Welder, Robert Hughes (1891–1953)

By: Mrs. Patrick H. Welder

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: February 1, 1996

Robert Hughes Welder, rancher and wildlife conservationist, was born on March 26, 1891, at Victoria, Texas, the son of Eliza (Hughes) and John James Welder. He was a rancher and outdoorsman all his life. He founded the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation and Refuge through a provision in his will setting aside 7,800 acres of uncultivated Welder ranchland. This acreage, a part of Felipe Roque de la Portilla's Spanish land grant, became a refuge in 1954, when the foundation also began providing for education and research in wildlife conservation. Welder's other bequests included a 300-acre tract given to the city of Sinton and named Rob and Bessie Welder Park. Welder married Helen Field Power in Victoria on April 17, 1912; they had three daughters. The marriage ended in divorce, and on November 3, 1951, Welder and Mrs. Bessie Knowlan Utley of Sinton were married. There were no children of this marriage. Welder died at his ranch home on December 31, 1953. He and Bessie Welder are buried at the wildlife refuge.

Cattleman, February 1954. Texas Legislature, House Journal, March 15, 1954.


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

Mrs. Patrick H. Welder, “Welder, Robert Hughes,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/welder-robert-hughes.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1996