwark, London. At the time of his death he was part of the 4 th Battalion, the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. He was a Lance Corporal.

Thomas Birch South Holmwood Graveyard © CWGC.org Thomas Birch Grave in South Holmwood Graveyard © ancestry.co.uk

He is buried at Holmwood (St Mary Magdalene’s) Churchyard at its north end.

Thomas Birch Medal Roll Index Card © ancestry.co.uk Thomas Birch British War Medal and Victory Medal Award Rolls © ancestry.co.uk

He received the British War and Victory medals.

Laura Birch © Dorking Advertiser ancestry.co.uk Laura Birch 100th Birthday Celebrations © Dorking Advertiser ancestry.co.uk

In 1967 Thomas Frank’s mother Laura Florence Birch celebrated her 100 th birthday. The 1967 newspaper reads that she lived next door to the Duke’s Head at Beare Green. “Until six years ago she had lived at South Holmwood for 65 years. Her late husband was a signalman on the railway and they had seven children, three of whom survive. Mrs Birch says one of the reasons she has lived so long is because she drinks two Guinnesses a day and she has received a congratulatory letter from the firm together with fortnight supply of Guinness and the gift of a barometer. Mrs Birch is a very sprightly centenarian, studies the papers keenly each day, especially the sports page. Football, boxing and horse racing are her main interests and her favourite jockey is Sandy Barclay. She played bingo and attended whist drives until 6 years ago.” © ancestry.co.uk

Mrs Birch died shortly after her birthday and was buried on the 7 th of March 1969 at Holmwood (St Mary Magdalene’s) Churchyard. At the time of her death she still lived in Beare Green.


Frank Birch - History

his family is among the popular members of social and educational circles.
Mr. Bishop is a native of Guilford, Connecticut, and a son of Jonathan and Fannie M. (Griswold) Bishop, the former a descendant of John Bishop, who was born in Guilford, Kent county, England, and it was after that town that our subject's birthplace was named. He was born in the first stone house ever erected by the English in New England, which was owned by the Bishop family for three generations. His boyhood was spent in that vicinity, and he was married there in 1867 to Ellen A. Stone, a daughter of Charles M. and Ellen M. Stone, the former a descendant of James Stone, who was a member of the first colony settling in Guilford, Connecticut. The mother of Charles M. Stone was a descendant of Governor William Leete, one of the first executives of that state.
In the spring of 1868, Mr. Bishop and his young wife migrated to Linn county, Missouri, where they purchased a farm and cultivated it for ten years, during which time he ran a planing mill for one year. In 1878 they returned to the old home place in Guilford, and spent a year visiting relatives, and rid their bodies of malaria acquired in Missouri. The following year they returned, bringing with them two young men who wished to locate in the west, and, shortly after, they sold their farm, and, loading their goods on wagons, came across the country to Pierce county, Nebraska, being seventeen days on the road, spending the nights camped out under their wagons, except two or three, when they were able to find lodging with friendly settlers along the way. They reached Pierce on April 1, 1879, the town at that time consisting of just seven buildings, and the. population comprising ten men and three women. Mr. Bishop was interested in a tract of thirty-two hundred acres of land, situated eleven miles north of Pierce, which was subsequently made into a fine ranch. Lumber for the ranch house was hauled a distance of sixty-five miles, from Wisner, then the nearest railroad point, and except for the help of a carpenter for one week, Mr. Bishop did the entire work of building. During these first years on the ranch, Mrs.' Bishop often spent many days with only a dog for companionship. There were but four neighbors between their ranch and Pierce, and their nearest neighbor north was twenty-four miles away. For a number of years not a friendly light could be seen from their windows at night.
They engaged in cattle and sheep raising during the first years, and later engaged in horse and mule breeding. Remaining on the ranch for eight years, they built a good residence in Pierce, and have made that their home since that time. The ranch has been sub-divided in a number of smaller farms, each supplied, with a complete set of buildings, and the entire tract is now under cultivation.
In October, 1880, the country in their vicinity was swept by a terrific blizzard. Mr. Bishop was away from home, accompanied by a neighbor, whose unfinished house was open to the weather. The neighbor's wife and foster daughter, five years old, being in the unfinished house, Bishop sent for them, and found the two nearly frozen, with the child in convulsions. She had them brought to her house, and succeeded in getting the frost warmed out of them, they coming out of their experience with no serious results.
After locating in Pierce, Mr. Bishop became interested in different enterprises, dealing largely in lands, and at times having as much as five thousand acres under his control. He has been one of the leading business men since coming here, and has also held various public offices serving as county surveyor for twelve years and precinct assessor for many terms. He is a member of the Congregational church, while his wife is an Episcopalian. In politics he is a staunch republican. He has been a Mason since March 9, 1886, and is a charter member of Evergreen lodge, number one hundred and fifty-three, which he served several years as Master, and many years as treasurer. He is also a charter member of the Norfolk lodge of Elks. HANFORD N. SMITH .

Hanford N. Smith, who resides in the beautiful and progressive city of St. Paul, is a man who enjoys to the fullest extent the confidence and respect of all with whom he has to do since locating here many years ago.
Mr. Smith was born in Tompkins county, New York, August 7, 1832, making him one of the oldest men in this section of the country. He spent his boyhood in New York state, at the age of twenty-two years going into northern Wisconsin, where he spent the winters in the lumber camps, and during the summers sailed the great lakes, having a captain's commission. He's one of the pioneer sailors, and well remembers the difficulties encountered in navigation during the earlier days. He next went to California, and entered the mining region, spending about two years in the west, then returned to Wisconsin, and again sailed the lakes, following this work up to about 1861.
At the breaking out of the war, Mr. Smith enlisted in the Wisconsin Infantry, Company E Fourteenth. regiment, and served until the close of the struggle. He saw much hard service as a soldier, the principal battles in which he participated being the battle of Shiloh (after which action he was made commissary sergeant of the Fourteenth Wisconsin Regiment as a reward for conspicuous bravery on the battlefield) the battle, of Iuka, Corinth, a three-days' engagement, and the battle of Vicksburg, a siege of forty-seven days. After the surrender of Vicksburg, his regiment was discharged, this occurring on

December 12, 1863, and on the same day Mr. Smith re-enlisted, although his furlough of thirty days was spent in Wisconsin and New York state. He was married in January, 1864, while on this furlough, to Harriet Garrison, of Tompkins county, New York, and after several days' visit with friends in the vicinity of his birthplace, returned to his post in the army, later taking part in the battles of Fort Duressa, Champion Hill, Yellow Bayou, the engagement with Price and Marmaduke, near Kansas City, Missouri, which resulted in the capture of. Marmaduke, and the action at Nashville, Mobile, besides many other minor skirmishes.
After leaving the army, Mr. Smith returned to Wisconsin, taking up his old work on the lakes, and continued up to December, 1872, at which time he had the misfortune to have a bad wreck, and this decided to give up the perilous business of sailing. He looked about for a new location, and finally decided on Nebraska, coming here in February of 1873. He took up a homestead on section eighteen, township ten, range thirteen, of Howard county, and there remained for several years, succeeding in building up a fairly good farm.
In 1876, he went into the Black Hills, where he engaged in mining, putting in about a year in that region, then returned to Nebraska, settling in St. Paul, where Mrs. Smith died, December 20, 1877
Mr. Smith has been one of the prominent business and public men of his region for the past forty years. He has held various high offices of his county, being elected county superintendent of public instruction in 1874, and serving for two years. In 1894 he became assessor, holding office for five years, and after a lapse of ten years was again elected for a two-year term. He has also served as water commissioner for one term. For many years he was justice of the peace, and through these different positions has become familiarly known to every resident of the county, and gained the respect and esteem of all by his straight-forward actions and sterling integrity.
Mr. Smith was married the second time, May 20, 1884, to Mrs. Laura Oglesbee, of St. Paul, and to them have been born three children: Hanford Nelson, Jr., Addie May and Clara, all of whom are married and settled in comfortable homes in St. Paul, where they are surrounded by a host of warm friends. JACOB D. KOCH .

