Roxana Louisa Madsen (Welker) (1851 - 1918)

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Birthplace: Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, USA
Death: Died in Safford, Graham, Arizona, United States
Occupation: Married Christian Madsen 10/10/1867 by George Q. Cannon in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. Geo. Q. Cannon was an appostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Roxana Louisa Madsen (Welker)

Roxana Louisa (or Louisa Roxana) Welker Madsen was born August 20, 1851, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, while her parents were getting ready to migrate west to Utah with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They finally left Iowa in 1852 with the Isaac Stewart Company of Saints. Her father, John Welker, was born in Madison, Ohio, in 1826, and her mother, Rocksena Mahalia Dustin, in Genesse County, New York, in 1833. They joined the church in the 1840's and lived in Nauvoo, Illinois, during the time of Joseph Smith's murder at the Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844. John's father died of intermittent fever there in 1844. John's widowed mother, Elizabeth Stoker Welker, came west with John, his wife Rocksena, their daughter Louisa Roxana Welker, who was only a one year old infant at the time, and the rest of the Welker and Dustin family members who traveled in that Pioneer Company in 1852.

By 1860, per the U.S. Federal Census for Willard, Box Elder, Utah Territory, Roxana was 9 years old and living with her father, mother, and 7 year old brother, John Eller Welker. In this census, her father is listed as a farmer, with real estate valued at $1,000 and a personal estate of $300. In the same area are other family members, including her uncle Jacob Welker and his wife, Harriet Angeline Lish Welker, and their children, Harriet and Charles who were 2 and 1 year old at the time.

Also nearby is her grandmother, Elizabeth Welker, age 60, living with her youngest son, Adam, 19 years old. Her aunt Rebecca Welker (her father John's sister) and Rebecca's husband, Alexander Roswell Stephens, 27 and 24 years old, were also living nearby with their children Alex, Charles and Rebecca Malinda, who were 6, 4, and 1 year old. Next door were George and Georgiana Osmond, both 22 years old, with their first 2 children. They are the great grandparents of Donny and Marie Osmond of the famous Osmond Family singing group that was popular in the 1970's. Clara Osmond, daughter of George and Georgiana Osmond, married Adam Pugh Welker, son of James Wilburn Welker (John Welker's older brother) and his wife Annie Pugh.

Around 1863, most of the Welker and Madsen familes moved to Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho, at the request of the Mormon church. Their party was led by Charles C. Rich, an apostle of the church. By the 1870 U.S. Census, John Welker, 44, his wife Rocksena Mahalia Dustin Welker, 36, and their children, who are listed as Roxana L., 19, and John Eller, 17, are living in Bloomington, along with Rebecca Malinda Stephens, 11, John and Rocksena's niece. Her mother, Rebecca Welker Stephens, (John's sister) died in 1863 after the birth of her fifth child, Julia. Also in the home was Levi J. Dustin, 5, who was the nephew of Rocksena Mahalia Dustin Welker (and I believe he was the son of her brother, Seth).

In this census John was working as a farmer and Rocksena was keeping house. Their real estate was valued at $450 and personal estate $600. Living next door was Christian Madsen, 24, who married their daughter, Roxana Louisa, October 10, 1867, at the Endowment House in Salt Lake City. They were married by George Q. Cannon, who was an Apostle in the LDS Church. Living with Christian and Roxana was their one year old daughter, listed as Dorothy R. (correct name is Dortha Roxana), my great grandmother. Why Roxana Louise is listed in both her father's household and her husband's household is unknown, especially since she is listed as being 19 years old in her father's household but as being 18 years old in her own home with her husband. Louisa Roxana was born in August of 1851, so she would have been 19 years old when the 1870 census was taken on July 22 that year.

On the previous census page was John Welker's older brother, James Wilburn Welker, 45, who was listed as a blacksmith. His plural wives were shown as Ann, (Annie Pugh) 49, and Susan C. (Susan Caroline Stevens) 37. James Wilburn Welker's children at the time with his two wives were listed as: James A., 19, Adam, 17, Gilbert, 15, Wilber, 13, Ephraim, 10, Rebecca, 6, Alice, 12, Isabella, 5, Evaline, 4, Sarah, 2, and Marion, 6 months old. The Osmond family was living next door to John and Roxana Mahalia Welker and their children were listed as: Clara 14, George 12, Alfred 9, Rosa 7, Ira 5 and Ida 1 year old. Clara later married into the Welker family when she married Adam David Welker, the nephew of John and Rocksena. Adam David Welker was the son of John's youngest brother, Adam, who was born in 1841, just 3 years before their father passed away in 1844 of intermittent fever when they were living in Nauvoo, Illinois.

