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Joshua and Fanny Lester Welch

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We have good circumstantial evidence that our Joshua Welch was born about 1770 and that he lived and worked and was married in Virginia. There is uncertainty about his birthplace: Pennsylvania vs. Virginia. We have searched for several years for his parentage and at the end of the page have included some of our findings, but to date have no real proof of who his parents were or where he was actually born.

Joshua's wife was Frances (Fannie, Fancy) Lester, daughter of Bryant Lester, Jr., and Alice Hooper Lester of Lunenburg County, Virginia. She was granddaughter of Bryant and Sarah Wimbush Lester.

  Joshua Welch
Born 1769/1770 Va or Pa?
Died 1854 Starke County, In
Burial North Union Cemetery
Fannie Lester
born 11/19/1774 Lunenburg Co,Va
died before 1850 Indiana
  Married: December 25, 1794 in Lunenburg County, Virginia. The record of their marriage is documented in Lunenburg County will books where marriage data is interspersed with wills.

Unidentified Daughter born 1795/1796 Lunenburg County, Virginia
Alice Welch born 1797/1798 Lunenburg County, Virginia; married Hubbard Henderson
Unidentified Daughter born 1799/1800 Lunenburg County, Virginia
Victoria Welch born 7/5/1802 Lunenburg County, Virginia; married James Williams
Harvey Welch born 1805 Orange County, North Carolina; married Rachel Woodward
Lester Welch born 1807/1808 Orange County, North Carolina; never married
William Welch born 1809/1810 Orange County, North Carolina; married Sarah (Nancy?) Jane Adams
Sterling H. Welch born 1811/1812 Orange County, North Carolina; married Phoebe Ann Whiting
Charlotte Welch born 1813/1814 Orange County, North Carolina; married Isam Hiatt
Sarah Welch born 1816/1817 Orange County, North Carolina; married Samuel White

The degree of proof for each child varies and we will discuss each below.

Sources of Information - County History and Williams family History

Much of this family history may be apocryphal as it comes from county and family histories, notoriously unreliable sources. We have interspersed excerpts from the History of Starke County [Indiana] (1910) that gives us some of the history of Joshua Welch, his daughter Victoria Welch Williams, and some of her descendants with what little information we have found in primary records. We have also used some excerpts from a Williams Family History since daughter Victoria Welch married James Williams.

More on Joshua and Fanny Lester Welch

History of Starke County [Indiana] [page 580]: "Her [Victoria Welch William's] father, Joshua Welsh, was born in 1770 in Pennsylvania, moved into Virginia, and later to North Carolina, and came to Indiana in 1826. He was a stone and brick mason, and laid many thousands of brick in various buildings at Richmond, Virginia."

The birth date of 1770 agrees well with the 1850 census record in Warren County, Indiana, where Joshua was age 81 and living with James and Victoria Welch Williams. His birthplace is also given there as Pennsylvania. If he was indeed born in Pennsylvania, there are no records of any kind bearing his name or any indication of the source of the name "Joshua" among Welch families. Son Harvey Welch gave his father's birthplace as Pennsylvania in the 1880 census. Daughter Charlotte Welch Hiatt gave her father's birthplace as Pennsylvania in the 1880 census. We feel that at some point in time there could have been a misunderstanding between the words "Pittsylvania" and "Pennsylvania" but we have no proof. Joshua Welch of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, who might have been our Joshua's father, did not call out his children by name in his will made in 1789 in Virginia. More on this at the bottom of the page in a section about our search for Joshua's parentage.

We feel there is sufficient circumstantial evidence in the names used in the family that Fanny Lester was the mother of Joshua's children. There is no doubt in our minds that Joshua Welch was a stone and brick mason and that he did work in Richmond, Virginia. Webmaster Nadine's grandfather Eikenberry, who lived with Harvey and Rachel Woodward Welch when he was a child, mentions that stone and brick masonry was the occupation of several in the Welch family. This is born out in the 1850 census of Harvey's brother William Welch who is listed as a brick mason. There is a Joshua Welch found in Richmond, Virginia, in 1790 of the right age to be our Joshua. There are no Welch families there that might be attached to him and he is unmarried (bear in mind at this point he could have been born in either Virginia or Pennsylvania!)

We perused several histories of Henrico County, Virginia, and the City of Richmond, and learned that there was a great demand for brick masons there in the latter part of the 18th century and they were recruited from all over the U. S. Richmond, as the seat of Virginia government, was a prime target during the Revolutionary War and when the British left in 1781 the city was put to the torch. As the city rebuilt, Richmond turned to providing shipping down the navigable James River for the Virginia tobacco plantations and several warehouses were built. In January 1787 one of the large tobacco warehouses caught fire and burned to the ground along with between forty and fifty houses and business establishments. Other houses were demolished in the path of the flames to stop the fire. The Court ordered that the buildings be rebuilt of brick to prevent such a tragedy in the future. In addition to the accident Richmond was growing at a rapid rate so there was plenty of work for brick masons.

