Rebecca Stevens (Welker) (1835 - 1863)

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Birthplace: Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA
Death: Died in Willard, Utah, USA
Occupation: Married Alexander Roswell Stevens, 1853, in Mountainville, UT, and had 5 children. She died shortly after the birth of her 5th child, Julia Ann, when she was only 27 years old.
Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Rebecca Stevens (Welker)

SOURCE: Elaine Justesen's family records for Alexander Roswell Stevens.

Rebecca Welker was born July 21, 1835, in Jackson County, Ohio, to James and Elizabeth (Stoker) Welker. Her family joined the LDS Church in 1834, along with many of her extended family. Her father died in Nauvoo in 1844 from intermittent fever. Her mother, Elizabeth, was left with a large family including six children under fifteen years of age. With the help of her older sons, she was able to take her family to Zion.

The Welker's became part of the 9th company of fifties, with the Isaac M. Stewart Company. This group crossed over the Missouri River on June 18, 1852, and after a tedious but in many respects a pleasant journey, arrived in the Great Salt Lake City on September 22, 1852. Not many first person accounts have survived for this company. The Welker family were sent to Alpine to make their home.

Alex and Rebecca were married in Alpine sometime in 1853. The exact date is not recorded in the Ward Records. Alex did receive his patriarchal blessing from Emer Harris, while living in Alpine, on August 14, 1855.

Soon after Alex and Rebecca's marriage, Alex's parents divorced. His mother married Morris Phelps as a plural wife and moved to Bloomington, Idaho. Rebecca gave birth to their first son, Alexander Alvin on February 27, 1854, while they were living in Alpine. After the birth of their son they joined her Welker family and went north to Bear Lake County to settle.

Willard, Utah, had its beginning in 1851, when several companies of settlers were sent out from Salt Lake City. Nineteen people located on North Willow Creek, seven miles south of where Brigham City would soon be. Two years later, the settlement was moved to a better site, two miles father south. Willow Creek is the name given to the new settlement. A fort wall was built to protect them from the threat of Indian attacks.

It was here that Alex and Rebecca and their infant son Alexander came to settle and make a new home after being in Alpine since his 1851 arrival in the Great Salt Lake Valley. Soon after arriving in their new home, their second child, James Roswell Stevens, was born on August 16, 1856, at Willow Creek, later named Willard in 1859, in honor of Apostle Willard Richards.

When Alex brought his family to Willard, he purchased land in 1859. The family remained in Willard for the next seven years, except for a short time in Salt Lake City. During those years, three more children were born to Alex and Rebecca, all girls. Rebecca Malinda was born April 3, 1858, during their time in Salt Lake. Elizabeth Maria came next on March 17, 1859, and Juliann Malina, was born on June 21, 1863. Soon after the birth of Julia Ann, Alex's wife Rebecca died at the age of 29 of complications of childbirth. The cause of her death is unknown, and she is buried in the Willard Pioneer Cemetery in Willard, Utah, but there is no headstone for her there.

The death of his wife left Alex with five small children to care for alone. The oldest child, Alexander Alvin, was just nine years old. Alex took his two boys, Alexander, Jr., age 9, and James R., age 7, and three girls and moved to Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho, which at that time was in Rich County, Utah. There he had support and help to raise his young girls from the Welker family.

Rebecca Malinda lived with her mother's brother, John Welker, and Elizabeth lived with another uncle, Adam, and his family. The baby Juliann, lived with their grandmother Stevens who had married Morris Phelps. They lived in Montpelier, Idaho, not far from Bloomington. Listed in the household was Julia Stevens, aged nine years. She was the youngest child of Alex and Rebecca and was in the care of her grandmother.

In 1880 Alex was living in Bloomington and working in the timber. His son Alex Alvin is living with him. James Roswell Stevens. is married and living with his wife Jeannette also in Bloomington. In November of 1883, his mother's brothers John Welker and family and Adam Welker and family moved to Arizona.

