VETERANS OF THE CIVIL WAR: SAMUEL H. WELTY
BY MARK WELTY AND KAREN HANSEN
The G.A.R. records for the post at Walnut list Samuel H. Welty as a member, but his grave is not marked. He does have a G.A.R. star by the stone of his parents in the Layton Township Cemetery at Walnut. Thanks to the Veterans Administration and Samuel’s great-grandnephew, Mark Welty, we have applied for and have received a military tombstone for Samuel.
Mark Welty’s earliest information on the Welty (Walti) family goes back to the 1500’s with their history as Anabaptists immigrating first to Germany, and then to the US from Switzerland in 1727. Samuel Welty’s great-great-grandfather Christian Walti, who arrived in 1727, changed his name to Welty upon arrival and later married Elizabeth Neff. They were both part of the large Mennonite community and initially lived in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area. Later generations moved to western Maryland, which is where Samuel H. Welty was born on October 6, 1837 in Hagerstown, Washington County, Maryland. He was the second of at least 13 children born to parents Christian S. Welty and Catharine Hiett (Hyatt). Christian was born on March 2, 1818 to Daniel E. and Catherine Stover. Daniel was born to John, son of the first Christian, and Catherine.
In the 1850 Census, the Welty family lived in Buffalo Township, Ogle County, Illinois. Listed were Christian, 32; Catherine, 34; Samuel H., 13; Laura A., 10; Ann V., 8; Edward, 6; Alice, 5; Amelia, 2; Wrilla, 4/12. All were born in Maryland, except for the youngest, who was born in Illinois. The oldest child, Ann Elizabeth, was not with the family in 1850. She was born on December 30, 1831, married Jesse Wilson on July 17, 1851, and died on May 22, 1931 at nearly 100 years of age, according to the information on Ann’s death record and in her obituary.
In 1870, Christian Welty, 51, and Catharine, 55, were still living near Polo, Ogle County, Illinois with children Newton, 18; Ida, 16; Martin, 14; Frank, 13; and Oliver, 11. C. S. (Christian) Welty was sworn into office as a trustee of Lewis, Iowa on July 15, 1874, when the town was first incorporated. From the Lewis Items in the Atlantic Telegraph on August 4, 1875, “Mr. Welty has bought a section of land north of Walnut, with three new houses upon it, . . .” In the March 1, 1876 Atlantic paper, “Mr. Welty will remove to his farm this spring.”
“C. S. Welty, joined the News family this week. He is the owner of a section of land four miles north of town which is divided up into three farms, on which are good buildings. On his section of land was raised this season three hundred acres of corn, and two hundred of wheat. There is one hundred acres of pasture and meadow land. There is an orchard and all kinds of small fruit at each house. The section is all enclosed with good substantial fence, one and one-half miles of which is hedge. This is, we believe, Mr. Welty’s third year. He intends to keep on improving his place.” (The Walnut News, September 5, 1878)
We found in the Shelby County Recorder’s office that C. S. Welty purchased all of Section 29 in Monroe Township from Joseph Boiler and wife on July 22, 1875. The 1880 census shows C. S. and Catharine Welty living in Monroe Township. Next to them were C. N. Welty, 29, Emma, 28, Roy, 4, and Kittie, 2. Christian sold his farm to John Ware on March 7, 1882.
“C. J. [S.] Welty, is a prominent farmer living near Walnut, who recently sold a fine 640-acre farm for $20,000. He was at Miller last October and became so enamored with the country in Hand County that he then determined to pitch his tent here. He has four sons of age who will come early in the spring with five cars of stock and settle in range 68. Mr. Welty himself will live in Miller. This gentleman is worth at least $50,000. He is now feeding 300 fat cattle and is in every respect that kind of a farmer we want to see settle in Hand County (Dakota).” (Atlantic Daily Telegraph, February 13, 1883)
In the last week of June 1887, the Welty family had a reunion at their parents’ home in Walnut. “Of the ten living children, nine were present, seven of them from abroad, viz: Frank, Newt, Martin and Oliver, all of Ipswich, Dak; Mrs. S. C. Grim and Mrs. J. W. Snyder, Polo, Ills., and Mrs. Wm. Titus, of Chicago. The absent one, Ed, was expected daily from Eaton, Ohio, but was delayed by sickness, and has not arrived yet. Three of the brothers have returned to Dakota, Oliver remaining to care for the parents.” (The Walnut Bureau, July 7, 1887)
“The four Welty brothers who reside in Dakota have in 1600 acres of wheat, which they inform us looked well when they came away, two weeks ago.” (The Walnut Bureau, July 14, 1927, 40 Years Ago column)
Catharine Welty died on August 24, 1889 in Walnut from gangrene and was buried in Section D Block 23 Lot 3 of the Layton Township Cemetery here. C. S. Welty purchased the south half of that lot on August 26, 1889. According to her gravestone, Catharine was 75 years 7 months and 14 days old.
We found two obituaries for Samuel’s mother, Catharine. One says that she had 12 children and the other says 17, 10 of whom were living, 6 sons and 4 daughters. She was born on January 10, 1814 in Funkstown, Maryland and married Christian Welty on June 29, 1839 in Washington County, Maryland. Catharine moved west over 35 years before her death in 1889 and lived on a farm near Polo, Illinois for a number of years. They lived in Polo for 2 years, then moved to Iowa.
“Although brought up in the German Reformed Church, she with her husband, united with the United Brethren in 1858. After removing to Lewis in 1875 , for convenience they united with the M. E. The deceased was a grand noble woman; a true Christian, a devoted and loving wife, a kind and affectionate mother.
