family Welch (1768 - 1944)
from whence did the Welch come?
Several accounts exist as to the European origins of the Welch ancestors, any of which may be possible, but none proven.
Three brothers from Wales: There is a persistent tale in Welch history of three Welch brothers that came from Wales. Some go further to say the name Welch was given to them, with only minor corruption, because they were Welsh, which is what people from Wales are called.
Welch as Queen’s Bodyguard: There is a story that a Welch ancestor was a Member of the Queen’s Guards – the bodyguard corps to the Queen of England. After the Queen’s Guards lost a battle in a civil war to the "Orangemen", the Queen hid the guards in Wales, posing them as shepherds. When their identity was discovered the Queen arranged for them to be sent to America. If this story true, it would likely have had to occur 1688-1690 when William of Orange II (King William III of England) defeated troops of the unpopular Catholic King James I of England. The researcher who posed this story is long since dead and his files unavailable.
Welch’s were Scots: A researcher writes, “Among the Scotch families of the seventeenth century, Welch, or Welsh, stand out prominently. They seem to have had no connection with Wales as we find no record that any of the name of Welch, or Welsh, ever lived in Wales. They were always distinctly Scotch, though there is evidence that a branch of the family ….. settled in Northern Ireland. The earliest record of any one of that name in America was 1635 when John Welch arrived in New England from the British Isles, either Scotland or Ireland, the reference is not clear.”
An opinion: Based upon available data, this researcher believes the most credible theory is that the original Welch in our history was of Scottish descent, and specifically, was from Ireland of Ulster Scot descent. Data show that the Welch migration pattern was typical of Ulster Scots. Many marriages in the first several generations were with persons of Ulster Scot descent, and their friends and associates were primarily Ulster Scots.
The name Welch: A book of surnames says:
The name of Welch has become a well-known patronymic in Scotland; in England it is Walsh and Wallis. Wallis and Welch may mean French, as the early Norman settlers before the conquest were called Waslisc by the English.
Welchs in America
John5 Welch (ca 1768-1828): The first in our line of Welchs which we can identify with confidence is John5, born about 1768. It is believed he was born in Pennsylvania, although we know nothing of his early life.
Family lore, passed down through generations, tells that John served in the Revolutionary War, possibly with the Mountain Troops. The Daughters of the American Revolution believe this is true as they have established a memorial honoring his Revolutionary War service.
The first record of him is in Virginia where he married Elizabeth5 Ingraham about 1795, and where they had their first child, William4.
In 1800, John, Elizabeth, and baby William relocated to the Mount Prospect area of Buncombe County (later Waynesville, Haywood County), North Carolina, where John took out land grants on Allan's and Richland Creeks. Other Welchs also took out nearby land grants, including James, believed to be John's brother.
When Haywood County was established in 1809, John was elected as the first Senator to represent it in the North Carolina State Legislature; and he was re-elected in 1811. Records show he was a prominent and involved member of the early Haywood County political, social, and religious activities.
While living in North Carolina, John and Elizabeth had seven additional children.
About 1816 John again moved with most of his family, this time to Missouri. There he purchased a fort, Fort Kincaid, located on the Missouri River.
Lewis & Clark & Daniel Boon & Kit Carson & John Welch
The area in which Fort Kincaid is located is known as Boone's Lick, and has an interesting history.
Early in their expedition, in June, 1804, Lewis and Clark stopped at the mouth of Bonne Femme Creek, a tributary to the Missouri River. Several days were spent investigating the area and, in doing so, they found and made note of a salt spring. They stopped there again on their return trip in 1806.
Soon after, Daniel Boone found the salt spring, and with his sons established a salt manufacturing operation in 1807, shipping the salt down the Missouri River in crude canoes hollowed out of sycamore trees. The Boones were the first white inhabitants of the area, which became known as Boone's Lick from the salt manufacturing operation of the Boone family.
The surrounding area was fertile and soon attracted additional settlers, most of them Kentuckians, arriving in 1810-11, who learned about it from the Boone's. This was still Indian land, outside the acknowledged jurisdiction of the United States, and the Indians were rightfully upset about the numbers of white settlers arriving. The Indians began to harass the settlers and to steal their stock; they even dispatched more than a few with their arrows. The whites were ordered to leave by the U.S. government, but they refused to do so and, in 1812, for their protection, they erected two forts -- Cooper's Fort and Fort Kincaid. Over the next three years, the Indians were exceptionally hostile, requiring the white settlers to live in the two forts for protection. One of those living in Fort Kincaid during this time was the young Kit Carson.
In 1815 a treaty was made with the Indians by which the Indians resigned to the whites the surrounding lands. The whites could then leave the safety of the forts to establish their own farms and homes and it was the following year, 1816, that John Welch purchased Fort Kincaid.
In 1816 the Boone's Lick area was still very much a frontier, although this was the year the first territorial laws were imposed on the area and the first taxation.
After John purchased Fort Kincaid it continued to be a focal point for new pioneers to the area as well as for existing residents. Many people lived in the cabins within the fort and there existed several taverns, one of which was operated by John. He also built a race track for the amusement and pleasure of the Boone's Lick residents.
In addition to Fort Kincaid, John bought a large tract of nearby land, later known as Welch's Tract. As a land speculator, he laid out lots and advertised "its soil unsurpassed by any other part of town; where the landing of vessels and boats of all sizes can be effected every day in the year with a safe harbor. Lots so contingent to the great landing of the town, if it ever becomes a commercial place, of which there can be no doubt, may never again come into the market."
By 1820 there were 15,000 people living in Howard County, while not fifteen years before there had been only Indians. It was getting too crowded for John. In 1821 he deeded his Howard County lands to a son-in-law and moved further up the river to Clay County. There it was more frontier-like, where he bought more land at government sales, established a new home, and built a distillery.
John died in Liberty, Missouri in 1828. Elizabeth died one year later.
John and Elizabeth's oldest son, William4, was the only member of the family to permanently remain in North Carolina. The rest of the children moved with the parents to Missouri, from which some further scattered -- several of the sons traveled west from Missouri to California during the 1849 gold rush and eventually settled there. Others married and remained in Missouri.
