Welch, Otis G. (1822–1878)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: April 21, 2011

Otis G. Welch, lawyer and Confederate officer, was born in Monmouth, Maine, on December 21, 1822. Welch graduated from Yale with a law degree and practiced law in Illinois and Virginia before settling in Denton County, Texas, in 1852. In addition to working as an attorney, he was a notary public and land agent. In 1857 he served as legal advisor in the commission in charge of the establishment of the city of Denton as the county seat. He helped lay out the city and name some of the early streets. As a result of his leadership in this area, he was sometimes referred to as the "Father of Denton."

On June 1, 1862, Welch enlisted as captain of Company E of the First Chickasaw and Choctaw Mounted Rifles. Welch saw action with this unit near Fort Gibson in Arkansas between February and April 1862. During the summer of 1862, as the enlistments expired for many of Welch's men, he led a group from his company to Denton to join the forming Twenty-ninth Texas Cavalry Regiment. In December, Welch's company was incorporated into the regiment and Welch himself joined the Twenty-ninth Texas Cavalry as a lieutenant colonel on July 20, 1862. In September 1863 he received distinction for his performance at the battle of Elk Creek in the Cherokee Nation. He was involved in several other engagements including Red Forks, Chusto Talasah, and Pea Ridge. While in the Indian Territory, he commanded Chickasaws, Cherokees, Seminoles, and Creeks. During the winter of 1864, the commander of the Twenty-ninth Cavalry was court-martialed for failing to halt a riot between the regiment and Indians in Arkansas. This event led to Welch's promotion to colonel and command of the regiment in January 1865. Welch remained in this position until the surrender of the regiment on June 2, 1865.

Following the war, he returned to Denton and resumed his law practice and work for the Denton Monitor. In 1871 he participated in the defense of Denton from Indians at Clear Creek in which twenty Texas Rangers defended against nearly fifty Indians. As a Grand Master of the Odd Fellows, Welch helped organize the Rebekah Lodge I.O.O.F. in Denton on May 31, 1871, and was elected O. G. and S. A. Venters Secretary. In 1874 he married Nannie E. Lowery. Welch died on February 10, 1878, and is buried at the Odd Fellows I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Denton.

Edward Franklin Bates, History and Reminiscences of Denton County (Denton, Texas: McNitzky Printing, 1918; rpt., Denton: Terrill Wheeler Printing, 1976). Bradford K. Felmy and John C. Grady, Suffering to Silence: 29th Texas Cavalry, C.S.A. (Quanah,Texas: Nortex Press, 1975). Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, Jr., Yale's Confederates: A Biographical Dictionary (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2008). The Standard [Clarksville, TX]1862–1865 (http://www.uttyler.edu/vbetts/clarksville_standard_1862-1865.htm), accessed April 7, 2011.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Lawyers
Time Periods:
  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Welch, Otis G.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/welch-otis-g.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 21, 2011

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: