Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Minerva C. (Markley) Welch, 1854-1925
By Ann Long, Independent Researcher
Minerva Catharine Markley was born January 8, 1854 to a prosperous Ohio farmer and his wife. At 18 she married Alfred L Welch. In 1880 the US census located them with two children in Boulder, Colorado.
By 1884 Minerva was serving on the Board of Control of the State Industrial School for Girls and becoming known in Republican circles. She was identified in local and nearby publications as active in the suffrage movement. She was among key women signing a leaflet printed and distributed by the National American Woman Suffrage Association and published in the (Boston) Woman's Journal in December 28, 1896.
In May 1899 Minerva attended and spoke at the annual national suffrage convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also spoke at the annual convention of the National American Woman's Suffrage association (NAWSA) in Washington, DC in February 1904, emphasizing the benefits provided by ten years of suffrage in Colorado. In 1900 she was one of 13 nominees for the lower house named by delegates-at-large to the State convention. Although on the 1903 Republican ticket to choose members of Denver's Charter Commission, Minerva was not selected. She was also one of the original twelve who founded the Denver Woman's #x200eClub; was secretary of the oldest women's club in the state, the Denver Fortnightly Club and a Buckeye Club member.
Later in 1904, Minerva led many Woman's Republican party members to open a Denver campaign headquarters for strong advocates of suffrage, including Democrat candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Alva Adams and Elias M Ammons. Publications across the country said Minerva's actions showed political trickery and dishonesty. Minerva insisted she took issue with Colorado's Governor Peabody -- not the Republican ticket. In fact, Minerva would eventually become vice chairman of the Republican state Central Committee and president of the non-partisan Colorado Equal Suffrage Association.
After her husband died, Minerva moved to Manhattan. She spoke in 1909 to Brooklyn's suffrage association of the benefits of suffrage, speaking from actual knowledge, not parroting others. In early 1910, she lamented prevailing anti-suffrage feelings and the resistance still active against suffrage. Minerva C Welch did live to see the 19th amendment of the US Constitution ratified in 1920.
Minerva died April 17, 1925 in New York and was buried in her Ohio hometown cemetery. Minerva actively planted the seeds of suffrage from 1895 to 1910 which were harvested in the following years for the entire nation.
"A Small Political Trick." Colorado Republican, November 3, 1904. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org/CRP1904103
"Browning Society Opens Season." The New York Times. October 16, 1910, p. 57. https://www.newspapers.com/image//25990830
"Buckeye Men and Women in Colorado." The Coshocton Age, March 24, 1902. https://www.ancestry.com/NEWS
"Mrs. Welch Signed Letter as Secretary." Rocky Mountain News. December 30, 1896.
"Mrs. Welch Succeeds Mrs. Thompson on Committee." The Denver Post. February 20, 1904.
"Says Men are More Polite in Colorado, Where Women Vote." The Anaconda Standard (Anaconda, Montana). January 16, 1910, p. 16. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/8086/NEWS
"Speakers are Denver People." Geneva Daily Times (Geneva, New York). February 10, 1904, p.3. https://nyhistoricnewspapers.org/ccn/sn84035773/1904-02-10/ed
"Suffrage Results in Colorado." Rocky Mountain News. December 30, 1896, p. 8.
"The Suffragists." Logansport Reporter. May 2, 1899, p.4. https://www.newspapers.com/image/1745702
"The Suffragists." Green Bay Press-Gazette. May 2, 1899, p. 3. https://www.newspapers.com/image/186948277
"The Suffragists." Stevens Point Journal. May 2, 1899, p. 2. https://www.newspapers.com/image/250390109
"Take the Oath of Allegiance." Route County Sentinel. April 29, 1904. https://www.coloradohistoricnewspapers.org/RCS19040429
"Taxes on Property." Denver Tribune and Rocky Mountain News. December 12, 1884.