Francis (Frank) Marion Welch, Sr.
  b: 25/Aug/1836 - McDonough Co., IL
  d: 10/Jul/1914 - Gentry Co., MO - bur: Old Brick Cem., Huggins Twp.

Father: James L. Welch
Mother: Sarah Ann Pringle

Spouse: Mary Ella Wheeler
  m: 1858/1859 - TX

Child-1: Mary Ella
          2: Sarah Anna
          3: Rosa Olive - b: 3/Oct/1864 - IN
                                  d: 31/Oct/1936 - Atchison Co., MO - bur: Tarkio Home Cem.
                                 m: James Franklin Hall - 1883/1884
          4: Francis Marion
          5: James William
          6: Charles Grant
          7: Mattie E. - b: 27/May/1873 - Athens Twp., Gentry Co., MO
                               d: 27/Jan/1874 - bur: Old Brick Cem., Huggins Twp., Gentry Co., MO
          8: Drusilla J. - b: Nov-Dec/1874 - Gentry Co., MO
                                d: 1/Jul/1883 - bur: Old Brick Cem., Huggins Twp., Gentry Co., MO
          9: Lila C. - b: 5/Feb/1877 - Gentry Co., MO
                           d: 16/Dec/1877 - bur: Old Brick Cem., Huggins Twp., Gentry Co., MO
        10: George Rice
        11: Minnie W. - b: 8/Feb?/1882? - Gentry Co., MO
                                 d: 19/Jul?/1883 - bur: Old Brick Cem., Huggins Twp., Gentry Co., MO

Biographical Details:

It is almost certain that Francis Marion Welch, known familiarly as "Frank", was born in McDonough County, Illinois, on August 25, 1836.  Strong circumstantial evidence indicates that he was the son of James L. and Sarah Ann Pringle Welch.  If this is so, then Frank's father died in 1839 and Illinois marriage records indicate that his mother, Sarah, married for a second time to John Emons in 1847.  Accordingly, the household of John and Sarah Emmons (Emons) appeared in the population schedule of the 1850 US Census for McDonough County and, in addition to themselves, included a small female child, Mary A., one year of age, and Frances Welsh, age fourteen, both born in Illinois.  Moreover, it would seem quite plausible to suppose that the census taker might have misspelled "Welch" as "Welsh", especially since according to these same records, both surnames were then contemporaneously in usage among citizens of McDonough County.  However, of greater difficulty is the appearance in the population schedule of the feminine given name, "Frances", instead of the masculine "Francis", and what is more, Frances' gender was also given explicitly as female, which would seem to rule out any identification of this individual with Francis M. Welch.  Nevertheless, an age of fourteen, clearly, would be consistent with a birth date in 1836.  Within this context, the census of 1850 was the first time that more complete family information, including names and ages of children, was collected.  Prior to this only names of heads of households were listed in population schedules along with a tally of collateral members of the household.  Of course, in the middle of the nineteenth century, collection of census data was no small task and required extensive local travel, which might be quite difficult and time consuming.  Concomitantly, census takers very likely would have been much more concerned in general with obtaining a correct count of individuals and much less so with collecting accurate demographics.  Consequently, they probably often relied on approximate information provided by, perhaps, just one member of a household or even a neighbor and, thus, were relatively unconcerned about errors in anything other than a correct tally of population.  In addition, considering contemporary standards of literacy, it cannot be doubted that simple misunderstandings also commonly occurred.  Indeed, these kinds of mistakes were not infrequent and are still easily observed in remaining early population schedules.  Therefore, it seems reasonable to presume that in 1850 Frank Welch was an adolescent living in the household of John and Sarah Emons in McDonough County.  In addition, census records further indicate that he had attended school during the previous year and, thus, would have been to some degree literate.

