Julia Ann Welker

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Julia Ann Welker (Morris)

Birthplace: Rome, Georgia, United States
Death: March 01, 1941 (73)
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
Place of Burial: Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Pvt Gadwell Gat Morris and Elizabeth Ann Morris
Wife of John Quincy Welker
Mother of Quincy Edward Welker; Samuel Sylvester Welker; Elizabeth Caroline Welker; Charles Allen Welker; Jacob Stoker Welker and 3 others
Sister of Girl Morris, Twin; George Lumpkin Morris; Samuel Wilford Morris; Mary Josephine Foster; Dorcas Ann Williams and 6 others

Occupation: Married John Quincy Welker March 24, 1884 in Pima, AZ and had 8 children
Managed by: Della Dale Smith
Last Updated:

About Julia Ann Welker

Life History of Julia Ann Morris Welker by Bessie Welker Jacobson, daughter of Julia Ann Morris and granddaughter of Elizabeth Wanslee. Webmaster's note: Julia Ann Morris was about four years older than Cicero Morris, the youngest of Gad and Elizabeth Wanslee Morris' children. Much of what Bessie Welker writes about her mother's childhood also applies to Cicero. Mother (Julia Ann Morris) was born in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia, on November 26, 1867, to Gad and Elizabeth Wanslee Morris. When Julia was nine years old, she with her parents and 10 brothers and sisters left their home in Georgia and moved to Arkansas in 1868, then from there to Arizona in 1877. She started school in Savaya, Mexico, in 1877, but had to quit school after her family moved to Safford, Arizona, in 1884.

Webmaster's note: Savaya, Mexico, should almost certainly be Savoia, New Mexico, now called Ramah, McKinley County, New Mexico. The Morris family stayed briefly at Savoia but moved to northeastern Arizona by 1878. Julia's father, Gad Morris, died 21 March 1878 in Winslow, Arizona, when she was 10. It is unclear which trip the writer refers to below. Most likely, it is the journey of the Arkansas Travelers Party of 1877 -- from Des Arc, Arkansas, through Trinidad, Colorado, to Savoia in northern New Mexico. Many from this party settled finally in the Safford area. It took the Morrises six months to make the journey with ox teams and wagons, and cows to help pull the wagons. They, with other families of the Mormon faith, endured many hardships.

When they stopped and made camp for the night, they would have to put the wagons in a circle to protect them from the Indians. Fortunately, the Indians didn't bother them very much. Julia and her family would milk the cows to help out with the food supply, which was very skimpy. It was very hard for them to leave their home and most of their belongings behind. But, it was the faith they had in the Lord that urged them on. They had been called to settle Arizona.

The Morrises tried to camp by streams or rivers so they could wash their clothes and bathe. They used the large rocks along the banks to scrub their clothes on to help get them clean. Sometimes, they would stay in one place for two or three days so they could do their washing and make their soap and their bread. They would pile rocks in a small circle and build a fire in it. After the fire died down but the rocks were still hot, they would put the bread on the rocks to bake.

When the Morrises made soap, they would put the wood ashes from the campfire in a pan and cover the ashes with water and let it stand overnight. This made the lye they mixed with grease that they had saved from the meat they cooked along the way. They would boil this together until it was thick, and when it was cold they would cut it into pieces. They continued on their way with enough soap and bread to last them for a while, because it might be some time before they would be able to stop long enough to make more. They also gave the animals time to rest as well as the people, before they continued on their way.

Julia's family first made their home in Snowflake, Arizona. By the time the cold weather came, the men had cut down trees and sawed logs to build a log house. They made a fireplace in one corner of the room to keep them warm. After a few years, they moved on to Safford, Arizona. This is where Julia met and married Father (John Quincy Welker). John had moved to Arizona from Bloomington, Bear Lake county, Idaho. He was originally born in Willard, Box Elder, Utah, before his parents moved to Bloomington in 1863 to help settle that area for the LDS Church.

Webmaster's note: Other accounts say the Morris family settled at Brigham City, Arizona, on the Little Colorado River. Brigham City is about 1.5 miles northeast of downtown Winslow, Arizona. The present life sketch of Julia Ann Morris is the only document I have found that places the Morris family at Snowflake (which is about 45 miles southeast of Brigham City). The log house to which the writer refers might be among those built at Savoia, New Mexico. Apparently, Bishop John Hunt and other men constructed a number of homes in Savoia made of pinion logs plastered with mud. All these homes were equipped with rock chimneys.

She was sixteen years old when they were married on March 23, 1884, in Pima, Arizona. She and Father moved to Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho. They made their home in Worm Creek, south of Bloomington a few miles. They lived in a little one-room log house, with a dirt roof, and a dirt floor, for quite a few years. Father laid limbs and branches from the trees across the poles that were put across the top of the house. Then this was covered with dirt. When it rained, the water would run through on to the floor and beds. They would have to put pans or anything they had to catch the water and mud. They spread gunny sacks on the floor to protect them form the cold damp ground. They also had to hang sacks to the windows and door until Father could get some made. Father filled the space between the logs with thick clay and mud mixed with water, to keep the cold and wind out. For lights, they had what was called bitch. It was made by soaking a rag in grease and putting it in a large pan and there it was burned. And this made light for them to see by. For heat, Father dug a pit in the middle of the room and made a fire in it. They did their cooking on this and also kept warm.

My brother Jacob and Morris were born. After a few years, Father moved the family into town, which had built up some by this time. The little town had a small grocery store that was run by a man named Sy Fayler, also a blacksmith shop where horses were fitted with steel shoes on their hoofs to protect their feet. This was run by a Mr. Painter. A church had also been built, from trees the men had brought out of the canyon and sawed into logs.

