William M. Welch, the chief engineer of the Kansas Natural Gas Company, has in his veins that sterling admixture of Scotch and Irish blood that has produced so many of the successful professional men of America, who have entered new fields and developed new industries. He was born in Oil City, Pa., Aug. 23, 1874, a son of John C. and Eliza (McNair) Welch. His father was born in the State of New York, the descendant of an Irish family that located in America at an early day, while his mother was a member of the Scotch McNair family that emigrated from the old country and located in Pennsylvania soon after the Revolution.
When William was only six years old his parents removed to New York City, and there the boy was reared and sent to the city schools. After graduating in the high school at Brooklyn, he desired to take a professional course and entered the Stevens Institute of Technology, where he graduated in the mechanical engineering course, with the degree of Mechanical Engineer in 1898. In 1899 he was offered and accepted a position as mechanical engineer with the Philadelphia Natural Gas Company, of Pittsburgh, which had control of the natural gas supply of Pittsburgh and vicinity. In 1904 the Union Natural Gas Corporation, with offices at Columbus, Ohio, offered him the position of chief engineer, but he was with this concern only a year when called to Kansas to develop the recently discovered gas field in this state. He at once entered upon his duties of chief engineer for the Kansas Natural Gas Company in 1905, and has acted in that capacity to the present time. Gas engineering is practically a new branch, and each man engaged in the work is an investigator and must make good independently, and upon his own initiative, as there are few established precedents to go by. This Mr. Welch has done, and is regarded as an authority upon the development of Kansas and Oklahoma fields, and the transportation of natural gas. He is also a member of the Natural Gas Association of America, of the American Gas Institute, and the Engineering Society of western Pennsylvania.
Mr. Welch was married in 1901, to Nina Oliver Thompson, of New York City. There are three children in the family: Marjorie Thompson, aged eight; Elizabeth Hunter, aged six; and Helen Collins; aged four. Mr. Welch is a member of the Masonic order, and both he and his wife belong to the Episcopal church.Pages 891-892 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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