It has been reported that in 1858 Frank Welch settled in Grayson County, Texas, apparently with relatives of his mother.  Moreover, it has been further reported that he and Mary E. Wheeler were married in Texas, probably that same year or the year following, although no civil record has been found proving this and, hence, no definite date is known.  Accordingly, the household of F. M. and Mary Welch appeared in the 1860 Grayson County population schedule, which also included an infant daughter, Mary E., five months of age.  Concomitantly, it is not known precisely when Frank Welch migrated to Texas; however, corresponding census records indicate that in 1860 the household of his uncle, Morton Brinker Pringle (although noted incorrectly as "M. B. Primble" in the population schedule), was resident nearby and in addition to a wife and four children, at the time also included Frank's maternal grandfather, William Pringle, as well as another unmarried uncle (also named William Pringle).  Likewise, a married aunt, Martha B. Pringle Russell, and her husband, Merritt Arthur Russell, along with six of their children were apparently living in the town of Sherman and keeping a hotel.  Therefore, it would seem a plausible presumption that this extended family group moved from Illinois to Texas together, which from ages and birthplaces stated for various children in associated census records, appears to have occured about 1856 or 1857.  Of course, Texas seceded and became part of the Confederacy in early 1861.  Even so, many settlers, such as the extended Pringle-Welch family, had come from northern states and sympathized with the Union.  As might be expected in such circumstances, this was undoubtedly a cause of civil friction and disorder.  Within this context, there is a longstanding family tradition that Frank Welch was a Union sympathizer and as a result became involved in a gunfight in which he killed a man.  Further details were told by his grandson, James Homer Evans, who said that his grandfather had been threatened by a Confederate sympathizer "not to be seen in town again", which would strongly suggest that this ultimatum had been preceded by some kind of heated political argument between the two.  Subsequently, for whatever reason, Frank seems to have returned to the scene of the dispute and, reportedly, while he was still on his horse, he was surprised and shot by this same individual.  Family tradition further asserts that he was wounded in the leg and that after he fell or otherwise dismounted his horse, he fired back at his assailant with a rifle and mortally wounded him.  Additional details, which, obviously, as with any oral tradition may or may not be accurate, included that after being wounded Frank stood behind his horse, took his rifle from the "boot" and laid it over the saddle aiming at his attacker, who upon observing that he had not killed his victim, began to flee and, hence, was hit in the back between the shoulders.  Although, this depiction of events would seem to describe a clear case of self defense, it is likely that southern partisans would have interpreted it quite differently.  Accordingly, it is family tradition that to avoid being lynched, Frank Welch and his immediate family abruptly left Texas, perhaps, as soon as that same day or the following night, leaving behind many possessions.  In any case, it is known that all of the extended Pringle-Welch family had returned to northern states by about 1863.  Therefore, the events described in the preceding account, if it has any factual basis, probably occurred in the fall of 1862 coincident with the "Gainesville Hangings" in neighboring Cooke County.1  In passing, there are no records that Frank Welch ever served in any military forces during the Civil War.

Francis M. and Mary E. Wheeler Welch settled in Huggins Township in Gentry County, Missouri, in April of 1865.  Moreover, circumstantial evidence further indicates that after leaving Texas and before coming to Missouri, they had lived in Indiana (perhaps, Franklin County, but this is merely speculation).  Alternatively, it seems that the families of his uncles, Morton Pringle and Merritt Russell, probably went back to McDonough County after they left Texas.  (Indeed, census records definitively confirm that in 1870 the Russell family was living in the town of Macomb in McDonough County.)  Therefore, it is possible that between 1862 and 1865, Frank and Mary Welch also lived for a short time in Illinois; however, nothing definite is known.  Nevertheless, the population schedule of the 1870 US Census for Gentry County listed the household of Frank M. and Mary E. Welch, including five young children, viz., Mary E., Sarah A., Rosa O., Franklin (i.e., Francis M.), and James W., as well as a hired hand, James Hammonds, as resident in Huggins Township.  Concomitantly, the same population schedule further indicated that the family of Morton Pringle (including William K. Pringle, age fifty-one) was also living nearby.  Again, details of children's ages and birthplaces indicate that these two families probably migrated to Missouri together (or at least at very nearly the same time).  In any case, Frank and Mary Wheeler Welch remained in Gentry County for the rest of their lives.  Accordingly, census records of 1880 and 1900 would seem to indicate that they later moved from Huggins Township to a farm in Athens Township located two or three miles west of the town of Albany.  Even so, this presumption is in conflict with Frank's obituary which stated that he remained living on the same farm for almost fifty years; however, the population schedules are contemporary and, thus, likely to be correct.  Alternatively, it is possible that the Welch family did not move at all and that township boundaries were changed between 1870 and 1880.  Subsequently, census records of 1910 further indicate that after the death of his wife in 1905, Frank continued to live on his farm in Athens Township.  Moreover, at the time of the census, his son, Grant Welch, and his family were also living with Frank on the "homeplace".  After being in poor health for a few years, Frank M. Welch died suddenly in Gentry County on July 10, 1914, according to his official death certificate and was buried next to his wife in the Old Brick Church Cemetery.2  It would seem self-evident that Frank Welch must have been a hardy pioneer, who experienced frontier life at first hand in the "Old West" of nineteenth century Texas and Missouri.  Of course, such events have been greatly romanticized by later generations and, as a consequence, probably bear little resemblance to the actual reality, which in the most elementary sense must have been nothing more than a sharp struggle for survival.  Even so, he seems to have been remembered in family tradition as a colorful character worthy of folklore similar to that surrounding other more famous individuals.

