Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Elizabeth Briggs

  • Name: Elizabeth Briggs
  • Born: December 22, 1799 Walton, Chersterfield, England
  • Died: January 7, 1867 Perry, Box Elder, Utah
  • Related through: Dan's grandfather Lynn Crookston

Elizabeth Briggs was born December 22, 1799 in Walton Parrish, near Chesterfield, England (Derbyshire). She was the daughter of John Briggs and Ann Bower.

After her marriage to Nicholas Welch, she worked as an agent for a Mr. Fisher of Nottingham, England, a manufacturer of fine lace. The lace was embroidered on fine bobbin net, in pieces about thirty yards in length and 3/4 of a yard wide. It was shipped to China and used for ladies dresses. She also made beautiful black veils. She continued with this work until machines for making lace were introduced and installed, which was about the time she left England with her family to make her home in America.

One day in the fall of 1841, as she was returning to her home after having delivered some work in the town of Chesterfield, she noticed a large group of people congregated on the street corner, and being curious to know what was going on she joined the crowd. A "little boy" she said was standing on a box, on the corner, preaching. She was not religiously inclined, and even though her husband was a preacher, she had never given previous thought to his work. On this occasion, however, she was interested, and stopped to hear what the young man was saying. He was a local Elder, representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, by the name of Alfred Cardon, of Stratfordshire, England who, in spite of the fact he looked very young, was about 21 years of age.

What she heard impressed her deeply, and after the meeting was over, she stepped up and shook hands with the boy, and asked him who he was and where he was from, and many questions regarding his teachings. She told him her name, and where she lived, and invited him to come as soon as possible, and tell her more about the gospel.

Elizabeth was a small woman, with black hair and snappy black eyes. It was evening when she reached home, and the family, with the exception of John, who was at work in Sheffield, was waiting for her to return from work. She entered the house, sat her basket on the table, and going up to her husband, said, "Nick, I've heard the true gospel." He looked at her, rather surprised and said, "Oh, have you? That's funny for you." She answered, emphasizing the fact by pointing her forefinger straight at him, "Say, I've heard the gospel, it's the only gospel, and it's true and I know it, and I have invited a young Elder to visit us and tell us about it."

Elder Cardon did come to their home, he explained the truth to them, and the next week they were baptized.

In the spring of 1842 her family left their comfortable home in England, arrived in America, and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, the city of the Saints.

Her son, John, remained in England, as his apprenticeship was not completed, being bound to the firm of George Worstenholm & Sons, Sheffield, a cutlery firm, from the time he was 14 until he was 21 years of age.

Before the year was ended, this little mother, and her daughter Ann (Crookston) were all that remained of the family in America. The father and two young sons, William and George succumbed to the hardships and privations which they were forced to encounter and died in Nauvoo. Her older son John eventually joined them in America

In the company that came from the "Old Country" with the Welch family, was a family by the name of Miles. During the hardships and sickness that came to the Saints, the father and Mother Miles both died, leaving two small children, Jane four years old, and her two year old brother John. These children were taken into the Welch family and remained as members from that time on. Jane grew to womanhood, married Charles Thomas, and settled with him in Moroni, Utah, while John lived until May 1919, spending his entire life in the homes of various members of the Welch family, as he never married. He lived with Elizabeth Briggs Welch, then with her son, John Welch Sr., then John Welch Jr., and lastly with Martha Jane Welch Dunn, at whose home, in Logan, Utah he died on the above date.

While still in Nauvoo, after the death of her husband, Nicholas, Elizabeth married a man whose name was Robert Madison, who died a short time after the marriage.

During the winter of 1846, Elizabeth Briggs Welch, in company with her son John and his family, who had now joined them in Nauvoo, left for the West. Her daughter Ann and husband Robert Crookston, their three little boys and the two Miles children were with them. They spent some time at Winter Quarters, and in Missouri, and finally reached Salt Lake City in 1852.

After spending a couple of years in Salt Lake City, the Welch family moved to Centerville, and then north to Box Elder County. During the later years of her life, Elizabeth married an old gentleman by the name of Edmund Ellsworth, who also died soon after the marriage, and she was left for the third time a widow. The remainder of her life was spent in a little home near that of her son, John, in Three Mile Creek (now Perry) in Box Elder County, Utah.

She passed away January 7, 1867, at the age of 68 at the home of her son John where she lived. She is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery in Willard.

Written by Eva Dunn Snow, great granddaughter, from information obtained from John Welch Jr., Mary Crookston Farmer and mother Martha Jane Welch Dunn. Copied and added to our family history May 15, 1966 by Lora Lee Huff Blackburn. Thanks to Grandma Melva for sharing it with us.

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