HON. JAMES R. WELCH -Superior Court Judge, Santa Clara County, California


A jurist of state wide reputation.  Hon. Jams R. Welch has been on the State Superior Bench since 1904, in Santa Clara County.  He has frequently been called to other counties of the state to sit in important cases and has also sat as Justice pro tem in the Appellate District Court.  Santa Clara County being one of the busiest counties in the state  in legal matters, Judge Welch, during his occupancy of the bench has disposed of many large cases of statewide interest.  He presides over Department One of the Superior Court, and is the senior member of the bench in and for Santa Clara County.  He stands amongst the foremost thinkers and jurists of the state.

He was born February 12, 1860, near Plainview, Macoupin County, Ill., where his father was a well to do farmer, stockraiser and owner and operator of a flour mill.  In 1866 his father moved to Missouri where with his family he resided a short time. The family suffered great monetary loss in  the financial depression in the '70s, and when a lad of fourteen, young Welch was thrown  on his own resources.  He set about deliberately and persistently to get an education.  He crossed the plains in a prairie schooner in 1877 and located in Boise City, Idaho. where he succeeded in preparing himself to enter the highest public school of the capital city.  At the age of twenty years, he became a teacher there in a position next to that of the principal.

In the Indian outbreak in the late '70's he entered service under Capt. Maxon against the depredations of the Indians.  This old solder did not raise his company to stay at home, but went out on the sage brush plains and drove the marauders into the mountains of Montana.  Mr. Welch came to San Jose in 1882, and has since resided in  here.  He entered the University of the Pacific in 1882 and graduated in 1887 with the Ph. D. degree.  Three years later the degree of A.M. was conferred upon him by his Alma Mater.  During a vacation period while he was a student at the university, he graduated at Heald's Business College, and throughout this entire college course, was principal of the the commercial department of the university.   Upon graduation he took up the study of law alone and was admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court of the state in 1888. The legal records of Santa Clara County would not be complete without a reference to the Unions Savings Bank, California Cured Fruit Association and the Tarpey-Nicholson 40-year old litigation, as well as many other important cases in which Judge Welch successfully participated before he went on the bench.  During the fifteen years as a attorney, his rise was rapid and sure.  He was city attorney of San Jose from 1894 to 1897, when he resigned to devote his entire time to his private practice.

Judge Welch's family consists of a wife and four children-three daughters and one son.  He is a Mason and an Elk, and also a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.  He registers as a Republican.  In addition to his official duties he takes an active interest in public and civic affairs. He is a fruit grower and at the present time a member of the voting board of the California Prune and Apricot Growers Association, and is ardent in the cause of the growers of the state in successfully marketing their fruit cooperatively.  He has also espoused the cause of Santa Clara County and the State against the city of Santa Cruz in that city's endeavor to divert the Skyline Boulevard from the Summit Ridge of the Santa Cruz Mountains to a canyon route.  He has recently present argument before the State Highway Commission in favor of retaining and building the Skyline drive along the crest of the mountains, as a great scenic trunk line, for the use of the whole state.  Before many chamber of commerce, civic and commercial organizations of the state, he has been untiring in his advocacy of this highway and its routing along the skyline of the mountains.
Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922.  page 1057