Source Notes and Citations:
1. Richard B. McCaslin, "Great Hanging at Gainesville", The Texas State Historical Association, 1997-2002. ("The Handbook of Texas Online",
     "GREAT HANGING AT GAINESVILLE.  Forty suspected Unionists in Confederate Texas were hanged at Gainesville in October 1862.  Two others were shot as they tried to escape.  Although the affair reached its climax in Cooke County, men were killed in neighboring Grayson, Wise, and Denton counties.  Most were accused of treason or insurrection, but evidently few had actually conspired against the Confederacy, and many were innocent of the abolitionist sentiments for which they were tried.
     The Great Hanging was the result of several years of building tension.  The completion of the Butterfield Overland Mail route from St. Louis through Gainesville brought many new people from the upper South and Midwest into Cooke County.  By 1860 fewer than 10 percent of the heads of households owned slaves.  The slaveholders increasingly feared the influence of Kansas abolitionists in every unrest.  In the summer of 1860 several slaves and a northern Methodist minister were lynched in North Texas.  Cooke and the surrounding counties voted against secession and thus focused the fears of planters on the nonslaveholders in the region.  Rumors of Unionist alliances with Kansas Jayhawkers and Indians along the Red River, together with the petition of E. Junius Foster, editor of the Sherman Patriot, to separate North Texas as a new free state, brought emotions to a fever pitch.
     Actual opposition to the Confederacy in Cooke County began with the Conscription Acts of April 1862.  Thirty men signed a petition protesting the exemption of large slaveholders from the draft and sent it to the Congress at Richmond.  Brig. Gen. William Hudson, commander of the militia district around Gainesville, exiled their leader, but others who remained used the petition to enlist a nucleus for a Union League in Cooke and nearby counties.  The members were not highly unified, and their purposes differed with each clique.  Most joined to resist the draft and provide common defense against roving Indians and renegades.  Rumors began to circulate, however, of a membership of over 1,700 and of plans for an assault when the group had recruited enough men.  Fearing that the stories of Unionist plots to storm the militia arsenals at Gainesville and Sherman might prove to be true, Hudson activated the state troops in North Texas in late September 1862 and ordered the arrest of all able-bodied men who did not report for duty.
     Texas state troops led by Col. James G. Bourland arrested more than 150 men on the morning of October 1.  In Gainesville he and Col. William C. Young of the Eleventh Texas Cavalry, home on sick leave, supervised the collection of a 'citizen's court' of twelve jurors.  Bourland and Young together owned nearly a fourth of the slaves in Cooke County, and seven of the jurors chosen were slaveholders.  Their decision to convict on a majority vote was a bad omen for the prisoners, all of whom were accused of insurrection or treason and none of whom owned slaves.  The military achieved its goal of eliminating the leadership of the Union League in Cooke County when the jury condemned seven influential Unionists, but an angry mob took matters into its own hands and lynched fourteen more before the jurors recessed.  Violence in Gainesville peaked the next week when unknown assassins killed Young and James Dickson.  The decision already made to release the rest of the prisoners was reversed, and many were tried again.  Nineteen more men were convicted and hanged.  Their execution was supervised by Capt. Jim Young, Colonel Young's son.  Brig. Gen. James W. Throckmorton prevented the execution of all but five men in Sherman, but in Decatur, Capt. John Hale supervised a committee that hanged five suspects.  A Southern partisan shot a prisoner in Denton.
     Texas newspapers generally applauded the hangings, disparaged the Unionists as traitors and common thieves, and insisted they had material support from Kansas abolitionists and the Lincoln administration.  The state government condoned the affair.  Gov. Francis Richard Lubbock, an ardent Confederate, praised Hudson for his actions, and the legislature paid the expenses of the troops in Gainesville.  Articles from the Texas press were reprinted across the South.  President Jefferson Davis, embarrassed, abandoned his demand for an inquiry into a similar incident involving northern troops in Palmyra, Missouri, and dismissed Gen. Paul Octave Hébert as military commander of Texas for his improper use of martial law in several instances, including the hangings.  The northern press heralded the story as another example of Rebel barbarism.  Andrew Jackson Hamilton, a former congressman from Texas and a Unionist, had been speaking in the North warning of the danger to loyal citizens in Texas.  Reports of the Great Hanging and other incidents lent support to his campaign and led to his appointment as military governor of Texas and the disastrous Red River campaign of 1864.
     The unrest did not end with the hangings in North Texas.  Albert Pike, Confederate brigadier general in charge of Indian Territory, was implicated in testimony and arrested.  Although later released, Pike continued to be regarded with suspicion and served the rest of the war in civilian offices.  Capt. Jim Young killed E. Junius Foster for applauding the death of his father.  He also tracked down Dan Welch, the man he believed to be his father's assassin, then returned with him to Cooke County and had him lynched by some of the family slaves.  The Union League was powerless to exact revenge; many members fled along with the families of the slain prisoners, leaving bodies unclaimed for burial in a mass grave.  A North Texas company of Confederate soldiers in Arkansas learned of the executions and almost mutinied, but tempers were defused by Brig. Gen. Joseph O. Shelby, their commander.  Several men later deserted to return home, but Shelby prevented a mass assault on Gainesville.  The half-hearted prosecution of those responsible for the hangings after the war, resulting in the conviction of only one man in Denton, increased resentment among the remaining Unionists in North Texas, but the failure of a Union League march on Decatur indicated the futility of further attempts at retaliation."