Among the early settlers in the eastern part of Nebraska, who came here when the place was still practically a wilderness, and out of its wild state succeeded in building up a good home and valuable possessions, is the gentleman above named. Mr. Koch has spent all but five of his span of fifty-nine years in Nebraska state, which well entitles him to the name of old settler. He is recognize as one of the leading oldtimers and worthy. citizens of his locality.
Jacob D. Koch, son of Joseph and Mary (Rheinfrank) Koch, was born in Pike county, Ohio, July 18, 1851, and was second in a family of thirteen children. He has six brothers and four sisters residing in Nebraska, the other children being deceased, as are also the parents. The father died on his home farm in Cass county, Nebraska, in February of 1903, the mother also passing away in Cass county, her death occurring in the year 1896.
In 1856, Mr. Koch, subject of this sketch, with his parents, drove overland from Ohio to Nebraska, locating in Cass county. Here Mr. Koch received his education, and later engaged in farming. In 1882, he purchased one hundred and twenty acres on Mira Valley of Valley county, in section twenty-one, township eighteen, range fourteen, which is still his home place. He now has two hundred and forty acres in the tract.
In September of 1872, Mr. Koch was united in marriage to Miss Mary Janssen, a native of Germany, born near Marienhoff, East Fresin. In 1869, she came to America with her father, Reinhardt Janssen, who settled in Cass county, Nebraska, near Plattsmouth. Her mother was Mary Hoester before marriage. To Mr. and Mrs. Koch were born eight children, two of whom died in infancy: Joseph R., who is married, and has four children Andrew, also married, has two sons Edward, married, has one child, and James, married, has four children, all of Valley county, and Harry and Fred, who reside under the parental roof.
In the spring of 1883, Mr. Koch moved, with his wife and children, on the Valley county farm. Mrs. Koch died, June 12, 1889, on the home farm, survived and deeply mourned by her husband and six children.
Mr. Koch is a prosperous, successful man of affairs, owning a fine stock and grain farm of two hundred and forty acres. He makes a specialty of Galloway cattle. Mr. Koch was instrumental in organizing his school district, number nine, of which he served as director for some years. Mr. Koch has resided in Nebraska for fifty-four years, and has passed through much of Nebraska's history, and is widely and favorably known.
On January 12, 1896, in Cass county, Nebraska, Mr. Koch was married to Johanna Janssen, sister of his first wife. Mr. and Mrs. Koch have had two children, sons, namely: Jacob Daniel and George William, who reside at home. Mrs. Koch's father died in Nebraska in 1878, and her mother passed away in 1862 in Germany.
In 1906 Mr. Koch built a new home on his farm, and the farm is well improved in every way. Mr. Koch and family are highly esteemed and respected, and are surrounded in their home by a host of good friends and neighbors. In politics he is a republican.

In the dry year, 1894, Mr. Koch raised a little corn in the low places, but not enough to be profitable, and in 1896 lost nearly all his grain by hail.
Mr. Koch lived for a time in a log dug-out in Cass county, but has enjoyed having a much better dwelling since coming to Valley county. WILLIAM HAASE .

The gentleman above mentioned is a native-born Nebraskan, having been born on a farm in Madison county locality, January 8, 1872. Since attaining his maturity, he has been closely identified with every movement for the benefit of the region, and assisted materially in its development and growth, as did his father before him. Mr. Haase resides in Norfolk precinct, in section eight, township twenty-four, range one, where he has a pleasant home and valuable estate.
Mr. Haase is a son of Fred and Louisa (Raasch) Haase, the father being a native of Germany, who left his native land when he was but fifteen years of age, embarking on a sailboat, and being on the sea eight weeks.
In 1868 he came to Nebraska from Wisconsin by the usual route of those days-driving by ox team-locating in Madison county, where he took up a homestead, and on this land built a log house. Here he experienced many hardships in those very first days of settlement, some forty odd years ago. The grasshoppers destroyed all the crops during the first years, which was very discouraging to the new settlers in the almost unpopulated country, where work, food and money were scarce. They also fought prairie fires many times to save their homes and lives. Deer and antelope were plentiful then, and frequently could be seen grazing in large herds.
Our subject remembers many of these incidents, and relates many interesting instances of the earlier days, when he was but a young lad. In 1891 Mr. Haase was united in marriage to Miss Matilda Doomer, who is a native of Nebraska, and daughter of William and Rosie (Miller) Doomer. Mr. and Mrs. Haase are the parents of the following named children: Alvina, Adolph, Elsie, Eimel and Leona. They are a fine family, and in their pleasant home are surrounded by a host of good friends and acquaintances.
Mr. Haase is one of the younger old settlers in Madison county, and has a bright future before him. He now owns three hundred and ninety acres of fine land, three acres of which he has set to trees. He is a member of the Lutheran church, and is a democrat.

DAVID W. LOCKER .

For nearly forty years the gentleman named above has been identified with the farming interests of Greeley county, and during this time he has acquired a valuable estate of nearly five hundred acres by dint of his industry and thrift. He is now retired from active management of his possessions, and is living in the city of Scotia, one of the substantial and highly esteemed citizens of the community.
David W. Locker, the son of John L. and Harriet (Glass) Locker, was born in Dayton Ohio, on the 18th of December, 1846. He was the eldest of seven children, six of whom are now living. The father was a native of Bishopsheim, province of Baden, Germany, who came to this country in 1842. He died in his eighty-fifth year, on the first of February, 1905, while the mother, in her eighty-seventh year, is still living in Scotia.
The first few years of Mr. Locker's life were spent in Dayton, Ohio, and Niles, Michigan, when the family moved to Lake county, Indiana, and there he grew to manhood, receiving his education in the local schools. When only fifteen years of age, in 1862, our subject did what so many other patriotic boys did - enlisted at Indianapolis in the Twenty-fourth Indiana Battery, Light Artillery, and served until the close of the war, receiving his discharge on August 3, 1865. During his three years of service, young David was in many decisive and dangerous engagements. At one time the detachment followed closely on the heels of Morgan and his men on his memorable raid through Kentucky and Ohio. His battery marched over four thousand miles during its service, and at one time traversed three hundred miles from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Tunnel Hill Georgia, to take part in that campaign. He was present at the siege of Knoxville and the fall of Nashville, and took part in minor engagements at Horse Shoe Bend, Cumberland River, Kentucky, Sweetwater, Tennessee, Resaca, and at the fall of Atlanta at the close of that memorable campaign. He served under Thomas the latter part of the war, and was under his command when peace was declared.
After the war was over, Mr. Locker returned to the old home in Indiana, but soon after went to Chicago, Illinois, where he learned carpentry, and worked at his trade for twelve years. The realizing that greater opportunities were to be found in the west, he went to Kansas in 1871, but remained there only a few months. He then went to the Indian Territory, but remained there only eight months. Next he proceeded to Arkansas, where he spent two years, and then finally decided to locate permanently in Greeley County, Nebraska. He took up a homestead of one hundred and sixty acres, and also a timber claim of equal size adjoining, in section six, township seventeen, range eleven.
On January 24, 1880, in Lake county, Mr. Locker married Miss Mary Brandt, a native of Hanover, Germany, who came to America with her parents, Dietrich and Anna (Bishop) Brandt, when only three years of age. Her parents were

natives of Hanover and Bremen respectively.
Mr. and Mrs. Locker have had four children born to them: Edward H., living in Greeley county, on part of the old farm Ella, now Mrs. Henry Thurnagle, of Grand Island Anna J., now Mrs. Arthur Schilling, of Greeley county and William D., who, with his wife and one child, is now living on the old homestead.
Mr. Locker has been associated with all movements of public interest ever since his first residence in the county. He was instrumental in organizing school district number twelve, serving on the board for fourteen years. He has also served the public for two terms as supervisor in the county board. For the past three years he has also been president of the Scotia Independent Telephone Company. MAGNES OLSEN .