She has been an invalid for over a year, during the most of which time the husband has been bedridden, and who is now, as it were, standing on the banks of the Jordan, awaiting the boatman to come and row him across the mystic stream and beyond the chilling tide where they shall greet each other on ‘the Shining Shore.’” (The Walnut Bureau, August 30, 1889)
“Christian S. Welty died at Avoca Wednesday, July 12, aged 75 years 4 month 10 days. The funeral will take place today at 11 o’clock, a. m., from Grace M. E. church, Walnut.” (The Walnut Bureau, July 14, 1893) “The funeral of C. S. Welty took place from the M. E. church last Friday morning and the remains were interred beside those of his wife in the cemetery here. Mr. Welty was one of the pioneers of this community and was held in high esteem by everyone who knew him.” (The Walnut Bureau, July 21, 1893)
In the late 1850’s, Samuel Welty was married to Mary E. Titus, who was born in 1841 in Sutton, Worcester County, Massachusetts. In the 1860 Census, Samuel, 23, and Mary E., 19, had one son Eugene, 1, and were farming in Buffalo Township, PO Polo, Ogle County, Illinois. They were living with Mary’s family, Henry Titus, 62; Mary, 52; Joseph, 24; William, 16; and Alfred, 14.
On August 19, 1862, when Samuel enlisted in the 92nd Illinois Infantry, Company D, his residence was listed as Polo, Illinois. Private Welty fought in a number of campaigns until he was mustered out March 6th, 1863 in Nashville, Tennessee. Nashville was the site of a Union hospital, but it is unknown why he was discharged early.
We have not found the family in the 1870 census. Samuel is listed as a widower and carpenter in the 1880 census living in Lewis, Cass County, Iowa as a boarder with the Victor and Mary Bradshaw family. I was very surprised to find a second son of Samuel and Mary Welty also in Lewis in the 1880 Census. Frank Welty, 18, a farm laborer, was living with his grandmother, Mary C. Titus, 71. Her husband, Henry Titus, died on October 22, 1872 and is buried in the Lewis Cemetery. We believe that he is buried between his wife, who died in August, 1889, and his daughter Mary Welty.
Samuel and Mary’s son, Eugene C., was a boarder in a hotel on Central Street in Walnut in the 1880 Census. He was married on January 21, 1881 at age 22 in Atlantic, Iowa to Susan Grounds, 19, daughter of James Grounds and Ann Van Sickle. Eugene was a hardware man from Lewis and Susan was from Walnut. They lost their daughter, Lula Roxia Welty on April 26, 1888 from lung fever. She was 4 years 7 months and 17 days old and had been born in Omaha. She suffered for nearly two weeks before passing at the home of her grandparents Mr. and Mrs. James Grounds in Monroe Township. She was laid to rest in the Monroe Methodist Church Cemetery, where we found only the base of her stone remaining. I don’t know if Eugene and Susan had other children.
In looking for descendants of Samuel H. Welty, I was excited when I found him listed as the father of Erie P. Constable in her marriage record to Adelbert R. Ward on July 11, 1892. It turns out that he was the step-father.
Samuel Welty had married Erie’s mother, Frances Delnora Bowman Constable in 1883. She was born in June 1860 in Virginia. By February 4, 1891, at only 53 years of age, Samuel is listed as an invalid, filing for a Civil War pension. In the 1895 Iowa Census, Samuel, 57, and Frances, 35, were living in Walnut. Samuel’s son Frank, 33, wife Annie, 30, and children Perel [Pearl], 10; May, 5; and Samuel, 4, were also in Walnut. Samuel was a carpenter in 1900 and in 1905; Samuel and Frances were living in Walnut.
Frank H., 38, was listed as Wetty in the 1900 Census with wife Anna W., 35, and children Olive P., 15; Gladness M. [Gladys May], 11; and Samuel H., 9. They were renting 724 S. 16th Street in Omaha, Nebraska; Frank was a barber. In 1910 and 1920, they were renting 710 S. 16th Street in Omaha; Frank H. was a barber and son Samuel was a horseshoer in a blacksmith shop. Frank, 68, was at the same location, barbering, but was widowed by 1930 and also living alone in 1940. Frank died tragically in the Ward Rest Home fire in North Omaha that killed five on March 23, 1948. He was listed as 87 from Polo, Illinois. The news story was published in many Iowa newspapers, including Carroll, Creston, Mt. Pleasant and Ottumwa. Frank and Anna are buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Omaha. Frank’s birth date was September 6, 1861; Anna W. was born on July 3, 1864 and died on October 29, 1929.
Samuel H Welty’s wife, Frances D. Welty applied for a widow’s pension on November 15, 1907 and later applied as a remarried widow as Frances D. Weichert. Frances, nicknamed Nora, had married John Henry Weichert in 1912. She died on March 12, 1931. They are buried in the Oakwood Cemetery at Lewis, although they are not together, as John is with his first wife, Louisa Parsons.
According to his death record with Pottawattamie County, Samuel Welty died of heart failure on August 13, 1907 at Walnut, Iowa at the age of 69 years 10 months and 23 days. Unfortunately, the 1907 Walnut newspapers have not been preserved. The Journal-Herald of Avoca mentioned the following in the Thursday, August 15, 1907 paper on page 1: “Sam Welty of Walnut, well known in Avoca, died Monday and was buried in that city Wednesday.” Now, almost 110 years later, Samuel H. Welty will have a gravestone in the Layton Township Cemetery.