Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy 143rd Birthday, Ann Rebecca Shaw Welch (1868-1938)!

John Welch's grandmother

A neighbor called Ann Welch "an angel in a gingham apron."

Second of five children born in Utah to British converts, Ann was raised alongside her father Harry’s first family of nine children as if one family.  Her parents both taught school and her mother also clerked at the family store, so under the direction of her father’s kindhearted first wife Aunt Lizzie, Ann learned to knit, dye, sew, quilt, preserve fruit, and make cider, straw hats, candles, and soap.  Like her mother and Grandmother Rogers before her, Ann was an especial expert in curing bacon, hams, and making sausage.  

Ann married John Welch Junior in the Logan Temple.  They came from similar backgrounds since he was also the son of British pioneers, and had ten children. John served a two-year mission to the Northwestern States in their early marriage, during which time their young daughter Florence nearly died, but was miraculously healed.  The later death of their daughter Thora was a great loss, as well as that of twin sons.  Ann managed the home front well—she was an efficient, ambitious manager and did beautiful handwork and crochet. One grateful neighbor called her “an angel in a gingham apron.”  Ann had taught this new bride how to mend overalls and “put away a pig.”  Ann loved to rise early to get a good start on the day’s work.

Serving in the Relief Society presidency, Ann was part of the wheat storage program.  The sisters of that era were especially mindful of the aging pioneer generation, and Ann helped sew temple and burial clothing for more than twenty-five years.  She also helped prepare bodies for burial until that work was taken over by morticians. Her children remember Ann making paper patterns for dolls, singing as she sewed, reciting old-fashioned poems and stories about Indians and pioneers, making honey candy and popcorn balls on winter evenings.  They particularly felt that the Welch parents were united in establishing religious ideals in the home and were always charitable and kind.  

Her portrait (young picture above) is in the possession of descendant Brenda Bradshaw (Carolyn Baxter's daughter) in New Jersey.  

I would give her a new apron--one of those sassy frilly types.


  1. I'd give her the means to write a how-to, housekeeping, or self-help book.

  2. Grandfather Welch recently reminisced about how Ann would make pancakes as big as the entire pan and flip them over.