John Chilton Burch

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John Chilton Burch (February 1, 1826 – August 31, 1885) was a California Democratic politician and United States Congressman. He served as the Secretary of the United States Senate from 1879 through 1881.

Burch was born in Boone County, Missouri. He attended the Bonne Femme Academy and Kemper College, and then studied law in Jefferson City, Missouri. Burch was admitted to the bar, practiced law, then became deputy clerk of Cole County, Missouri, and Assistant Adjutant General of Missouri.

Burch moved to California in 1850 during the California Gold Rush and worked in the mines until 1851. He was elected clerk of the newly organized Trinity County, and was appointed district attorney in 1853.

Burch was elected to the California State Assembly in 1856 and then served in the California State Senate until 1859. He was elected as a Democrat to the 36th Congress (1859–61). After serving one term, he resumed the practice of law in San Francisco. He was appointed a code commissioner and served four years, but declined to be a candidate for Judge of the Supreme Court of California.

Burch died 1885 in San Francisco and is interred in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery in Sacramento, California.[1]


  1. ^ "Burch, John Chilton". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved May 5, 2011. 
California Assembly
Preceded by
W. W. Upton
California State Assemblyman, 12th District
(Trinity County seat)

1857 – 1858
Succeeded by
R. P. Hirst, A. B. Walker
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Joseph C. McKibbin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's at-large congressional district

March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1861
Succeeded by
Timothy Guy Phelps
Political offices
Preceded by
George C. Gorham
Secretary of the United States Senate
March 24, 1879 – July 28, 1881
Succeeded by
Anson G. McCook