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Nicholas Welch

Welch history in America is well documented and begins on the north-eastern shores in the early colonies. Nicholas Welch was born 1740 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This true narrative begins in Salisbury District, North Carolina, Lincoln County, which county was divided into present day Lincoln, Bladen, Anson and Mechlenburg Counties.

Nicholas Welch appears in "letters testamentary, Crown Docket, 1769" North Carolina Archives, granting him the estate of his father John Welch the same continuing records show a people proud to be a part of Britain becoming divisive and at odds with each others as pre-revolutionary times went by - Nicholas Welch was a Major in the British Army when the Revolutionary War began. He had a successful record in the major battles and then his luck turned.

A complete account of "The Battle of Ramsaur's Mill" can be found at the web site On June 20, 1780 about 1000 Tories under Lt. Colonel John Moore and Major Nicholas Welch gathered to rest, receive arms, and drill after sieges in the Carolinas. This was near the lands of Major Nicholas Welch who was seen about the countryside astride fine horses, with brilliant red uniform, gold braid and accompanying guard.

Five hundred Continental militia, employing guerrilla tactics, and being under Colonel Frances Locke and Major Joseph McDowell attacked the superior force. After an hour of fighting, the last hand to hand, the Tories were in retreat with over 100 men on each side killed and 50 Tories captured.1 Three sons of Nicholas Welch were among the captured, Thomas, William and Nicholas, Jr.

In pre-revolutionary days Nicholas Welch was a personable man, much admired, a great orator and known for his purse of gold. At Ramsour's Mill he lost all. Judgment by Default, records of Rutherford County, North Carolina, show his lands sold for ƒ700 sterling.

Some Welch/Welsh/Walsh Families of North Carolina by Jones-Mahoney, states the following, "Major Nicholas Welch traveled to Europe after the Revolution to make claim for American losses. He stated he was the owner of 600, mostly developed acres, taken after British losses. He further stated he had continued to fight for England until 1781 when the plight of his family, including nine young children, became unbearable and he moved to George in East Florida, then going to the Bahamas."

Nicholas Welch sought ƒ1,150 sterling from the King, but received ƒ448 sterling.2 Strong proof as to the children of Nicholas Welch has been put together by Betty N. McDougal, DAR official, Houston, Texas, Wanda Edison of Mass., the writer and others, including contributors to, Jesus Christ Church of Latter Day Saints, Utah. The following children are not
in the order of birth.
Thomas Welch b. cica 1785 d. circa 1810 Tenn m. Mary Elizabeth ( )
Elizabeth Welch nothing else known.
William C. Welch b. circa 1760 NC d. circa 1840 Hardin Co., Tenn.
Buried Savannah Cemetery
m. Elizabeth Jane Hembree
Nicholas Welch (appear to be two by this name) b. Pendleton Co., S.C. 1786
Zachariah Welch b. Anson Co., N.C.
Richard Welch, born in Maryland and left will in Gibson Co., Tenn. In 1861
Judith Welch nothing else known.
John Welch b. circa 1765 Tryon Co., N.C. m. Christian Reynolds
Henry Welch d. believed to have died in Gibson Co., Tenn.
Hezias Welch b. 1800-1810 Kentucky (census with Nicholas Welch)
James Welch d. probably died in Gibson Co., Tenn.
Lewis Welch (the father of John C. Welch, Hardin County, Tenn.
See Welch article, this issue HCHS The Historian by E.B. Patterson).

Nicholas Welch was married at least three times, first wife is unknown, 2nd wife was Elizabeth (she is the mother of most of the above mentioned children) and Sarah, who he married in Giles Co., Tennessee after 1810 and had one daughter whose name is unknown.

When Nicholas Welch returned from Europe he is found for a short time in South Carolina records along with several sons, one being Lewis who had John C. Welch there in 1800. 3

Kentucky records show Nicholas and his ever expanding colony of Welches in adjoining counties around Hopkins County, Kentucky through 1810. Lewis lived next to Henry Welch there according to census records. Henry Welch is found living in the same household in Anson Co., N.C. on the 1800 census.

After 1810 the court records of Giles, Lawrence and Wayne Counties, Tennessee are filled with documents and accounts of many, many Welches traceable to Nicholas Welch. Nicholas left records mainly in Giles County, Tennessee. Mrs. Claude A. Carter, genealogist, now deceased, of Lawrence County, Tennessee, compiled those records, as have other researchers. One record of interest was one signed by Nicholas Welch and others in 1813. It is a very long petition but says in part, "a large portion of us, some through poverty, having expended our money and not being able to retreat; others seeing precarious the situation of land titles are forced to move upon vacant and unappropriated lands which the State of North Carolina deems to extend her authority," etc.

Apparently North Carolina was still after certain loyalists. Many of this line of Welches moved West soon after the above petition was signed.

By 1820, Lewis Welch is in Perry County, Tennessee in the census with known sons, John C., Elijah of Wayne County, Tennessee (later records), and an unknown son and three females, one of which is probably his wife. Zachariah Welch is also in Perry County, Tennessee having received, improved and sold 200 acres (War of 1812 land grant on banks of Tennessee River - near Wayne and Perry County line) to Isaac West (Welch) according to Wayne County Courthouse records. A Nicholas Welch (likely the son of Major Nicholas Welch) is the sheriff of Perry County for a period after 1830 according to Goodspeed History. Wanda Edison, now of Massachusetts, has it in her family history that Lewis Welch and Richard Welch were brothers. Richard left records as a settler in Gibson County, Tennessee and his will is there. Another brother, James Welch was also in Gibson County as was Henry Welch.

Now the descendants of Nicholas Welch have spread all over the nation. America's victory in the revolution was more than a military victory. It was a shaping of the future that took both Tory and Continental to accomplish. Out of this conflict came the ideals that caused us to be governed by consent of the governed and as the governed to have individual liberty. Nicholas Welch was a traveled, articulate, and masterful man of his time. His greater strength was not in his many battles but in having the strength to remain with his country. He died in 1814 in Giles County, Tennessee.

1 History of Lincoln County by Nixon.
2 North Carolina Historical Commission, Durham, North Carolina.
3 Tennessee 1850 census records.

 - from the research of Herb Perry