Sarah Ann Thornock Welker

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Sarah Ann Welker (Thornock)

Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
Death: Died in Drummond, Fremont, Idaho, USA
Cause of death: Acute Indigestion per Death Certificate
Place of Burial: Wilford, Fremont, Idaho, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Thornock and Ann Thornock
Wife of John Eller Welker
Mother of Sarah Olivia Welker; John Percy Welker; James Melvin Welker; Estella A. Welker; Ernest Bechias Welker and 7 others
Sister of John Bott Thornock; Matthew Thornock; William Thornock; Joseph Thornock; Mary Ann Thornock and 3 others

Occupation: Housewife...Widowed at the the of her death
Managed by: Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
Last Updated:

About Sarah Ann Thornock Welker

About 12 years before Sarah Ann Thornock was born, her parents, John and Ann Bott Thornock became members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in May, 1844, in Whitwick, England. John was born in Laxfield, England, but moved to Whitwick where he met his wife, Ann, the daughter of William and Mary Bott. John and Ann had nine children, six born in England, and three born in Utah. While John worked as a corn dealer in Whitwick, the following children were born: John, Mathew, William, Joseph, Mary Ann and Hannah. After joining the church, they saved their meager earnings and on February 4, 1854, John and Ann and their six children sailed from England on the ship Golconda for America. It took seven long, arduous, and heart-rending months on the ocean and crossing the Great Plains to arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah, in September 1854. They crossed the plains in the Job Smith company, and on June 12, 1854, little three and one-half year old Mary Ann died.

This is the story as told by the grief stricken mother, Ann Bott Thornock, to her granddaughter, Elsie Thornock Milam. There was nothing to make a box in which to bury her little daughter, so Grandma took the clothes out of the only box she had and tied them up in bundles. Tenderly they placed their little daughter inside. The box was not long enough so she must be cross wise, from corner to corner, in order to make room. They left their darling sleeping there on the plains, and Grandma, leaving her heart there as she said, and with worn out shoes and bleeding feet, trudged on, with the help of her Lord. She pulled a handcart and drove the oxen as well. After a long, tiresome journey they arrived in Salt Lake City.

Only a few days after arriving their eight year old son, William, died in Salt Lake city, October 12, 1854. Sad and stunned but undaunted, the Thornock family placed their faith in their Lord and went forth in the labors of building a home, clearing the sagebrush, plowing the soil, planting crops, making irrigation ditches and working in the church. John's occupation was general farming. His sons followed in his foot steps and all became good farmers.

Three children were born in Utah to these hardy pioneers, Sarah Ann, George Henry, and Hyrum James. They established their home in Zion and all except the eldest son, John Bott Thornock, remained in Farmington, Utah, until 1871. John Bott was called to help pioneer the Bear Lake Valley in Idaho during 1864. He took his young wife and infant son and established his home in Bloomington, Idaho, in the Spring of 1866. John and Ann Bott Thornock and their other children moved from Farmington to Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho, in 1871. John Thornock died in Bloomington on January 5, 1885, and was buried in the Bloomington Cemetery. The obituary in the Deseret News Weekly of January 28, 1885, concluded that in 1871 he "removed to Bloomington, Idaho, where he remained till his death continuing faithful and true to the Gospel, energetic and active as a member in the church."

His granddaughter, Elsie Thornock Milam, daughter of Joseph, at age 72 wrote about Ann Bott Thornock on September 8, 1965: "Grandmother Ann was a beautiful woman with blue eyes and auburn hair, 5 feet 2 inches tall. When I remember her, she was an old lady living with Uncle Hyrum, my father's brother. She always dressed in a long gathered skirt with a tight fitting basque (over blouse)....In her skirt was a large concealed pocket, a pound of cheesecloth materials to make a dress, or it might be candy or cookies or a pretty ribbon for my hair. She would give us nice things and say, "now you mon't (meaning won't) tell Hyrum."

She was a hard working woman and helped to plant the crops which were later eaten by grasshoppers. Their prayers were answered when the gulls came to devour the grasshoppers. Grandma was always willing to work hard to help provide for her family. She made tallow candles, soap from waste grease, carded wool and spun it into yarn, knit stockings and sweaters for her family and even made her husband a suit from cloth she had woven herself. She used clean straw for carpet padding and straw ticks for mattresses with feather beds on top of which she had made from feathers of wild birds her husband shot.

