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Biography of Hon. Frank Welch

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Hon. Frank Welch, member of Congress from Nebraska, at the time of his death, which occurred at Neligh, Neb., September 4, 1878, had made his home at Norfolk for the preceding five years. In preserving a brief estimate of his character, we can do no better than to quote the following words from the address of Senator Paddock, of Nebraska, delivered in the United States Senate, February 25,1879 “I shall not delay the Senate by an extended memorabilia of our lamented colleague, Representative Welch. He was born on Bunker Hill, Charlestown, Mass., February 10, 18355; was graduated at the Boston High School, and afterward specially educated and trained as a civil engineer. Soon after embarking in his profession, the duties thereof called him into the West, and finally, while yet a very young man, in the year 1857, he established his home at Decatur, Neb. Mr. Welch was a gentleman in the highest and broadest sense of the term–kind, gentle, generous, manly. As might naturally have been expected for a young man possessing such qualities of mind and heart, he rapidly advanced to the front in society, and in affairs in his county and section. He was very soon chosen to represent his district in the Councilor Senate of the Territorial Legislature, and a little later was elected to the Senate of the first legislature chosen under the State organization, of which body he was made the presiding officer. He held other positions of honor and trust under both the Federal and State Governments, and in 1876, was elected a member of the Forty-fifth Congress. He represented the largest Congressional District in the Union, both as respects territorial extent and population. There was put upon him the labor of three men, and by day and by night unceasingly he struggled through the protracted and exciting session of last year to do it all. Mr. Welch was a man of great energy, industry and pertinacity of purpose. He would do all that was required of him although he should know the effort would cost him his life; he did all, and as many another before him in like circumstances had done, went prematurely to his grave. When the session closed, Mr. Welch returned to his constituency very much worn and broken in health. He needed rest, but he took it not. At once he entered upon an active and exceedingly laborious political canvass. His physical machinery could not endure the additional strain thus put upon it, and then the end came, soon and swift, but pangless. In the evening of the 4th of September, 1878, in a public meeting, in the midst of a numerous audience, composed largely of his political friends and admirers whom he was about to address, he was suddenly stricken and fell in instant death. His family, fond mother, a devoted wife and three loving children, were absent in a distant Eastern State, and no other of his kindred was present to close the eyes of him who thus in the prime of his manhood went down under a weight of his burdens too heavy to be longer borne.” Mr. Welch was Past Grand Master of Masons in Nebraska. The funeral services were conducted by the Masons, in Norfolk, and the body was conveyed to Boston, Mass., where it was buried September 13, 1878.


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