James B. Welty came to Sacramento county for permanent residence in the centennial year, and has since been one of the foremost farmers and citizens. He is esteemed as one of the pioneers of this portion of the state, for it is now more than half a century since he came across the great plains and found his scene of life work in the Sacramento valley. His present estate lies about five miles south of Sacramento, and from 1856 to 1876 he owned a farm on the Sacramento river in Yolo county.

Mr. Welty left his old home in Illinois and came across the plains in 1853. His route lay by Salt Lake City and the old Donner road, and leaving Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on May 6, he reached Sacramento, September 15. He was just of age when he left home with his father's permission, and he engaged as a driver of horses and cattle for Darris and Huston, of Platte county, Missouri. There were fifty persons and fourteen wagons in the train, and the journey was made pleasantly and with little adventure. In Sacramento, on his arrival, having but two dollars and a half in his pocket, he found work on a street levee, but two weeks later took a job at chopping wood for the winter, below Sutterville. For several years he was thus employed at various occupations, and finally became connected with the brick yard ranch in Yolo county, of which he soon became sole proprietor and continued its management until 1876. He witnessed much of the growth and development of the country in the meantime and took a rpominent part in its welfare. In 1876 he came to his present home in Sacramento county, where he has a nice ranch of one hundred and sixty acres, and here, in addition to the general grain and hay crops, he raises large quantities of fruit. He is adjudged one of the best informed horticulturists in the county, and has done much to dignify and bring to its proper importance this industry. He is now successfully hybridizing fruits and vegetables by a new process discovered by himself, and so simple that anyone may practice it. He is also author of an interlingual alphabet, absolutely perfect in all tongues, and worth millions of dollars to society so soon as the progressive spirit of the age shall adopt it.

Mr. Welty is now past the age of threescore and ten, and yet is active and vigorous in the procesution of his daily offices. He was born in Williamson county, Illinois, April 15, 1832, a son of Jacob and Mary Ann (Keaster) Welty, both of German stock, and his father a native of Pennsylvania and his mother of Tennessee. His father was a soldier in the Black Hawk war, and his grandfather served loyally in the war of 1812. The grandfather had brought his family down the Ohio river to Kentucky in early days, and in 1818 moved to Illinois. Mr. Welty's parents came out to California in 1859, and made their homes in this state until death overtook them, when in very advanced years. There were six sons and four daughters in their family.

Mr. James B. Welty has lived a life of activity throughout, and since an early age, barring the short time spent in the public schools of his native county and state, he has been identified with agriculture and similar enterprises. He is a self-made man, and has achieved his own success. He was formerly a member of Sacramento Grange No. 12, P. of H., and also of the Farmers' Alliance. In politics he holds himself independent, and is interested in the general welfare both public and private. He is a member of the Pacific Methodist Episcopal church and is a deacon.

On May 2, 1871, while residing near Sutterville, Mr. Welty married Mary A. Bader, who was born near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and came with her mother and the other children to California in 1852, so that she, like her husband, is among the old residents of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Welty have three children, Mary May, Eugene Edwin and James William. Mr. Welty has been a trustee of the Pacific school district for many years, and had previously served for a long term as trustee of the Sacramento River district whie residing in Yolo county.

Source: History of the New California - Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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