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John Welker, a prominent notary of Billings, has made his home in that town for over ten years, and his career presents an example of industry, perseverance and good management rewarded by substantial results. Like other representative men of the county, he is a native of the Buckeye State, being born in Stark County May 8, 1838. He has inherited his push and energy from his German ancestors.
He is a son of John and Mary (Eply) Welker, and grandson of John Welker, who was born in Pennsylvania of old German stock. The father of our subject was also a native of the Keystone State, but at an early day moved to Stark County, Ohio, and thence to Cumberland County, Illinois, about 1842. He is still living near Hazel Dell, but is eighty-four years of age, having been born in February, 1809. The mother of our subject died in the Prairie State in 1855. To this estimable couple were born these children: James, Samuel, Jacob, John, William, Joseph, Elijah, Edward and Mary A. By the father’s second marriage there were two children: Harry and Sarah. Mr. Welker was formerly a Whig, but became a Republican in his political views, and in religion was a United Brethren. By occupation he was a farmer and millwright, and became a man of some means. He had four sons in the Rebellion: William, John, Joseph and Elijah. Joseph was killed in the battle of Perryville, Kentucky; William was wounded at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, but survived, and is now living at Hazel Dell, Illinois; and Elijah is living at Yale, Illinois.
John Welker, our subject, was a small boy when the family moved to Illinois, and in the Prairie State he received a good education, sufficient to enable him to branch out as a teacher. Later he engaged in the photographing business, and followed that for twenty years at Newton, Illinois In January, 1883, he came to Billings and embarked in the produce business. Later he was elected mayor of the city and justice of the peace, and filled both offices in a capable and satisfactory manner. He is now notary, and for some time edited the Billings Bee. At present he gives his attention to notary business and pensions, loans and real estate. In August, 1862, he enlisted in Company E, One Hundred and Twenty-third Illinois Infantry, for three years, participating in some hard services, but was finally discharged on account of having heart disease. Mr. Welker is the owner of real estate in the city and country, and has been quite successful in a business way. In politics he takes a deep interest, and is an ardent supporter of Republican principles. He is a member of the A. O. U. W. in Illinois and Billings Post No. 166, G. A. R. In the year 1864 he married, at Newton, Illinois, Miss Alice Sutton, daughter of William and Catherine (Lyons) Sutton. The Suttons were among the pioneer families of Indiana, and Mr. Sutton was a soldier in the Thirty-eighth Illinois Regiment during the Rebellion. He is now deceased, but the mother is living. Mr. Welker and family reside at Billings, where they have a handsome home, and are connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. Welker is one of the trustees. Seven children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Welker; three are dead, while James D., Gilbert T., Effiie C. and William J. are living.