Harvey and Rachel Woodward Welch of Indiana and Illinois

Harvey and Rachel Woodward Welch

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Rachel Woodward was the seventh child and fourth daughter of John and Rachel Williams Woodward and grandaughter of Abraham and Hannah Thornborough Woodward of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Randolph County, North Carolina, and Jefferson County, Tennessee.

Harvey Welch was son of Joshua and Fanny Lester Welch of Lunenburg County, Virginia, Orange County, North Carolina, and Wayne County, Indiana.

  Harvey Welch
born 1805 Orange Co, NC
died 4/12/1888 Mercer Co, Ill
burial: Shields Cemetery
Eliza Township
Rachel Woodward
born 1813 Jefferson Co., Tn
died 8/19/1892 Hardin Co., Ia
burial: Cottage Cemetery
Hardin County, Iowa

  Married: January 9, 1834, Wayne County, Indiana

William Welch born about 1835 Wayne Co, Indiana (unmarried)
John Welch born about 1837 Wayne Co, Indiana; married Margaret Moore
Sarah Jane Welch born about 1839; married Stephen Carr
Joseph Welch born about 1841 Wayne Co, Indiana
Lydia Ellen Welch born 2/16/1842 Wayne Co, Indiana; married William Carr, brother of Stephen
Patrick Welch born 10/6/1845 Wayne Co, Indiana; married Ann Elizabeth Newkirk
Mary Elizabeth Welch born 8/7/1846 Wayne Co, Indiana; married Joseph Samuel Endicott
Wiley Edward Welch born 1/9/1849 Wayne Co, Indiana; married Sarah Elvira Essley
Rachel Welch born 1851 Wayne Co., In.
Hartwell Welch born 1/30/1853 Wayne Co,Indiana (unmarried)
Amanda Evaline Welch born 3/2/1854 Wayne Co, Indiana; married George Monroe Eikenbary
James B. Welch born 11/27/1857 Mercer Co, Illinois; married Josephine Walker

There is a possible additional child Ailsie or Alice, named for John Woodward's sister Alice Woodward Dean, aunt of Rachel Woodward Welch. This daughter was mentioned in papers left by Wiley & Sarah Essley Welch. For them to have known her, she was likely born after James. The 1865 Mercer County census lists a female age 0 to 10 in the Harvey Welsh household. If this was another daughter she was not living by 1870.

Letter of Fred Welch Eikenberry - 1935

"Grandfather Welsh was born near Raleigh, N. C., in 1805. His name was Harvey, as he spelled it. His father lived there on a farm. Was of Welsh descent. He was a farmer and brickmason, as was grandfather who pioneered in Indiana and later in Illinois near [New] Boston, Mercer Co., Ill; had his blacksmithing done by John Deere, for whom he had high regard; died at age of 85 in Illinois.

"Grandmother Rachel Welsh was born in 1818 in Virginia; maiden name was Woodard -- or Woodward; of Irish descent; heard her say her mother spoke of hearing the cannons in the Rev. War. Also spoke of her grandfather, Amos Woodward [actually Williams], who lived to be 105; also spoke of the starving time in Ireland as told by her parents. Died at age of 90 or older ; lived with a daughter in Iowa; pioneered in Richmond, Indiana.

The above was a letter written by Amanda Welch Eikenbary's oldest son, Fred Welch Eikenberry, to his sister Bertha Eikenbary Mayfield, December 18, 1935. It contained some inaccuracies, but it was our starting point for researching ancestors. There was enough accurate information in the letter to locate the families in census records. It took a little longer to locate the Woodward family since the reference to Amos Woodward in the letter was misleading. Fred Eikenberry actually meant Amos Williams Rachel's maternal grandfather. Amos Williams was also of Welsh descent but the woman we believe to be his wife was Irish. (See Williams page, but be wary, we lack proof yet that this is the right couple!)

Woodwards from Tennessee to Indiana

Rachel Woodward, Jr., came from Jefferson County, Tennessee, to Wayne County, Indiana, with her parents in 1814, when she was about a year old. The family probably came by horseback, as when her father, John Woodward died in 1821, each of the children had their own saddle.

In the 1820 census the Woodward family is located two doors from Amos Williams, father of Rachel Williams Woodward, Rachel Woodward, Jr.s mother .

Welches in Indiana

In the 1830 census the Woodward family is located two families away from the Joshua Welch & James Williams families. Joshua Welch was Harvey's father and James Williams (no connection to Rachel's Williams family, that we know of) was married to Harvey's sister Victoria Welch. So, as was often the case, a young man married the girl "next door."

By 1840 Harvey and Rachel Woodward Welch had established their own farm, next door to Rachel's brothers, John Woodward, Jr., and Aaron Woodward.