Birth: ca 1775; PA (?)
Marriage: cir 1795, Virginia.
Birth: 08 Apr 1796; Virginia.
1st Marr: 22 Jul 1818; Martha Webb LOVE (1799-1819); Waynesville, N.C.
2nd Marr: 06 May 1820; Mary4 Ann LOVE (1805-1865); Waynesville, N.C.
Birth: ca 1800-1810
Death: 1847; N.C.
Marriage: James BAKER
Death: 12 Jul 1871
Birth: 17 Apr 1803; N.C.
Marriage: 05 Mar 1818; Issac (Ike) GEARHEART (1792- 1873); Fort Kincaid, MO
Birth: 17 Dec 1803; Raleigh, N.C.
Marriage: 09 Nov 1826; Frances Helen BROWN (1804-1875); Liberty, MO.
Death: 29 Dec 1892; Santa Clara, CA.
Andrew Jackson WELCH
Birth: 14 Jan 1816; Waynesville, Buncombe Co., N.C.
Marriage: 23 Jan 1840; Martha ALDRIDGE, (1822-1901); Buchanan Co., Missouri.
Death: 13 Jun 1871; Oak Run, Shasta Co., CA.
William4 Welch (1796-1865): William was born in 1796 in Virginia as the first child of John5 Welch and Elizabeth5 Ingraham. While he was just a small boy his family moved from Virginia to what would later become Waynesville, North Carolina.
As a boy of sixteen, he enlisted and served in the Eighth Regiment (“the Haywood Regiment”), 16th Company, during the War of 1812. His regiment was assigned to western North Carolina to fight Indians who were allied with the British. Many of the company fought with Andrew Jackson when he defeated the Creek Indians in Alabama, although it is not clear if William was with him or not.
At an early age he opened a general store with the help of his father and went on to became a successful, prosperous businessman.
When he was twenty, his parents, along with his seven younger brothers and sisters, left North Carolina and moved to the frontier in Missouri. Because William was established in business and was becoming a respected member of the community, he chose to remain in North Carolina.
William was elected as a State Representative to the North Carolina Legislature in 1816 as a young man of twenty. He was re-elected in 1818 and in 1820. He was elected State Senator in 1829 and 1830. He served as the Clerk of the Superior Court of Haywood County for approximately thirty years. He also served as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1835.
He married Martha Love in 1818, daughter of Colonel Robert5 Love and Mary5 Ann Dillard . He was twenty-two years of age, she was almost nineteen. She died one year later.
In 1820 he married Mary4 Ann Love, sister to his first wife. He was twenty-four years of age at the time, she was not yet fifteen; and together they had ten children -- two daughters and eight sons.
William and Mary Ann sent their eight sons to college and, for use at college, provided each with one Negro and two horses. The eldest son went to Washington College and Transylvania Medical School. The others likely went to Emory and Henry College at Emory, Virginia.
During the Civil War seven of their eight sons served the Confederacy -- five sons, as well as one son-in-law served in North Carolina Infantry units, one son served in a Georgia Infantry unit, and the oldest son served in the Confederate Medical Corps. All survived except for one son who was killed at the Battle of Piedmont in Virginia.
William was a merchant, a farmer, and a hotelier and through these activities he amassed a considerable fortune. He was one of the largest slave-holders in the county (along with his father-in-law, Robert Love, and Robert’s brother, Thomas); and upon his death, his estate was one of the largest ever probated in western North Carolina.
William and Mary Ann were members of the First Baptist Church of Waynesville. According to the minutes of the church in October 1863, Sister Battle charged that Sister Welch was guilty of ruling the church. Sister Welch, in turn, charged Sister Battle of a falsehood. To resolve the conflict, church elders requested that both women withdraw from the church, although Mary Ann refused to and continued to attend.
Several of William’s brothers, after moving to Missouri with the parents in 1816, and after they became adults, migrated further west when they joined the gold rush to California. Following is a letter the youngest brother, Andrew Jackson Welch, wrote to William.
September 10, 1853
You no dout think me a very unregular correspondant – as I receive your last letter in April. At that time I was expecting a letter from Gearhart and several others but all have failed. Probly their time is beter imployed. That said I can not give you any information from any off them - only from hearsay. I understand by a man that crost the plains last year that he traveled with Brother John a good deal of the way. He stated that John had all of his family and about 100 head of cows and was bound for California. I have maid all the inquires I could since that time but have heard nothing of him and I don’t no where he has settled in that country. You make inquiries whether I was in California or not. I was in that country sum 18 months. At that day allmost all the men and boys went from Oregon to the goldmines and it has become so common is the cause of my neglecting to mention in my former letter, and I was of the opinion that I had stated in my letter that I had seen brother John (and) John Wallis in that country with a good many old acquaintances in 1849. I was in California in 1849 & 1850. At that time the miners were from all parts of the world, all strangers to one and other tharfour naturly suspicious of each other. I had but little intercorse with any persons except immediate acquaintances as most of my time in the mines when everyman was attending to his own business. As I went to that country on a single purpose – I paid but (little) attention to any other.
