Today's substantial site profile will focus on five politicians who had the unusual first name "Welcome" bestowed upon them by their parents. For those who may be wondering, this odd first name has its origins in the Quaker faith, and will certainly be one of the funnier names you'll find here on the site!
The first of these men to be profiled is the bewhiskered Welcome Ballou Sayles, a Woonsocket, Rhode Island resident who served as a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. Sayles was regarded one of Woonsocket's most prominent residents during his short life, and his death at the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862 certainly curtailed a most promising political career.
Welcome B. Sayles was born in Bellingham, Massachusetts on July 12, 1812, the son of Daniel and Olive Ballou Sayles. Young Welcome is recorded as receiving his education in the Bellingham, Massachusetts public schools and at age 20 relocated to Woonsocket.
Shortly after his arrival Sayles began work at a general store in the village of Bernon. He eventually became the owner of this store and in May 1839 married Rhode Island native Deborah Cushing Watson. Six children were eventually born to Welcome and his wife, and are listed as follows in order of birth: Mary Olive (1840-1843), Eliza Jane (1842-1912), Mary Edith ( 1845-1873), Julia Wikinson (1848-1910), Phillip Allen (1852-1877) and Louis Leprelette (1854-1855).
In 1845, Sayles was appointed as the Postmaster of Providence by then President James Knox Polk and was reappointed to this post by President Pierce in 1853. Sayles continued to serve as postmaster until 1857, and his work in the office was noted by the Elaborate History and Genealogy of the Ballou's in America as one of note, saying that
"As Postmaster of Providence his success was not surpassed by that of any other postmaster in New England; and his promptness and accuracy were as highly commended by the government, as were his other qualities and characteristics of service by the public."
Sayles continued postal work under President Buchanan, journeying to the Arizona Territory and later to the southern states to "effect such settlements with the postmasters there, as would secure the government from losses and other embarrassments which threatened to result from the secession movement then beginning." In addition to his postal duties, Sayles was also actively engaged as a publisher, maintaining a connection with the Providence Daily Post for a number of years.
This portrait of Sayles appeared in the 1903 book The Seventh Regiment RI Volunteers in the Civil War.
During the 1840s, Sayles began to test the political waters, serving as a delegate to "every Democratic National Convention from Polk on down." In 1851 he mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives from Rhode Island, losing a close election to Whig incumbent George Gordon King (1807-1870). Sayles again served as a delegate to the 1860 Democratic National Convention in Baltimore, and it was here that he witnessed firsthand secessionist agitators and "exerted himself to restrain the lawless tendencies of his Southern friends." The rampant convention talk of breaking away from the Union proved to be too much for Sayles, as he eventually signed on for military service in the Seventh Regiment of the Rhode Island Volunteers at the dawn of the Civil War.
Sayles eventually rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and he was noted in the early mentioned Ballou Genealogical history as being "the idol of his regiment, and was kindly spoken of as a man and highly praised as an officer by all with whom he came in contact." Welcome Sayles and his regiment made their way to Virginia in December 1862 to engage in the Battle of Fredericksburg, regarded by most Civil War historians as one of the most lopsided campaigns to take place during the entire war. Union casualties (both killed and wounded) numbered over 12,000, while the Confederate casualties measured only 608 killed and 4,116 wounded.
Welcome B. Sayles lost his life at Fredericksburg on December 13, 1862, when he was "killed outright by a shell which exploded in coming in contact with his person." His remains were removed from the battlefield and eventually returned to Rhode Island, and a few days later were interred in the Swan Point Cemetery in that city. Sayles's wife Deborah survived him by over twenty years, dying in 1889 at age 71, and was also buried in the Swan Point Cemetery. The large print of Welcome Sayles shown at the opening of his article here appeared in the American Philatelist, Volume 31, published in 1917.
This notice on Welcome B. Sayles appeared in a December 1862 edition of the Newport Daily News.
From Rhode Island, we journey north to Plymouth County, Massachusetts and examine the life and career of one of that county's prominent 19th-century citizens, Welcome Howard Wales. Mr. Wales was a manufacturer in the Plymouth community for many years and eventually served a term as Plymouth's representative in the Massachusetts General Court during the 1860s. The rare print of him shown above was published in the second volume of the 1884 work History of Plymouth County, Massachusetts, compiled by Dwayne Hamilton Hurd.
Welcome H. Wales was born in the town of Brockton (formerly North Bridgeport) on January 20, 1821, the son of John and Olive Howard Wales. Welcome attended school in the Brockton area and in 1845 married Lois Kingman. One child was born to Welcome and his wife, Abbie Penn Wales, who died at age 17 in 1866.