The timing fits very well with finding Joshua Welch there in 1790. The method of labor seemed to be that white brick masons supervised crews of slaves who did the actual work. It seems quite credible that Bryant Lester, a large plantation owner in Lunenburg County, shipped his tobacco from the port of Richmond, and that there he met Joshua Welch and was impressed with his handling of the slaves. Family lore in several branches of the family tell us that Joshua was at one time overseer of slaves on a large plantation. We believe that Bryant Lester hired Joshua and took him back to Lunenburg to work on his plantation and it was there that Joshua Welch met and married Bryant, Jr's daughter, Frances Lester. That Joshua Welch never owned slaves himself and migrated at an early date to Indiana, a free state, tells us something of his own personal views about slavery.

There is ample evidence that Joshua Welch was in Lunenburg County, Virginia. He married Francis Lester there on 25 December 1794 (Lunenburg County, Virginia, Will Book 4 1791-1799, abstracted by June Banks Evans, p. 41 "marriages"). (See reference at the bottom of the page under the Lester family as to where these books can be obtained). On 14 November 1795 Joshua purchased a half dozen plates and a half dozen chairs at the estate sale of one Richard Mayes, deceased. Also making purchases were Bryant Lester, Sr., and Joshua's brother-in-law, Richard Lester (same ref. page 61). On 15 November 1796 he purchased "wool/pease/side leather" at the estate sale of Bryant Lester, Sr. (same ref. page 59). On 17 November 1797 he was paid 6 shillings from the estate of Bryant Lester, Sr. (Ref. Bryant Lester Probate papers). April 8, 1799 he paid 2.3.8 pounds into the probate of Bryant Lester, Sr. Because of these references it appears that Joshua and Fanny Lester Welch did not move to North Carolina until some time after 1800. We find Joshua Welsh alone in Orange County, North Carolina in the 1800 census and feel he was probably there scoping out, and perhaps purchasing, land. Daughter Victoria was born in Virginia in 1802 and son Harvey was born in North Carolina in 1805 so we know the approximate time period of the move the North Carolina. We do not know the why.

More on the Children of Joshua and Fanny Lester Welch

James and Victoria Welch Williams

The History of Starke County [Indiana] [page 579]: "Joshua Williams was born in Orange County, North Carolina, November 13, 1824. His parents were James and Victoria (Welsh) Williams, both natives of Orange County, and they were married December 2, 1823. James Williams was a wagoner, and came of old southern stock. In 1826 James, with his wife and two children, made the journey to the states north of the Ohio River. A blind horse drew the wagon containing the household goods, while the family walked the whole way. Three other families accompanied them."

A Williams Family History (Grover Williams and Uretha Walker, Williamsport, Ind, 1966, privately printed) gives a marriage date for James Williams and Victoria Welsh as November 27, 1823, witnesses Jesse Gant and W. Montgomery. We suspect this date is the date of the marriage bond, and the names of the men posting the bond, and that the marriage could have actually taken place on December 2, 1823, as given in the Starke County History.

History of Starke County [Indiana] [page 579 continued]: "Their first stop was at Cambridge City in Indiana, when that section of the state was still new." Cambridge City is in Wayne, County, Indiana.

Apparently one of the families accompanying James and Victoria Welch Williams was that of Victoria's father, Joshua Welch, as we find Joshua Welch in Wayne County in 1830: 1 male 50-60 , 3 males 20-30, 1 male 10-15; 1 female 40-50 (should have been marked in 50-60 column?), 2 females 20-30, 1 female 15-20 , 1 female 10-15. (more on who the children were later).

Next door to Joshua Welch in 1830: James Williams, 1 male under 5 (Harvey Benton), 1 male 5-10 (Joshua Welsh), 1 male 20-30 (James); 1 female under 5 (Sarah Elizabeth), 1 female 20-30 (Victoria).

Also two families away from Joshua Welch in Wayne County: Rachel Williams Woodward, widow of John Woodward: 2 males 20-30, 2 females 15-20, 1 female 50-60. One of the daughters was Rachel Woodward, Jr. who would marry Victoria Welch's brother, Harvey Welch, on 1/9/1834 in Wayne County.

History of Starke County [Indiana] [page 579 continued]: "In 1839 they came on to Warren County, Indiana, and lived there until 1852, when, after the manner of pioneers, they made the journey to Starke County with the colony already mentioned, nine members of which belonged to the Williams family. While in Warren County James Williams continued his business as a wagon freighter, and hauled many loads of supplies to and from the markets."

We find James Williams in Warren County, Indiana, in 1840 (page 87): James Williams, males, 1 under 5 (Lorenzo Lester), 1 5-10 (James Monroe), 1 10-15 (Harvey Benton), 1 15-20 (Joshua W), 1 30-40(James); females, 1 under 5 (Charlotte), 1 10-15 (Sarah Elizabeth), 1 20-30 (probably in wrong column as Victoria would be 38).

Joshua Welch was still in Wayne County in 1840: 1 male 50-60 (should have been in 60-70 column), 1 female 60-70 (Fannie), 2 females 20-30 (Charlotte and Sarah Elizabeth). Nearby, son Harvey Welch: 1 male 30-40, 2 males under 5, 1 female 20-30, 1 female under 5. Five doors away, son William Welch: 1 male 20-30, 1 female under 5, 1 female 20-30. William Welch married Sarah Jane Adams 8/19/1838 in Wayne County, Indiana. The daughter was Eliza J. Welch, born just before the census in 1840.