You mention in your letter a distant prospect of paying us a visit when the railroad is completed. My dear sir, if I had as little hope of the great Pacific Railroad as I have of your visit, I surely would dispare of ever seeing that great enterprise accomplished. Pay a visit to Oregon. When I lived in Missouri sum 30 odd years and can scarcly recolect of seeing you. No sir, you will stay in that old poor worn out country where the concience becomes seared in oppressing the poor for a little of the filthy lucre. I would be glad that some of your sons would brake the road for you. In that case I might expect to see you someday if thay wer to come and see for them selves. They then could inform thar father thar was other country besides North Carolina that was just as pretty, a good deel richer country and many advantages for all classes of man in every branch and business of life and that with an Equality not known in any other country. All businesses pay on the cash system. Everthing plenty and high. I will give you sum of our prices. American Mares and horses for $200 - $400. Cows $100 - $125, Beef 12 cents per pound. Pork 20 cents – 30 cents per lb. Wheat $2 - $3 per bushel. Onions from $3 - $8 per bushel, buter 50 cents to $1.00 per lb. Eggs 75 cents - $1.00 dozen, chicken $9.00 - $12.00 per dozen and other things that I have not named at average prices too numerous to mention and we are in a northern latitude with a southern climate which may seam strange to you but it is the fact our grasses are green all winter and but little snow which gose off in a few hours after it falls. Oregon is filling up fast with enterprising men. I think in a few years we will be able to compete with our Eastern sisters in both agriculture, Internal improvements and all branches of domestic improvement and trade and commerce in general. John Gearhart has received several letters from one of his sisters but non from his father since he has been in this country. All well last accounts but no interesting nuse and all alive but one of their grand-children.
We are all well and have bin since our abode in this country. Health is common to our country. Receive our best wishes for you and your family welfare. A long life that you may live to enjoy in your old age what you have so long acquired an that your children may fulfill your highest expectations is the cincerest wishes of your unworthy brother untill death.
In early 1865, Union Colonel “Bushwhacker” Kirk was roaming largely unimpeded through western North Carolina with his troops; stealing, burning, and killing those who opposed him. He particularly enjoyed harassing prominent citizens with family serving the Southern Cause. While traveling through Waynesville he freed all prisoners in the jail and burned it and was about to burn the Welch house, but found William in ill health and was persuaded to spare the house, after he was satisfied he had tormented William to near death. William died at age sixty-nine during that raid. Mary Ann died one month later at age sixty. Both are buried in the Greenhill Cemetery, Waynesville.
Birth: 08 Apr 1796; Virginia.
Marriage: 22 Jul 1818; Martha LOVE (1799-1819); Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: 06 May 1820; Mary Ann LOVE (1805-1865); Waynesville, N.C.
Death: 05 Feb 1865; Waynesville, N.C.
Father: John5 WELCH ( -1828)
Mary4 Ann LOVE
Birth: 06 Oct 1805; Haywood Co., N.C.
Death: 14 Mar 1865; Waynesville, N.C.
Father: Robert5 LOVE (1760-1845)
Marriage: 06 May 1820; Waynesville, N.C.
Robert Vance WELCH
Birth: 04 Dec 1822; Waynesville, Haywood Co., N.C.
Marriage: 27 Oct 1858; Mary Caroline LOVE (1833-1899); Waynesville, N.C.
Martha Elizabeth WELCH
Birth: 29 May 1825; Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: 04 May 1843; Benjamin J. JOHNSTON (1817-1886); Waynesville, N.C.
John Hamilton WELCH
Birth: 29 Aug 1827; Waynesville, N.C.
Western R. WELCH
Birth: 07 Aug 1829; Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: 25 Mar 1858; Nannie ROBERTS (1835-1911); Ellijay, Georgia.
Thaddeus Dillard WELCH
Birth: 10 Mar 1832; Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: 20 May 1868; Celinda PARRIS (1843-1902)
Mary Lucinda WELCH
Birth: 12 May 1834; Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: 13 May 1852; Wesley Newell FREEMAN (1832-1891); Waynesville, N.C.
James3 Leonidas WELCH
Birth: 14 Jul 1836; Waynesville, Haywood Co., N.C.
Marriage: 17 Aug 1858; Adeline3 Loucrecia "Addie" PLOTT (1841-1919)
William Pinckney "Pink" WELCH
Birth: 14 Nov 1838; Waynesville, Haywood Co., N.C.
1st Marr: 19 Jul 1871; Sarah Lucinda CATHEY (1839-1873); Waynesville, N.C.
2nd Marr: 26 Jan 1875; Margaretta Richards WHITE (1841-1921)
Death: 18 Mar 1896; Athens, Georgia.
Julius Marion WELCH
Birth: 12 Nov 1840; Waynesville, Haywood Co., N.C.
Death: 05 Jun 1864
Lucius Marcellus WELCH
Birth: 06 Dec 1842; Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: 01 Dec 1878; Julia Ann MOORE (1846-1934); Waynesville, N.C.
It is believed he attended college, as did all of his other brothers, but it is not known what his field of study was, nor if he took advantage of it during the remainder of his life.
In 1858 he married Adeline3 Loucrecia Plott. He was twenty-two years of age at the time; she was seventeen.
In 1861, at age twenty-five, he enlisted as a drummer in the16th North Carolina Regiment to serve the Confederacy in the Civil War. He was promoted to drum major in the spring, 1862; and in the fall, 1862 he was transferred to Company E of the 69th North Carolina Infantry and served under his younger brother, Captain Julius Marion Welch, where he was later promoted to Lieutenant. Brother Julius was killed at the Battle of Piedmont and James named his first born son after him in his honor.
James and Adeline had six children -- four girls and two boys. One girl was born before he left to serve in the Civil War, the remainder after.
He died in 1883 at the age of 47. He had lived his entire life in Waynesville, North Carolina, except for the time he had spent serving in the Confederacy.
After James died, Adeline moved to Florida where she later married Mansfield Christopher. They eventually separated and she died in Florida in 1919 at the age of seventy-nine.
James3 Leonidas WELCH
Birth: 14 Jul 1836; Waynesville, Haywood Co., N.C.
Death: 03 Dec 1883; Waynesville, N.C.
Father: William4 WELCH (1796-1865)
Adeline3 Loucrecia "Addie" PLOTT
Birth: 13 Mar 1841
2nd Marr.: Mansfield CHRISTOPHER
Death: 1 Nov 1919; Micanopy, Florida.
Father: Jonathan4 PLOTT (1805-1886)
Marriage: 17 Aug 1858; Waynesville, Haywood Co., N.C.
