Doc Welch must have been quite a character. He was the vet at the Fashion Livery and Dray at the base of Oak Street, claimed to have known Buffalo Bill and Robert Louis Stevenson, and left instructions that he be taken to the cemetery by horse drawn hearse. When he died in 1925 Sam Bartmess took this hearse out of storage. Pallbearers are Bert Stranahan (owner of Fashion Livery and Dray), Claude Cuffeford (blacksmith), Joe Thomison (HR Glacier editor), Charlie Bell (Mt. Hood Hotel proprietor), and Emmett Thompkins.
You probably recognize the location at 6th and State. The church building is still there, as is the E.L. Smith home in the trees far right. The Bartmess mortuary building has been remodeled into the Columbia River Insurance building. The large building in the center was the Bartmess home, which is no longer there.
Category: [Downtown Hood River]
My question is what happened to that hearse? Wouldn't that be something to have at the museum?
His name was Michael Edward Welch and his wife's name was Maude.
charlott on 9th April 2014 @ 7:05am
Yes, he had to be a character as he was only 9 years old when he ran away from home in either Ohio or Iowa and joined a circus, where he was a bareback rider. It was during all these adventures that he met Buffalo Bill and they became fast friends. Later in life Buffalo Bill came to Portland, and Doc Welch went down to visit him. He was also a close pal of Robert Louis
He showed no sign of illness and died sitting in his chair at Fashion Livery.
Charlott on 9th April 2014 @ 7:10am
nels on 9th April 2014 @ 9:29am
It would be nice if we could all go in such a peaceful way.
That is a hearse fit for a noble dignitary.
Lots of history in this photo. Both in names of early HR residents and in buildings that still exist.
I wish the Bartmess home was still around. Looks like it fit in well with the other beautiful homes of HR.
l.e. on 9th April 2014 @ 9:31am
Looks like the wheels on the hearse have something besides a steel tire on them. Hard rubber maybe?
Longshot on 9th April 2014 @ 10:39am
LOVE this picture! Horses are gorgeous, the hearse carriage is wonderful, and seeing the house where 6th street now is was incredible!
Since I'm just across the street, I had to go look out the window to compare the then to now... first thing I noticed was the different door on the Church, then realized the stairs leading to the door are no longer there, the top of the door is now where the handles were then. (But appears they could be using the same handles) Too bad they couldn't have used same doors though, those were way nicer than the ones on there now.
With how steep 6th St. is, that house must have been super tall on the North side!
DeAnna on 9th April 2014 @ 1:10pm
The hearse is on its way to Idlewilde Cemetery.
How long do you suppose that trip took? Half an hour?
And I wonder what the route was in 1925.
l.e. on 9th April 2014 @ 1:11pm
the missing house is now a parking lot.
AJ on 9th April 2014 @ 3:51pm
The 1980 HR News reminisced about this funeral. It said the procession "rolled majestically, and very slowly uphill, to the cemetery."
Arthur on 9th April 2014 @ 3:55pm
Wonder what a man had to do to qualify as a vet back in those days. Here's my guess. Some practical experience with animals. Common horse sense. Probably some study and reading on his own with no formal training. Glib of tongue. Lots of friends. Since he obviously knew how to die, I bet he also knew how to live
Buzz on 10th April 2014 @ 6:20am
Actually he did go to a veterinarian school back east.
Charlott on 10th April 2014 @ 7:40am
Would be interested in knowing the name of the veterinarian school, the years attended,and what degree he received.
Buzz on 10th April 2014 @ 7:55am