Born in Maine in 1804, Felch graduated from Bowdoin College in 1827. Entering the legal profession, he moved to Michigan in 1833 and after 1843 resided in Ann Arbor. A lifelong Democrat, Felch was governor in 1846-47, serving previously as justice of the state supreme court and as a member of the first three legislatures. Rising to national prominence, he was U.S. Senator in 1847-53 and was then appointed to a commission to settle Spanish land claims in California. Returning to Ann Arbor in 1856 he resumed his law career, serving as Tappan Professor of Law at the University of Michigan
in 1879-83. On Felch's ninetieth birthday this park was named in his honor. He died two years later in 1896.