Flora Ida H. WELCH
Birth: 29 Aug 1860
Julius3 Marion "Jule" WELCH
Birth: 07 Dec 1864
Marriage: 23 Jun 1889; Leila3 VANCE (1870-1957)
Mary Elizabeth WELCH
Birth: 03 Feb 1868
Death: 18 Feb 1894
Wanetta "Neta" WELCH
Birth: 13 May 1871
Death: 20 Aug 1952
Sally J. WELCH
Birth: 23 Oct 1875
Death: 07 Dec 1903
William Pinckney "Willie" WELCH
Birth: 28 Jun 1878
Marriage: 05 Sep 1906; Sally French VANCE (1885-1964); Woodrow, N.C.
Rebellion or Southern Independence?
In the north it was called it the War of Rebellion; the south called it the War of Southern Independence; today we call it the Civil War.
Leading to the Civil War there were two political parties -- Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats were the party of the farmers which were located predominantly in the south. The party was proslavery and had been dominating elections in recent years. The Republican party was newly formed from a coalition of several former parties, organized to take advantage of the fractious issues of slavery, and the basis of its platform was antislavery. Also, the Republican Party was largely composed of the former Whig Party which advocated federal support of communications and transportation (telegraph, canals, roads, and railroads). Because of that it received the support of the northern industrialists because they needed these services to move their goods. In 1860 Steven Douglas was the Democratic presidential nominee and Abraham Lincoln the Republican. Lincoln won easily in an election that was much more contentious than those of today.
The Southerners viewed the election of a Republican president as detrimental to their welfare, not because of the party's anti-slavery platform, but for economic reasons. In fact, slavery was protected by the Constitution and Lincoln had not once proposed its abolition in the election, only that it be confined to the existing slave-holding states and not allowed in the new territories.
Northern industrialists wanted higher tariffs to protect their goods from foreign competition. Southern farmers wanted low tariffs to facilitate their trading of cotton to Europe. Southerners believed that with a Republican president the tariffs would be raised. To protect their economic interests, seven southern states chose to secede from the Union in the several months before Lincoln took the oath of office. The first seven were later followed by four additional states (including North Carolina). The fact that the party coming to power was anti-slavery only strengthened their resolve.
Keep in mind that only eighty-five years earlier the various colonies rose up in revolt against the government, then the rule of Britain, largely for the same reasons, and established their own government sympathetic to their own interests. That government, the United States of America, was still very much a federation in the Jefferson mold, where primary power resided with the individual states and the federal government only undertook those activities that would best be accomplished at a federal level -- many believed that should be limited to national defense. The southern states believed they had every right to separate from the federation if their interests were not being served, and arguably, they perhaps did have the right to do so.
Initially, North Carolina's sentiments lie with the preservation of the Union. A vote for a Secession Convention was soundly defeated. It appeared the state was to be aligned with the North. But all that changed in April, 1861 when Lincoln called upon the state to provide its share of troops to force the seceded states back into the Union. The people of North Carolina refused to fight against their southern brethren, saying that if they were to fight they would do so on the side of the Confederacy. This they did, and with a passion -- the North Carolina troops were as courageous and effective as any and the state, under the leadership of the great war-time governor, Zeb Vance, was remarkably instrumental in the war effort. North Carolina provided more than its share of troops, supplies, monies, and support to the Southern Cause.
The Confederacy fired the first shot at Fort Sumter and the war was on. The North had the greater population, more wealth, and most of the nation's manufacturing capacity. The South had excellent military leadership and a higher cause -- their freedom. In the early years of the war the military leadership of the Union army was adverse to engage in serious battle, or was incompetent (it is debatable which) much to the consternation of Lincoln. The Union dominated on the western front, near the Mississippi while the Confederacy dominated in the Atlantic area, and came near to triumph when it nearly captured the Northern capitol at Washington D.C. If the odds had been more even in terms of population, wealth, and manufacturing capability, the Confederacy could well have won.
Lincoln was a strong leader and had a single-minded intent that the nation should remain as one, undivided. During the dark days of the war for the Union, when the Confederacy was winning, Lincoln stood alone on this -- the Cabinet, Congress, and the bulk of the northern people wished an end to the war, even if it meant a divided nation. But Lincoln was resolute, regardless of the cost. To him alone can we attribute our undivided nation -- none other would have done it.
A major turning point in the war came in 1863 when Lincoln freed the slaves. He did so not for any magnanimous or moral purpose (although it did placate many Abolitionists in his party), but rather for a political reason. Britain was aiding the Confederacy by providing supplies and ships and was considering entering the war by providing troops. France was also considering sending troops to the Confederacy. By freeing the slaves, Lincoln made the war an issue of slavery, and Britain and France then felt they could not offer continued aid to a slave-holding people, as each had abolished slavery in their own country earlier. In freeing the slaves, Lincoln got around the constitutional protection of slavery on the basis that in a war, one side can seize the property of its enemy. In Lincoln's proclamation, the Union seized the slave property of the Confederacy and freed that property. He did so, however, only for the seceded states. The several slave-holding states that remained with the Union were permitted to keep their slaves, at least until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865.
Because the Union could keep supplying fresh troops, arms, and financial support to the cause, it simply wore down the Confederacy which had limited resources. Finally, under the able leadership of General U.S. Grant, the Union armies were able to move into the south, capturing ports, rivers, and towns, cutting off Confederate supplies and support. The effective end came in early 1865, four years after it began, when General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox in Virginia. Other Confederate armies remained, but also surrendered within several months, knowing the end had come. Six hundred thousand men of uniform died in this war, more from disease than from battle.
Lincoln was assassinated only days after Lee surrendered, which was unfortunate for the South. He had a generous and constructive plan to remake the South, but under the weak leadership of his vice-president, Andrew Johnson (a southern Democrat, chosen by Lincoln in an attempt to ease relations with the South), Reconstruction was fraught with incompetency, corruption, greed, and racism; and much of the former status-quo so solidly reestablished that it was not overcome for another hundred years.
the 16th and 69th North Carolina Regiments
(Note: italicized text indicates direct quotes from accounts of participants in these events)
North Carolina seceded from the Union April, 1861 and shortly after began to arm. The Sixteenth North Carolina Regiment was fully organized in June. It consisted of twelve companies, all from western North Carolina. Company L, from Haywood County, had three brothers – Julius Marion Welch, Lieutenant; James3 Leonidas Welch, enlisted as a drummer and later made drum major; and Lucius Marcellus Welch. Because Lucius was the youngest of eight sons, his mother implored him to accept a paid substitute to serve in his place, which he did initially, although the substitute later disappeared and after that Lucius served on his own behalf.