Father and Mother and family moved into a four room, two story house. My grandfather and grandmother Welker, Father's parents, lived with them. My brother Clinton and myself were born there. My grandfather passed away the year I was born in 1911. I was about four years old when Grandmother passed on. All the children, except myself were brought into the world with the help of a midwife, as they were called. They were women from the town that would go help other women have their babies. They would stay and care for the mother and new baby for a few days, as at that time there were no doctors. After a few years, a doctor did come to town. His name was Doctor Hayward. It was he that brought me into the world.

When I was about three years old, the church house burned to the ground. The men had to work hard again to build another one, which still stands today. My father worked very hard to feed and clothe the family. He would leave his wife and family for weeks at a time during the early summer, to shear sheep. He would work ten to twelve hours a day on farms, for fifty cents a day. In the fall of the year, he would take potatoes he and Mother had raised and harvested, with the help of the older boys to Logan and Brigham City, Utah with a team and wagon, and trade them for flour, sugar and honey for our winters use. We raised our own cows, pigs and chickens to help out with the meat supply. Mother worked very hard helping to raise a garden. She would dry corn and fruit for winter use. They were long hard years, but faith and trust in the Lord helped us to survive.

Father and Mother worked and sacrificed all their lives to make life better and happier for their family. They were the most wonderful parents in all the world. One by one the family grew up and left the little house on the corner to make lives of their own. This left Father and Mother like they had first started out, just the two of them. God bless them.

Travail and Tragic Days at Savoa, Author Unlisted....from a collection of historical articles kept on record at the Safford Family History Library....article dated April 9, 1980.

Many emotions -- saddened ones -- swept over my wife and myself as we stood among graves in the older section of Savoia or now Ramah, New Mexico, cemetery. We were well aware of the fact, on this April 10, 1979 day, that the burial site was one where tears and tragedy had mixed; where men, women and children had been lowered to a last and most humble resting place. No few of the mouldering mounds, without doubt, marked graves belonging to members of the Arkansas Travelers Party of 1877.

This party, numbering some 140 souls, was composed of LDS converts from Prairie County, Arkansas, and adjoining areas. LDS missionaries Henry G. Boyle, John Wimmer and John McAlister were active in the conversion of this group. Seeking greener fields and an unhampered religious freedom, the converts, during April 1877, left the streams and woods of Arkansas to make their homes in New Mexico's raw and unsettled lands.

According to D.V.A. (Bood) Talley's precious diary, which records the travelers' route and adventures, the converts, on leaving their Arkansas homes, traveled westward until Trinidad, Colorado, was reached. Here the party separated with one group of converts going into Utah while others passed through Santa Fe and Albuquerque before settling in Savoia (onion in the Spanish language). It was here that Bishop John Hunt, on church instruction, constructed a number of homes made of pinion logs plastered with mud, and all with rock chimneys. And it was here that an epidemic of smallpox cruelly wrought havoc among the Arkansas Travelers. Lost to the once dreaded killer in a land far from their Arkansas homeland were: Mrs. Thomas West, Mrs. Alonzo McGrath and daughter Mary, and Mrs. Jess Wanslee, mother of the now deceased Mrs. George Foote and Mrs. William Ellsworth. All of the above mentioned parties were buried in the Savoia or Ramah cemetery.

Webmaster's note: "Mrs. Jess Wanslee" is Malinda Ann Evans (1853-1878), married to Elizabeth's Wanslee's younger brother, Jesse Cleveland Wanslee (1837-1908). "Mrs. George Foote" is Elizabeth Wanslee's niece, Rosanna Cooper Wanslee (1874-1973). "Mrs. William Ellsworth" is Elizabeth Wanslee's niece, Mary Elizabeth Wanslee (1875-1959).

John West, the writer's dear and now departed friend, who supplied so much of the information appearing in the writer's story "Arkansas Travelers of 1877," remembered that every member of his family was deathly sick, but especially his father and mother. "Every inch of my father's body was covered with eruptions. Courageous neighbors attempted to relieve the family's sufferings by touching the eruptions with a feather that had been dipped in sweet oil." From his pallet in front of the rock fireplace, John witnessed a heart-rendering scene -- "Sometimes during the night, I saw father leave his bed and crawl across the floor to my mother. He knew she was dying and I heard him say, 'Sally, I hate to give you up, but I've got to do it.'"

Shortly after recovering from the devestating smallpox blow, many of the Arkansas converts slowly wended their way to Brigham City, to Snowflake and other norther Arizona points. No few of the converts eventually established homes in the Gila and Duncan Valleys, but especially in the Graham area. A partial list of this group would include D.V.A., K.V.B., Tom and Robert Talley families; the Mrs. Robert Golding family, the John Jackson Quinn family; the Scarlett family; the Gad Morris family; the Wilburn Dempsey family; the Alexander Stewart family; the John and William Waddell families; the Nathan Wanslee family; the John Evans family and two single men -- Austin Evans and Cyrus Spafford.

Webmaster's note: The Nathan Wanslee mentioned above is Elizabeth Wanslee's brother Nathan Terry Wanslee, who died 15 November 1924 in Safford, Graham County, Arizona. Another brother, Jesse Cleveland Wanslee, also traveled with the company.

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Julia Ann Welker's Timeline

November 26, 1867
Rome, Georgia, United States
January 28, 1885
Mesa, Maricopa, Arizona, United States
January 5, 1887
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
December 7, 1889
Bloomington, ID, United States
February 23, 1891
Bloomington, ID, United States
April 22, 1894
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
September 2, 1898
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, USA
December 15, 1903
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States
August 4, 1911
Bloomington, Bear lake, Idaho, United States
March 1, 1941
Age 73
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, United States