1. Sam Hanna Acheson and Julia Ann Hudson O'Connell (eds), George Washington Diamond's Account of the Great Hanging at Gainesville, 1862, Texas State Historical Association, Austin, TX, 1963.
2. Thomas Barrett, The Great Hanging at Gainesville, privately published, Gainesville, TX, 1885.  (Reprinted by the Texas State Historical Association, Austin, TX, 1961.)
3. L. D. Clark, A Bright Tragic Thing, Cinco Punto Press, El Paso, TX, 1992.
4. L. D. Clark (ed), Civil War Recollections of James Lemuel Clark, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX, 1984.
5. Michael Collins, Cooke County, Texas: Where the South and West Meet, Cooke County Heritage Society, Gainesville, TX, 1981.
6. Richard B. McCaslin, "Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas", Ph. D. dissertation, University of Texas, Austin, TX, 1988.
7. James Smallwood, "Disaffection in Confederate Texas: The Great Hanging at Gainesville", Civil War History, 22 (December 1976).
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2a. Edwards Brothers of Missouri, Historical Atlas of Gentry County, Missouri, Philadelphia, PA, 1877.
     F. M. Welch:  1) Twp. 63 N; Rng. 31 W; Sec. 22; N½ of SE¼ - 80 acres.  2) Twp. 63 N; Rng. 31 W; Sec. 22; NE¼ of SW¼ - 40 acres.

