|CAPTAIN BILLINGS BURCH, a retired
sea captain of Stonington and a son of Samuel and Mary (Sloan) Burch, of
Stonington, was born October 18, 1818. The grandfather, Billings Burch,
of Stonington, was in the Revolutionary War, and for the services then
rendered drew a pension during the rest of his life. He followed the trade
of carpenter and wheelwright, and died in 1839 or 1840, at the age of ninety-two.
By his first marriage, which was contracted with Susannah Bentley, of Hopkinton,
R.I., he had five children— Samuel and four daughters — all of whom married
and had families. A second marriage united him with Jane Clark, of Stonington.
Samuel Burch, born either in Stonington or
Hopkinton, R.I., in 1776, was a carpenter by trade. He served in the War
of 1812, and afterward drew a pension from the government. At his death,
in 1858, he was eighty-two years of age. His wife, Mary, whom he married
April 5, 1811, had six children, namely: William, born in 1814, now living
in Bozrah; James, who died in Preston in 1881; Billings, the subject of
this biography; George, who was a mason, and died in Stonington; Charles,
who died in Rhode Island; and Mary, who was the wife of Captain Brewster,
and died in Stonington, which was her native town.
Billings Burch received a good education
in the district schools. When fourteen years of age he went to sea as cook
on the coasting schooner "Brakewater." After spending two years in the
coasting trade, he was offered the command of a schooner, but preferred
to avail of a chance to go on a whaling expedition. On this occasion he
shipped as a hand before the mast, and went on a voyage of twenty-one months,
going around Cape Horn. Captain Burch has been on eight whaling expeditions,
serving in the several capacities of boatswain, third mate, second mate,
and captain. In the last-named capacity he commanded the ship "Corva" on
the "West Coast" and the "Charles Phelps" twice in the Arctic Ocean. He
has been three times around the world, and during his sea voyages took
twenty-five thousand barrels of sperm and whale oil, and whalebone enough
to make him a millionaire if he had it now. He left the sea forty years
ago, and since then has led a quiet life at his home in Stonington.
In 1847 Captain Burch married Nancy M. Chesebro,
a daughter of Elihu and Nancy (Pendleton) Chesebro and a grand-daughter
of Elihu Chesebro, who was a Baptist preacher in Stonington for twenty
years. Captain and Mrs. Burch have had six children, of whom two died in
childhood. The others are: Mary, the wife of Harris Pendleton, of New London;
Nancy Bell, the wife of James V. Trumbull, of Hartford; Oliver C., who
lives at home; and Billings, now in New York. Both the Captain and Mrs.
Burch are earnest workers and members of the Baptist church.
Biographical Review Volume
Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens
of New London County Connecticut
Biographical Review Publishing Company