Magnes Olsen, retired farmer of Hartington, is one of Sweden's creditable contributions to American citizenship. He was born where Charlottenberg now stands, then only a farming district, on August 22, 1833. His father, Ole Dahl, died before Mr. Olsen emigrated to America, and his mother had been dead some years at that time. Mr. Olsen farmed in the old country until his migration to America in 1868. In his journey hither, he crossed the North Sea from Guttenberg to Hull, thence by rail to Liverpool, when he embarked on the "City of Paris" for New York, which was reached after a voyage of twelve days. He came west, reaching Chicago on the 24th of June, whence he journeyed to Lisbon, Illinois, and worked eleven days in the cornfields there for money to take him to Madison, Wisconsin, where many of his countrymen had settled. Here he lived for five years, farming most of the time prior to his migration to Nebraska.
A colony of friends made the trip overland with ox teams, the journey extending into the sixth week before their destination was reached. Mr. Olsen settled on a homestead a mile northwest of where Hartington now stands. He has herded cattle many times over the present townsite when there was nothing here but waving prairie grasses. He lived on his homestead seven years, and then sold, buying a quarter section ten miles southwest of Hartington, on which he resided until 1910, when he retired from active farming, and moved to town.
Mr. Olsen was married in Norway, February 15, 1858, to Miss Bertha Jansen. On his migration to America, the wife remained. in the old country for a year, while Mr. Olsen earned and saved enough to send for her and the children, and a joyous reunion it was, after the absence of a year. Ten children were born to them, of whom only one is deceased. The living are: Olaf, farming five miles north of town John resides in Hartington Mary is the wife of Steve Seim, a retired farmer, who is street commissioner of Hartington Chris lives in Laramie, Wyommg Dina is married to Mike Markeson, who resides in Lawton, Oklahoma Peter is living in Hartington Julius in Omaha and Simon and Edward, the youngest, have homesteads in Lyman and Tripp counties, South Dakota. Clara, the deceased child, was born next after Julius.
The early days in Nebraska were fraught with many trials markets were distant, and prices low grasshoppers destroyed the crops for three years, leaving little or nothing in their wake. In 1880, Mr. Olsen made eighteen trips to Yankton and two to Vermillion, disposing of his crop and freighting provisions back to Cedar county. Deer and antelope were plentiful in the sixties, but it was but a short time until they were all killed or driven off.
There was much suffering at times during the severe blizzards, and in that of January 12, 1888, John was away from home, teaching school. Wheat and other grain found a market at St. Helena, whence it was shipped to St. Louis by boat. The price of it was paid half in cash and half in trade at the store. The Indians were fairly good neighbors on the whole, but occasionally sold a settler his own axe if he were neglectful in bringing it in when staking out his cattle. Mr. Olsen lived during the first winter in a sod house with a hay roof, but built a better dwelling the following spring.
Church services were not so numerous in the early days, though there was a congregation near Hartington. Mr. Olsen and others drove forty miles across the country to the southwest to organize a congregation, with the Reverend N. G. Tvedt. Religious fervor was not at ebb tide, even if the settlements were small and few between.
Mr. Olsen is independent in politics, and, like most all Scandinavians, is a member of the Lutheran church.

WILLIAM LAUB .
(Deceased.)

William Laub, deceased, was for many years one of the leading citizens of Merrick county, Nebraska, and to his efforts were due much of the prosperity enjoyed in that region. He was a man of strong character and during his lifetime enjoyed the esteem and respect of all with whom he came in contact, and his memory is cherished by a host of warm friends throughout the country.
William Laub, son of Phillip and Anna Laub, was born in Germany, province of Bavaria, March 29, 1843, and was third in a family of eleven children. Three brothers reside in Merrick county, Nebraska one sister in Omaha one sister in Kansas, and the others are deceased, as are also the parents. In 1848 our subject came with the family to America locating in Illinois where

Mr. Laub received his education and later engaged in farming.
In the spring of 1871, in company with his brother, Frederick Laub, came to Merrick county Nebraska, and timber-claimed one hundred and sixty acres in the north-east quarter section thirty-two, township thirteen, range seven, west, which remained the home place until April of 1900, when Mr. Laub retired from the farm and moved to Central City where he built a fine house, living there until the time of his death, November 17, 1907. He was survived by his wife and six children: Alvin S., who is married and lives in Central City, has one child John P., married has two children and resides in Chapman Wilham Edward, deceased April 15, 1909, survived by his wife and three children who reside in Chapman, Nebraska Mary Elida, married to Thomas Costello, has three children and lives in Cozad, Nebraska Alice Rachel, married to Harry Parsons, lives in Central City and Daniel Earl, who is married and lives on the old timber claim.
Mr. Laub served on the school board of his district number fifty for a number of years, and later was also a member of the city council in Central City. He was prosperous and successful, and owned nine hundred and sixty acres of stock and grain farming land in Merrick county, and also splendid city property.
On October 1, 1874, Mr. Laub was married to Margaret Donovan of Pennsylvania who came to Nebraska in 1868. Mrs. Laub lives in the Central City home surrounded by a large circle of friends.
Mr. Laub was a man of affairs, interested in all pertaining to the welfare of his state and county. He passed through the trying experiences and discouragements of frontier life, and was the first man to ship a car-load of grain out of Chapman.
Mrs. Laub is carrying on the large stock and farming interests left her by her husband. THOMAS STOURAL .

Prominent among Knox county, Nebraska, old settlers is Thomas Stoural, who since the fall of 1873 has made this region his home, and who has done his share in the developing of the agricultural resources of this section of the county. Mr. Stoural lives on section eleven, township thirty, range six, where he has built up a valuable property. through his industry and good management.
Mr. Stoural is a native of Bohemia, born in 1857, and is the son of Albert and Magdaline Stoural. When but a young man, our subject left his native home for America, to make a fortune for himself. After landing in the United States, in 1870, Mr. Stoural first came to Chicago, Illinois, where he stayed two years and worked out. He then came to Knox county, Nebraska, with his parents, where they took up homesteads and tree claims. First our subject built a sod house in which he lived five years, then building a good frame house.
Mr. Stoural has struggled and worked faithfully to build up his home and gain a competence for himself and in the earliest days of his settlement here he endured many hardships and dangers. For the first few years he worked out in Knox county to make money to keep up his homestead. He suffered severe losses through the grasshopper pests which destroyed all his crops during the first years of his residence on the homestead. The Indians were a source of uneasiness to the settlers of the region in those days, and they experienced many a scare from them, but the Indians were not so hostile to the settlers of this locality as they were to other portions of Knox county.
Mr. Stoural was united in marriage in 1884, to Miss Antonia Divis, and they are the parents of seven children, named as follows: Minnie, Emanuel, Clara, George, Frank, Martha and Thomas.
Mr. and Mrs. Stoural and family are highly esteemed and respected by all who know them. and they are one of the substantial families of the community.

FRANK BIRCH .