Grandma carefully paid her tithing from the eggs, vegetables, and other things which they produced. She was always full of fun and as witty as could be. When I was a child she told me many interesting things. She spoke an English brogue which is hard for me to write down. One time I had some new shoes, which I showed her. She looked them over and said, "Guy! Wat a length". Another time I said, "I hope I will be as good looking as you when I grow up." She laughed and said, "You'll sure have to alter a lot. Ha, ha."

In her later years, when she was alone, her husband died in 1885, she lived in Bloomington, Idaho, with her son Hyrum. His wife had also died and Grandma took care of his home and children (Burton, Seymour, Genevieve and David). One day, when Genevieve was going to town, she dressed herself all up and Grandma said to her, "Why Genevieve, you're a wearin' your best go-to-meetin' white embroidery petticoat. When I was a gull I never did so. Ha, ha!"

She loved life and lived to a good old age. She was endowed and sealed to her husband and remained true and faithful to her covenants till the time of her death, June 16, 1911. She was buried in the Bloomington, Idaho, Cemetery where her husband had been buried 26 years before." (The aforementioned information is from a book entitled, "John Thornock, John Bott Thornock and George Thomas Thornock," by Clarence S. Thornock in "History of Bear Lake Pioneers", p. 817-819.)

Sarah Ann Thornock was the first child of John and Ann Bott Thornock, born April 16, 1856, in Salt Lake City, Utah. From a document entitled, "John and Ann Bott Thornock", Parents of Hannah T. Hess, from Thornock Pioneers Salt Lake Valley Colonizers Bear Lake Valley, edited by Clarence Thornock; further edited by Ronald R. Bateman....from which much of the above information was taken....continues about the birth of Sarah, as shown below.

The Thornock Family worked diligently in Salt Lake City for about two years (after they arrived in 1854). They were filled with joy when a lovely daughter, Sarah Ann, was born on April 16, 1856, nearly two years after little Mary Ann had died. By this time they were searching for some land to build a more permanent home and get back to farming and gardening work they were used to in England. They found just the place in the Farmington area about 16 miles to the north. They were involved in all the activities of Farmington for 14 years, from 1857 to 1871. One of the most important events was while Hannah Thornock was courting Jacob Hess, the oldest child of Bishop John W. Hess. they were married in the Endowment House on February 16, 1868. All four of the older children: John Bott, Mathew, Joseph and Hannah had the special opportunity as scholars in the unique Sunday School which was organized in 1866.

In the Spring of 1871 there was much activity in Farmington by the townspeople leaving for Bear Lake Valley. Several families had been called in the 1870 October Conference of the Church to help in the settlement of Georgetown and the northern part of the valley. Jacob Hess decided to go with some of those families. His young wife, Hannah, and their baby would stay with Jacob's folks until he came back to get them when his cabin was ready.

The rest of the Thornock family moved to Bloomington in April of 1871. This meant the parents, their unmarried children: Joseph, 22, Sarah Ann, 15, George Henry, 12, and Hyrum James, 9, would be joining John and Emma in helping to colonize the Bear Lake Valley. Matthew and Ann and their two babies were also ready and anxious to move at the same time. It was a major exodus. John was fifty-five and Ann fifty one when they and their family moved to Bloomington in 1871. They constructed a very nice log home just one block north of the home of John Bott, their oldest son, and his wife Emma, who had lived in Bloomington for five years.

A tragedy was suffered when the new home of Mathew and Ann burned to the ground on November 7, 1872, and their oldest daughter, Sarah Ann, was burned to death. She would have been six years old on January 2, if she had lived. The whole town rallied around the family in their hour of grief. Within weeks a new home was constructed as a community project. Almost everyone donated some article of clothing or furniture to help this young couple get back on their feet.

John and Ann enjoyed much happier times to see their other children married to choice companions. Joseph and Sarah Ann chose February 2, 1875, to have their double weddings with their sweethearts: Joseph to Amelia Ellen Long, and Saran Ann to John Eller Welker (my second great uncle). George Henry and Louisa Mahala Welker were married on September 8, 1881. Hyrum James and Matilda Wilson were married on February 24, 1885. All the Thornock families continued to live in Bloomington for many years.