By 1850 Joshua Welch and his family had followed the Williams families to Warren County, except for son Harvey Welch, who remained in Wayne County until about 1856. Fanny Lester Welch is not found in Warren County in 1850 and we suspect she died in Wayne County (no record found), as the death of a loved one often triggered a move in a family. She might also have died on the journey to Warren County.

In the 1850 census in Warren County, Indiana, Mound Township, Household #109: James Williams, age 49, farmer, farm valued $1200, born North Carolina; Sarah (Victoria), age 48, born Virginia; Eliza (Sarah Elizabeth), age 22, born Indiana; Harrison (actually James M), age 17, born Indiana; Susan (actually Charlotte), age 14, born Indiana; Thomas (actually Lorenzo), age 10, born Indiana; George (actually Howard), age 6, In; Joshua Welch, age 81, farmer, born Pennsylvania, blind. (Although James Williams's wife is given as Sarah, her age and birthplace match Victoria Welch and we are sure it is her. She may have been known as "Sarah" which was often a nickname for an exceptionally good housewife or she may have actually been Sarah Victoria. Also all the children's names are incorrect although their ages fit well. Perhaps information was given by a neighbor or by aged, blind Joshua.)

Next door to James and Victoria Williams in 1850: James M. Williams, age 24, farmer, farm valued $800, born North Carolina; Mary, age 23, born Ohio. Indiana marriage records show the only marriage for James Monroe Williams is to Sarah "Vinson" on 4/13/1853 in Starke County, Indiana Mary matches the age and birthplace of Mary Layton who married Harvey Benton Williams on 9/3/1848 in Warren County. Once again the census information is wrong and may have been given by the same person who did the adjoining information on James and Victoria and children. Harvey and Mary Williams had a son Deloss W. Williams, born 12/9/1849 and died 3/7/1850 in Warren County and buried there, so he would not appear on the census.

Also near James and Victoria Williams in 1850: Joshua W. Williams, age 26, blacksmith, born North Carolina; Hannah, age 23, born Ohio; John, age 7, born Indiana; James, age 1, born Indiana. History of Starke County [Indiana] [page 580 continued] "Joshua Williams was married in Warren County, Indiana, March 24, 1848 to Mrs. Jane (Murphy) Barnett. Her father was John Murphy, possibly a native of Ireland, while his wife was Elizabeth Pickens, and so far as known was a native of New Jersey. John Murphy was a soldier in the War of 1812. By occupation he was a tailor, but when serving in the army was a wagoner. He was present at the surrender of General Hull at Detroit in 1813. He was killed in Warren County, Indiana, in 1832. Mrs. Joshua Williams was born in Butler County, Ohio, September 2, 1823, but was reared in Warren County, Indiana, and died in North Bend Township, of Starke County, February 2, 1879. She is buried in the Union Church cemetery and was a member of the Christian church. There were two children by the Barnett marriage, and one of them, William S., died from illness while a soldier before Vicksburg, in the Civil war, being a member of the Fifty-four Volunteer Infantry. [Hannah in the census is evidently Jane and John is the other Barnett son.] Of the Williams marriage there were four sons and one daughter, all of whom are living and married and all have families of children except Sterling H. ... ."

Grover Williams sent us some additional personal information about Joshua Welsh Williams (named for Victoria's father): "Joshua was a very tall man. He was a blacksmith but he also made spinning wheels using a spring pole lathe and also made violins when he was here at Baltimore in Warren Co. I have his violin, home made case and all. A remarkable man. He is not buried here [North Union Cemetery] but in Todd County Minn. where he had went in 1883 to homestead land. He died during a terrible winter on March 27,1884 and was buried on his land. trace remains of his grave."

When the families moved on to Stark County, the Harvey Williams family stayed behind and is found in Mound Township, Warren County, July 11, 1860, Household #638: Harvey B. Williams, 35, farmer, born North Carolina; Mary, 33, born Ohio; Scott M., 8, born In; Clarkson P., 4, In; Eliza, 1, born In. Harvey was definitely a son of James and Victoria, named for Victoria's brother, Harvey Welch. We are quite certain that James Monroe Williams was also their son. James Monroe and Sarah Vinson Williams named their first child Whitfield, and Whitfield was the name of a brother of grandmother Fanny Lester Welch. James amd Sarah are next to Victoria in 1860 in Washington Township, Starke County: #90 James M. Williams, 26, farmer, In; Sarah M, 22, In; William W [Whitfield],2, In; Minerva Ann, 1, In. The Williams Family History tells us that James Monroe Williams was killed in the Civil War. We find seven James M. Williams who served in Indiana regiments so cannot easily sort out which one might have been the correct one.

Grover Williams sent us a short story of the move of James and Victoria and other members of the Williams family to Starke County: "Why the family left Warren County for Stark County, as Stark County was for the most part brush and swamp, is hard to understand except it was just the pioneer spirit that made them want to move on, just as some years later Joshua Williams moved on to Todd County, Minn, where he died in the cold winter on March 27, 1884. But come they did. According to Walter Frank William's obituary they arrived Oct 2, 1852 after a long and hard journey, getting the wagons through the wet lands of northern Indiana. There were 22 that came, a good part of which was Williams family and relatives. Harvey Benton Williams stayed in Warren County."