The regiment drilled at Raleigh and in late July was dispatched to Virginia where it engaged in battle at Valley Mountain and remained there until September, largely because of sickness. Imagine a cold, chilly rain almost daily for weeks, the ground soaked with water, no other shelter except thin cloth tents, with wet blankets for bedding, an epidemic of measles, terminating in many cases, on account of the unavoidable exposure, in rapid pneumonia or followed by typhoid fever, with only such poor medical treatment as could be given under such circumstances. There were no experienced nurses, no suitable food for nourishment and no competent cook to prepare anything for the sick…. Strong, robust mountaineers, who had scarcely ever had a day’s sickness, were stricken down to die in a few days. The disease contracted at this camp caused a greater mortality than any two battles the old Sixteenth fought during the war.
The 16th moved frequently throughout Virginia, both by foot and rail, responding to Union movements, but engaging in few skirmishes until May 1862. A short time before reaching (Williamsburg) a determined engagement took place ……… with the enemy’s cavalry, in which there was some severe hand-to-hand fighting. Then followed several days of hard marching, through rain and mud, in which there was no time to stop or draw rations. It was under these circumstances that the regiment reached Chickahominy swamps, where picket duty and skirmishing began in earnest. At this time (Union) General McClellen had got pretty good foot-hold on Virginia soil, and within a few miles of the Confederate Capital….. His organization was to every appearance complete. Balloons could be seen to ascend every day, spying out our peculiar location. The enemy was using in front of the Sixteenth some large New Foundland dogs as advance pickets.
On the 21st of May we were thrown in line of march in great haste and moved at double-quick for a distance of four or five miles down the Chickahominy and brought up at the battle of Seven Pines. We were at once thrown in line of battle immediately in front of a Federal battery. The Sixteenth moved forward under a galling fire from these batteries and small arms as well. Our original purpose was to charge and take this battery, but on coming within fifty feet of the guns we found ourselves confronted by a miry swamp, covered with timber felled towards us, the limbs of the trees being sharpened and forming an impassible abattis. Behind this the enemy had constructed heavy earth-works, making an impregnable barrier. Here we lay down so close to the enemy that he could not lower his guns so as to bring them to bear upon us. Finally we withdrew in perfect order. Under the darkness of night the Union army abandoned their position, leaving the Confederates in possession, but it was a costly victory with many brave men falling in battle.
Battles continued for a month, moving to Mechanicsville, all the while duty becoming progressively harder and more hazardous. The men lived and slept and fought in the swamps, with not a dry spot to be seen for days. Our surroundings were a desert of horror. The owls, night-hawks and foxes had fled in dismay. Not even a snake or frog could be heard to plunge into the lagoon which, crimsoned by the blood of men, lay motionless in our front. Nothing could be heard in the black darkness of (the) night save the ghastly moans of the wounded and dying.
On the 30th of June the Sixteenth helped to fight the battle of Frazier’s Farm. (Confederate General) A.P. Hill opened battle and charged the enemy’s earth-works. Sweeping over the first and second lines and reaching the third, we stormed the same with the bayonet. Just as this crisis there came Federal reinforcements in overwhelming numbers, and on making a determined charge they regained the works and, advancing, pushed the little force of Hill, about eight thousand strong, slowly back for some distance. Retreat, or even defeat, was unknown to us, and the Sixteenth, with Hill’s Division, took and held a stand against odds of probably four to one. Slowly but surely we were being cut to pieces, but no murmur or movement indicating disorder was to be heard or seen. As we stood and suffered, and just at the most trying moment, a welcome sound – the roll of musketry and thunder of artillery – came from the direction of the old Cold Harbor house. We closed up and raised the yell, for we knew it was (General Stonewall) Jackson and that reinforcements were at hand. The struggle continued till about sunset, (the 16th N.C.) holding the center, when suddenly the decisive struggle ensued which ended in the repulse of the Federal lines and the driving of them back under cover of their gun-boats. Our loss in officers and men was heavy and apparently irreparable.
Union armies began retreating northward, and the Confederates followed. The 16th fought at Malvern Hill and Cedar Run. In late August it fought at Manassas. (Union General) Pope at once made a vigorous attack on our left, plunging with great fury into A.P. Hill’s Division and piercing with the bayonet a gap in our line. It looked for a time as if the entire left wing of our army would be annihilated by the greatly superior number of the enemy, and nothing but the most heroic fighting of which men were capable did save us from annihilation. Finally, after superhuman effort, the enemy along this line were repulsed. He rallied, only to be driven back the second time. So stubbornly was the ground contested that volleys were delivered at a distance of only ten to fifteen steps. The Sixteenth, true to its record, repulsed the enemy in its front in six separate assaults. The field itself was the most unanswerable witness to the day’s contest…. The field was filled with the bodies of men dead or wounded; some were riddled with bullets, others were torn by shells, and many were pierced by the bayonet. And then, the next day it began all over again. It is enough to say that it was one of the most desperate and bloody struggles of the war. The Sixteenth held her position from first to last, dealing such blows as she was capable, repulsing every onset of the enemy and faithfully contributing towards the rich but dearly earned victory to our arms at Second Manassas. The loss to the Sixteenth was heavy.
