Monterey County California Genealogy and History

Monterey County: Biographies


A banker and capitalist whose experience, coupled with his foresight and optimism and conservative progressiveness have frequently been of great service to others, as well as to himself, is David T. Welch, of 202 Willow street, Pacific Grove. He is a native of Ohio, born July 22, 1843, but when three years of age, was taken by his parents to Oskaloosa county, Iowa, and in the Hawkeye state he attended the district schools. When Civil war threatened to break asunder the cherished Union, he entered the service on behalf of his country and remained in the field until the close of hostilities in 1865. He enlisted from Warren county, Iowa, as a member of the Thirteenth Army Corps, Third Division, under General Canby and was made a sergeant. He saw hard service at Columbus, Kentucky, and Yazoo Pass, Arkansas, and was wounded at the battle of Helena, July 4, 1863, when he was shot through the hand. For a time he was in the hospital at Memphis, Tennessee, and then returned to his home for treatment, but later rejoined the army at Little Rock, Arkansas. He was with the reinforcement sent to General Banks on Red river and was in the battle of Salina River, at Jenkins Ferry, where he served under General Steele. On being taken prisoner he acted as a hospital steward in the prison, but escaped, however, and was five days in the woods, finally reaching Little Rock. With his command he was ordered south to Mobile, Alabama, in General Canby's division, and there he was under fire for thirteen days before Spanish Fort surrendered. After that he was ordered south to the Rio Grande and was mustered out at the close of the war.

Mr. Welch then returned to his home in Iowa, where for a time he attended school and was afterward a teacher. In 1867 he started clerking in the general store of A. W. Collins in his home town of Knoxville, Iowa, and later he and Mr. McMillan formed a partnership in the general mercantile business at that place under the firm name of Miller & Welch, continuing in that way from 1873 to 1882. On selling out, Mr. Welch went to Winterset, Iowa, where he and his son, A. M. Welch, engaged in the dry goods trade, and later they started a store at Waterloo, Iowa. In 1903 they sold out and removed to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they established business under the name of the Welch-Cook Company, importers and jobbers, for the handling of dry goods. In that concern the son was president and treasurer. He died in 1915.

In 1903 David T. Welch retired from business and came to Pacific Grove, California, leaving the Welch-Cook Company, which was one of the largest and leading institutions in Cedar Rapids. At Pacific Grove he became associated with T. A. Work, under the firm name of the T. A. Work Company, engaged in the hardware business, also dealing in lumber and erecting buildings. They purchased some eight hundred acres of land, and this is now subdivided as the fashionable residential section popular as the Highlands. Mr. Welch was chairman of the finance committee of the company and under his leadership the business certainly flourished, but he sold his interests and retired some eighteen years ago. He became a director of the Bank of Pacific Grove and he is still on the board. He has also served as a member of the board of trustees of Pacific Grove and as its president has been virtually the mayor of the city. He is a deacon in the Mayflower Pacific Grove Congregational church, and is allied with the Grand Army of the Republic, serving as quartermaster of Lucius Fair-child Post, No. 179.

Mr. Welch has been twice married. In 1867 he married Miss Mariah McMillan, a native of Lafayette, Indiana, now deceased, and later he married Miss Harriet N. Snively, of Illinois, who is still living. He has two grandchildren: David T. Welch, Jr., a student at Cole College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Elizabeth B. Welch, a graduate of the Northwestern University, at Evanston, Illinois.

Source: History of Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties, California : cradle of California's history and romance : dating from the planting of the cross of Christendom upon the shores of Monterey Bay by Fr. Junipero Serra, and those intrepid adventurers who accompanied him, down to the present day. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1925, 890 pgs.