A collection of bicentennial biographies from Chautauqua County, N.Y. featuring Dr. Charles Welch (Westfield), William Carpenter (Dunkirk), Milton Fletcher (Jamestown), Jean Webster (Fredona) and The Howard Brothers (Fredonia). Originally broadcast on local radio stations May 30 – June 3, 2011.
No. 101 – Dr. Charles Welch
Dr. Charles Welchwas the son of Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch, a physician and dentist who worked in Vineland, New Jersey during the mid 19th century. In addition to his medical practice, the elder Welch also served as the communion steward for the local Methodist church.
Based on a desire to serve grape juice during communion, the father and son began to experiment with concord grape juice in 1869, using the pasteurization techniques developed by Louis Pasteur just four years earlier. They soon perfected a process for preserving grape juice and began marketing it with the label Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine. The product was developed with churches in mind and at the time neither envisioned it could be used as a beverage for the general public. Continue reading