On the same census page, is Hettie Esther Welker and her husband Harvey A. Dunn and their one year old son Harry, Jr. Hettie was a daughter of James Wilburn Welker and Annie Pugh Welker, so it appears a lot of the Welker's were living very close to each other in those early days in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho. I read somewhere that when the Welker', Dustin's, and Madsen's (and a few other families) all left Bloomington in 1883 to relocate to Arizona, it looked like the entire town was leaving. I think that was written in James Robert Welker's autobiography. He was the eldest son of Adam David Welker, the youngest son of James Welker (1804-1844) and Elizabeth Stoker (1800-1868), and the brother of James Willburn Welker, as well as John and Jacob.

In the 1880 U.S. Census, Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen was still living in Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho with her husband, Christian Madsen, and their children, Dortha, 11, John 9, Ezra, 7, Musette 5, and (Zina) Albertina, who is 1 year old. Sadly, little Zina Albertina passed away the following year. Christian was listed as a laborer, Louisa was keeping house and the children were at school. The Osmond family was living right down the street with their children: Alfred, 19, Rosabell, 17, Ira, 14, Ida, 10, Ella, 8, Nellie, 5, and Alice who is 9 months old. Roxana Louisa's parents, John and Rocksena Welker, were also still living in Bloomington, and their 14 year old nephew, Levi Dustin, was still living with them, and he was a helper on their farm.

Living next door was Louisa's brother, John Eller Welker, 26, and his wife Sarah Ann Thornock Welker, 24, and their first two children, Sarah O., 4, and John P., 2. John was working as a laborer. Nearby was John and Louisa's cousin, Adam David Welker, Jr., 24, and his wife, Clara Osmond Welker, 23, and son Anson R., 1; and James A. Welker, 29, and his wife Inger Marie Madsen Welker, 25, (Louisa's husband Christian's sister) and their son, James A., 9 months old.

We know the family moved from Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, in 1883 to Arizona, per diary records written by Roxana Louisa and Christian's daughter, Dortha, in 1940 when she was 70 years old. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Graham County, Arizona Territory, Christian and Roxana Louisa were living with some of their younger children Louisa Albertina, 21, Sylvia Elizabeth, 18, and Royal Eller, 14. Christian owned a livery stable and he stated that he had lived in America for 51 years, that he came to America in 1848 and was naturalized.

However, family records indicate he did not arrive in America until 1853 at the age of 9 years old, when he was sent with some friends of the family to Utah while his parents were working to divest themselves of all their worldly possessions in order to immigrate and go with the church to Utah. Christian's parents, Jacob and Dorothea, and their other children, did not immigrate to America until 1857. Christian's youngest brother, Jacob, was born in Utah in1860, and was the only child of Jacob and Dorothea not born in Denmark.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Roxana Louisa's parents, John and Rocksena were living alone in Graham County, Arizona, and John was 74 and Rocksena, 66, (listed as Rostrana in the census record). They had been married for 50 years and had three children, two of whom are still living. They had a daughter, Mary, who died as a child. When or where she was born and died is not known, and she doesn't seem to be documented in any census record found to date. In this census record, under the occupation block next to John's name is the word, "Invalid", so he must have not been able to work at the time, maybe due to sickness or advanced age. Rocksena's parents were shown to have been born in Vermont, but they were actually born in New Hampshire, which is right next door Vermont. John's parents were shown to be from Pennsylvania, but that too was incorrect since they were both born in North Carolina. At the time of the census, John and Rocksena owned their home free from a mortgage.

At the time of the 1900 census, Christian and Roxana Louisa's eldest daughter, Dortha Roxana Madsen Rollins McKinney, had already lost her first husband of only four years in 1889 due to an accident. His name was John Henry Rollins, Jr., and he was born in 1865 and died on Christmas Day in 1889 at the very young age of 24 years old. Eight years later in 1897, Dortha married Joseph T. McKinney, an Arizona Sheriff. Joe was born in Alabama in 1858 and migrated with his family to Texas in the 1860's, and then later moved on to Arizona. Dortha was living with Joseph in Cochise, Arizona, in 1900, and with them were her first two children by John Henry Rollins, Jr., Dorthea Evelyn Rollins (my grandmother), who was 14 years old, and her brother, John Delbert Rollins, who was 12 years old. Also in their home were her first two children with Mr. McKinney, Dan Carroll McKinney, born in 1898, and Thelma Josephine McKinney, born in 1899. They had two other children after that, but the third child died before his third birthday, Joseph, and a week after his death, his sister, Gladys Violet McKinney was born.

By 1900 John and Roxana Louisa's other grown sons, John Christian Madsen and Ezra Jacob Madsen, had married their wives and were living on their own. John Christian Madsen married Caroline Perkins and Ezra married Ella Owens. John Christian Madsen and Caroline had several children, but Ezra and Ella never had any children. They were very active in the Safford, Arizona, mercantile business for many years, however. Two sisters were also married and living with their husbands, Musette, known as Aunt Zette, and Sylvia Elizabeth. Zette married a Mr. Bingham, and Sylvia married a Mr. Elledge. Their youngest son Royal, and daughter Louisa Albertina (known as aunt Bertie) were still living at home with Christian and Roxana Louisa in 1900, and Royal was working in the family livery stable.