History of Starke County [Indiana] [page 579 continued]: "Both James and Joshua Williams entered land in Starke County, and James Williams passed away in Washington Township August 19, 1858. He was born on Christmas day of 1801. He and his wife are buried side by side in the Union Church cemetery in North Bend Township. His wife, who was born in [p. 580] old Virginia, July 5, 1802, passed away April 6, 1877."

We do have proof of the burials in Starke County. We have had correspondence with descendants who have viewed the tombstone of James Williams in the North Union Cemetery in Starke County. They also mention a plain stone next to James Williams that may be the stone of Victoria. The date and age given for James Williams on his tombstone would backcalculate to December 5 and not December 25 so we are not sure about the Christmas day birthdate mentioned in the History. Grover Williams sent us information on the North Union Cemetery which we have included near the bottom of the page above the Lester family information.

Grover tells us that James and Victoria Williams homesteaded the NE1/4NE1/4 Sec 3, Twp 32, SE1/4NW1/4 Sec 11, Twp 32 recorded Sept 1, 1852 . These are marked A & B on the attached map sent by Grover. Their son Joshua Williams homesteaded (actually purchased per BLM records) the SW1/4 of NW1/4 Sec 11, Twp 32 Oct 9, 1854 (C on the map.) James and Victoria sold parcel A to son-in-law Josiah Hiatt and parcel B to their son Joshua Williams. Lorenzo Lester Williams bought parcel D on the map and then sold it to Joshua two years later.

Grover's story continues: "Victoria must have at least been able to keep the 80 acres marked F as the 1860 census shows her living on land she owned in Washington Township. With her is daughter Charlotte, her son Lorenzo L. and his wife Sarah Frances and their little son Leonard C., and James and Victoria's youngest son, Howard. Next door was James Monroe Williams, age 26, his wife Sarah Vinson, age 22, and their two children, William Whitfield and Minerva Ann [Williams]. By 1876 Stark County was still the most thinly populated county in the state.

Son Lorenzo Lester Williams was born on December 25, 1839. Lorenzo Lester Williams married Sarah Francis Fike on January 13, 1858 in Starke County. Grover tells us she was a blue-eyed dutch girl from Leiter's ford and that Lorenzo was one of the few Williams with dark eyes. They named their first daughter Victoria after his mother. They also named sons James Monroe Williams and Harvey Benton Williams indicating that these two were both sons of James and Victoria Welsh Williams and uncles of Lorenzo.

Summary of children of James and Victoria Welch Williams:
Joshua Welch Williams, born 11/13/1824, North Carolina
Harvey Benton Williams, born 1/19/1826, North Carolina
Sarah Elizabeth Williams, born 1/7/1828, Indiana
James Monroe Williams, born about 1834, Indiana
Charlotte Williams, born about 1836, Indiana
Lorenzo Lester Williams, born 12/25/1839, Indiana
Howard Williams, born about 1844, Indiana

William, Lester and Sterling Welch

In Warren County, Washington Township, in 1850, we find Joshua Welch's sons William and Lester: William Welch, 40, brick mason, born Virginia; Nancy J., age 31, born Ohio; Eliza J., age 10, born In; Sarah F., 9, In; Sterling H., 8, In; Mary E., 5, In; John L., 3, In; Rebecca, 6/12, In; Lester Welch, 42, farmer, born Va.

It is in the naming of a son by William Welch as Sterling H., and the naming of a son by Joshua Welsh Williams as Sterling H., that we have the proof that Sterling H. Welch was another son of Joshua. The name started with a nephew, Sterling Henry Lester, son of Fannie Lester Welch's brother Henry, and probably has more history in the Lester family.

Sterling H. Welch married Phebe Ann Whiting on 9/29/1838 in Wayne County, Indiana. They are found next to Wayne County in Connersville, Fayette County in 1840: 1 male 20-30, 1 male under 5, 1 female 20-30. Thanks to Mike Welch we found the 1850 census and based a change in Sterling's probable birthdate on that. In Warren County, Steuben Township in 1850, we find: Sterling Welch, 38, laborer; Phebe, 36; James, 11; John, 7; Whitfield, 4; DeLoss, 2. The name Whitfield also makes the Lester tie, as Fannie Lester Welch had a brother Whitfield who would have been Sterling's uncle. Sterling is shown born Kentucky, with the rest of the family dittoed as Kentucky (clearly wrong as indicated in later census records.) Sterling and family are found in 1860 in Pike Township, Warren County, Indiana: Starling Welch, 40, farm laborer, born NC; Phebe, 38, born In; James, 20, farm laborer; John, 16, farm laborer; Whitfield, 14; Washington, 9; Samantha, 7; Kansas, 5; Wallace, 1, all born Indiana.

In 1870 Sterling and Phebe were living with their son James in Steuben Township, Warren County: James Welch, 32, farm laborer, born Indiana; Lucy, 20, In; Frank S., 1, In; Starling Welch, 56, North Carolina; Phoeba, 56, Ohio; Wallace, 12, Indiana. The differences in the ages of Sterling Welch in the census records caused us to make a change in his probable birthdate. We had previously based it on the single record of 1860 making him born about 1820, but that would have made him far too young at his marriage date of 1838. In that time period young men needed time to establish a living and a house so age 18 just doesn't work. Since there was a gap in the children from 1810 to 1814 we have tentatively placed him as born about 1812, per the 1850 census. The 1870 census would make his birthdate about 1814 which would conflict with sister Charlotte.