John and Ann often said that they were blessed with riches that could not be bought with gold or silver. Each of their seven children who lived to maturity presented them with lovely grandchildren, a total of 65: John Bott and Emma, 11, Mathew and Ann, 5, Joseph and Amelia, 9, Hannah and Jacob, 11, Saran and John Eller Welker, 11, George H. and Louisa, 11, Hyrum and Mary, 5. Ann was an experienced midwife and several of her grandchildren were born in her home. Jacob Hess even pulled his wife and their first baby on a hand sleigh, more than 22 miles, from Georgetown to Bloomington where their second child, Mary Ann, was born in John and Ann's new home on February 28, 1872.


Della Dale Smith

December 5, 2013

The following information is taken from public records available on

In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Farmington, Davis, Utah Territory, Sarah Ann is 4 years old, living with her parents, John and Ann, 45 and 40, and siblings, John, Jr., 19, Matt, 17, Joseph, 12, Anna, 6, and George H., 6 months old. John is working as a farmer, and his real estate is valued at $1,000 and his personal estate at $175. In this census record, the family name is shown as Thornie or Thornic rather than Thornock.

For some reason, there is no record of the family in the 1870 census, but by the 1880 census, the family is living in Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho. Sarah has been married to John Eller Welker for five years, and they are 24 and 26 years old respectively, and living with them are their first two children, Sarah O., 4, and John P., 2. Next door is John Eller Welker's father, John Welker, 50, his wife Rocksena Mahalia Dustin Welker, 45, and their nephew, Levi J. Dustin, 14. In this census record, John Eller's father, John, is a farmer, and his nephew Levi, is working on the family farm. John Eller is listed as a laborer.

John and Sarah's oldest child, Sarah Olivia, born December 11, 1875, just 10 months after their marriage, married Carl A. Palmer, in 1895. He was the son of Hyrum and Mary Palmer. Hyrum had been born in Iowa and Mary in Sweden. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Wilford, Fremont, Idaho, enumerated on June 28th, Sarah is 24 years old, Carl, is 25, and living with them is their newborn, infant son, Carl G. who was born in May. Carl A. is working as a rancher. In the 5 years that Sarah Olivia and Carl have been married, they have had four children, but only little Carl G. is still living. They are renting their farm.

There are no census records from 1890, and by 1900, John E. and Sarah A., have moved to Wilford, Fremont, Idaho, and they are listed as: John E., 46, Sarah A., 44, James M., 19, Estella A., 17, Ernest, 14, William, 11, Elzina, 9, Arthur, 5, and Lowell, 1 year old. John and Sarah have been married for 25 years, they have had 11 children, and 9 are still living. John is listed as a rancher, his wife as a housekeeper, his oldest son, James, as a day laborer, Estella as a housekeeper, and the rest of the children are in school except for the youngest ones. They are renting the farm where they are living. John and Sarah's oldest son, John Percy, had married Grace Roueche on September 3, 1900, in Wilford, Idaho. She was the daughter of Thomas Francis Roueche and Helen Meredith.

By 1910, John and Sarah are 56 and 54, and living with them are their children, Ernest, 23, William, 21, Arthur, 16, and Hyrum (Lowell), 11. They are living in Fall River, Fremont, Idaho. John is still working as a farmer, and now he owns his own farm free from a mortgage. He lists his father as having been born in Missouri, but this is incorrect, since John Sr., was born in Madison, Ohio, in 1826. His mother, Rocksena, is correctly listed as having been born in New York, and both of Sarah Ann's parents were born in England. Next door to John and Sarah is their second son, James M., 29, and his wife, Margretta, 18, and they have been married for 10 months. James is also working as a farmer.

In the 1910 census, Sarah and Charles Palmer are both listed as 34 years old, and their son Carl is 9, and they have two more children, Sarah L., 8, and Hyrum, 5. Sarah and Charles have been married 16 years, have had 7 children, 3 of whom are still living. Charles is still working as a farmer. They are still renting their farm.

