|Born||Dec. 18, 1840|
|Places of residence||Wodehouse, Euphrasia Township, Grey County, Ontario|
|Titles & honors||A small collection of his finds (5 to 10 articles) are at the Royal Ontario Museum (c. 2016), in the "Normal School Collection".|
Frederick Birch was born in England, and emigrated to Canada in 1851. He married Elizabeth Robinson of Toronto, Gore Township, on December 24, 1863. The couple were married in Peel County. Fred was 23, and Elizabeth was 22. She had been born in Upper Canada (Ontario).
They moved circa 18__ to Grey County.
They farmed in the Wodehouse district of Euphrasia Township, Grey County (the community was also known as "New England"). Fred was a Methodist. His father, Francis Birch, also came to Grey County.
Frederick Birch was very interested in collecting First Nations items. Some of Birch's finds were noted in the ANNUAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL REPORT (1903), that was published in 1904. Mr. Birch was at Wodehouse at that time. He also prepared a catalogue of his finds, which provided the lot and concession numbers of the find locations.
The Birch family also kept three shadowbox wreaths. It is very likely that Mrs. Birch worked on them.
The 1901 census of Euphrasia recorded Frederick Birch as born in England on Dec. 18, 1840, age 60, and provided 1851 as his emigration year. His wife Elizabeth's birthdate was Feb. 14, 1841 (age 60) and she had been born in Ontario. The following children resided with them in 1901: Mary Birch (b. Dec. 24, 1864, age 36), Hannah M. Birch (b. Dec. 22, 1869, age 31), Rhoda A. Birch (b. Nov. 2, 1880 age 19, and Frederick J. Birch (b. May 31, 1884, age 16).
The family is buried at the New England Cemetery in the former Euphrasia Township:
Frederick Birch 1840-1923
Elizabeth 1841-1913 (wife)
Ester (Esther?) 1879-1881
Francis George Birch 1867-1895
Eleanor Birch 1873-1899
Frederick John Birch 1884-1911
Hannah Birch 1869-1958
Mary J. Birch 1865-1954
and four un-named infants (buried between 1872-1878)
Rhoda Birch was a schoolteacher in St. Vincent (at White's School, circa 1901). Rhoda A. Birch married a farmer that was formerly from Straithnairn, Ontario, Victor Bowes, on June 26, 1907, and they farmed in St. Vincent Township at Lot 3, Concession 11.
In 1903, fifty-eight artifacts of First Nations origin, made of stone and clay, were at the Provincial Museum in Toronto, and were a gift of Frederick Birch, a resident of Wodehouse, Grey County. The Superintendent of the museum, David Boyle, was impressed with the small clay pipe, and also mentioned a slate gouge and an axe from Euphrasia Township. He mentioned them in a May 26, 1903 thank you letter to Fred Birch.
Frederick Birch also apparently assembled another collection, as a catalogue listing dated Feb. 9, 1915, mentions some artifacts that were finds from Grey County. For example, a duck-shaped amulet of stealite, that was found near Rocklyn by Ezra Cook, who had turned it up with the plough. Was it a birdstone?
Grey Roots has several archaeological finds that were collected by Frederick Birch.
Amateur Archaeologist (First Nations artifacts) / Collector
EUPHRASIA: GLIMPSES PAST AND PRESENT, 1989, pp. 7, 8, 9 (re Fred Birch archaelogy), page 424 re the family burial plot
Ufland, Vina, ST. VINCENT SCHOOLS & OTHER CHRONICLES, has an image of Miss Rhoda Birch's 1901 school group.
Grandson: Frank Garbutt Bowes of St. Vincent Township (later resided at Owen Sound, Grey County)
Great-grandson: Robert Bowes
Son-in-law Victor G. Bowes of St. Vincent Township
|Spouse||Elizabeth Robinson, m. December 24, 1863|
This is a First Nations-made banner stone, from the Fred Birch Collection. The thorough hole would have been hand-drilled. Its slate stone has a greyish colouration. It is likely very old, perhaps from the Laurentian or Middle Archaic culture? See RELATED for other items collected by Mr. Birch. Bannerstones are now thought to have had some use in regards to providing atlatl weights for spears.
A feather and wire and wool floral wreath, worked with wire. It is an open-topped wreath. Some of the feather flowers are rounded, some are pointy (sawtoothed), and there are a couple fuschia flowers. The other flowers look like roses, peonies, petunias, mockoranges, apple blossom, daffodils, and trilliums. There are some flowers with bright pink stamen/pistil areas. Others have a dull yellow centres or are made of wires with something waxy on the ends to simulate stamen/pistil areas. Paper-based faux green leaves and a couple fern-like leaves are included in the design. A black fabric is used in the background (has vine and pinwheel patterns). The wooden shadowbox frame for the wreath
White woollen wreath in a shadow box. The flowers are made from white unspun wool or cotton which has been combed into sheets and lacquered on one side. These sheets have been folded and cut into petals and other shapes which make up the flowers. There are leaves worked into the wreath as well, some are green, some are brown (may be real leaves which have been lacquered). The centers of the flowers have multi-coloured spun wool in them as well as wire stamens.
One wool wreath, with coloured flowers, in a shadowbox frame.
This is a First Nations-made or used stone item, perhaps from the Laurentian Culture?, that has an affixed hand-drawn French-related picture on it that was likely added in the 19th-century. The black-inked illustration has a crucifix superimposed over a First Nations war club. There is a large "5" on the display side of the stone (removed in 2015).
Remnant of a stone age slate gorget (First Nations artifact), from the Fred Birch Collection of Grey County. This item is only partial. A display drawing mount has been provided to suggest what it would look like in entirety. It is a smoothly-ground stone item. It might be called banded slate by collectors. The hole would have been drilled by hand. Originally, the item would have had two holes. The slate is now faded. - -
These are two First Nations-made clay smoking pipe sherds (shards), that are a light-brown in colour. The stem piece is about 5.5 cm long. It has a plain bit. Its shank has tiny, diagonal notches, and two grooves also decorate it. The bowl area is squarish at the top with slightly-impressed lines on each side. The corners each have a vertical notch decorating them. See RELATED for other archaeological items collected by Fred Birch. It is believed that such pipes were made by wrapping a bent twig with clay. During its firing, the wood would burn away, leaving a hollow pipestem inside the pipe. This pipe dates from the late period of Ontario Iroquoian artefacts (prior to European contac
This piece of flint (chert) is from the Frederick Birch Collection of archaeological finds. Chert was an important toolstone, that was flaked and made into various edged tools or points by the First Nations people. There is an ancient source of chert toolstone in Grey County (Redwing area, called Collingwood chert), but we do not know if this piece originates from there yet. The function of this piece is not yet determined. See RELATED for other items collected by Fred Birch.
A First Nations-made stone tool from the Fred Birch Collection, that is 17.7 cm long, 5.9 cm wide and 1.7 cm deep. See RELATED for other items from the Birch Collection.
A First Nations-made, double-ended stone chisel hand tool or a digging tool head from the Fred Birch Collection.