OLD NEWS: 1894 Jail Vocal Club Organized In Grantsville, Lead Singer Then Killed


1894 - Owing to recent developments, Charley Blackshire, the Calhoun jailer, has decided to do his own serenading, and for this purpose he has organized from among his prisoners a vocal club which is destined to become one of the most famous quartettes that has ever given public performances on the American stage.

The renowned and gigantic pugilist, Dave Welch, noted for his bravery and daring deeds in recent combats, has developed into a prodigy of wonder as a soloist and leader of the quartette.

When joined by the other members of this band, their discordant strains swell upon the ears of passers like the Stygian voices of pandemonium making the night hideous by their unearthly howls and render the midnight gloom more awful to Will Stevenson than the nocturnal prowlings of Tim Hagerty and Mel McCroskey as seen in his troubled dreams.

The deep base notes of the aforesaid David's voice turning the mattress in Will's virtuous couch. Immediately after the June term of court this wonderful band of vocalists whose fame is spreading like wild fire over the country will startle the natives into admiration and wonder by their public performances at Grantsville and other large cities of this nation and Europe.

Their initial step in the musical arena will be marked by the rendition of the "immortal David's" first composition.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Unfortunately, Welch's musical career was interrupted by a jail fight that ended in his death, published earlier:


The jail at this place was the scene of another bloody and maybe fatal conflict last Saturday morning.

One, David Welch, who stands 6 ft. 10 in. tall in his bare feet and Harvey George Sampson got into an altercation over some trifling matter and David decided to knock Sampson out.

So the first round was fought without any special damage to either, but in the second round Sampson got hold of a good sized rock and proceeded to demolish the pimple that surmounts David's body, commonly called his head.

Several bad gashes were cut about his head and face. It is claimed by some that the skull was fractured and that the physician that dressed his wounds had taken out a small piece of the skull.

We are not prepared to say whether the tax payers of the county could afford to pay the funeral expenses if they had killed each other or not, especially if they had to pay for the ground necessary for Welch's grave.

- Excerpted from the Calhoun Chronicle (1894) by Norma Knotts Shaffer