Jacob R. Welch, M. D.

Jacob R. Welch, M. D., who has the distinction of being
the oldest resident physician at Spencervlle, as well as one of the
town's busiest and most useful citizens, was born at Cuba, Putnam
County, Ohio, March 16, 1859, and is a son of Jacob and Mary (Allen)
Jacob R. Welch was the only child of his parents and was born
after the death of his father, who had been a practicing physician at
Cuba. His bereaved mother survive until November 15, 1883, and from
the age of 10 years our subject had given his best efforts to make her
life one of ease. He attended school during the winter seasons and
through the good management of his mother and by reason of his own
ambition passed creditably through the Fort Wayne (Indiana) High School.
He worked at the various employments open to a youth at that time and
proved his efficiency in many ways. In 1870 he entered the Methodist
college at Fort Wayne and took a preparatory medical course and was
graduated at the end of four years. He then followed teaching for three
years in succession and, as chance offered, attended the Indiana State
Normal School at Valparaiso. His medical reading was done under Dr. C.
B. Stemen at Fort Wayne and in 1879 he reentered the college at Fort
Wayne and was graduated in medicine with the class of 1882.
As soon as he possessed his coveted degree, Dr. Welch, with a
capital of $5 and abundant energy, came to the village of Spencerville
and entered into practice, first with Dr. C. B. Rice, whom he bought out
six months later. One year after locating here, on November 28, 1883,
he was appointed surgeon for the Chicago & Atlantic Railroad. For five
years his manner of visiting patients scattered through Allen, Van Wert
and Mercer counties was on horseback, and he was obliged to keep three
saddle horses in order to attend to the needs of a large and constantly
increasing practice. Now his automobile awaits at his office door but
his field of practice has been confined to a much smaller territory than
in the old days when a call was answered no matter from what distance,
both as a matter of humanity as well as for selfish reasons. The town
at that time had about 600 inhabitants. He recalls many of Campbell,
Renner, Travis, Rice, Pethrick, three of these still surviving and
working in other fields.
On May 7, 1885 Dr. Welch was married to Mollie Miller, a
daughter of Harvey Miller, of Warsaw, Indiana. Three children were born
to them. Their only daughter, Mildred, is a student in the Spencerville
High School.
In addition to his heavy professional labors, Dr. Welch has
been interested in a number of business enterprises at Spencerville,
including a produce business, oil developing and the presidency of the
Spencerville Artificial Stone Company, but his profession has always
come first and in it he is honored and gratefully remembered all through
this section. He was one of the early promoters of the various medical
organizations and belongs to county and State medical societies, to the
Northwestern Medical Association and to the other bodies of a local
character. In civic affairs he has always shown a good citizen's
interest and was serving as a member of the School Board when the
handsome schoolhouse was erected in Spencerville. He belongs to Masonic
Lodge No. 306 and to the Knights of Pythias, both at Spencerville.