Wales is recorded as being involved in machine manufacture for the majority of his life and in 1862 was elected to his first public office, that of town clerk for Brockton. He went on to serve as a collector of taxes until his death and also occupied the offices of town selectman and supervisor on numerous occasions. Wales was elected to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives from Brockton in 1869 and was reelected in 1871, and during his first term held a seat on the Committee on Horse Railways.
Welcome H. Wales died at age 58 on July 2, 1879, of "disease of the heart" and was buried in the Union Cemetery in Brockton, Massachusetts. His wife Lois survived him by nearly four decades, dying at age 89 in 1916 and was also interred in the Union Cemetery. Wales' death in 1879 was marked as a loss of an "experienced and valued servant, and the public one who was ardently interested in all the pertained to the advancement of the various interests of Brockton."
Next up is Welcome Otis Parker, a lawyer and legislator from Huron County, Ohio. Sporting a pair of substantial sideburns, Mr. Parker represented Huron County in both houses of the Ohio legislature during the late 1860s and 1870s, whilst also distinguishing himself as the proprietor of a general store in his native county.
Parker was originally born in Burlington, Vermont on June 12, 1821, and migrated to Vermillion, Ohio at an early age. In 1843 or thereabouts he married Clintonville, New York resident Mary Thurman, who died at age 26 in March 1848. Shortly after Mary's death, Parker remarried in August 1849 to Ms. Lurancy Almeda Barney, who eventually bore him three children, Richardson T. Parker (1844-1912), Abram (or Abraham) Parker (1846-1850) and a daughter who's married name is given as Mrs. J.S. Richardson.
Welcome O. Parker eventually removed to the town of Sandusky and here opened a general store. His time in Sandusky lasted until 1850, whereafter he removed to the city of Norwalk where he continued in the general merchandise business. While residing in Norwalk, Parker was elected to the Ohio State House of Representatives as a Republican, serving from 1868-1871. In 1872 he won a seat in the state senate and served here for one term, concluding in January 1874.
Little could be found on Parker's life after he left the legislature. He removed to Toledo, Ohio in the years after his legislative service but returned to Norwalk a few years before his death. He died of apoplexy at age 79 on December 8, 1899, at the home of his son Richardson, and in an odd coincidence, expired a few hours before the death of his granddaughter Mary Parker Williams. Parker was later interred at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Norwalk, Ohio. The rare portrait of him shown above was located via the Find-a-Grave website, and many thanks to the user who posted it there!
Pictured above is Mr. Welcome Mowry, a resident of Illinois who found his political and business fortunes in Iowa. Mowry was born on April 3, 1842 in Putnam County, Illinois, the son of George A. and Nancy Jack Mowry. Welcome received his education in the common schools of Putnam County and later enrolled at the Dover Academy in Illinois.
After completing his education Mowry enlisted in Company D of the Seventh Kansas Calvary and eventually saw action at the Battles of Corinth, Coffeyville, and Tupelo, amongst others. He was mustered out of service in Kansas in 1864 but later re-enlisted in the Illinois 151st Infantry. He continued in active military service until February 1866 and was remarked by one of his commanders as being "frequently on duty as scout in hazardous expeditions where his unflinching bravery, quick intelligence and sound judgement where signally displayed. He was an ideal soldier".
Mowry married on September 5, 1866, in Wyanet, Illinois to Ms. Lucina Sapp (1845-1915), with whom he had three children: Lorena C. (1868-1943), Burdette F. (born 1870) and Alzeda Sapp (1873-1960). In 1867 Welcome and his wife removed to a farm located in Tama County, Iowa, and it was here that they would reside for the rest of their lives.
Mowry engaged in farming and stock raising throughout the 1870s and in 1873 was an unsuccessful candidate for the Iowa State House of Representatives, placing a distant third in a field of six candidates. A result of that election is provided below.
While he may have been unsuccessful in his campaign for the legislature, Mowry's name eventually became one of the most prominent ones in Tama County, holding a number of local business and fraternal positions. In 1875 he was named as one of the directors of the Tama County Agricultural Association and later served as President of the Tama County Veterans Association in 1884.
In 1883 Mowry began another campaign for a seat in the state House of Representatives and in November of that year won the election. Taking his seat in January 1884, Mowry was named to the Committees on Roads and Highways, Compensation of Public Officers, and Libraries during his term and also served as Chairman of the Committee on Public Lands.
Welcome Mowry as he appeared in the Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette in September 1898.
After leaving the legislature in 1886, Mowry returned to his farming interests and in 1896 was named as a Republican Presidential Elector for Iowa in that year's election. Further political honors were accorded to him two years later when he was named to the Iowa State Railroad Commission and served on this board from 1899-1902.
Welcome Mowry died of stomach cancer on April 15, 1907 while staying in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. He was later buried in the Buckingham Cemetery in Traer, Iowa and was memorialized in the 1907 Annual Report of the Iowa State Commerce Commission as being one of Iowa's "ablest and most valuable citizens" and that "his name is closely identified with progress and development in the state." The portrait of Mowry shown at the beginning of his article here appeared in Volume IV of the History of Iowa, published in 1903 and authored by Benjamin F. Gue.