Frank Birch, one of the oldest settlers of the region where he chose his home in the early days, occupies a good home and valuable property in section twenty-nine, township twenty-six, range three, in Pierce county, Nebraska. He has done his full share in the upbuilding of his locality, and is well and favorably known throughout this part of the state.
Mr. Birch is a native of St. Lawrence county, New York, born December 8, 1855, and is the son of Thomas and Mary (Williams) Birch. Our subject's grandfather was a native of Vermont, where he followed the occupation of ship building. The father, Thomas Birch, was born in New York state, and after he was grown to manhood and married, he was drafted in the army, and died in a short time of wounds received in the battle of the Wilderness in 1863, our subject being but a small boy at that time. Mr. Birch's mother was born in 1836 and died in 1900. Her father was born in England and ran away from his native land and came to America.
Mr. Birch grew up in New York state, where he received a common school education and was early obliged to make his own way in the world, his father dying when the boy was six or seven years of age, he was bound out for his board and clothes, receiving but a scant amount of either.
When nineteen years of age, he bought the remainder of his time, seventeen months for ten dollars per month and began life for himself.
In 1879 he came to Nebraska and secured land in section twenty-nine, township twenty-six, range three, it then being an entirely undevel-

oped country. He filed first on a timber claim and later on a pre-emption, and here he built a board shack, in which he lived for a time. As his means increased he erected good barns and other buildings, besides a substantial nine room house. We show a view of the premises with its fine surrounding grove and orchard on another page of this work.
Mr. or Mrs. Birch was in charge of Birch postoffice for fifteen years. This office was established on his farm when star routes were the order of the day. Mr. Birch is now in very comfortable circumstances, but passed through many hardships and privations during his early settlement here.
Mr. Birch was united in matrimony January 30, 1884, to Miss Jane Woodward, also a native of St. Lawrence county, daughter of Richard and Caroline (Coleman) Woodward, natives of England and Canada, respectively. Mr. and Mrs. Birch are the parents of four children: Minnie, who graduated from the Wayne Normal in 1908 and received a three-year certificate, is the wife of Lee Graeser Harry, graduated at Wayne in April, 1911 Homer, now attending the Wayne institution, and Allan.
Mr. Birch has a fine farm of three hundred and fifteen acres, seven acres of which is a fine grove of trees. This place is known as Elmwood Dairy Farm, with fifteen to twenty cows supplying cream throughout the year. Mrs. Birch is a member of the Free Methodist church. In politics Mr. Birch is in dependent of party lines.

"Elmwood Dairy Farm," Residence of Frank Birch.

J. L. BUFFINGTON .

Mr. Buffington is one of the well known old timers of eastern Nebraska, having come here when the country was a barren prairie, and when it was being settled by those brave pioneers who came here prepared to suffer all kinds of hardships and privations in order to make a success and acquire a home and fortune. Many of these pioneers have remained and seen the wilderness develop into a fertile tract, and are now the owners of fine farms and are leading citizens of their locality. Mr. Buffington resides on section twenty-one, township twenty-four, range eight, in Staunton township, where he owns three hundred and twenty acres of good land, having twenty acres of fine orchard and grove trees.
Mr. Buffington is a native of Ohio, born October 9, 1850, in the same house that his father, George Buffington, was born in. From Ohio Mr. Buffington moved to Illinois where he was employed by the Panhandle railroad as boiler-maker and machinist for fifteen years. Mr. Buffington's father served in the Civil war, enlisting in 1863 in One Hundred Sixty-first Ohio Volunteers under General Seigel. In 1877, our subject came to Washington county, Nebraska, and from there he went to Holt county in 1885 where he took up a homestead in section twenty-four, township twenty-four, range thirteen, building on this land a sod house.
Mr. Buffington was united in matrimony, April 11, 1879, at Blair, Washington county, Nebraska, to Miss Catherine Thyme. Mr. and Mrs. Buffington have one child, Minnie, who is the wife of Allen Wilson, living in Stanton township. They have two children, Clarence J. and Katie E. In 1889, Mr. Buffington with his family came to Antelope county, Nebraska, and bought his present farm of three hundred and twenty acres of land, on which, as before stated, there are twenty acres of trees.
Mr. Buffington is of English descent, his ancestors having come from England, although his father and mother were born in Ohio. They had five children: John, Sarah, Ellen, Jacob and Carrie.
His brother John served five years in the war of the rebellion, enlisting in 1861 and serving until '65. He was wounded twice. He died in 1896. His sister Carrie, the youngest, died in 1859. His other sisters are still living his sister Sarah now resides in Blair, Washington county, Nebraska. Sister Ellen lives in Herman, Washington county, Nebraska.
On January 12, 1888, Mr. Buffington who then lived in Holt county, started to walk to town to get some thread for his wife. When but two and one-half miles from home he was overtaken by that famous blizzard of that day and forced to return when he was about sixty rods from the house (which was made of sod) he was so blinded by the storm that he lost his way and was driven into a grove which was near the house. Here he thought he would be able to locate the house but failed and became so exhausted that he laid down on what he supposed to be a snow drift, when a very strong gust of wind turned him completely over and when he stopped rolling found himself lying up against the house which he had been looking for, into which he hurried utterly exhausted from his experience with the blizzard, said to have been the worst in the history of Nebraska.
Mr. Buffington is a broad minded man and one who has won the respect and esteem of all by his many sterling qualities. A view of the family home is presented on another page of this volume.

Home of J. L. Buffington.

JOHN PORTERFIELD .

John Porterfield, an energetic and thrifty resident of Fullerton, has for many years followed the occupation of contractor and builder in Nance county, and in this work has accumulated a comfortable property, and gained the esteem and respect of his fellowmen. In the past year he has become acting manager of the Edmunds Creamery company's station in Fullerton, which position he is now filling to the satisfaction of his firm.
Mr. Porterfield is a son of James and Eliza

Porterfield, born March 2, 1844, in Dover, Illinois. He was reared there, following farming during his younger years, and on August 27, 1867, was married to Frances A. Belden, of New York state, who had been a teacher in the public schools of that state for several years. The year following their union they settled in Atchison county, Kansas, there engaging in farming, and remained for a number of years. He then learned the stone masonry trade, also that of builder, and started in the contracting business, going to Genoa, Nebraska, in 1882. He only lived in that city for one year, then moved to Fullerton, which has been his permanent residence since that time. Here he has followed his trade and become one of the prominent business men of the section, handling many large contracts, and proving his ability and true worth as a master of that vocation. In the winter of 1909. Mr. Porterfield began buying cream, poultry, and eggs, since which time he has been continuously employed in that line of work.
Mr. and Mrs. Porterfield have had eight children, six of whom are now living, namely: James C., of Boise City, Idaho Alice, wife of Franklin Hollensteiner, living in Missoula, Montana Cynthia, wife of Chas. E. Carter, they living in Fullerton Helen, now Mrs. Roy Wilbur, also of Missoula, Montana, and Mabel and Marion, twins. The latter lives at home, and is a teacher in the Fullerton schools, while the former is the wife of E. H. Davis, and resides in Wolbach, Nebraska. The entire family are well known, and enjoy a large circle of friends.
In 1895 Mr. Porterfield was elected police judge of his county, and served ten consecutive years, or five terms. He was president of the school board for a number of years, also serving in that body in various other capacities. In 1884 he held the office of street commissioner, and also marshal of the village, and, in fact, has, during his career in Nebraska, been almost constantly in the service of the people. DR. H. A. SKELTON .