In September, 1892, continuing to move northward, the 16th fought at Ox Hill, then crossed the Potomac River into Maryland and approached Harper’s Ferry. Monday morning, the 15th, we apprehended another serious struggle. Though chilled and shivering, we were eager for the fray. An artillery duel was already proceeding…… At sunrise (Confederate General) Pender was ordered to the front… Over the hill the left wing of the Sixteenth swung, and it was the first to be exposed to the enemy’s fire. As suddenly as the enemy’s firing had begun it now ceased, and a white flag was seen to crown their stronghold. The Sixteenth, with Pender’s Brigade, was the first to march down upon them. We found them drawn up in a line, with arms stacked and discoursing music of a patriotic sort – from their point of view. It was in fact quite a splendid reception, but what a contrast! The enemy was spotlessly dressed in brand-new uniforms, shoes and buttons, and gold and silver trappings glistening in the morning sun, while we were almost naked; a great many of us without shoes, without even a faded emblem on our ragged coats to tell even rank or official command. Thus ended Harper’s Ferry. The casualties of the Sixteenth were not severe. The fruits of Harper’s Ferry were eleven thousand prisoners, thirteen thousand stands of arms and seventy-three pieces of artillery.
The 16th then fought at Sharpsburg, where the Confederates were outnumbered three-to-one, but still defeated the Union army under General McClellan; and then saw battle at Shepherdstown. After Shepherdstown General A.P. Hill addressed the 16th and said: “Soldiers of the Light Division, you have done well and I am proud of you. You have fought in every battle from Mechanicsville to Shepherdstown, and no one can yet say that the Light Division was ever broken. You held the left at Manassas against overwhelming numbers and saved the army. You saved the day at Sharpsburg, and at Shepherdstown you were selected to face a storm of round shot, grape and shell such as I have never before witnessed. Your services are appreciated by your commanding general.”
After Shepherdstown the 16th partially disbanded and Company L transferred to the Sixty-Ninth North Carolina Regiment, recently formed, and charged with the protection of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, although it operated far beyond that. Company L became Company E, still with the three Welch brothers – Julius Marion Welch, now a Captain and Commander of the Company; James3 Leonidas Welch, later promoted to Lieutenant; and Lucius Marcellus Welch, who was put in charge of the commissary for the regiment where he would see little battle, much to his displeasure, but arranged by his brothers to please their mother. The regiment consisted of 1,200 men in ten companies, eight white and two Indian (the members of whom occasionally scalped the defeated enemy which required the Confederacy to offer apologies to the Union).
Through to September, 1863, the 69th was never idle, but saw little battle action. Instead, they were busy building block houses and stockades and fortifying the railroad in order to better defend their area. By this time the war had turned and under the very capable General U.S. Grant Union armies were encroaching upon the South. The Union took much of Tennessee and was pressing down the Cumberland Gap and over the Blue Ridge Mountains into western North Carolina. Skirmishes were fought and the Confederates generally held their positions until they met at Greenville, Tennessee, when Union troops overran those of the Confederates and forced them to retreat all the way to Virginia. The Confederate army, including the 69th Regiment, rallied and pushed back into Tennessee in November, 1863. The troops were kept on the move, through the rain, snow, mud, and ice of winter, with no tents or shelter. They lost more skirmishes than they won, and were ordered back to Virginia in May, 1864. Later they were sent to the great Valley of Virginia Campaign, where the Confederates were making a stand against the oncoming Union troops. The first big battle was at Piedmont, which the Confederates lost with many casualties, including the brave Captain of Company E, Julius Marion Welch.
Other battles ensued, most won by the Confederates because the Union was diverting its troops to other areas. Onward marched the army of 12,000 grey-clad men for one desperate attempt to win the war, northward with the cry of “On to Washington” on their lips. In July, 1864 the army again crossed the Potomac into Maryland, past Antietam and Harper’s Ferry, sites of past battles, occasionally skirmishing and besting the enemy. On 11 July they reached the outer works of Washington, D.C. and Confederate General Early demanded its surrender. As we neared the city and the country and village people saw our army, they were amazed, and many persons told us we would have no trouble to capture the city. But they did not. On the next day the Confederate army slowly began a retreat back toward the Virginia line, taking with it immense supplies of horses, cattle, mules and commissary stores.
Back in the Valley of Virginia were frequent battles between the blue and the grey, trading victories, but Confederate resources were being depleted while Union men and supplies kept coming. The Confederate army was forced back after several defeats, bruised and exhausted.
In October, 1864 the 69th N.C. Regiment, now down to 100 able bodied men from its original 1,200, was ordered back to western North Carolina, with a heroic record but a terrible tale to tell. The regiment was reinforced and defended the area from raids, largely by renegade Union officers. Several battles took place in Haywood County. Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox in early April, 1865, which effectively ended the war, but elsewhere, some Confederate commanders refused to give up.
The last gun to be fired in the war in North Carolina was in Waynesville on May 9th. Union troops held Waynesville, although skirmishing had been light. Angered because Union soldiers were raping the countryside and its people of their goods and produce, Colonels Love and Thomas of the 69th N.C., accompanied by twenty-five Indian warriors, painted and feathered, boisterously demanded the surrender of the Union troops. Although they held a strong position, the Union troops were isolated in Western North Carolina and they wished to go home so terms of surrender were suggested and agreed to, which essentially called for the Union troops to leave the area, still fully armed. With that the war was over for Haywood County.
After the War
Four years of Civil War bore heavily on the South -- Haywood County was no exception. Many fine young men were lost to battle; others were wounded or disabled. Those who survived were paroled to return home throughout 1865, only to find they must fight equally oppressive battles of peace.
Farms and homes were in shambles, all commerce had stopped, and finance was bankrupt. The little money left was in the form of Confederate specie, which was worthless, and each southern state was deeply in debt. The primary labor force of the large farms, the slave, had been emancipated. It has been said, without exaggeration, that the war set the South back in progress by fifty years in all ways; few, if any, would disagree.
The Reconstruction Convention of 1865, enforced by federal military, imposed such onerous and arbitrary laws on the defeated states that riots erupted, often led by the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK had been initially organized to combat reconstruction governments and only later became a racist organization. Many good citizens were thrown in jail, without warrants, with high bails set.
Because there was no money, what little commerce existed was by barter. Each family had to eke out as best they could and whatever was needed had to be grown, made, or bartered for. Weaving, dress-making, soap-making, quilting, and knitting were carried out in the mountains of Haywood -- all else had to be done without.