In the 1850 census the children are listed as above, except one female child from 1840 is not listed and we had assumed she died. However, we learned that a Sarah Jane Welch married Stephen Carr, brother of William Carr, who married Lydia Ellen Welch. The marriage took place December 12, 1858, in Mercer County. Sarah Jane Carr is listed as age 20 in the 1860 census - or born about 1839 or 1840. In the 1880 census in Grayson County, Texas, William Welch is living with Stephen and Sarah Jane Welch Carr and is listed as brother-in-law. More on this family on the Stephen Carr page.

In the 1850 census Harvey & Rachel Woodward Welch are living next door to Rachel's 85 year old mother, Rachel Woodward and her unmarried sister Eliza. Brother John Woodward, Jr., still lives nearby but the Welch families have moved on to Warren County, Indiana.

The Move to Illinois

Numerous neighboring families moved on from Wayne County, Indiana, to Mercer County, Illinois, starting in the mid-1830's, but Harvey & Rachel Woodward Welch remained in Wayne County until about 1856. From the known location of their land, they no doubt supplied corn and garden produce to drovers who stopped overnight on the National Road. In about 1856 the railroad came through and this source of income would have dried up. Curiously, a distant cousin of Rachel's, Ellis Bailey Woodward was a drover on that very road in Fayette County, Pennsylvania at about the same time (there is some interesting history of his life as a drover on that page).

Harvey & Rachel no doubt had glowing accounts of Mercer County from former neighbors and relatives. Mercer County, even today is a top producer of corn in the United States. And there was ready access to a huge market because it lies directly on the Mississippi River. They are found in the 1860 census in Eliza Township in Mercer County on a farm valued at $2500. Son James was added to the family in Illinois. From a Mercer County Atlas they are living very near Rachel's cousin, Patrick Beard, Jr. and he is probably one who was instrumental in their move.

Life in Illinois

Our Web Site Life on the Mississippi in the 1800's includes a page for the Beards, including a map of where their land was located.

In both Wayne County and Mercer County we find no evidence of a religious connection for Harvey & Rachel. We know that Rachel's parents, John & Rachel Woodward did not espouse the Quaker religion of John Woodward's father, Abraham. We tend to believe that while in Mercer County Harvey and Rachel espoused the newly popular Spiritualism, as both their closest neighbors were ardent Spiritualists. We suspect it especially as Spiritualism became popular to contact deceased sons lost in the Civil War.

During the Civil War, Harvey & Rachel gave three sons, William, John, and Patrick and a son-in-law, William Carr. John & Patrick Welch died prematurely because of their service and the two Williams had life-long medical problems.

In the 1870 census sons William, Wiley, Hartwell, and James and daughter Amanda are still at home. Son Joseph and daughter Rachel are no longer with them and we do not know their fate. Two farms away, the Eikenbary family has moved in and daughter Amanda would soon marry the boy "next door," George Monroe Eikenbary. More on their family on the German Families part of this Web Site.

From the 1880 census we learn that Harvey Welch could read and write and that Rachel Woodward Welch could read but not write. This was not unusual in that day and age, especially for a female. Sons Hartwell & James are still at home.

Sometime between 1880 and 1888 son Hartwell Welch rented the Leech farm, 3 1/2 miles north of Petersville in Eliza Township, Mercer County. Harvey & Rachel moved in with him and left their home place for son James to run. A doctor came to see both Hartwell & Harvey at Hartwell's farm. Harvey died in April 1888 and Hartwell died of appendicitis on May 10, 1888. They are buried together in Shields Cemetery. The stone was elaborate and is still in fine shape (Black and White Photos)(James Jones sent us a nice color photo taken in 2007). There is a probate available for Hartwell but not for Harvey.

That times were hard can be seen from Hartwell's probate. Terms of sale for his belongings were cash for amounts under $5 and a ten month secured note with no interest for amounts of $5 and over. Of 17 items sold, 11 were paid for by note. The Aledo Democrat that year reported that rising water had destroyed the crops in 1888. When late crops did come up they were destroyed by corn borer. We wonder if brother James Welch was even able to collect the notes from Hartwell's sale, as one of the appraisers petitioned the court for his fee to be paid as late as 1896. Hartwell had three horses, valued at $160, $100, and $130 dollars, a munificent sum for that time. Mercer County was then just becoming well known for raising fine blooded horses and that was apparently the Welch enterprise, and we believe they did well given the fine tombstone provided for Hartwell and Harvey. A photo of the James Welch family farm in 1916 shows several very fine horses (see the photo and a map).

Rachel to Iowa

After Harvey's death, Rachel Woodward Welch went to live with daughter Ellen Welch Carr in Hardin County, Iowa. Rachel died there in 1892 and is buried in Cottage Cemetery although no stone remains today (if there ever was one.) There was no money to return Rachel to Mercer County to be buried with Harvey.