Curiously, in 1860 Sterling's son DeLoss Welch, age 11, is living as a family member with a nearby family, Samuel and Mary Biggs, with no noticeable connection to the Welchs. In 1870 and 1880 he was working as a farm laborer on his own for various families in Warren County. Son DeLoss Welch married about 1883 to a young black lady, Alice, daughter of John R. and Jane Gee, a free farm family in Warren County. In 1900 they were living with widower John Gee in Warren County. DeLoss and two other sons-in-law were the only white persons in the large Gee family. DeLoss and Alice had daughters Cora, Minnie, and Gertie. There is no marriage recorded for them and we would guess that perhaps a white/black marriage was frowned upon in that time period and it was not a matter of public record. Grover Williams knew descendants of this family and says the name is definitely Gee though it is given sometimes in the census records as Geer.

Sterling's son Whitfield Welch married Hannah Williams 2 January 1873 in Warren County. They are found in Pike Township, Warren County in 1900: Whitfield Welch, 54, born Dec 1845, married 28 years, born In, parents In; Hannah, May 1850, 47, In, In, In; Sadie, daughter Nov 1879, 20. According to the 1880 census they also had a daughter Nora, born 1874 who was probably married by 1900.

Charlotte Welch Hiatt

In Warren County, in 1850, in Steuben Township we find Isam Hiatt and Joshua's daughter Charlotte Welch: Isam Hiatt, 50, born NC; Charlotte, 36, born NC; Addison, 22; John, 20; William, 18; Joshua, 14; Mary, 7; Joel, 4; Caroline, 2, all born Indiana. With them is Sarah Vincent, age 13, born Indiana. This census record raises a number of interesting questions. First, we suspect that Sarah Vincent may be the Sarah "Vinson" who married James Monroe Williams in 1853 as her age matches the 1860 census for Sarah Williams. This does not help of course, with who Sarah Vinson or Vencent was!

Charlotte Welch is much younger than Isam and was his second wife. Charlotte Welch was apparently one of the daughters still at home with Joshua Welch in 1840, as according to Indiana marriage records she married Isom Hiatt Apr 7, 1842. Mary, Joel, and Caroline are then her children.

Victoria Welch William's daughter Sarah Elizabeth Williams married Josiah Addison Hiatt on 1/12/1851 in Warren County, Indiana, and this was apparently Isam Hiatt's son Addison, age 22 in the 1850 census, as Sarah Elizabeth was also 22 in 1850.

The name Charlotte is another tie to the Lester family, as Fannie Lester Welch had a sister Charlotte who would have been aunt of this Charlotte.

Harvey and Rachel Woodward Welch

We know son Harvey Welch remained behind in Wayne County, when the others moved on to Warren County, as he is found in the 1850 census in Centre Township, Wayne County, Household #439: Harvy Welch, 46, farmer, born Tn (he wasn't and the 1860 & 1870 census in Mercer County, Il carry his birthplace correctly as N. Car.); Rachel, 35, born Tn (she was); William, 15, In; John, 13, In; Joseph, 9, In; Cynthia, 8, In; Patrick, 6, In; Elizabeth, 4, In; Wiley, 1, Il. Next door: Rachel Woodward, age 85, born NC (widow of Abraham Woodward's son John); Eliza A., 34, born In. By 1860 they are found in Mercer County, Illinois. Eliza accompanied them and married in Mercer County. More on Harvey Welch and family on the Harvey and Rachel Woodward Welch family page.

Sarah Welch White and more on Lester Welch

Sarah C. Welch married Samuel S. White 30 January 1845 in Warren County. They are found in Liberty Township in Warren County in 1850: #133 Samuel White, 34, born Ky, farmer, Sarah, 34, NC; Jacob, 5, In; Isom, 2, In; Joshua W, 9/12, In; Joshua W 9/12, In and Eliza J. Welch, 11, In. (Eliza Jane was their niece and daughter of William and Sarah Jane Adams Welch. ) Apparently little Joshua died before 1860 as the family is found in Mound Township, Warren County in 1860:#560 Saml White, 43, carpenter, born Kentucky; Sarah, 43, born North Carolina; Jacob, 14; Mary, 6; Charlotte, 3, all born Indiana. With them is Lester Welch, 53, basketmaker, born North Carolina. The fact that Lester Welch was with them and that they named a daughter Charlotte are the only clues we have that Sarah was a daughter of Joshua Welch. The name Charlotte runs in the Lester family and is not a terribly common name in the mid-1800's.