This continued throughout the 1870's and 1880's, and still did not improve because new crises arose. The only production crop that had been re-established was tobacco -- Haywood's sole cash crop -- and even that was shabby because the soil had worn out after a hundred years of use. Tobacco growth was hardly worth the effort. In 1893 a Wall Street panic devastated tobacco prices, along with much else. Farmers were losing their cows and pigs which they had pledged for security to the general store because they had to buy necessities on credit; and their farms were being lost for taxes. Many fled south to work in the cotton mills because cotton was holding up well in the economy. Others left their family farms to work for others when they could. Wages were 40¢ to 60¢ for a man working a ten hour day; 35¢ for a woman; and 10¢ to 25¢ for a child, depending on age and size.
Slowly in the later 1890's things began to improve. Cattle was introduced and became a major agricultural pursuit. Farm land was reconditioned and better practices employed. Still, for decades ambitious young men were forced to travel elsewhere to succeed.
The Welch's were more fortunate than most: they were well propertied and recently descended from the two most prominent and prosperous families in the county; nevertheless, fortunes were dissipated during these times.
Julius2 Marion Welch (1864-1944): Julius was the first son of James3 and Adeline3 and was born after his father returned home from serving in the Confederacy. He was named after an uncle that was killed in the Civil War.
In 1889 he married Leila2 Vance. He was twenty-four years of age at the time; she was eighteen. Together they had eight children -- six boys and two girls.
Their youngest son, Julius “Jay” Welch can perhaps best tell about them – see following pages.
Julius2 Marion "Jule" WELCH
Birth: 07 Dec 1864
Death: 25 Oct 1944
Father: James3 Leonidas WELCH (1836-1883)
Birth: 27 Dec 1870; N.C.
Death: 19 Apr 1957
Father: David3 VANCE (1839- )
Marriage: 23 Jun 1889
James Lee WELCH
Birth: 10 Sep 1890
Marriage: Cora CATHEY
David Vance "Gabe" WELCH
Birth: 02 May 1893
Marriage: Annie LONG
Birth: 19 May 1896
Birth: 11 Apr 1899; Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: Jenny SMATHERS (1900- )
Birth: 04 Jun 1901
Mattie Lou WELCH
Birth: 11 Oct 1903
William1 Bartow "Bart" WELCH
Birth: 10 Sep 1905; Waynesville, N.C.
Marriage: 05 Sep 1937?; Kathleen Louise "Mick" WEYHING (1912-1989)
Julius Fanning "Jay" WELCH
Birth: 23 Nov 1908; Waynesville, N.C.
1st Marr.: Grace SHEFFIELD
I had the best parents in the world. We used to have square dances at the house every Saturday night. My daddy would pick a banjo and Morris would play a fiddle. We used to dance in the hall and dining room. The hallway and dining room were big and a lot of people could dance. I could pick a little tune but nobody could tell what I was picking but me. Bart used to play the harmonica. And we had a piano in the parlor.
Mom was good to me. She was good to all her kids. She was the most generous person you ever seen. She went to church every Sunday. In latter years the Vance’s would come by and take her to church – David or Turner. They had pickup trucks with all the kids in the back. She would go to the Methodist church down the road.
Daddy didn’t go to church but he knew the bible better than anybody around. He would talk it to anybody.
Daddy was about 5’8” or 5’9” and he was a hard worker. He provided a good living. We had anything we wanted to eat. If we needed anything we would go to the store and get it. The depression didn’t bother around here.
Daddy never had a car. I was the first one to get one and I was about fourteen. Daddy had a tractor, but outside of that we didn’t have anything that burned gas. Daddy never drove a car, just a tractor. He went to church in a buggy. Bart had bought himself a car and Jim had a coupé, one of those old Fords that the back end let down. Two of us could sit in the back. You couldn’t even stretch your legs out in there.
Daddy built the big house when I was three years old. He drawed the house out like he wanted it. He had a friend come up from Georgia to build the house. My daddy and Jim or Gabe worked on it, but he also had other people from around here work on it. The floors were hardwood and the rooms were all wood – ceilings and walls. The house had four fireplaces downstairs and upstairs above the fireplaces were heaters.
We didn’t have electricity or refrigeration when I was a boy. When we finally got electricity it was just one light bulb up there and it was called “lights”. At first we didn’t have a refrigerator or stove or anything -- just “lights”. After a while we got a refrigerator, then a stove. Then we finally got an electric churn.
We had feather beds in the house. I would rather have a feather bed any day than a mattress. Later we got mattresses, but we would put the feather bed on top. We used to keep a lot of geese here and ducks. Momma would pick them for the feather beds. We just let the geese run around wild. They would go up on the ridges and we would think they would be dead and all of a sudden they would come back. We ate the geese and turkeys. We used to always keep turkeys.
We didn’t have running water in the house, we had a pump on the porch. We had an out-house and a garden in back. We would wade through the snow to go to the outhouse.
We had a big old barn and had a lot of cattle, a lot of milk cows, and four to six head or more of horses all the time.
We had a spring house and we would put the milk and butter in it in the summertime to keep it cool. We used to keep milk in stone jugs – two and a half gallon or three. We would skim the cream off the top and make butter from the cream.
Out in back we had a cellar dug down deep where you would walk in as high as my head, and had a bunch of shelves in there. Anything would keep in there all winter, nothing would freeze.
We had about two hundred acres -- 45 acres under cultivation, the rest was for the cattle. We also raised cattle back in the mountains there. We would take them out to herd in the spring and we would bring them in the fall. We had about a hundred head of cattle. We would have to go out there once a week, every week, to salt them. We would have to hunt them up, sometimes take a day or two to find them.
We raised corn, wheat, barley. You could raise anything here. Anything that could grow anywhere in the United States we could grow right here in Haywood County. We grew everything but sugar and cotton. We grew wheat and had it made into flour. We grew corn and took it to the mill and had it milled. We had potatoes – sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes.