To find office equipment equal to that of a city hospital, a country physician who almost annually takes post-graduate courses, thus keeping abreast of the times, in the far west in a practically new country, is a surprise indeed. A hasty visit to the office of Dr. H. A. Skelton, of Spencer, will give one that surprise, and convince him of the unusual.
Dr. Skelton's first recollections of Nebraska date back to the latter part of December, 1881, when his father, J. B. Skelton, an attorney from the middle west, settled in O'Neill, and began the practice of his profession. He was born in Indiana, where he read law, was admitted to the bar, and practiced at Princeton, in Gibson county, for a number of years. He attained the age of sixty-six years, passing away in 1896 at Monette, Missouri, where he had resided for some years prior to his demise.
H. A. Skelton was born in Princeton, Indiana. on May 16, 1867, and there attended the city schools from which he graduated in 1883.
lnstead of following the lines of least resistance and adopting his father's profession, the boy had a strong bent for the art of healing, and wisely yielded to the impulse, as after events proved. He began the study of medicine in 1886 under the tutelage of Dr. J. E. Shore, remaining with this precepter for five years. He then attended the lectures in Drake university at Keokuk, Iowa, graduating in 1891, after which he immediately began his practice at Page, Nebraska. He continued at that point up to 1902, then came to Spencer, being received with favor from the first, since which time he has enjoyed a wide and lucrative patronage. One secret of his success is the fact that he has not allowed himself to stagnate, being ever on the alert to absorb new ideas in recognized medical therapy, thoroughly familiarizing himself with advanced science through a course in the Chicago Clinic in 1899, and again in 1900 and 1901. In 1904, 1907, and 1909 he took up a higher course of study in the Polyclinic college, and it is his intention to spend some time each year in the famous medical schools of the country, to better fit himself for coping with the ills flesh is heir to.
Dr. Skelton has in his office equipment one of the largest static electrical machines known to the medical profession, including all of the latest attachments and improvements. In 1909, feeling that there was great need of a place where special cases might be under the constant care of a physician, Dr. Skelton established a hospital in Spencer, which is the only one along the line of the Northwestern, north of Norfolk, and to show that his judgment is correct, it is interesting to know that there is seldom a vacant bed in the institution, which is a boon to suffering humanity. along the borders of the two states and a source of gratification as well as revenue to the physician.
Dr. Skelton is descended from a long line of patriotic ancestors, his father serving during the entire period of hostilities in the civil war, while his maternal grandfather, Colonel Duncan, was a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, and located in Evansville, Indiana, in 1813. He was a kinsman of the Logans in the old north state, ancestors of the famous cavalry officer, "The Black Eagle", whose father moved further west and settled in Jackson county, Illinois. Colonel Duncan fought in the battle of Tippecanoe in the war of 1812, and drew a pension for his services until 1898, when he died, having most attained the century mark. On his paternal side, a great-great-grandfather was a colonel in the Revolutionary war, also the war of 1812, besides serving in the famous battle in northwest Ohio. He was a native of Lexington, Kentucky, passing away, at

© 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by T&C Miller, P Ebel, P Shipley, L Cook


What Birch family records will you find?

There are 287,000 census records available for the last name Birch. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Birch census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 37,000 immigration records available for the last name Birch. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 26,000 military records available for the last name Birch. For the veterans among your Birch ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 287,000 census records available for the last name Birch. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Birch census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 37,000 immigration records available for the last name Birch. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 26,000 military records available for the last name Birch. For the veterans among your Birch ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


Today in History: 1930

How long have residents of Birch Cliff been worried about the erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs?

Well, at least 86 years according to an article from the Toronto Star that was published on July 16, 1930.

There are some interesting points raised in this latest installment of our “Today in History” series commemorating the 100th anniversary of Birch Cliff Public School.

The main interview in the story, Dr. Frank Price, is quoted as saying that 100 feet of shoreline disappeared between 1910 and 1930.

The article later states that in some places, over a 50 year period, 168 feet of shore disappeared.

Lakefront Erosion Causes Concern Among Ratepayers

Action by Township Authorities to Protect Properties Is Demanded

CLIFFS FALL DOWN

Action by the Scarboro township authorities for the protection of the lakefront properties which are gradually being washed away by the waters of the lake is being strongly urged by residents in Birch Cliff neighborhood.

Dr. Frank Price of 8 Lakeside Ave., Birch Cliff, recently issued an appeal for immediate remedy and stated that unless something was done at once access to the lake in Scarboro would be cut off forever.

He stated to The Star that it was for the public benefit that the last bit of beach available and the lakefront properties in this section should be protected from the rapid encroachment by the water of the lake.

During the past 20 years, it was stated, the shore line has been washed away to the extent of more than 100 feet, and this undoubtedly is a matter for serious consideration.

“Something has to be done to prevent or alleviate this rapid erosion of the lakefront properties,” Dr. Frank Price declared.

Scarboro public utilities commission has been carrying out experiments for more than two years farther east on the lake shore, where Mississippi mats have been placed, and these for the time being have proved beneficial.

Groynes Might Help

Dr. Price was of the opinion, however, that although Mississippi mats were beneficial, groynes would be the best foundation for the beach and explained the he had seen the shore line receded as much as fifteen feet in six months.

Mr. H.E. Redman of Birch Cliff when asked for his opinion on the matter stated that is was a pretty difficult proposition to tackle now.

“The cliffs are high in this area,” he stated, “and owing the sand being removed from the lake bed close to the shore the upper parts of the cliffs have fallen down. The process has been much more rapid in recent years and, although the placing of groynes would eventually work, it would take some time before the shore would be effectively protected.”

He declared that this was an engineering problem and a matter for engineers to decide, adding that one of the finest properties in the district, which was situated close to the lakefront, was practically demolished. “This property was very beautiful, nicely wooded and picturesque in every way,” he said.

Many other residents of Birch Cliff district were of the opinion that the matter should be properly thrashed out and a decision arrived at as soon as possible.

Land Is Slipping

Every year on an average the waters of the lake bite off 1.62 feet from the base of the cliffs and the overhanging mass of land slips into the water to be moved away by the current that flows southwesterly in the direction of Toronto Islands.

Toronto Island is really the remains of what once were the bluffs. Grain by grain the towering walls have been carried by wave and current to form the beautiful island.

Away back in 1863 a survey was made by F.F. Pastmore. Half a century later Messrs. Speight and Van Nostrand made a survey from Passmore’s base lines and after running seventeen lines it was found that the erosion along the waterfront at Scarboro Bluffs varied from eight feet to 198 feet. The latter width was the cutting back in the valleys. At the highest point of land the erosion had been 32 feet, less than a foot a year for the half century.

The harbor board denies that their sand sucking machines are to blame for the erosion.

It seems Dr. Price was ahead of his time. It wasn’t until the 1980s that 50-foot groynes were built perpendicular to the shore to prevent erosion.

This is article is part of a community “Today in History” series commemorating the upcoming 100th anniversary celebration of Birch Cliff Public School, which is taking place on Sept. 23/24, 2016. To see other articles click here: 1927, 1929, 1935, 1935, 1951, 1993, 1796, 1991, 1983, 1988, 1985.


About Frank Moraes

So your racist conclusion is because they are all white they must be racist? It couldn’t be that other races are susceptible to the Frankfurt School agitation and therefore embrace an unsustainable ideology that always leads to ruin? Does correlation always equal causation in your mind or only when you can be racist?

It’s usually pointless to respond to people like you. You see: if you couldn’t bother to actually read the article, what is the point of commenting? You comment is, however, a wonderful example of conservative argumentation, “You said some group is racist?! You’re the real racist!” And of course you throw in a reference to the the Frankfurt School to pretend that you are knowledgeable. I’d bet anything you’ve only heard about it in regard to conspiracy theories. Every complaint you make in your comment is refuted by the article itself. I almost never write about race without some idiot coming around saying that my discussion proves that I’m the real racist. You, like most of the rest, didn’t even manage to read through the whole first paragraph before your started ranting. Because you know the truth! Right?

The members are white there for racist, solid logic.

Are you commenting on the article or Brian’s comment? If the former, see my response. If the latter, I don’t follow.

Thank you for this informative article. I have a “friend” who claims the JBS is no longer racist and in fact, many blacks and browns are now members. I find this very hard to believe. She’s challenged me to find ANY racist literature from the JBS within the last 50 years and this is proving more difficult than I thought.