Grover Williams sent us the obituary of son Jacob White: "Jacob Henry White was born in Warren County, Indiana, September 26, 1845 and departed this life at the home of John Garrison, south of Marshfield, December 31, 1931, aged 86 years, 3 months and five days. Except for short periods of time which he spent in the Soldiers Home at Danville Ill, his entire life was spent in or around West Lebanon, Marshfield and State Line. When the Civil War began, he enlisted in Company K, 11th Indiana Calvalry at Marshfield, Ind. On the sixteenth of December, 1863. Serving his country for 18 months he was honorably discharged at Indianapolis Ind June 21, 1865. He was of kind and jovial disposition and was liked by all who knew of and came in contact with him. He leaves no immediate relatives but a host of friends to mourn his passing on." Grover honored his memory at the graveside at Soldier's Circle at West Lebanon Cemetery this Memorial Day (2006).

Alice Welch Henderson

We have heard from Lynn Garn, a descendant of Hubbard and Alice Welch Henderson, which has motivated us to search for additional information. We have become quite certain that Alice Welch was daughter of Joshua and Frances Lester Welch. We believe that Alice was named for her grandmother, Alice Hooper Lester. Alice and Hubbard Henderson had a daughter Frances, no doubt named for Frances Lester Welch. We have found Hubbard Henderson in the 1840 census in St. Joseph County, Indiana, which is just northeast and adjoining Starke County, Indiana, so they were not too far from Joshua Welch and James and Victoria Welch Williams. Hubbard Henderson purchased land in Elkhart County (adjoining St. Joseph County) at an early date: 8/5/1834 SESW Sec 15, T35N, R7E, Elkart County, Hubbard Henderson.

Hubbard and Alice may have accompanied the Williams and Welch families to Indiana in 1826. Hubbard and Alice were married in Orange County, North Carolina on 10/27/1826, perhaps a bit late for the trip north, so they may have followed later. As we have mentioned in other parts of the family history, however, much of the Indiana land was quite boggy and it was necessary to travel in the winter time when the ground was frozen in order to take wagons so the trip may well have taken place after the marriage.

Hubbard and Alice Welch Henderson had a daughter Frances, who married Samuel J. Rose on 4/16/1846 in St. Joseph County, Indiana. We find both families very near each other in the 1850 census in Union Township, St. Joseph County, Indiana, page 69: #926 Hubard Henderson, 50, farmer, real estate valued $1000, born North Carolina; Alis, 52, born Virginia; Jabes, 20, cooper, born Indiana; Edwin, 19, cooper, born Indiana; John W., 16, born Ind; Thomas, 14, born Ind; Paris, 8, born Ind. With them is a Nancy Henderson, female, age 15, but she is listed at the end of the family indicating she was some relation other than a child (perhaps a niece?). Nearby: #928 Samuel J. Rose, 24, cooper, born Ohio; Frances, 22, born In; Mary Alice, 3, born In; Lucy Frances, 5/12, born Indiana. This is as far as we have traced the family but the naming patterns and the location of the family make a strong argument that Alice was the daughter of Joshua Welch of Lunenberg County, Virginia. See Lynn Garn's Web Site ( more information on Lucy Frances Rose Nixon, granddaughter of Hubbard and Alice Welch Henderson. Lucy is found with husband Amos in the 1880 census in Liberty Township, St. Joseph County, Indiana: Amos V. Nixon, 39, laborer, born New York, parents born Connecticut; Lucy Nixon, 27, born In, father born In, mother born Va; Charles Nixon, 4, born In; Frank Nixon, 3, born In.

North Union Cemetery in Starke County

History of Starke County [Indiana] [page 580 continued] "Joshua Welsh , who came to Indiana with other members of the family, died in Starke County at the age of eight-four, being buried in North Union cemetery. All these old settlers were devout Christians and members of the Methodist church, and their homes became the meeting places for the early settlers, the preachers were entertained in their humble cabins, and the service of worship was held in these rude homes. Joshua Welsh was in politics a whig, but other members of the family were democrats."

We have attached a sketch of the cemeteries in the area where the family lived in Starke County. The North Union Cemetery location is indicated on the map. Grover Williams sent a sketch of the grave locations in the cemetery. Here is the key that goes with the grave locations:

A - small plain stone, no writing; 1 - Almira J, dau of J. M. & S. M. Williams died Oct 10, 1855 aged 9 m 10 d; 2 - Infant son of J. M. & S. M. Williams died March 11, 1862 (J. M. is James Monroe Williams)

B, C, D Plain Stones; 3 - James Williams died Aug 19, 1858 age 56 ys 8 mo.

