Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy 147th Birthday, John Welch Junior (1864-1948)!

John Welch's grandfather

Eighth child but first surviving son of British pioneers, John Welch was named after his father John Welch, and by age eight he could handle a team of horses well.  
He attended school in the winter, including high school in Brigham City, and worked in a brush factory.  His great sorrows were the deaths of his younger sister Flora, and later his daughter Thora. At age nineteen, he worked with the carpenters finishing the Logan Temple, “getting out steps” for the circular stairways. His father gave him a fine team of horses, and he farmed in Paradise.
these photos of him confuse me--
the two young ones each look like the older one,
but the two young ones do not look like the same person to me--
thoughts, anyone?
John married Ann, and they had ten children together. He accepted a two-year mission call to the Northwestern States in 1899, even though he had no ready money and the obligation to care for his young family, his aged parents, and his father’s second young family.  He sold some horses and farm machinery, and set out with some difficulty for Montana, where they discovered that there had been a miscommunication and the mission president actually expected them in Portland, Oregon. Only a couple months later, John returned home briefly as his daughter Florence was on her deathbed. After a special fast and her miraculous healing, John returned and enjoyed the balance of his mission. A highlight was meeting Heber J. Grant, in Portland en route to opening a mission in Japan in 1901, and hearing him sing, noting, “As far as I was able to judge, he was above the average singer.” John summarized his mission, “I never went one day without at least one meal and only spent three nights without a bed.” 

After returning home to Paradise, John continued to farm, and was active in community service as school trustee, town officer and clerk, and chairman of the Old Folks Committee. He was a faithful home teacher, at one point visiting thirty families monthly on a large geographic route. John was proud to have been a continuous subscriber to the Improvement Era since its first publication in 1898, and a steady subscriber to the Deseret News for fifty-nine years. John participated in a twice-monthly Paradise prayer circle presided over by the bishop, and traveled locally two days a week for farm business and family reasons. He was a faithful record keeper, writing a daily journal for many years which featured farming, family, community associations, weather, Church meetings, health, travel, and holiday celebrations (including his deceased parents’ birthdays, extolling their virtues). Some interesting facts gleaned from these journals—they celebrated “bear day” on February 2 (similar to our groundhog day) and temple garments cost forty cents a pair in 1909.
Welch home in Paradise, Utah
After their golden wedding celebration, John outlived his wife Ann, and saw three grandsons and three grandsons-in-law enter World War II. For the last decade of his life, his deaf son Louis took good care of his father and the farm.  John's namesake grandson John Welch IV remembers being scared by a bull on that farm. John first consulted a doctor on his own behalf at age seventy-six. He was a consistent Latter-day Saint, a real student of the gospel, a strict observer of the Word of Wisdom in every detail, very interested in his family’s progress, and loved a good joke. He had a keen sense of humor. His deathbed inquiry to his grandson, “Why haven’t you taken your wife and children to the temple?” had a lasting impact on his posterity.
John Welches 2, 3, and 4
I would give him a joke book!


  1. I'd give him a subscription to some of today's magazines.

  2. Anita, this blog and stories are wonderful! Thank you so much for posting them. I have used them often (always giving you credit of course), this is also such an easy way to share our ancestor stories with my family! Leone