Martin Welker

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Martin Welker
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 14th district
In office
March 4, 1865 – March 3, 1871
Preceded by George Bliss
Succeeded by James Monroe
4th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
In office
January 11, 1858 – January 9, 1860
Governor Salmon P. Chase
Preceded by Thomas H. Ford
Succeeded by Robert C. Kirk
United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
In office
November 25, 1873 – June 1, 1889
Appointed by Ulysses S. Grant
Preceded by Charles Taylor Sherman
Succeeded by Augustus J. Ricks
Personal details
Born (1819-04-25)April 25, 1819
Knox County, Ohio
Died March 15, 1902(1902-03-15) (aged 82)
Wooster, Ohio
Resting place Wooster Cemetery
Political party Whig, Republican
Spouse(s) Maria Armour
Flora Uhl

Martin Welker (April 25, 1819 – March 15, 1902) was a lawyer, politician, and judge from Ohio. Welker served three terms as a Republican member of the House of Representative, winning election in 1864, 1866, and 1868. Following his retirement from Congress, Welker was appointed a federal judge for the Northern District of Ohio by President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant in 1873, remaining in that post until his retirement in 1889.


Early years

Martin Welker was born in Knox County, Ohio on April 25, 1819. His father was an émigré from Germany and an early European pioneer in Ohio.[1]

Martin left the family farm at the age of 14 to take a job as a clerk in a store in Millersburg, Ohio.[2] He later studied law in the same town, eventually gaining admission to the bar in 1840 at the age of 21 and commenced legal practice in Millersburg.[2]

In 1846, Welker was appointed clerk of the Holmes County Court of Common Pleas, serving in that position until 1851.[2]

Ohio state politics

In 1848, Welker was the Whig nominee for the Congress, but lost in the largely Democratic district.[3] In 1850, he again was offered the nomination, but declined it.[3] In January, 1851, he re-entered private practice.[3] He served as judge of the sixth district of the Ohio Courts of Appeal from 1852 to 1857. He moved to Wooster, Ohio, in 1857.

He served as the fourth Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and President of the Ohio Senate in the Fifty-third General Assembly [4] in 1858 and 1859[5] under Governor Salmon P. Chase. He declined to be a candidate for re-nomination in 1859.

Civil War years

With the outbreak of the American Civil War, on May 14, 1861, Welker was appointed judge-advocate of the second brigade of the Ohio Volunteer Militia at rank of major, and served with General Jacob Dolson Cox.[3] Welker was appointed as an aide-de-camp, with rank of colonel to the Governor of Ohio on August 10, 1861. He then served as Judge Advocate General of the State of Ohio for the balance of 1861, and was the superintendent of drafting under Governor Tod, commencing August 15, 1862. He served as assistant adjutant general in 1862.

As the war waned, Welker enlisted on February 16, 1865 in the Union Army as a private in Company I, 188th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered out September 21, 1865.


While Welker was an unsuccessful candidate for election in 1862 to the 38th Congress.[6] Welker was elected as a Republican to the 39th in 1864.[7] He was re-elected to the 40th in 1866[8] and the 41st Congresses in 1868,[9] thus serving in Washington, DC from March 4, 1865 until March 3, 1871.

Welker was not a candidate for renomination to the 42nd Congress in 1870.

Federal judge

President Ulysses S. Grant appointed Welker to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 1873. He served until 1889, when he retired.

He was a professor of political science and international law at Wooster College from 1873 to 1890. He then served as president of the Wooster National Bank and vice president of the Wayne County Fair Board, and member of the Grand Army of the Republic.[3] He died on March 15, 1902, in Wooster and is interred at Wooster Cemetery.

Welker married Maria Armour of Millersburg March 4, 1841. After she died, he married Flora Uhl of Cleveland January 16, 1896.[10]


  1. Smith 1898 Volume I : 75
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Smith 1898 Volume I : 76
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Smith 1898 Volume II : 329
  4. Ohio 1917 : 239
  5. 1857 election: Welker 160,751 William H. Lytle 158,826 from Smith 1898 Volume I : 74
  6. 1862 Fourteenth District George Bliss 10,490 Welker 10,454 Smith 1898 Volume I : 151
  7. 1864 Fourteenth District Welker 12,844 George Bliss 10,312 Smith 1898 Volume I : 196
  8. 1866 Fourteenth District Welker 13,494 James B. Young 11,787 Smith 1898 Volume I : 229
  9. 1868 Fourteenth District Welker 13,575 Lyman R. Critchfield 13,113 Smith 1898 Volume I : 259
  10. Reed 1897 : 225-228


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.

Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas H. Ford
Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
Succeeded by
Robert C. Kirk
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
George Bliss
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 14th congressional district

Succeeded by
James Monroe
Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Taylor Sherman
Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
Succeeded by
Augustus J. Ricks