Proceedings of a Symposium
Pride of Columbia: The Life and Legacy of Brig. Gen. Thomas Welsh
“History of Thomas Welsh,” by Thomas Welsh, undated
History of Thomas Welsh
I was born in the Borough of Columbia in the county of Lancaster State of Pennsylvania on the fifth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty four. My father died when I was two years old or thereabouts. I lived at home with my Mother untill I was eight years old. I then went to the Colemanville Nail Factory fifteen miles below Columbia and worked in the Factory at twenty five cents per day. I boarded with my uncle. I worked that way for near seven months and was then discharged not being large enough to tend the spike cutters. I then started for home with nine dollars clear money which I gave to my mother. I then went to work for Cooper. And went to school. I worked in evening and morning for my boarding and clothes. I lived with Cooper 2 years and then went to the Bird in Hand to live with Abraham Conard on a farm. I worked for my board and clothes but went to school in the winter time. The third year, Conard gave me twenty five dollars to find me in clothes for the year. Conard leased out his farm. I then went to live with T. Peart at 5 dollars per month. I worked for him about 8 months. I then Commenced going to school and boarding with Isaac Conard Sr. I done the feeding etc. for my boarding. In the spring I went to the Gap to learn the Factory trade with Jeremy Cooper but only staid 3 days not liking the business. I then returned and went to work for N. Gillespie in the lumbering at Bird in Hand at 6 dollars per month
 This document is in a private collection belonging to the descendants of Thomas Welsh. Transcription provided by the editor.
This document is obviously unfinished (or subsequent pages are missing), and there is little to suggest when it was written (or why), except that the handwriting appears to more closely resemble other documents from the mid to late forties than it does the letters home from the Civil War. Two other personal histories written during the Civil War are both written in the third person; this is the only one we have in the first person.
I speculate that this may have been written more or less concurrently with “Memorandum of the travels of Thomas Welsh” (see Appendix B), perhaps in the fall of 1847, after his first return from the Mexican War, with new found status as a War Hero, and the idea that maybe someone might care about this.