b. W. P. Bullock, Gentry County 1896, Press of L. Hardman, St. Joseph, MO, 1896.
     F. M. Welch:  1) Twp. 63 N; Rng. 31 W; Sec. 22; N½ of SE¼ less 2.50 acre strip off of the E side - 78.50 acres more or less.  2) Twp. 63 N; Rng. 31 W; Sec. 22; NE¼ of SW¼ - 40 acres.

c. Anonymous, Standard Atlas of Gentry County, Missouri, Geo A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, IL, 1914.
     F. M. Welsh (sic - Welch):  1) Twp. 63 N; Rng. 31 W; Sec. 22; N½ of SE¼ less 2.50 acre strip off of the E side - 78.50 acres more or less.  2) Twp. 63 N; Rng. 31 W; Sec. 22; NE¼ of SW¼ - 40 acres.
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3. "Old Citizen Dies Suddenly.  Frank M. Welch, Sr., died suddenly at his home, two miles west of town, last Saturday morning at 3 o'clock.  He had been in poor health for the last five or six years, but of late had not been considered worse.  Early Saturday morning he arose from his bed and went to the kitchen to get a drink of water.  As he returned to his bed room he sank to the floor dead.  His son heard him fall and rushed to the room, but life was extinct.
     Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at the Brick church, conducted by Rev. Dugger, of Stanberry, of the Church of God, and burial was in the cemetery adjoining, by the side of his wife who died in April, 1903.
     Deceased was born in McDonald county, Illinois, August 25, 1836, being at the time of his death, 77 years, 10 months and 16 days old.  From his Illinois home he went to Texas in 1858, and was married there to Miss Mary Wheeler.  They came to Missouri in April, 1865, located on the same farm, where he had continued to reside.  He was the father of eleven children, seven of whom are living, and are: Mrs. Mary Evans, of Island City; Mrs. Sarah A. Yale and Mrs. Ollie Hall, of Tarkio; Francis M., J. W., C. G. and Geo. W., all of this vicinity.  He was a member of the Church of God."
     Of course, there is no and never has been any "McDonald" County in Illinois; hence, this is an obvious mistake for McDonough County.  Likewise, Mrs. Welch died in 1905 rather than 1903.  Moreover, Rev. Dugger can be readily identified as Andrew N. Dugger, who became a prominent leader in the sabbatarian Protestant denomination, Church of God (Seventh Day), which had its headquarters in the town of Stanberry between the late 1880's and the middle of the twentieth century.  Within this context, the obituary affirms that Frank Welch was a member of this denomination; however, family tradition further asserts that this was largely due to the insistence of his wife.  (obituary: Albany Ledger; Albany, MO, Thur., Jul. 16, 1914.)
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Additional Citations:

4. 1850 US Census Population Schedule for McDonough County, Illinois, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 237A, (microfilm: roll M432_116; img. 318).

5. 1860 US Census Population Schedule for Grayson County, Texas, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 182A, (microfilm: roll M653_1295; img. 364).

6. 1870 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 615B, (microfilm: roll M593_776; img. 450).

7. 1880 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 495B, (microfilm: roll T9_687; img. 322).

8. 1900 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 145B, (microfilm: roll T623_855; img. 296).

9. 1910 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 125A, (microfilm: roll T624_781; img. 250).

10. Register of Deaths, Gentry County, Albany, MO:  pg. 1; No. 10, (Missouri State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, MO (microfilm: roll 8988; img. 66)) & Permanent Record of Deaths, Gentry County, Albany, MO: pg. unk., (Missouri State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, MO (microfilm: roll 8988; img. 62)).

11. Death Certificates, Missouri State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, MO, (Death Certificate No. 22375 - Bureau of Vital Statistics, State of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO).

12. Ben Glick,"Old Brick Cemetery", unpublished. (Gentry County MOGenWeb Archives,, 2014.)


13. Old Brick Cemetery, Gentry County, Missouri (, continuously updated).

14. Death Certificates, Missouri State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, MO, (Death Certificate No. 36569-1 - Bureau of Vital Statistics, State of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO & Death Certificate No. 6950 - Bureau of Vital Statistics, State of Missouri, Jefferson City, MO).-

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