E Plain stone but it might mark the grave of Victoria Welch Williams, Jame's wife and daughter of Joshua Welch said to be born April 12, 1802 - died April 6, 1877;
4 James H, son of J. W. & J. Williams died Jan 5, 1867 age 9yrs 10 days (J. W. is Joshua Welch Williams};
5----son of -- L & -- Williams April 18 18-- age 1? yr 1 m 9?d (may be Leonard C, son of Lorenzo L & Sarah F. Williams); 6 Narcissus L, dau of L.L. & S. F. Williams died June 9, 1863 age 2 yr 5 mo "we lay thee in the silent tomb, sweet blossom of a day We just begun to view they bloom when thou art called away (L. L. is Lorenzo Lester Williams); 7 Lettering gone; 8 - W. H. Williams, died Mar 16, 1865 age 20 yr 8 mo 9 d Behold my friends as you pass by as you now are so once was I as I now am so must you be (not sure who this is - perhaps Howard as age is about right); 9 Nellie L. McDonald 1892-1892; 10 William P, son of C & R Emigh March 19, 1891;
11&12 - a lovely double stone Our Parents Father L. L. Williams died Sept 1, 1896 age 56y 8 m 7 d Mother Sarah F wife of L. L. Williams died Sept 16, 1892 age 56 yr 4 mo 21 dy;(Lorenzo Lester Williams and wife)
13 Williams, Sterling H 1854-1931 Husband wife Ada R 1861-19__; (Sterling is son of Joshua W)
14 Infants son and daughter of C. H. & V Williams born and died July 10, 1900 budded on earth blooming in heaven;
15 Earl Williams born July 14, 1891 died Jan 9, 1900 Rest in Peace;
16 Laura, dau of J. W. and J. Williams died Jan 11, 1880 aged 15 y 8 m 48 d; Jane, wife of J. W. Williams died Feb 2 1879 aged 55 yr 5 mo So Jesus slept Gods only son passed through the grave and blessed the rest here given saints til from his throne the morning break and pierce the shade (J. W. is Joshua Welch Williams);
17 Clarence Williams 1879-1934 (son of Walter Frank Williams);
18 Loyd H son of W. F. & A Williams died Apr 12, 1878 aged 20 d; 19 Harry C, their son Mar 18, 1898-May 18, 1898;
21 Williams Walter F 1849-1918 Alwilda his wife 1854-1928 Albert W their son 1886-1918 Corp Co C 26 Inf killed in action - Toul Sector, France;
22 Josiah A. Hiatt died May 8, 1905 aged 77 y 3 m 17 d Sarah E wife of J. A. Hiatt died Apr 12, 1888 aged 60y 3m 5 d Gone but not Forgotten.

The Lester Family of Virginia

Contrary to the Welch family, the Lester family is well documented. There is a great deal of their family history in The Old Free State (Vol 1, by Landon Bell, William Byrd Press, Richmond, Va.) in a chapter on "Lunenberg Cousins." It tells us that Lester was a corruption of Leicester but is found in America as Lester, sometimes spelled Lister, or Leister. Listers and Leisters came to Virginia in the early 1600's.

The parents of Bryant Lester, Sr., are not known but he first shows up in Lunenberg County at about the time of the French and Indian War and rendered service therein. He married, about 1750, Sarah Winbush. In 1787 he was elected a vestryman of Cumberland Parish. His will is dated May 25, 1795 and was probated June 9, 1796 in Lunenberg County. Sons Bryant and Henry Lester were executors. He appears to have lived on Juniper Creek where he owned a mill and a saw scaffold.

Among Bryant Lester, Sr's eleven children was Bryant Lester, Jr. who was born, lived and died in Lunenberg County. He married Alice Hooper. Bryant, Jr's oldest child was Frances Lester, born Nov. 19, 1774, "who married one Welch". That it was Joshua Welch is proven by the marriage record in Lunenberg County, Virginia, and by the estate records of Bryant Lester, Sr. where Joshua Welsh was paid six schillings on November 19, 1797 from the estate of Bryant Lester, Sr. Unfortunately the reason for the payment is not listed so we have to assume that Joshua was employed by Bryant Lester, Sr. On April 8, 1799, Joshua Welch paid into the estate two pounds, three shillings, and eight pence, probably for items purchased at the estate sale. This tells us Joshua Welch was still in Lunenburg County in 1799.

We do not have a copy of the will of Bryant Lester Sr as one was not available in Lunenberg County when we inquired. However there is a transcription of Lunenburg County, Virginia, Will Book 4 1791-1799, abstracted by June Banks Evans and published by Bryn Ffyliaid Publications, New Orleans, La (see note at the bottom of the page on how to obtain publications from this publisher). This book contains both the marriage record of Joshua Welsh and Fanney Lester on 25 December 1794 and the will of Bryant Lester, Sr. His estate except land was divided equally to his children John, Rebecca Estes, Martha Atkins, Alexander, Bryant, Henry, Archer, excepting daughter Ermin Richards. He left some of his land to sons Bryant and Henry Lester; other land to sons Frederick and Archer Lester. He then left specific bequests of specific negros to his children. It is interesting to note that no slaves were left to son Bryant Lester and that in his own estate, son Bryant Lester owned no slaves. So he evidently was opposed to slavery. He is listed with one slave on a 1782 tax list.

Bryant Lester, Jr., wrote his will on the 26 day of January 1829 in Lunenberg County. The first item in his will: "Item I hereby confirm unto my Daughter Fancy Welch the property I have heretofore given her amounting in my estimation together with money paid one hundred and fifty pounds. He then leaves to son Richard Lester 130 pounds; to son Bryan Lester, 130 pounds; to daughter Nancy Smithson 150 pounds; to son Henry Lester, 130 pounds; to daughter Mary Crenshaw, 115 pounds; to daughter Charlotte Chaney, 115 pounds; to son Frederick Lester, 130 pounds; to son Benjamin Lester, 130 pounds; and to son Whitfield Lester, 130 pounds. We have a full copy of the will and have posted a copy on a Lester Will page along with the abstract of Bryant Sr's will. Wife, Alice Hooper Welch, was evidently deceased as a wife is not mentioned in the will.

