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RG4457.AM:  Frank Welch, 1835-1878

Papers:  1858-1898

Norfolk, Madison County, Neb.:  U.S. Senator

Size:  1.0 cu.ft.; 2 boxes


Frank Welch, a prominent early resident of Nebraska was born on Bunker Hill, Charleston, Massachusetts, 10 February 1835. His father died when he was two and he and his mother moved to Bath, Maine, where he attended public school until age ten when they moved to Boston. He graduated from Boston High School and entered as a student in the office of Parker and Pelton, civil engineers, in Charleston, Massachusetts.

He supervised a survey of the New York Central Railroad to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, later coming to Decatur, Nebraska Territory. He was married in Boston in May 1863, to Miss Elizabeth Butts, daughter of Seneca Butts of Hudson, New York. By this marriage there were five children.

Returning to Nebraska he was made postmaster in Decatur and became a member of the territorial legislature. He was a member and president of the Senate in 1866. In 1871 he was appointed register of the U.S. Land Office in Nebraska and moved to West Point until the office was moved to Norfolk. He stayed in this position in Norfolk until 1876 when he was elected to the U.S. Congress and held that office until his death while speaking in Neligh, Nebraska, on September 4, 1878. He was buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts.

Mrs. Welch took over the management of business affairs initiated by her husband and these consisted at least in part of considerable investment in farm and urban business and residential properties in Burt, Cuming, Dodge, Holt and Madison Counties in Nebraska.

Note: For an extensive outline of his life, see Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, Volume II, 1876-1879, in the NSHS Library.


This collection consists of two manuscript boxes of material arranged in three series: 1) General Correspondence, 1869-1898; 2) Business & Financial records, 1858-1897; and 3) Miscellany.

The material consists of correspondence regarding family affairs, primarily the death of Frank Welch in 1878, and to letters relating to property and investment transactions of the Welch’s. The business letters are important as they were received by Mrs. Welch in Cooperstown from bankers, lawyers, and investors in Nebraska and relate to sale and purchase of land, plus farm mortgages in Burt, Cuming, Dodge, Holt and Madison Counties between 1878 and 1898. These letters not only reflect the economic conditions of the state in the late 19th Century, but provide an insight into the business dealings between an eastern investor and local agents in Nebraska.

Correspondents include: Solomon Bundy, 1879; Burt County Officials, 1882-1883; R.R. Dickson, 1892-1896; George W.E. Dorsey, 1883-1894; John B. Furay, 1878; C.H. Gould, 1878; Holt County Officials, 1895-1896; Orsamus H. Irish, 1878-1879; Charles P. Mathewson; Moses Merrill, 1878; J.P. Mullen, Holt County; Nebraska Mortgage & Investment Company, 1889; N.A. Rainbolt, 1880-1898; J.M. Shively, 1893-1895; W.E. Smails, 1893; Benjamin F. Stevens; C.H. Toncray, 1886-1892; H.M. Van Every, Stuart; and others.


Series 1 – General Correspondence, 1869-1898

Box 1


  1. 1869

  2. 1877

  3. 1878

  4. 1879

  5. 1880

  6. 1881

  7. 1882

  8. 1883

  9. 1884

  10. 1885

  11. 1886

  12. 1887

  13. 1888

  14. 1889

  15. 1890

Box 2


  1. 1891

  2. 1892

  3. 1893

  4. 1894

  5. 1895

  6. 1896

  7. 1897

  8. 1898

Series 2 – Business and Financial Records, 1858-1897

Box 2 (Cont.)


  1. Cash Book, 1883-1897

  2. Bank Record, 1887-1897

  3. Miscellaneous Bank & Investment records, 1879-1897

  4. Tax Receipts, 1879-1884

  5. Bills of Sale: 1859 and 1862-1864

  6. Deeds: 1858-1889

  7. Homestead patent certificates: 1860, 1871 and 1875

  8. Mortgages, 1863-1871

  9. Miscellaneous Receipts

Series 3 – Miscellany

Box 2 (Cont.)


  1. Memorials and resolutions on the Death of Frank Welch

  2. Forms relating to the Spalding Act and pensions of postal officials

  3. Errata



Burt County (Neb.) — Land sales and settlement

Cuming County (Neb.) — Land sales and settlement

Dodge County (Neb.) — Land sales and settlement

Holt County (Neb.) — Land sales and settlement

Madison County (Neb.) — Land sales and settlement


Nebraska — Economic conditions, 1865-1898

United States. Congress. House of Representatives

Welch, Elizabeth (Butts)

Welch, Frank, 1835-1878


Revised 10-19-2009   TMM