IAGenWeb Project

Audubon County


1915 Bios Index


The examples furnished by the biographies of steadfast men serve as a stimulus to others, spurring them on to success. In the case of the successful citizen of Lincoln township to whom the following pages are devoted, he had seen others of his class rise to positions of influence in the township in which he lived, and he made a mental resolution to exert his own force and willpower to the utmost, and win for himself a position equal to those occupied by others, who served as guides to his final success.

Orrin Scott Welch, general farmer and stockman, Lincoln township, Audubon county, Iowa, was born in McHenry county, Illinois, October 11, 1855, the son of David and Matilda (Shields) Welch. At the age of six he came with his parents to this state and started to school at McGregor, where he attended until he was nine years old. They then moved to Clinton county, Iowa, where he attended school for nine years, coming later to Crawford county. In 1878 he came to Audubon county, locating in Lincoln township, where he invested his surplus funds in a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which he purchased from the Rock Island Railroad Company for nine dollars per acre. This he cultivated to such a degree of success that he was enabled later to purchase from his neighbors the balance of his present splendid property of four hundred and twenty acres in this county. On this farm he has placed about ten thousand dollars worth of substantial improvements, including six hundred rods of tiling. The crops to which he principally devotes his attention are corn and small grain, the corn averaging about forty-five bushels to the acre and the oats about thirty-five bushels, all of which is fed to the stock raised on the place, amounting to about two cars of cattle and one car of hogs each year. Mr. Welch is especially interested in the breeding of thoroughbred Hereford cattle and Poland China hogs. He has not escaped all the township offices, having served as school director and trustee for a number of years. Fraternally, he is a member of the Knights of Pythias, in which he has held several offices. In religion, the family are attendants of the United Brethren church, contributing their share to its support. In politics, Mr. Welch is a never-failing voter on the Republican ticket.

David Welch, father of the subject, lived in Ohio, where he owned and cultivated a farm, which he later sold and moved to Illinois. Here he bought another farm, on which he lived until 1859, and, still not being satisfied with his location, he again sold out, and came to Iowa, where he went into the lumber business at McGregor, remaining in that work until the time of his death, which occurred in 1863. The children born to him were as follow: Amanda, Thomas, Ellen, Martin, Phoebe, Cynthia, Orrin, and two others who are deceased.

Orrin Scott Welch was married on May 16, 1879, to Matilda Oddy, the daughter of Joseph Oddy, of Guthrie county. To this couple were born the following children: Willie is married and lives near Dale City, in Guthrie county; John and Frank are married and reside three miles east of Audubon; Myrtle died in 1893. About two years after the death of his first wife, Mr. Welch was married to Belle Arnold, of Ohio, by whom he had ten children, namely: Clint, Ben, Orrin, Lyle, Mabel, Elsie, Hazel, Earl, Ivan and Lloyd. The three latter children are deceased. All of the other children are at home with the exception of Ben and Mabel. Ben is married and resides northeast of Manning, and has one child. Mabel is married and resides at Gray.

Mrs. Welch is a daughter of Benjamin and Ellen (Toothman) Arnold, the former a native of Illinois and the latter of Ohio. They were married in Ohio, where they lived for a time, and then came to Ringgold county, Iowa, where they remained for a time and then moved to Missouri. Here they lived until Mrs. Welch was fourteen years old, when they again moved to Ringgold county, where they lived until the father's death. They were the parents of eight children, as follow: Ida, Sam, Florence, Belle, Dora and Cora, twins, Willie and one who died in infancy.

Transcribed from History of Audubon County, Iowa Its People, Industries and Institutions With Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens and Genealogical Records of Many of the Old Families, by H. F. Andrews, editor, Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1915, pp. 728-729.
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