There can be no greater honor than to serve one's country honestly and
conscientiously in any capacity, but when the nation's integrity is at stake
and it becomes necessary for the citizen soldiery to leave plow and workshop
and go into the conflict, risking limb and life, it is a much greater
sacrifice and the honor attached thereto is higher than almost any other
known to man. Of this worthy class belongs the subject of this sketch, a
veteran of the war between the states, who has long led an active and useful
life in Marion county.
Levi Branch was born in Meigs county, Ohio, January 3, 1843, the son of Samuel S. and Elizabeth (Smith) Branch, the former a native of Vermont, of hardy New England stock, having been born there December 27, 1801. He was a farmer and also a Baptist preacher. Grandfather Stephen Branch moved to Ohio when Samuel was an infant of twelve months. There were three boys and one girl in their family. He died January 29, 1862. Elizabeth Smith, mother of the subject, was born in Pennsylvania August 4, 1806. Samuel S. Branch and wife were the parents of seven children, four boys and three girls, of whom Levi, our subject, is the sixth child in order of birth. He was the son of Samuel S. Branch's third wife. There was one son by his first wife and one daughter by his second wife. A half brother of the subject was also in the Union army and five of the Branch brothers were in the Civil war, all of whom returned home after their enlistments had expired. Levi Branch enlisted at Springfield, Illinois, and he left Wayne county April 27, 1863, being a member of Company M, Fifth Illinois Cavalry, under Colonel McConnell and Capt. R. N. Jessup. His first active service was in a skirmish in Missouri and he was captured ne"ar Collinsville, Tennessee, where he and three of his comrades were held for twentyfour hours and were then sent to Memphis on fictitious parole given by the colonel in the saddle. He was discharged at Springfield October 27, 1865, after having made an excellent record as a soldier, returning to Wayne county and took up farming after the war.
Mr. Branch was married to Clarinda Phillips January 3, 1864, and to this union six children have been born, all deceased. The oldest daughter, Ida E., who was a graduate of the Centralia high school, died when twenty-four years of age. The other children died in infancy.
Clarinda Phillips, the daughter of John and Harriett Phillips, of Wayne county, Illinois, is the third child in a family of five children, all girls. Mr. and Mrs. Branch moved from Wayne county to Austin, Minesota, in 1876, where they remained one year, then came to Rice county, Kansas, where they remained for fifteen years, and in 1892 moved to Centralia, where Mr. Branch followed the carpenter's trade, having done considerable contracting also in this city. He has always been known as a very able workman, his services being satisfactory to all concerned, for he is conscientious and painstaking.
In politics Mr. Branch is a Republican, but he is a great admirer of William J. Bryan, for whom he voted three times. In religion he adheres to the Baptist faith, in which he was reared, but he joined the Christian church, and is a faithful attendant of the same. He is known to be a man of uprightness and honest in all his dealings with his fellow men, and he has won many friends since coming to Centralia, where he has been very successful in his line of business.
Extracted 27 May 2019 by Norma Hass from 1909 Biographical and Reminiscent History of Richland, Clay and Marion Counties, Illinois, pages 599-600.