We raised tobacco and it was my job to pull the worms off the tobacco leaves. Lord, I had to go through and there would be holes in those big leaves and I had to worm those things every morning. We had about one acre in tobacco because everybody wanted to grow it and they would only allow you so much. We sold the tobacco. Some years the crop would be good, some years it wouldn’t be -- we would just try to make our money back. A few years there we would really get a good price for it. There was so much money in tobacco they just let everybody grow so much. We just got one acre but you can grow a lot of bacca on an acre. We had a big old tobacco barn out back made of logs. It was about twenty feet high and twenty feet in length, fourteen feet the other way and had two fire boxes that went through there. We would build a fire in them boxes and run the heat on them and it would take about a week to cure it out good. And then we stripped it off the stock and took it over to Asheville to sell it.
There were some hogs we just to let run in the woods. We had a good fence around the edge of it and they would just run around in there. They pick up the acorns and they would get plum fat on them in the fall of the year. Acorns and chestnuts and stuff.
We had a real good orchard over yonder on the other side of the hill, about four acres.
There used to be an old smokehouse. We used to kill the hogs and hang them up in there. First we would run them through the sugar and the salt, and then hang them up on meat hangers with the big end down. We would hang up the hams and the bacon which we used to call “side meat”. We would use hickory smoking. We had these wash pots we would build a fire in every day and get it smoking and no flies would get in there. And we would smoke them about six weeks. When they were done we had a big bench we would lay them over on with a little salt on them. Best meat you ever tasted. I’d love to have one of them old hams right now. Mother would bring a ham in that was cured out. She would leave it in the dining room when there was no heat on. She would go from the kitchen into the dining room and cut off a chunk and slice it and have it for breakfast. And she used to poach eggs and things like that.
The farm was divided up after my parents died. I got a whole lot of it. I wasn’t here, I was up in Michigan, and you lend somebody something and they wouldn’t take care of it and I just got tired of it and I just sold it. Morris lived on his wife’s property. Jim lived on the property, across the creek, two hills over for a long time, then he came back over here.
Daddy logged all this country. He had a sawmill right back on the other side of the road next to the back and he logged all that up back there and all that we had. A lot of the wood from the house was logged from there. We had to run it through the planners and had to dress it down. He used to have a bunch of horses he would log with. He would buy a bunch of timber off somebody and he would go an log it off and sell it.
We had as many as fifteen or sixteen head of horses at one time. The horses were used to haul lumber – ash wood, pulp wood, and stuff. We had four head of horses to pull the big wagon.
When we were young Bart and I used to sleep in a trundle bed which was the bottom part of my parents bed in the downstairs bedroom. When we got older Bart and I had a room together upstairs and Morris had his own room.
When I was young the school was called “The Academy”. It was big. The Mason’s had a place up on the third deck. The kids went on the first and second floor. It just went to the eighth grade. That was just as far as Bart and I went. We had to go to work – we couldn’t work and go to school too.
I started working young. I was hoeing corn as soon as I could pick up a hoe.
I milked the cows. I got to be such a good milker I got a job on a dairy farm. My daddy let me go over and milk at that farm. I was twelve at the time. I stayed down there and milked and then I delivered the milk down to Canton. We had an old truck with them hard wheels on it.
My brother Jim went to the west when he was seventeen year old with my Uncle Bob Pennen – married my mother’s sister, aunt Net. He went to Scotts, Canada. I was about four year old when he came home. He lived in Scotts, Canada and that is where he learned to break wild horses.
Bart left to get a job. He went out west. He went out logging at first. There wasn’t any work here. There wasn’t any problem with him and the family – the family all loved him.
I used to make some moonshine right back behind the mountain there. Lots of people around used to make moonshine. If the Revenuers caught you they could put you in the penitentiary. We had to get back in the woods where everybody wouldn’t find your still. I’d drink it and sell some. There was good money in it. They still make it but I don’t know anybody that’s making it right now.
I would take some corn, and would take some water and some sugar and would warm it up and stir it up good and set it back and then would put something over it until it ferments. It would take about ten days to make good likker out of it. You could use malt, but I just put the sugar in there and when it rose up I would break it up and let it rise up again. It was easy to make. The Revenuers would keep you on the run all the time. I never got caught but I come a little to getting caught.
I used to make wine too. I couldn’t keep Henry Vance and Bart out of my wine. They would get in my wine just as soon as it got ready to drink. The first thing I would know it would be going down. We would make all kinds of wines – different kinds of grape, strawberry, raspberries, or anything. The Revenue people never thought nothing about the wine. They knowed me anyhow – they wouldn’t have bothered me.
There was a lot of game around here. I used have a lot of bear meat year round. I would go out and shoot bear and deer and turkeys. And a lot of fish too – you could catch all the fish you wanted. In Bird Creek over the hill on daddy’s property I’d catch those Hog Suckers.
We had hunting dogs the Plott’s bred themselves. They took two or three different kinds -- one that could track cold tracks and a bird dog and old fox dogs, they are fast you know, and they bred them up and made the Plott Hound. We used to have a lot of them way back when we used to hunt. They are colder-nosed than other dogs – they could pick up a scent when other dogs couldn’t – that’s what you called cold-nosed. They could tack where other dogs couldn’t even pick up a scent. We would use the hound dogs for hunting and the Shepherds for rounding up the cattle.
Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri.
Kit Carson's Own Story of His Life; Kit Carson.
History of Chariton & Howard Counties, Missouri; Barry Smith.
A History of Missouri; Foley.
History of Howard and Chariton Counties, Missouri; St. Louis National History Company; 1883.
Boone's Lick Heritage; Lilburn A. Kingsbury.
Haywood Homes and History; Oliver Scriptorium; 1993.
Haywood County, N.C.; Haywood County Genealogical Society.
The Annals of Haywood County; W. C. Allen; 1982.
Centennial of Haywood County; W.C. Allen.
Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina; Walter Clark; 1901.
The Civil War; Bruce Catton; 1960.
Lincoln; David Herbert Donald; 1995.
Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose.
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