Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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WELSH, John, merchant, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 9 November, 1805; died there, 10 April, 1886. His father, of the same name, was a Philadelphia merchant. The son received a collegiate education, but was not graduated. After conducting a mercantile business of his own, he entered, in 1874, into partner ship with his brothers in the West India trade, and was at the time of his death the senior member of the firm, which had been established since 1834. For many years he was active in public affairs, giving largely of his time and means, from his first service as member of the select council of Philadelphia. For twenty years he was a member of the sinking fund commission, and for the same length of time a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, of which he was also a patron. He was president of the Philadelphia board of trade and of the Merchants' fund for fifteen years. He was one of the founders of the Episcopal hospital and its largest contributor. In 1862 he was appointed commissioner of Fairmount park. During the civil war he was active in measures of relief, and in 1864 he became president of the executive committee of the sanitary fair, which disbursed over $1,000,000 for the use of army hospitals and ambulances. His best-known work was as president of the Centennial board of finance, to which he was elected in April, 1873. The success of the exhibition was in a great measure due to his executive ability, in recognition of which he was presented by the city with a gold medal and with $50,000. With this sum he endowed the John Welsh chair of English literature in the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Welsh was an active Republican, and in 1878 was appointed minister to England, but he resigned within two years. The degree of LL.D. was conferred upon him by the University of Pennsylvania in 1878, and by Washington and Lee in 1880, and many foreign decorations were given him for courtesies that he extended during the Centennial exhibition.--His brother, William, philanthropist, born in Philadelphia about 1810; died there, 11 February, 1878, was also a merchant in his native city, where he occupied many public posts, among them those of president of the board of trusts, director of Girard college, and trustee of Wills hospital. He was also largely identified with the philanthropic interests of the city, especially as a member of the Indian peace commission during General Grant's administration, which place he resigned upon meeting with difficulties in the Indian bureau. For several years he was proprietor of the " North American '' and the "Philadelphia Gazette," which he had purchased in order to elevate the morals of the daily press. Mr. Welsh published, besides various papers, " Lay Co-operation in St. Mark's Church ~' (Philadelphia, 1861)" " Letters on the Home Missionary Work of the Protestant Episcopal Church" (1863); " The Bishop Potter Memorial House" (1868); and "Taopi and his Friends, or Indians' Wrongs and Rights," with Bishop Henry B. Whipple and the Reverend Samuel Dutton Hinman (1869).
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