WELCH, W. R., was born in Jessamine county, Kentucky, January 22d, 1828. The family were originally from Virginia. His grandfather was a citizen of Kentucky when it was admitted into the union. John Welch, the father, married Elizabeth Rice. She was a native of the same state. William R. is the youngest in a family of five sons and one daughter. Four of the family have survived the parents. The father died in 1840, and the mother in 1872. The subject of our sketch received a good education in the common schools and academies of the state, and in 1845 entered the literary department of the Transylvania University at Lexington, and graduated from that institution with the degree of A. B. In 1849 he entered the law department in the same university, and in 1851 graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He immediately thereafter entered upon the practice of his profession in Nicholasville in Jessamine county, where he remained until 1846, when he left his native state, and came to Carlinville, he continued the practice of his profession here until 1877, when he was elected judge of the fifth judicial district. At the expiration of his term of office in 1879, he was again nominated and elected without opposition.
Judge Welch is emphatically a lawyer in all that goes to make up a legal mind. He is a clear, forcible and convincing speaker, incisive in style, and inexorable in logic. His greatest drawback is the lack of physical strength to support and sustain the mental force and the wear and tear incident to official life. Had his bodily powers corresponded to his mental endowments, he would today rank with the best jurists in the land.
In politics he has always acted with the democratic party, but has not been a partisan in the accepted sense of that term.
He was married on the 6th of April, 1854, to Miss Ann Mary Corn, who is also a native of Kentucky. Both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian church.
Judge Welch is of a most genial, sociable disposition, of quiet, gently and unassuming manners, and pleasant address. He is a firm friend. His honesty and integrity are never doubted.