In the 1910 U.S. Census, Christian and Roxana Louisa Madsen, were listed as Chris and R.L. Madsen, and they were 65 and 58 years old, still living in Safford, Graham County, Arizona, with their 30 year old daughter Bertie (Louisa Albertina), 24 year old son, Royal Eller (listed as Roy), and Roxana Louisa's father, John Welker, who was an 84 year old widower. His wife, Rocksena Mahalia Dustin Welker, passed away in 1904. Christian still owned the livery stable and his son Royal was listed as a teamster for the livery stable. At one time Christian and Roxana Louisa also managed the Groesbeck Hotel in Safford, and transported people from the train station to the hotel via their livery stable teams and teamsters. In this census record, it stated that Christian came to America in 1854, which is closer to the actual year of his arrival which was 1853.

Sadly, three years later, on June 1, 1913, Roxana Louisa's father, John Welker, passed away at the age of 87 yeas old.

Christian's sister, Eliza Madsen Welker, (who married John Welker's nephew, Alfred) was a 60 year-old widow, living next door, with her son David, 38, who was a salesman in a retail liquor store. This census record states Eliza Madsen Welker came to the USA in 1855, but really she arrived with her parents Jacob and Dorothea Madsen, and their other children, in about 1857. It's odd that Eliza's son David was working as a liquor salesman, since the entire family were members of the Mormon Church and they did not believe in drinking any alcoholic beverages or tea or coffee. But since Eliza's husband, Alfred Welker, (who was the son of John Welker's older brother, James Wilburn Welker) had died in 1897 and left Eliza as a widow, perhaps their son David had to take what ever work he could find in order to support himself and his mother.

Eight years after the 1910 census in 1918, sadly, Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen passed away at the age of 66. I do not know the cause of her death. Her husband Christian was found in the 1920 U.S. Census, at the age of 75, living in Safford with his son Royal Eller Madsen, 34, his daughter Alberta Louisa Madsen Branch, 40, now married to William Branch, age 38. In this record, it stated that Christian came to the USA in 1854 and was naturalized in about 1870. His occupation was listed as none so it seems he had finally retired at age 75. His son's occupation was listed as a laborer, and his son-in-law, William Branch, was listed as a "cowboy and stock raiser".

The following year, in March of 1921, Roxana Louisa's husband, Christian Madsen, passed away at the age of 77. Such is the life history of Christian and Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen, my second great grandparents. Of their ten children, they lost only three as infants, Zina Albertina, Wilford Delbert, and Rosa May, but all the others made it to adulthood, which was quite rare in those days of so much illness and so little medicine.

This story was written by their second great granddaughter, Della Dale Smith, on February 14, 2013, ninety-five years after the death of Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen and ninety-two years after the death of her husband Christian Madsen. They were two people I wish I could have known personally. I believe my mother knew her great grandfather, Christian, but I'm not sure if she ever met her great grandmother Louisa Roxana, because my mother, Frances Amelia Eubank Smith, was only seven years old when her great grandmother died in 1918, and at that time, my mother and her parents were living in Portland, Oregon,

I do have a family photograph where the Madsen's and McKinney's are featured at some sort of family get-together. This may have been on the occasion of my second great grandmother's funeral, since in 1918, my mother would have been 7 years old, her sister, Elsie Louise, 5 years old, and her brother, James Rollins Eubank, 3 years old. They are shown in the lower right corner of this photograph, and they do look to be about those ages. Also, my great grandmother, Dortha Roxana Madsen Rollins McKinney, was dressed in black, which makes sense since she would have been in mourning upon the death of her mother, Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen. Sadly, Christian Madsen was not depicted in this photograph, but he may not have been able to attend the gathering, depending upon his condition over the loss of his wife of 51 years. It must have been a very difficult time for him indeed.

My cousin in Arizona, Cheryl Larkey, (daughter of Gladys Violet McKinney and John Beals) indicates that she still has one of the blouses worn by my second great grandmother, Roxana Louisa, but now it is so worn with age it is nearly falling apart. Considering it is probably at least 100 years old, that is certainly to be expected. But it is wonderful that she has something that belonged to Roxana Louisa!

Rest in peace, Great Grandparents, you were deeply loved!

Della Dale Smith

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Roxana Louisa Welker Madsen's Timeline

1851
August 20, 1851
Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, Iowa, USA
1867
October 10, 1867
Age 16
Salt Lake City, UT, USA

Christian Madsen married Roxana Louisa Welker on October 10, 1867 in Salt Lake City. They were married by George L. Cannon in the endowment house. George L. Cannon was an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

1869
March 11, 1869
Age 17
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
1870
December 8, 1870
Age 19
Bloomington, ID, USA
1872
November 26, 1872
Age 21
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, USA
1875
January 18, 1875
Age 23
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
1877
October 22, 1877
Age 26
Bloomington, ID, USA
1879
May 5, 1879
Age 27
Bloomington, ID, USA
1881
December 20, 1881
Age 30
Bloomington, ID, USA
1884
February 28, 1884
Age 32
Safford, AZ, USA