Alder Creek is a little town half way between Sandy and Welches Oregon on today’s Highway 26.
Samuel Welch left Virginia at the age of 19 and travelled to Oregon via the old Oregon Trail in 1842. He settled first in Brush Prairie Washington but soon claimed land near Orient, east of the Gresham.
On February 20, 1865 Sam married Francis Culbertson and his son William “Billy” Welch was born on December 24, 1866. In 1882 Sam and his son Billy each took donation land claims of 160 acres apiece and homesteaded in the Salmon River Valley near Mount Hood, eventually expanding their holdings to around 1,000 acres. Sam farmed his land and inn 1893 he and Billy started the first resort in the area, which was a campground for travelers and vacationers. He was known as Uncle Sam to his friends.
Samuel died in 1898 and Billy continued the operation. Their land is where The Resort at The Mountain now lies.
Here’s a photo of the first Welches Oregon pioneer homesteaders. This is probably one of the earliest photos of the Welches area, certainly of the early residents and is an important piece of Welches Oregon history.
Front row from left – Billy Welch and Firmer Walkley. Standing from the left – August Hornecker, Sam Welch, John Copper and Ira Welch.
Photographed at the Walkley homestead near the junction of Welches Road and Bridge Street. The Walkley homestead was where Tawney’s Mountain Home was located. Tawney’s was built in 1909 and was a destination for many visitors to the area until 1949 when it was closed. The old hotel finally fell into the ground and was demolished sometime around 1955.