Bryn Ffyliaid Publications is a small publishing house whose major emphasis is documentation of family history in some of the early counties of Virginia. Visit their Web Site at or write to June Banks Evans, Bryn Ffyliaid Publications 300 Lake Marina Drive 16BW, New Orleans, LA 70124 for a book list.

Speculations on the Parentage of Joshua Welch

Possible Origin in Wales/Ireland

As if researching Welches in the United States was not enough of a nightmare, it will be quite impossible to connect the family to Wales. There is evidence that they did come from Wales, but their surname would not have been "Welch, Welsh, or Welsch" at that time. The surnames of Wales were so difficult that the other nationalities could not cope with them and many, many of them wound up simply with the surname Welch - meaning nothing more than a fellow who came from Wales. Often this surname transition actually happened in Ireland so family rumors that they came to America from Ireland may also be true; they may first have immigrated to Ireland and then on to America.

Searching for Joshua Welch in Pennsylvania

We have been searching for the parents of Joshua Welch for several years, including hiring researchers in Virginia. A Starke County, Indiana, County History (quoted above) tells us Joshua was born in Pennsylvania. Grandfather Eikenberry, a Welch/Woodward descendant who lived for some years with his grandmother Rachel Woodward Welch, indicated Joshua was born in Pennsylvania. Some of Joshua's children still living in 1880 give him as born Pennsylvania.

After researching every possible Pennsylvania Welch family and all New England Welches who might have moved to Pennsylvania, we came to the conclusion that Joshua might be the son of Joshua Welch of Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and that over the years "Pittsylvania County" had become "Pennsylvania" in the minds of descendants. This may be a far stretch and we caution people about words "might," "may," and "perhaps" in discussions of Joshua's parentage. We are putting up this page with high hopes that someone out there can either verify or refute our theories. If you can contribute to the discussion email WebMaster Nadine on the About Us Page.

We did find the name Joshua among one of the New England families but were able to determine that all those named Joshua had migrated to Canada. This was interesting as from The History of Starke County [Indiana] [[page 580] "His [Joshua's] oldest brother, George Welsh, was one of the early volunteers in the struggle for independence. He took part in that expedition against Quebec during the winter of 1775-76, under the command of Generals Montgomery and Arnold, and died during the campaign." We submitted forms to the National Archives for his Revolutionary War record but none was found; however there was such a campaign during the Revolution so the story may be true. This still leaves a slight opening to connect Joshua to some of the Canadian Welches who migrated from Pennsylvania.

Searching for Joshua Welch in Virginia

We feel there is some evidence that Joshua Welch may have been the son of Joshua and Jemima Hutchings Welch of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. If this is true, his grandfather would then have been Thomas Welch of Prince William and Fauquier County, Virginia. Thomas Welch and his son Joshua have been well researched and the results posted on a Welch-Houston Genealogy Web Site owned by Mike Welch at

If our Joshua was indeed son of Joshua Welch of Pittsylvania County then descendants may be interested in a bit of history of Joshua, Sr. We know Joshua Welch, Sr. served in the Virginia Militia and it was apparently during the French and Indian War. The Fauquier County, Virginia Militia troop of Richard Taylor, 1756 is given on a Web Site and lists Joshua Welch as one of fifteen troopers who served for 93 days and were each paid 20 lbs of tobacco per day.

To aid in sorting out the Virginia information we have attached a map of Lunenberg County, Virginia as it existed in 1746. It was set off from Brunswick County in May 1745. Halifax County was set off from Lunenburg Feb 1752 and then Pittsylvania County was set off from Halifax in November 1766. (See Pittsylvania County marked off just above "North" in North Carolina.) Orange County, North Carolina, where our Joshua Welch lived after 1800 is located directly south of Pittsylvania County. Also noted on the map is present day Lunenburg County in the upper right corner. This is where Joshua and Fannie Lester Welch were married in 1794.

Later land records in Virginia name several of Joshua Welch Sr.'s children (of Pittsylvania County and son of Thomas Welch - see Mike Welch's Web Site linked at the top of the page) but do not mention possible children, Joshua or brother George (but of course George was deceased). We are therefore left at this point with no hard evidence linking Joshua Welch of Lunenburg County, Virginia to Joshua Welch, Sr. of Pittsylvania County, Virginia. A very weak piece of evidence is that in a 1783 Lunenburg County, Virginia, tax list we find Aron Hutchings, 3 white tithables, 4 black; Bryant Lester, Sr. and Archibald Lester, 17 white, 10 black; Bryant Lester, Jr., 2 white, 2 black; Alexander Lester, 4 white, 2 black. The Lesters were of course in-laws of our Joshua Welch. Aaron Hutchings was brother of Jemima Hutchings Welch, well proven as wife of Joshua Welch of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

1/24/2012 New email for June Bank Evans
9/4/2006 Some small corrections made and a page put up for the wills of Bryant Lester Sr and Jr.
7/3/2006 We have heard from Grover Williams, author of the Williams family history quoted on this page and have made some corrections based on his comments. We have added some of his information on the family which makes it much more alive and personal. At the same time we have again reorganized the page to make confirmed information easier to follow and moving he speculations on Joshua Welch's parentage to the end of the page.
9/9/2005 Tried to do some reorganization of the page to make it easier to follow. Added more census information.