Eight years later when Carl Abraham Palmer completed his World War I Draft Registration Card on September 12, 1918, he described himself as being of medium height and build with hazel eyes and brown hair. He is 43 years old, having been born on May 21, 1875, and is working as a farmer in Chester, Fremont, Idaho. His wife is listed as Olivia.

The same day, his son, Carl Glenn Palmer, born May 29, 1900, completed his World War I Draft Registration Card, and he described himself as being short, medium build, with hazel eyes and brown hair. He is 18 years old, and is working as a farm laborer for his father, C.A. Palmer in Chester, Fremont, Idaho.

By the 1920 census, they are living in Drummond, Idaho, and Carl is 44, Sarah O. is listed as Zarah, 44, and their son Carl is listed as Glen C. (Carl G. in the earlier census), 19, and they have four more children, Zarah L., 18, Carl L., 14, William E., 8, and Lynn L., 4. Now their own their farm free from a mortgage. Carl is still working as a farmer, and Glen C. is working as a farm laborer on the home farm.

In 1921 Carl and Sarah Olivia's son, Carl Glen Palmer, married Dora Christiansen,the daughter of Hyrum J. and Hannah Christiansen. In 1930 they are living in St. Anthony, Fremont, Idaho, and are 29 and 26 years old, with their children, Leon, 8, Eva, 3 years, 3 months, and Elda Christensen, 16, who was Dora's sister. Carl Glen is working as a farm implement salesman. They are renting their home for $10.00 per month. They do not have a radio in their home.

Sadly, Carl Abraham Palmer, passed away on June 5,1929, and Sarah Olivia Welker Palmer, passed away on February 13, 1936. They were both buried in Wilford, Fremont, Idaho. Carl was born in Chicken Creek, Sevier County, Utah. Their son, Carl Glen passed away at the age of 66 in 1966 and is buried in the Pineview Cemetery in Ashton, Fremont, Idaho. His wife Dora C., passed away in 1975, and is buried with him. Carl and Dora's daughter, Eva, passed away October 24, 1944, when she was only 17 years old, and she was born September 8, 1927. Eva died in St. Anthony, Fremont, Idaho, and is buried in Ashton, Idaho.

In the 1910 census, John and Sarah's oldest son, John Percy, is living in Wilford, Freemont, Idaho, with his wife, Grace, and they are 32 and 29 years old respectively, and living with them are their first two children, Clarence, 8, and Vivian, 5. They had been married for 10 years. John Percy was working as a farmer.

When John and Sarah Ann's oldest son, John Percy Welker, completed his World War I Draft Registration Card on September 12, 1918, he described himself as being of medium height and build with brown eyes and hair. He was 40 years old at this time, and his card says he was living in Chester, Fremont, Idaho, with his wife, Grace, and was working as a farmer. His birth date was shown as September 24, 1878.

When John and Sarah Ann's second son, James Melvin Welker, completed his World War I Draft Registration Card on September 11, 1918, he described himself as being of medium height, 5'-11" tall, and of medium build, with blue eyes and brown hair. He is 38 years old, having been born on June 14, 1880, and is living in Chester, Fremont, Idaho, with his wife, Margretta, and was working as a farmer.

Two months later, on November 29, 1918, John Eller Welker passed away while in Rexburg, Madison, Idaho.

In the 1920 census, Sarah is a 63 year old widow, and she is living in Drummond, Fremont, Idaho, with two of her sons, Ernest, 33, and Lowell, 21. They own their farm but have a mortgage now. This census record indicates that Ernest was born in Arizona, so perhaps John and Sarah had been thee when Ernest was born in 1887. John Eller's father, John Welker, and his wife Rocksena, had been living in Safford, Arizona, as early as 1883, so it's feasible that John Eller and Sarah Ann went there for a visit and were there when Ernest was born. In the 1920 census, Sarah is listed as a farmer.

In 1920, John and Sarah Ann's son, John Percy Welker, was 42 years old, living in Ashton, Fremont, Idaho, with his wife, Grace Roueche Welker, 39, and their children, Clarence, 17, Vivian, 15, and Grace, 8. They were renting their farm and John Percy is working as a farmer, and his son, Clarence was working as a farm laborer on the home farm. In 1920, James Melvin Welker, 39 and his wife, Margaretta, 28, were still living in Fall River, with their sons, Warren, 3 years and 3 months old, and Wayne, 1 year old.

