Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
sidebar menu icon


WELDER, ROBERT HUGHES (1891–1953). Robert Hughes Welder, rancher and wildlife conservationist, was born on March 26, 1891, at Victoria, Texas, the son of Eliza (Hughes) and John James Welder. He was a rancher and outdoorsman all his life. He founded the Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Foundation and Refuge through a provision in his will setting aside 7,800 acres of uncultivated Welder ranchland. This acreage, a part of Felipe Roque de la Portilla's Spanish land grant, became a refuge in 1954, when the foundation also began providing for education and research in wildlife conservation. Welder's other bequests included a 300-acre tract given to the city of Sinton and named Rob and Bessie Welder Park. Welder married Helen Field Power in Victoria on April 17, 1912; they had three daughters. The marriage ended in divorce, and on November 3, 1951, Welder and Mrs. Bessie Knowlan Utley of Sinton were married. There were no children of this marriage. Welder died at his ranch home on December 31, 1953. He and Bessie Welder are buried at the wildlife refuge.


Cattleman, February 1954. Texas Legislature, House Journal, March 15, 1954.

Mrs. Patrick H. Welder

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Mrs. Patrick H. Welder, "WELDER, ROBERT HUGHES," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.