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John Birch. In uniform with the rank of captain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


Birch, John (28 May 1918–25 August 1945), Baptist missionary and military officer, was born John Morrison Birch in Landaur, India, the son of George S. Birch and Ethel Ellis Birch. Both parents were Methodist missionaries under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. George Birch was also an agricultural professor at Ewing Christian College, Allahabad, India, while Ethel Birch tutored English there and conducted women's Bible classes nearby. In 1920 the family returned to the United States. George Birch became a fruit farmer in Vineland, New Jersey, where John Birch first went to school. In 1930 the family, by then including seven children, moved to Rome, Georgia, where Birch attended high school. After graduating at the head of his class, he entered Mercer University; there, he deepened his religious convictions and evangelical passion and graduated magna cum laude in 1939. He completed a two-year course at the Bible Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in one year and then left in July 1940 for China, sponsored by a World's Fundamentalist Baptist Missionary Fellowship....


Wilson, Samuel (13 September 1766–31 July 1854), meat packer and inspiration for Uncle Sam, was born in Menotomy (now Arlington), Massachusetts, the seventh of thirteen children of Edward Wilson and Lucy Francis Wilson, farmers. Wilson grew up in Menotomy and on a farm near Mason, New Hampshire, where the family moved when he was fourteen years old. In February 1789 the twenty-two-year old Samuel Wilson and his older brother Ebenezer Wilson left home to seek their fortunes in Troy, New York, seven miles north of Albany. Within a year they were operating a successful brickyard, and four years later the brothers established a meatpacking operation as E. and S. Wilson, which became their primary business. In January 1797 Samuel Wilson married Betsey Mann, whom he had known for nearly a decade. They had four children, but only two survived....