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Matthew Empson Welsh

Gov. Matthew Empson Welsh

  • January 9, 1961 - January 11, 1965
  • Democrat
  • September 15, 1912
  • May 28, 1995
  • Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago Law School
  • Married Virginia Homann; two children
  • Navy


MATTHEW E. WELSH, Indiana’s forty-first governor, was born in Detroit, Michigan, on September 15, 1912. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934, attended Indiana University Law School for two years, and earned a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1937. Welsh entered politics in 1941, serving as a member to the Indiana House of Representatives, an office he resigned from in 1943, in order to join the navy. He served during World War II, as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After his military duty, Welsh served as the U.S. attorney for the Southern district of Indiana from 1950 to 1951. He also served as a member to the Indiana State Senate in the 1955, 1957, and 1959 sessions, serving as the Democratic floor leader in the 1957 and 1959 terms. He was an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in 1956, but four years later, he won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and went on to win election to the Indiana governorship. He was sworn into office on January 9, 1961. During his tenure, the department of corrections launched youth training centers at state parks, the Indiana fair employment commission was authorized, a two percent sales tax was initiated that created a vital cash flow, and a department of administration was established. After Welsh left office on January 11, 1965, he resumed his law career in Indianapolis. In 1966, he secured an appointment as chairman of the U.S.-Canada International Joint Commission, a position he held until 1970. After running unsuccessfully for reelection to the governor’s office in 1972, Welsh retired from politics. Governor Matthew E. Welsh died in 1995, and was buried at the Memorial Park Cemetery in Vincennes, Indiana.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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