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 Nellie Welsh (Laura Ellnor) Cochrane  (1870 - 1921)



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Lived/Active: California/Alaska/Illinois      Known for: drawing, china painting, watercolors, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
This information is from Jean Cochrane.

Following is some information on the artist Nellie Welsh Cochrane as listed on your website on Artists of California by Edan Hughes.  Nellie's real name was Laura Ellnor Welsh and she married James Cochrane in 1896 in Philadelphia.  Nellie studied with the Students Art League of New York, the Philadelphia School of Fine Arts and spent nearly four years in Paris at Mr. Main (or Mayne) private school.  

Nellie gave art lessons in Riverside, California where she was living in 1903 and 1904. In 1906  Nellie was living in New York and selling her work.  There are a number of newspaper articles on Nellie in Riverside.  It appears her work centered around drawings, china painting and water colors. 

In 1904, she gave an elegant hand-painted loving cup to her brother-in-law David Cochrane in Riverside. The cup was painted in gold with three portraits on the sides between the three handles, one of which is a portrait of George Washington, another of Martha Washington and the third a portrait of Robert Burns. 

By 1910, (perhaps 1908) Nellie and James are living in Alaska.  Nellie died in 1921, and is buried in Clay Street Cemetery, Fairbanks, Alaska.  In 1920, 35 people, including Nellie Cochrane, who played a part in the early development of Fairbanks had a granite marker placed on their graves. 
I have searched for photos of Nellie's work with no success.  I have recently completed a book on the Cochrane family including of course information on Nellie.


Nellie was born in 1870 in Peoria, Illinois - (source www.Ancestry.comand death notice in the newspaper Fairbanks Miner April 1921 (attached). The information on the placement of Granite Markers for noted pioneers in Fairbanks was obtained from a newspaper article on August 4, 2012.
Source for information on the schools Nellie attended as outlined in previous e-mail were articles in the Riverside, California newspaper on April 17, 1906 and March 19, 1904. This was obtained from www.genealogybanks, which has a number of articles regarding Nellie. The information on the hand-painted cup painted by Nellie and presented to her brother-in-law David Cochrane, who was a prominent citizen in Riverside, was printed in July 15, 1904 in the Riverside newspaper. While James and Nellie lived in Riverside she gave art lessons for drawings, china painting and watercolors. Samples of her work were displayed in the Holyrood Hotel owned by David Cochrane.

After moving to Alaska Nellie continued to sell her hand painted china and watercolors as advertised in the Fairbanks Daily Times in 1914 and 1915. Orders were being taken for reproducing the Alaska Crocus in oil or water color as a souvenir of Alaska.

James Cochrane and Nellie married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania September 9, 1896.    (Source

James and Nellie lived in Riverside, California; New York (were in NY in 1898), Fairbanks, Alaska from 1908 -1916; Tolovana District, Alaska from 1916 to 1920; they were back in Faribanks in 1920 believed as a result of Nellie's illness. They also lived in Los Angeles for a time. It appears when they lived in New York they would return to Riverside, California for the summer months. After Nellie died her husband moved to San Francisco, California and died in April 1922.

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Resident of Los Angeles in 1907-08.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
City Directory.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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