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Silver-tongued orator murdered in Rio Grande City

November
06
1906

On this day in 1906, Stanley Welch, South Texas politician and "silver-tongued orator of the Southwest," was murdered in Rio Grande City. After settling in Corpus Christi in the 1870s, Welch led the local Democratic party and was a personal friend of James B. Wells Jr., the regional Democratic leader. Welch was elected Nueces county attorney and then city attorney for Corpus Christi. In 1898, when an appointed incumbent declined to run, Welch won an election, succeeding John C. Russell as district judge of the vast South Texas Trans-Nueces region. He was reelected twice. While judge, Welch heard the case against Gregorio Cortez Lira for the murder of Sheriff W. T. Morris on April 25, 1904; the murder and trial eventually became the subject of a well-known corrido. Early on the morning of November 6, 1906, Welch was murdered as he slept in the Casa de los Abogados at Rio Grande City. In town to supervise a hotly contested election between factions known as the Reds and Blues, he had been accused of favoring local Democrats over the Republican "Red Club." In 1908 Alberto Cabrera of Starr County was tried in Cuero and convicted for the murder of Stanley Welch.

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