The following year, Sarah Ann Thornock Welker passed away on April 29, 1921, while living in Drummond, Idaho. Her oldest son, John Percy Welker, passed away on October 7, 1930, at the age of 53, and is buried in Wilford, Fremont County, Idaho. His headstone at the Wilford Cemetery indicates he was born in 1877 not 1878. Her second son, James Melvin Welker, passed away on June 27, 1934, in Twin Falls, Idaho.

After James Melvin Welker passed away in 1934, his wife, Margaretta, was listed in the 1940 census for Twin Falls, Idaho, working as a 48 year old housekeeper for a Mr. James E. McMillin, a 50 year old divorced man. Her daughter, Wanda May Welker, 18 (born in 1922) was living with her as well as her son Alfred Wayne Welker, 21. the record shows they were living in the same place in 1935, so Margaretta must have moved there not too long after James passed away the previous year.

Mr. McMillin is listed as a gardener on a farm, Wanda is working as a seamstress in a sewing room, and Alfred Wayne is working for the Civilian Conservation Corps building roads. Mr. McMillin states his income for the year 1939 was $306.00, and Margaretta has no income, so she must have been working for room and board for herself and her children. Wanda's income for the 4 weeks she worked was $45 and Alfred Waye's income was $102 for 17 weeks worked. Also living in the home was Ray E. McMillin, who was the nephew of James E. McMillin, and Ray was 36 years old, and was working as an "edgerman" in a sawmill. For the 43 weeks he worked in 1939 he earned $785.00 in income.

James and Margaretta's son, Warren D., born October 12, 1916, in Idaho, passed away in Los Angeles, California, on June 18, 1964. Their other son, Alfred Wayne Welker, born December 24, 1918, passed away in November of 2011 at the age of 93. He must have also moved to California, since a U.S. Public Records Index shows him living at three different addresses in Porterville, CA, from about 1979 to 1993.

Carl Abraham Palmer and Sarah Olivia Welker Palmer's son, Hyrum Leslie, born March 31, 1905, in Wilford, Fremont, Idaho, listed in the 1930 U.S. Census for Fall River, Idaho, as simply Leslie, 25 years old, is shown in the 1940 U.S. Federal Census living at 1631 Gibson Avenue, Ogden, Weber, Utah, and is married to Elda I. Palmer, 29, and their children are Eileen, 6, Dale L, 5, Boyd D., 3, Neida, 2, and Cherril, 1. Hyrum Leslie had completed an 8th grade education, and was working as a section laborer for the electric railroad, and for the 40 weeks he worked in 1939 at 54 hours per week, he earned an income of $758. In the year 1935 they were living in Sugar City, Madison, Idaho. His wife Elda had completed four years of high school.

Sadly, Hyrum Leslie Palmer passed away on September 21, 1945, at the young age of 40 years old, leaving his wife, Elda, with five children under the age of 12 years to raise on her own. Hyrum is buried in the Ogden City Cemetery, Ogden, Weber, Utah. Seven years later in a 1952 U.S. City Directory for Ogden, Utah, Hyrum's widow, Elda I., is working as a clerk for the Ogden Bishops Storehouse (LDS) and still living on Gibson Avenue.

Hyrum Leslie and Elda I. Palmer's son, Dale Leslie, was born March 1, 1935. He married Louise Foutz Palmer, who was born January 15, 1936. There is a double headstone with both their names on it in the Ogden City Cemetery, but there are no death dates for either of them, so perhaps they are still living. There is a U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 for a Dale L. Palmer who was living at 318 15th Street, Ogden, Utah, 84404-5718 in 1993.

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Sarah Ann Thornock Welker's Timeline

April 16, 1855
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, USA
May 21, 1864
Age 9
May 21, 1864
Age 9
December 11, 1875
Age 20
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho
September 24, 1877
Age 22
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho
June 14, 1880
Age 25
Bloomington, Bear Lake, Idaho
September 29, 1881
Age 26
September 29, 1881
Age 26
December 1882
Age 27
Idaho, USA