I doubt you will find that kind of thing. JBS is not like the KKK. They were, however, segregationists. They did spread the lie that MLK was a communist. I recommend reading Wrapped in the Flag.

The great game that bigots play has always been to define racism as whatever happened before. When segregation was official government policy, it was clear to these people that slavery was racist. Now it is clear that official government segregation is government policy, but they deny the issues of today like: implicit government segregation, unequal funding of public schools, war on drugs, and on and on.

People like you who go out of their way & bend over backwards to try to paint people, or groups of people, as RACIST do far more damage than good to race relations then the real racists! The fact that there are NO black people in the picture of the JBS leadership does NOT prove them to be racist. That conclusion is ABSURD! Blacks comprise of 13 % of our population, does that mean all businesses & all organizations must have 13% blacks? Of course NOT? Are basket ball team owners RACIST? The teams comprise of MOSTLY black players BECAUSE OF THEIR TALENT & ABILITIES! The same goes for businesses & organizations etc. STOP THROWING GASOLINE ON THE FIRE! You insert racism where there is none. You & people like you, Barack Obama & Al Sharpton set race relations back decades! You are a PATHETIC man!

Ah, another commenter that can’t manage to read past the first half of the first paragraph before ranting!

There have actually been studies on why there are more blacks in the NBA. It has to do with options. Consider the Jews throughout history. Were they really good at banking and accounting? No. It was that in many areas, these were the only jobs they were allowed to have. Now we don’t have explicit laws, we just have educational funding that throws money are rich children and deprives it of poor children. Since you are so concerned about the talented succeeding, why aren’t you out working to change school funding instead of ranting that I’m a pathetic man? My guess: because you don’t actually care.

In other words, you don’t know what you are talking about. You just live in a conservative bubble that allows you to pretend that the US is a meritocracy. It isn’t and it never has been. But I’ll give you a little advice: if you want to be taken seriously DON’T PUT LARGE SECTIONS OF YOUR TEXT IN CAPITAL LETTERS.

Another thing: Barack Obama and Al Sharpton? You are straight out of central casting!

Producer: “Quick: I need a cliched conservative idiot!”
Casting Director: “I think Rick Watts is available.”
Producer: “Perfect!”

I’m never sure exactly what these sorts are thinking. If the JBS isn’t racist, then who are the “real racists” you and Obama are worse than? Oh, and incidentally there have been several NBA owners publicly revealed as staunch racists. Which I believe proves that many rich people are too dumb to keep their ridiculous notions in private conversations on the golf course.

The “real” racists are the ones who use the n-word and who still support the most obvious forms of racism of 50 years ago. Such people are always on the trailing edge of the issue. I’m sure he’s for voter ID too. And in 20 or 30 years, all pretense will be gone and everyone will admit that it was just a new kind of poll tax and that it was racist. And at that point, our friend here will admit that it was racist just as he won’t admit that the newest conservative racism is not.

Your ignorance is evident in your writing. You seem to be a trouble maker rather than someone with substantive views.

I’m overwhelmed by the power of your argument! If only the John Birch Society had had you around when William Buckley was picking it apart! Oh, the lost opportunity…

Attention all Frankly Curious readers: we are shutting down the site because of the raw power of Robert Smith’s devastating argument. You’ll have to find some other troublemaker to read — one who hasn’t been completely defeated by Robert Smith. If you need me, I can be found at RobertSmithDefeatedMe.com.

What a shame. I liked the Cure when I was 18. Poor Robert Smith.

Jews used to dominate basketball! And were labeled with ridiculous stereotypes for doing so (crafty, etc.) Hell, Bernie was a good baller in his day. Bernie Got Game!

Yeah. I am so sick of names like that. I have a writer named Brian Wu. Quite an amazing young man, actually. But it really confuses things. Strangely, Frank Moraes was a hugely important Indian journalist. So even names that seem relatively distinctive aren’t. (And I was born Frank Morris!) At the same time, I wish people would standardize the spelling of names. It’s Hillary, not Hilary! Or the other way around. I don’t care. Just pick one!

I think that Rick Watts wants to do a drive by racist rant. And I think Rick Watts succeeded. To the amusement of the regulars.

Yeah, I have to give some credit to libertarians who come around here. At least they stick around and engage. Of course, it is because they all believe that if I just understand libertarianism, I will be a believer. People like Watts just know I am an unrepentant racist because all we have to do is pretend racism doesn’t exist and it will disappear. So I’m hopeless.

They don’t come around that often. I like trolls, most of the time they are lots of fun to play with.

I read the WHOLE article Frank and I think you are nothing but a white guilt propagandist.. People like you ARE the new racists. Looking for any excuse to vilify any one who even mentions the idea that it’s OK to be white and proud of it. And now I’m sure you will equate this statement to “white pride” or even “white power”, neither of which is what I’m referring to. And I’m sure you think the BLM movement ISN’T a racist hate group.
What’s sad to me is in this “new” apologetic, white male emasculating America that encourages all sorts of pride black pride, gay pride, Muslim pride, or pride in the country you came from instead of the country you now live in, the only thing you CAN’T be proud of is being straight, Christian, middle class, and white.

Oh, dear. This reminds me of something James Loewen pointed out about “Southern Pride.” There are all kinds of Southern heroes to be proud of just not Confederate generals. There were people, black and white, women and men, gay and straight, Christians and atheists and Jews, who risked and lost their lives fighting slavery and segregation.

It’s hard to know how to respond to this sort of thing when we happen across it. If I have any idea where the person is coming from, there’s some kind of opening. But if all they share is anger, I’m flummoxed. And there’s a lot of anger going around.

That’s an excellent point. I’ve noted before that southerners never pull out The Sound and the Fury and yell, “Southern pride!” Because that is the sort of thing that the south has rather a lot to be proud of. I’ve always been blown away by the southern gothic writers — you can see a much clearer connection to Britain than you do from northern writers. But there are so many other things to be proud of too. But it’s clear that “southern pride” is not about pride at all.

Of course, I doubt this guy is from the south. Like so many people, he reminds me of some old Lou Reed lyrics:

Some people got no choice
And they can never find a voice
To talk with that they can even call their own.
So the first thing that they see
That allows them the right to be,
Why they follow it…
You know, it’s called bad luck.

Yeah, the guy didn’t mention the Confederate flag, so probably not. I just brought up Loewen because Southerners say the same stuff when people talk about replacing monuments to Confederate generals. And they have a ton of better things to be proud of, instead, yet they cling to the worst. So it goes with white male straight Christians, as you mentioned in your response.

Personally I veer towards regional pride rather than family/heritage pride. I find family history interesting (and spooky!) but I don’t feel any emotional connection of pride or shame towards it. They aren’t me.

Regional pride is pride in my neighbors. I’m proud we were the first state to vote down a gay marriage ban ballot measure. When it comes to regional history, the more you learn about it, the more you learn it was mostly bad (I think that goes for everywhere). Yet individuals and movements rose above the prejudices of their time. It doesn’t make me proud — it gives me hope for the species.

I think the first time I heard “Street Hassle” I knew I’d remember those lines for a long time …

Yeah, I understand that. I feel shame that California passed Prop 8.

Personally, however, I’ve always been more of a globalist. I’m impressed that humans went to the Moon. I don’t see that as something by the US or the men themselves. It was something we all did in our amazingly complex interactions. But I see humans more and more as a system. This is a direct outgrowth of the way the economy works. I think if people better understood economics, there would be revolution. None of it makes sense.

None of this means that I think humans are perfect. I just think we are a fascinating species and it is interesting to be part of it.

You can read the WHOLE article and still not get past your obvious prejudices. Your comment doesn’t address anything that I wrote. It is just yet another cliched “whites are being oppressed” rant.

