JEREMIAH WELCH, one of the leading farmers of Bloomington Township, is also largely interested in stock-raising,
turning his attention principally to the breeding of fine horses. He makes a specialty of roadsters, and has in
his stables several of the offspring of the celebrated Hero of Thorndale, the famous Ralston and the Clay stock,
comprising in all about forty head, seven of these being from the Hero of Thorndale, and remarkably fine animals.
He also has animals of a speedy family on both sides. For beauty and symmetry the animals exhibited on the farm
of Mr. Welch will compare favorably with any others in the State.
The home farm of Mr. Welch is located on sections 27, 34, 35 and 36, the residence being located on the first named. His landed possessions in Bloomington Township aggregate about 400 acres, besides about 100 in Vermilion County. His dwelling, barns and outhouses are finely built and correspond with each other, being models of taste and convenience, and the whole estate presents one of the prettiest spots in the landscape of McLean County. Mr. Welch became a resident of this locality in 1834, making his first settlement in Downs Township. He has been successfully engaged in his present business since a boy fourteen years of age, exhibiting at an early period of his life a peculiar adaptability for his chosen field of operations. Of this he makes a science, and has studied the habits and needs of animals in more than an ordinary degree. He possesses the faculty of developing their finest qualities, and in return is rewarded by a handsome income from his operations in this department of business.
The subject of our sketch was born in Vigo County, Ind., July 10, 1827. His father, Solomon Welch, was a native of Pennsylvania and of stanch Irish ancestry. He was reared to manhood in his native State and was there married, in Northampton County, to Miss Susan Jacoby, a native of the same State and of German descent and parentage. After marriage they removed to Central Ohio, where several of their children were born, and subsequently removed to Vigo County, Ind. The family circle included ten children, only three of whom are living, two sons and one daughter: Jeremiah, of our sketch; Albert, and a sister, Elisa J.
Our subject was the ninth child of the family, and his father died at Ft. Harrison Prairie, Ind., when his son Jeremiah was only six years old. Two years later the mother and her children came to Illinois, and locating in McLean County made their final home in Downs Township, where the children grew to mature years and where the mother closed her eyes to the scenes of earth in the fall of 1867.
The subject of our sketch was reared and educated in Downs Township, and while still a young boy began to earn his own livelihood, working at whatever his hands could find to do and being employed by the month for one or two years. After becoming of age he began to operate a farm on his own account and met with success. Five years later he took unto himself a partner and helpmeet in the person of Miss Sarah J. Myers, their marriage occurring Feb. 17, 1853. Mrs. Welch was born in Kentucky, and at the age of six years came with her parents to Illinois, and they settled in Bloomington Township. She remained with them until her marriage, in the meantime receiving a fair education in the common schools, and assisting her mother in household duties. Her parents are both now deceased, but their names are held in kindly remembrance by a large circle of friends and acquaintances. They were most worthy and excellent people, and trained their children in those principles of honor and honesty which they had made the rule of their own lives, and the good influence which they shed around them will live for years to come. They were natives of the South and of English and German ancestry.
Mr. and Mrs. Welch have become the parents of five children, one of whom is deceased: Mary S., the wife of L. K. Calhoun, resides on a farm in Vermilion County, Ill.; Minerva married Charles Wagner, a farmer of Gillum, this county; John is carrying on agricultural operations on a farm in Bloomington Township, and is married; Lizzie C. Kershaw resides on section 35; William Henry is attending school at Bloomington, Ill. These children form a bright and interesting family, and are the joy and comfort of their parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Welch settled in this township soon after their marriage and began life at the foot of the ladder. They were poor in purse but united in their efforts to establish a permanent and comfortable home, and this they have accomplished to their abundant satisfaction. They are now possessed of a good share of this world's goods, and in their later years are reaping the rich reward of earlier toil and self-denial. They are highly esteemed among their neighbors and fellow-townsmen, and are members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. W. has been prominently connected with the affairs of his township since coming here, has been a member of the Board of Trustees, Township Supervisor, Commissioner of Highways, etc. Politically he is a solid Republican.
In connection with the present business of Mr. Welch it is only just to say that his reputation as a breeder of fine horses is by no means confined to the limits of his township. Some of his roadsters are familiarly known on the streets of Chicago and New York City, being driven by some of the finest horsemen and wealthiest citizens of these cities. He has carried off laurels at the local and State fairs, and his favorite stallion Lamplighter has won the first premium at various fairs for the last fourteen years. The colts of this animal are sold at high prices. The stock farm of Mr. Welch is complete in all its appointments and has already become one of the notable features of this section.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 275. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.