Others from the Bloomington area went along and settled in a place called Safford, Arizona. The church there was organized as the Layton Ward with John Welker as the first Bishop. Alexander Stevens and his family of grown children except for one all traveled to the new settlement. Alexander Jr. and his new wife Louisa stayed in Bloomington, raised their children there and both died there. Daughter Rebecca married Hyrum Dustin and moved to Arizona with their three small children. While there one child was born in 1886. Soon after her birth they returned to Rich County, Utah.

Son James Roswell Stevens and his wife Jannette Bee, took their three children and made the move, as did daughter Elizabeth and her husband John Brigham Bennett, with their four small children. The Bennett family remained in Arizona until about 1892 when they returned to Utah. Daughter Juliann married Charles Nelson and stayed in Idaho until about 1892 when they also moved to Arizona.

Charles Tippetts from Utah bought a claim from John Penfold on January 13, 1886. This was the beginning of the Layton settlement in Arizona. Later in the year Tippetts was joined by the families of Charles Warner, Charles Olsen, John Welker, Adam Welker and Christian Madsen. The newcomers and those who came with them bought their land from Safford resident Charles Tipetts.

Life in the early settlement of Safford was made up of hardship and hard work. Buying many things that were essential was not possible, so people had to make such items at home or do without. The women kept a spinning wheel at home, for there was normally a herd of sheep from which wool could be obtained to wash, card, and spin into yarn for knitting stockings, gloves, and shawls. They wove some into cloth for dresses, suits and shirts. The women learned to glean straw from the wheat fields, to clean it, soak it, and braid it into hats. Settlers continued to flow into the valley. The population grew so that in 1889 there were 1749 souls in 315 families living there.

Alexander Stevens lived with his son James Roswell Stevens and his wife Janette. Her untimely death in 1888 brought more hardship to the Stevens family. James Roswell Stevens married again to Sarah A. Barney. She had children from her previous marriage that ended in divorce. Soon children arrived to the new union. Alexander received a Homestead of 160 acres from the Federal Government, located at Thatcher, Graham County, Arizona. He and his son James Roswell farmed the property.

After selling their land holdings, in 1898 the James Roswell Stevens family, including his father Alexander, moved north to Montana. The journey took a long time as they stopped along the way to work and earn funds to go on.

They settled in a place called Bridger in Carbon County, Montana. The area there had been opened up for homestead settlement in 1892. James obtained land in Bridger where he settled his now very large family. Alex continued to live with his son's family and is listed with them in the 1900 census of Bridger.

The family remained in Bridger until 1910 when a group of mostly family members made up a wagon train to go to Oregon. The group consisted of Robert Courtney, Buran Moody (son of Sarah by her first husband) and his wife Annie (Courtney) Moody, their children Hazel and Robert, Alexander Stevens, his son James Roswell Stevens his wife Sarah Alsea (Barney-Moody) Stevens, their children, John, Alex, Edson, Bert and Rex. Also in the group were William (Bud) Morris, Richard Morris, Charles Morris, Sam Morris, Glenna Morris Brown and Wesley Morris. The relationship, if any, of the Morris family to the Stevens family has not been determined. The train arrived in Walterville, Lane, Oregon, in October 1910.

The Moody family went back to Bridger, but Alex stayed on. He was living in Springfield, Lane, Oregon, when he died on January 17, 1915. By the time Alex went on to Oregon in 1910, his three daughters had died and left young families. Only his son James Roswell Stevens remained.

Juliann, Alex and Rebecca's last daughter, born in 1863, ended up marrying her first cousin, who was the son of her mother's sister, Mary Catherine Welker Nelson, and her husband, Thomas Billington Nelson. Ironically, Juliann also died at the age of 30 after giving birth to her fourth child, just like her mother did!

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Rebecca Welker Stevens's Timeline

1835
July 21, 1835
Cape Girardeau, Missouri, USA
1854
February 27, 1854
Age 18
Alpine, UT, USA
1856
August 16, 1856
Age 21
Willard, Box Elder, Utah, USA
1858
April 3, 1858
Age 22
Salt Lake City, UT, USA
1859
March 27, 1859
Age 23
Willard, UT, USA
1863
June 21, 1863
Age 27
Willard, Box Elder, UT, USA
November 20, 1863
Age 28
Willard, Utah, USA
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