Who told you that you can’t be proud of being straight, Christian, middle class, and white? Certainly not me! I would just point out, as I did inside the WHOLE article, race is an invented concept. Racism exists race does not.

But the only people I hear saying you can’t be proud of your heritage are people ranting on like you. But the truth is, when people say they are proud to be “white” they are more saying something about what they are proud to not be — it is not an affirmative statement it is a reactive statement. If I were the kind of person to care about such things, I would say that I was proud of my Portuguese heritage. No one gets mad when someone talks about how much they love their French ancestors. But “white”? How could I be proud of my German heritage if I don’t have one?

Finally: don’t you see the need for “pride” movements among weak groups that just isn’t there among strong groups? Don’t you see why Israel is so important to the vast majority of Jews? Don’t you see that if all the ex-presidents went around complaining that “you can’t even be proud to have been president” that everyone would think they were a bunch of whiny jerks?

I don’t know you and I can’t say much about you. But I can say this: you’re a whiner! Grow up!

[Comment removed due to trolling. If you’d like to see it, you can view the page source. -FM]

I said race is an invented concept because that is a scientific fact. It is also a historical fact, as it has been well documented when and why it was created.

Your statement about “intellectual pedigree” is just sad. You are a whiner, because your first comment whined. In this comment, you’re just trolling. I don’t allow trolling. Further posts will be deleted unread.

If you set out to make me think today mission accomplished! I really like your writing style and how you express your ideas. Thank you.

This is spammy. But the website is kinda charming so I’m leaving it up. But as the Grand Poobah of baseball around here, James can veto this decision.

Looks for all the world to me like someone just trying to make a little money referring readers to glove sellers. Harmless enough. And whoever wrote it wasn’t born an English speaker, so I root for them. A more specific site name might help, though.

So we have the James seal of approval? I’ve had to go back to nofollow links in comments, so I’m not as concerned. What does bug me is: why not do this on a baseball post? I know why, of course. This post was linked to somewhere. So I’ve been getting a lot of traffic on it. I probably should take the comment down. But: baseball gloves! Sometimes I wish that I was nine years old again…

There’s this very boring thing ESPN shows every year during the All-Star Break, called the Home Run Derby. Sluggers hit batting-practice homers over and over. It’s mind-numbingly dull. The only good part about it is all their kids get to shag lazy flies in the outfield.

Cool song. I remember making myself dizzy like that. It’s basically the little kid version of getting high.

Yes, that was cute. Although that’s something I don’t like about baseball. I want to sit where no ball can come flaying at me. If I had any coordination, I would bring a glove. A really big one!

I was at a minor-league game some years ago, behind the netting, totally protected. And still, when a foul came rocketing at my face, I jumped halfway out of my seat. The PA announcer intoned one word, “FLINCH,” and the crowd had a good laugh. It was pretty funny, honestly.

Ah! Let me tell you about my experience. I hate loud sounds and things moving quickly toward me. I jump. And fast. I always saw this as an indication of my cowardly nature. But one time a guy saw spin around at some sound. He said, “Wow, you have quick reflexes.” And then I saw Ronin where Gregor catches the coffee cup. Sam (who was testing him) says, “Good reflexes.” And Gregor replies, “Oh yeah, they die hard.” Ever since, I’d defined my jumpy nature as a sign that I am a badass. Because let’s be clear: they are all trying to kill me.

The vicissitudes of fate. You should have grown up in Finland and been a hockey goalie. They’re padded like the Michelin Man, no puck can hurt them, and they don’t have to skate very well. Just have good fear-based reflexes.

I have one good reflex. If I knock a fragile object off a counter, I reflexively stick out my foot to break its fall. This has saved many items, as I am a clumsy oaf. Also I can throw popcorn in the air and catch it in my mouth. These are my list of skills.

There’s a nice scene regarding that in The Mighty Ducks. But that would take a lot of training. I can well imagine getting out of the way of the puck. It would push entirely against my impulses to get in the way of it. But I do have skating badly down, so there’s that.

White people will always love the worst of white people from Stalin to Hitler from John Gotti to Al Capone from Dylann Roof to Freddy Krueger. White people love white communist white Nazi white skinheads white nationalist even if the John Birch Society has plans on destroying the American government if it’s white people that’s doing it white people will love that too.

Birchers often want us to believe that the JBS could not possibly be described as facilitating racism or pandering to racists just because of the number of black Americans who were members of the JBS.

However, the Communist Party USA had at least 20-30 times as many black Party members as the JBS—and even more significantly—UNLIKE the Birch Society, the Communist Party elevated many black Party members into senior positions within the Party.

NEVERTHELESS, it is very clear that there were MAJOR arguments within the CPUSA between white and black members — particularly between their African-American leaders such as Claude Lightfoot, Benjamin Davis Jr., Pettis Perry, and James Jackson and white leaders like Gus Hall.

Often, the black CPUSA leaders characterized the white CPUSA leadership as racist in their beliefs and practices. Black Party members complained bitterly about “white chauvinism” within the Party. Some of the corroboration for this situation within the CPUSA can be found in testimony by African Americans who later became JBS members and speakers–such as Julia Brown and Lola Belle Holmes.

For example, Julia Brown told the FBI that:
“She has stated that she has found absolutely as much ‘racial prejudice’ and ‘white chauvinism’ in the CP as ‘there is in Mississippi’. And that many Negroes who have been duped by the CP and who have become ‘tools’ of the Party, need to have ‘their eyes opened’. [FBI-Los Angeles 100-54554, serial #489 2/5/60, in CPUSA-COINTELPRO file re: Julia C. Brown]

During her June 4, 1962 testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities Julia declared she was not allowed to attend her neighborhood Communist club meetings “because it was a Jim Crow club.”

So, the assurances by JBS members which refer exclusively to the number or presence of black members within the JBS mean absolutely NOTHING!

Lastly, many of the African Americans who “praised” the JBS (1) were employees of the JBS and (2) contradicted their previous stated positions regarding the JBS AFTER they became PAID JBS employees.

I agree. You are going to find this in any group. And groups that think of themselves as enlightened usually have difficulty addressing their own blind spots. However, this article is not meant to be a takedown of the JBS. It’s more along the lines of snark.

In the course of these four years under the trump administration I’ve often wondered what exactly the trend was that attracted people to Trumpism. My stepfather, who is a staunch conservative, who I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh on our ranch in west Texas and constantly berate Obama since 󈧌, has been in complete opposition to Donald Trump since before he became president and yet, I have liberal friends who outright supported him since 2016. My grandmother advocated for Trump. I thought this was strange at first but, you see, my grandfather was born in 1918, a WWII vet who grew up during segregation who campaigned, along with other members of my family, for Barry Goldwater during 1964 and he became an early member of the John Birch Society, in 1959, I believe. I’ve had to politically turn against my Father’s side of the family, whom over 90% (including my millennial generation) have conjoined with the nationalist populist party of Trump and I now have to reflect whether the fact that my Grandfather’s connection with the JBS (which some call QAnon 1.0) is… I should have opened with the fact that my grandfather is extremely racist. He grew up during segregation and continued to support that model throughout his entire life and as a child watched him practically froth at the mouth seeing a POC on the television but this overt racism obviously didn’t stop with him. He got dementia before I met him and he died in 2010 and now in this current climate where I wish I could ask him questions on why he supported such extreme values and the history where he stood supported in his decisions I’m left without much support or understanding why the rest of my family and other people who feel isolated from their familys’ now not so covert racist tendencies are now transcended in this political climate of extremism under the confederate flag under Trumpism. I have so much I want to say about this but I want to ask “Why is the John Birch Society so successful at manipulating Americans into extremism and what can we do to be the solution?”