Mowry's obituary as it appeared in the Semi-Weekly Reporter in April 1907.
From Iowa we journey to Kansas and Mr. Welcome Wells, a resident of the county of Riley. During a long life that extended nearly 94 years, Wells served as a mayor of Coshocton, Ohio, a county commissioner in Kansas and was elected to multiple terms in both houses of the Kansas legislature.
Welcome Wells was born in Danville, Vermont on September 17, 1808, one of twelve children born to Paul and Mary Mason Wells. Welcome Wells is recorded as residing with his parents until age seventeen, whereafter he left home and resettled in Rensselaer County, New York. Here he joined an older brother and learned the art of shoe making. He resided here until the early 1830s and then removed to Utica, New York where he also practiced his craft. Wells married on May 17, 1829, to Eliza Gardner (1812-1900), with whom he would have several children. They are listed as follows: George (died aged 99 in 1930), Sarah (died 1914) Alfred (birthdate unknown), Otis (died 1884), Helen (died 1879), Samuel (died aged eight), Albert (died aged thirty-seven in Ohio).
Wells left New York in 1855 and traveled to Ohio, settling in the village of Coshocton. Here he again set up a shoe-making business and was elected as that town's mayor in 1855, serving a term of two years. He resided here until 1857 when he pulled up stakes once again and headed westward towards the Kansas Territory. After arriving at his destination (the village of Manhattan), Wells staked a claim to some land and after being joined by his family some months after his arrival established a shop in this town. The Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay and Riley Counties notes that Wells established an orchard on his homestead as well, and within a decade of his arrival had "one of the most valuable orchards in the vicinity comprising 2,000 trees in good bearing condition, and of fifty varieties."
While Welcome Wells was a prominent farmer and landowner in the Riley County area, he also was sought out by his fellow citizens to hold offices of the public trust. He began serving as justice of the peace in Manhattan a few months after his arrival and in 1862 was elected to the Kansas State House of Representatives from the counties of Riley and Pottawatomie. He was reelected to this body a decade later and served one term that concluded in 1873. Wells also served as a member of the Board of Commissioners of Pottawatomie County and in 1878 was elected to one term in the Kansas State Senate that concluded in 1880.
After leaving the state senate, Wells served another term as County Commissioner, serving from 1881-1883. Eliza Wells died in March 1900 after over seventy years of marriage and Welcome himself died nearly two years later on January 22, 1902, at age 93. Both were interred at the Sunset Cemetery in Manhattan Kansas, which is also the resting place of several of the Wells' children. The rare portrait of him shown above was located in the earlier mentioned Portrait and Biographical Album of Washington, Clay and Riley Counties, originally published in 1890.
From the 1902 edition of the New York Herald.
From the Red Hook Journal, October 1916.
A longtime resident of Dutchess County, New York, Welcome Hoffman Lawson was a figure of distinction in that county for many years, being both a businessman and civic leader. He was a two-time Democratic candidate for a seat in the New York State Assembly from Dutchess County's 2nd district, rightly earning him a place here on the site.
The son of Casper and Eliza Lawson, Welcome Hoffman Lawson was born in 1861. Little could be found on his early life or education, though notice has been found as to his serving as the Secretary of the Dutchess County branch of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1887. For a good majority of his eighty-one years he was involved in the "cream separator business", and his experience in this line of work received press in the Red Hook Journal's political advertisement on his candidacy in 1916, noting:
""He knows the needs of the farm and the dairymen and there is not a man in this district better fitted for effective work in the interest of the producing farmers of this district than he."
Lawson's work with cream separators eventually took him to Montreal, where he served as the director of the DeVal Separator Company. The Red Hook Journal relates that after taking charge of this company Lawson managed to "inaugurate a system of gauging wages" based on the "excellence of workmanship and the amount of work produced". Lawson's prominence in business eventually led to his nomination for the New York State Assembly in 1900, but was unsuccessful on election day, losing to Republican nominee Francis Landon by a vote of 5, 711 to 4,175. Lawson was again the Democratic nominee for the assembly in 1916, and on election day in November was dealt another loss, being defeated by Republican candidate Frank L. Gardner by over a thousand votes, 5,440 to 4,094.
Following his loss in 1916, little else could be found on Welcome Lawson. He continued to reside in Dutchess County and is mentioned as being a "neighbor of 30 years standing" of Governor (and later President) Franklin D. Roosevelt, both residing in Hyde Park. Lawson died at age 81 in 1942 and was later interred at the LaGrange Rural Cemetery in Poughkeepsie, New York.
Welcome H. Lawson meeting with President Roosevelt in November 1937.