John was born in Victoria, Texas and lived all his life in the same house where he was born. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all John James Welder and had been ranching in the Texas Coastal Bend since the Texas Revolution. His paternal grandmother was Delores Power Welder, daughter of James Power the empresario who, together with James Hewetson, had formed the Power-Hewetson colony which was the source of the land grants for the Irish in the Coastal Bend. John's wife was Jane Murphy Welder; the Murphy’s being another pioneering ranching family. John spent every summer on the ranch and worked on the ranches from the time he was a small boy. He was raised to be a rancher and he raised his children to continue working the family’s land holdings. He was a unique character in a culture of unique characters. Tales still abound of his roaming the ranches in his Cadillac with a ten penny nail driven into the dashboard to hold his big ring of keys.