One thing that helped the JBS was that they organized well. But I think it’s fairly easy to organize when you have a boogieman that people already hate or fear. I think that same thing is true of Trump, but that it’s more complicated. He is a charismatic person. And there are lots of people on the left and right who have never really thought about politics — they just go along with everyone around them. In California, we see a lot of people like that on the left. I assume in Texas, you see that more on the right. And that explains Obama-Trump voters. When a man like Trump comes along, they follow. It’s been well documented in political science research that people do not generally support a politician because of policy. They decide they like a politician and then mold their policy preferences to this support. I know it’s discouraging. We’d all like to believe that ideas matter in politics but mostly they don’t. On the other hand, I think it also means that support for Trump’s ideas begins and ends with him.

There is also some interesting research (John Dean discusses it in his book Conservtives Without Conscience) that indicates when authoritarian followers are shown their authoritarianism, they often change. But frankly, I’m not that optimistic about this country given the systemic advantages that conservatives have (Even while Republicans whine about their oppression!) and the dark turn the Republican Party has taken in recent decades.


Birch Told Chennault That the War Was Almost Over, and He Intended to Stay Until “the Last Jap is Out of China.”

Birch’s opinion of the OSS changed when Lieutenant Bill Miller, a recent West Point graduate, came to visit him at Ankang where he had been hospitalized during another bout with malaria. The young officer told Birch that he was famous in the OSS and that everyone back in Washington had heard about him. Birch replied that it was probably because of the message he had sent. Miller confirmed that he knew about it but that Birch was widely respected for the magnificent job he had been doing in China for the past three years. He told Birch that he had been assigned as an escape and evasion agent to the airfield at Foyuang about 50 miles from Birch’s base at Linchuan. Deciding he liked Miller, Birch offered to help him all he could.

When Smith returned from Washington, he brought Birch back to Kunming to attempt to talk him into accepting the transfer to the OSS. Birch was adamant in his refusal and insisted on remaining with the Fourteenth Air Force. Smith was not surprised. The rest of his staff had also been opposed to the transfer, but he had managed to talk all of them into accepting it. All, that is, except Birch. Chennault himself joined in the effort to convince Birch to accept the transfer, but the officer, who had been promoted to captain, remained obstinate. They finally worked out a compromise. Birch would work for and with the OSS but would remain on the Fourteenth Air Force roster. Chennault attempted once again to convince him to take a furlough in India, and Birch was tempted since it would offer him an opportunity to spend time with his former fiancée. Birch told Chennault that the war was almost over, and he intended to stay until “the last Jap is out of China.”

Birch was now a captain, and the Chinese had given him a name, Bey Shang We, which literally meant Birch Captain. Although his activities were classified, John Birch was well known throughout China, especially among the Chinese military and the Christian community. He was also known to the Communists, who occupied a mountainous region in northern China and had done very little to oppose the Japanese. Birch was a strong anti-Communist and had been before he came to China. When he got there, he learned from the veteran missionaries that the Communists were considered to be more of a menace than the Japanese.

After three years in China, Birch had come to believe that Mao and his Communists were merely waiting for the Allies to defeat the Japanese, and were depending on combat to wear down the Nationalist forces so that they would be unable to resist a Communist takeover after the war. Birch was not one who kept his views to himself and frequently admonished his friends and associates of what he believed were Communist intentions—to take over China, then move into Korea.

Birch had been in the war since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, first as a missionary wandering through remote regions and existing on starvation rations, then as an intelligence officer operating in enemy territory. He was emotionally if not physiclly worn out, and was tired of the war. He also felt that he, like Chennault, was being shoved aside. He had discovered the Anhwei pocket and set up operations there, but now there were three bases in the area he had pioneered and he had been made subordinate to an OSS major. When he got word that his family was thinking about selling the farm he had worked so hard to establish, he became even more morose. He wrote an essay reflecting his emotions entitled “The War Weary Farmer.”

Birch’s intelligence network brought news of Communist activities in northern China and Manchuria. Chinese Communist troops were occupying territory that had been abandoned by the Japanese, who were in full retreat now that the end of the war was near. Communists in Henan Province tore up dikes that held back the Yellow River, causing flooding in the Anhwei pocket that destroyed what had promised to be a bumper crop. Birch was at his base at Linchuan when he got word of the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. He also received orders telling him to make preparations to move north into Japanese territory to accept the surrender of Japanese garrisons.

Keeping a sharp lookout for movement by the Japanese enemy, Chinese soldiers have taken cover in deep and lengthy trenches just beyond the Burmese frontier.

Immediately after the Japanese surrender announcement, Mao’s Communists came out of the hills where they had been hiding and moved into Japanese territory as quickly as possible before American and Nationalist forces could come in. Their intention was to capture arms and ammunition and disrupt Allied lines of communications. General Wedemeyer ordered OSS offices in China to make plans to get their agents to Japanese installations as quickly as possible to make arrangements for surrender to the proper authorities. Birch and his friend Bill Miller were ordered to Süchow. Miller made plans to go by junk and suggested that Birch and his party go with him, but Birch replied that it was too risky and that he hoped to get a plane. The two talked openly in their regular morning radio conversation since the war was over and they felt no need to speak in code.

The plane did not come through so Birch made plans to hike overland to Kweiteh and catch the east train on the Lunghai railroad. His friend and fellow agent Captain Jim Hart warned him that the Communists might already be in control of the railroad and suggested he go with Miller instead. Hart later reported that Birch went into a tirade about how the Antichrist would soon take control of the world and that Communists were his servants.

The following morning Birch and his party departed. Three other Americans—Lieutenant Laird Ogle, Sergeant Albert Meyers, and Albert Grimes, a civilian OSS operative—five Chinese officers, and two Japanese-speaking Koreans along with Birch made up the party. One of the Chinese, Lieutenant Tung Fu Kuan, was assigned as Birch’s aide. When they arrived at Kweiteh, they were joined by two Chinese who had collaborated with the Japanese, a general and his orderly. The general was to escort them to his counterpart in Süchow, where they would accept the Japanese surrender. A Japanese officer received the party at Kweiteh and assured them they would be well received at Süchow, but that there were Communist guerrillas along the railroad to the east.

Forty-five miles down the railroad the train halted at the station at Tangshan. The Japanese stationmaster informed the Korean interpreters that the railroad had been sabotaged up the line and that Communists, Japanese, and Chinese puppet troops were fighting in the area. The train was going to remain in the town until the rails had been repaired and the fighting ended. Birch and his party discussed their options. Ogle proposed that the four Americans go on alone. Birch decided they would all go and commandeered the locomotive and a baggage car. After only 10 miles, the locomotive came to a halt when the engineer saw that the rails ahead had been removed. Ogle and Birch went into a village to hire coolies but learned that Communists had come in the night before and killed most of the men. A Japanese work crew arrived with new rails. Birch commandeered the handcar and told the Japanese commander to have his men move it over the break.

After spending the night in a village about a mile down the tracks, Birch and his party got under way again early the next morning, with each man taking turns pumping the handcar in the hot China sun. Sometime before noon they ran into a group of about 300 Communists, all carrying arms. The Americans and Chinese were all in uniform, and Birch wore the well-known Flying Tiger insignia of the Fourteenth Air Force on his arm. There was little doubt who they were. Birch took Lieutenant Tung ahead of the party to meet the Communists, identifying himself as Captain John Birch of the American intelligence services on a mission under the orders of General Wedemeyer. He asked to be taken to their “responsible man.”

One of the Communists said he would take them to their leader, but they must first disarm. Birch refused, responding that the Americans and Chinese were allies and must respect each other. The Communist argued for a time, then gave in and took Birch to a man he identified as their commanding officer. The officer demanded that he be allowed to examine the men’s equipment, and Birch refused, replying that their equipment was the property of the U.S. government and not for personal use. He advised the Communist that the United States dealt harshly with thieves and demanded that they be allowed on their way.


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