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Alvan V. Burch

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alvan Vernon Burch, Sr.
Alvan V. Burch.png
Alvan V. Burch, Sr. in 1946
Indiana State Auditor
In office
December 1, 1944 – December 1, 1948
GovernorHenry F. Schricker
Ralph F. Gates
Preceded byRichard T. James
Succeeded byJames M. Propst
Personal details
Born(1886-05-27)May 27, 1886
Crawford County, Illinois, U.S.
DiedNovember 21, 1973(1973-11-21) (aged 87)
Evansville, Indiana, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Violet Hadley 1907–
Janet Beckhan
Velma Bohier –death
ResidenceEvansville, Indiana, U.S.

Alvan Vernon Burch, Sr. (also called A. V. Burch) (May 27, 1886–November 21, 1973) was an American businessperson, public servant, inventor and politician. He served as chairman of the first Indiana State Highway Commission and was a leader in the development of Highway 40, Highway 50 and the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge. Burch served as Indiana State Auditor from 1944 until 1948. As long-time president of Burch Plow Company, he co-invented a rotary wheel hoe.

Early life and career

Alvan Vernon Burch was born in a log cabin in Crawford County, Illinois on May 27, 1886. As an adult, he would tell people he was born in 1901. His parents were Sarah and Jasper Burch. He had many siblings and the family was very poor. Burch's highest level of education was 8th grade.[1]

Burch held a wide variety of jobs in his early life. When he was seventeen, Burch worked for Kelly Axe Factory in Alexandria, Indiana.[3] He also worked at a coal mine.[4] Burch eventually moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he worked in the railroad industry. He was a switchman and a dispatcher. Circa 1907, he worked as a motorman on the Martinsville-Indianapolis Interurban Railway.[1][3] On November 6 1907, he married his first wife, Violet Hadley, in Mooresville, Indiana.[1] [3] He met Hadley while he was working as a motorman.[3] The couple would have three children: twins Harold and Gerald, and Alvan, Jr.[1]

The family moved to Mooresville, Indiana, where he owned a grocery store.[1] Burch also worked in insurance during his early career.[4]


Burch and his family returned to Evansville in the late 1910s or early 1920s to work as a sales manager for Blunt Plow Company.[1] He eventually moved up ranks, and within ten years he became sales manager, vice president and eventually president in 1926.[1][3] He would become owner, renaming the company Burch Plow Company.[1]

Indiana Governor Warren T. McCray appointed Burch, in 1921, to be vicechairman for the first Indiana State Highway Commission. Burch eventually became chairman. During his tenure, the commission built U.S. Route 40 and U.S. Route 50. He designed U.S. Route 41. He lobbied for the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge to be built in 1928-29 and was called "instrumental" at ensuring the bridge was completed and funded by taxpayer money.[1]

In the 1940s, Burch got involved in politics. He served as city comptroller of Evansville.[5] He was a delegate to the 1944 Republican National Convention. That same year, he ran for Indiana State Auditor and won. He held the position from December 1944 until December 1948. After, he unsuccessfully ran for three additional offices: United State Congress, Indiana Governor, and Mayor of Evansville.[1] As of 1949, he was still president of Burch Plow Works. That year, he and John F. Rude received a patent for a rotary hoe wheel.[6]

Later life and death

Burch's first wife, Violet, eventually died. He remarried twice, to Janet Beckhan, followed by Velma Bohier. He was active in numerous service organizations, including Kiwanis, Shriners, Loyal Order of Moose, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Service Star Legion, and he was a Mason. He co-founded the Evansville Association of the Blind.[1]

He died on November 21, 1973 in Evansville.[1] He is buried at Oak Hill Cemetery in Evansville.[2]


Burch's papers are held in the collection of the Indiana State Library.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Huffman, Edythe. "Collection: Alvan V. Burch, Sr. papers". Indiana State Library Manuscripts Catalog. Indiana State Library. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Alvan Vernon Burch, Sr (1886-1973)". Find a Grave. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Alvin V. Burch formerly lived in this county". The Reporter-Times. 10 April 1944. p. 1. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Hoosiers chose with care when they chose Alvan V. Burch as Auditor of State". The Noblesville Ledger. 3 October 1946. p. 1. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  5. ^ "Lincoln Day". The South Bend Tribune. 27 January 1946. p. 17. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Rotary hoe wheel". Google Patents. Google. 31 August 1949. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
This page was last edited on 23 July 2020, at 19:47
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