Monday, May 23, 2011

Ann Welch

  • Name: Ann Welch Crookston
  • Born: December 18, 1826 Walton Parrish, Derbyshire, England
  • Died: February 3, 1904 Logan, Utah 
  • Related though: Dan’s grandfather Lynn Crookston

Ann Welch Crookston was born in Walton Parish, Derbyshire, England on December 18,1826. She was the daughter of Nicholas Welch and Elizabeth Briggs. Her grandfather’s name was also Nicholas Welch. The first Nicholas Welch, a native of Ireland, was a bachelor when he immigrated to England in company with two nieces in 1790. He purchased property on Beaver Street, so called on account of a factory that made beaver hats. He established an inn called the Hat and Feathers. At the age of sixty he married Mary Preston. They had three children, William, Margaret and Nicholas, my father. Nicholas was about three years old when his mother died. She had one sister, Sarah Preston Booker, and one brother, Benjamin Preston on Lincolnshire, England. When I was about fifteen years old, Aunt Sarah Booker still lived at Sheffield with her only daughter.

My mother’s father’s name was John Briggs, son of John Briggs of Stone Edge near Mat Lock. Her mother’s name was Ann Bower of the same place, daughter of Nathanial Bower. My father was a devout Methodist, a local preacher and Sunday School teacher. I was the only living daughter and my father seemed very fond of me. Very often he would take me on long walks to visit the sick and poor. My father and Uncle William were brown ware potters by trade. Welches’ pottery was situated on Brampton Moor near Chesterfield.

My mother was a lace worker before her marriage to father, after which she became an agent for a Mr. Fisher in Nottingham. The lace was embroidered on fine bob net in pieces of about thirty yards in length and ¾ of a yard wide for ladies dresses. She used to go to Chesterfield and get materials and patrons. She would then let it out to ladies and girls in our neighborhood and superintend the work. When it was done she delivered it at Chesterfield and paid off the hands. She sometimes made beautiful, fine black lace veils. She continued to be an agent until 1842.

Our home was situated in Beaver Street. This property was bequeathed to my father Nicholas Welch by his father Nicholas Welch. It was a four-room cottage which fronted to the east. Directly opposite was a vacant lot, also the property of my father upon which he subsequently built a more modern house just prior to my birth in 1826 where we remained until my fourteenth year.

I remember we had some beautiful pieces of mahogany furniture which my mother used to keep polished with beeswax and turpentine. I also remember above the settee or lounge in the living room hung a large, beautiful picture of Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village.” We also had a number of brass candlesticks and irons and other things.

We had a dear, young aunt, my mother’s sister, who lived with us after her parents died. Her name was Kissiah Briggs. She was very delicate and was an invalid for quite a long time. At last she became bedridden and stayed in a sunny cheerful upstairs room. I can’t say how long, but I spent a good deal of time with her. She would read to me and sometimes when she was feeling a little better she would sing. I think her lungs were affected. She was keeping company with a young man when she became ill. He was faithful in his attentions to her until her death. He used to bring her little gifts and read to her. His name was William Randall. He was always a good friend of ours.

One evening in the fall of 1841 as mother was returning home after having delivered some of her lace at Chesterfield she noticed a crowd of people on a street corner. Being curious she drew nearer. She saw a young man preaching. Mother was not religiously inclined even though my father was a preacher. She never gave serious thought to his work. On this occasion she was curious and interested and stopped to listen. The things she heard impressed her deeply and talked to him after and told her where she lived and invited him to meet her husband and family. This Elder Carson did come and teach my family and we were baptized soon after.

In the spring of 1842 our little family left our comfortable home, with the exception of my brother john who still had time in an apprenticeship. We sailed from Liverpool in the ship Hope of Barraw Dock. We were eight weeks on board and came by way of New Orleans. We arrived at Nauvoo in the summer of 1842 and located with the Saints. The house my father was able to get for us was a very poor one. It was very hard to accustom ourselves to conditions after having been used to a comfortable home in England.

Father could only get work in an adobe yard. The work was too hard for him and his feet were swelled all day. He took a severe cold and the swampy location and everything seemed to be conspired against him. It was a sad experience for us all. The house leaked and then my little brothers took sick. They all three were down at once. It was November, the latter part, in the year 1842, when my dear father and little brothers died. Inside of two weeks they were all gone and mother and I were left alone in that hovel on the Mississippi shore. Our neighbors did all they could to help us, but so many of them also were in trouble with sickness, poverty and death that it was and has always been to me a dreadful thing to remember.

Brother Hyrum Smith heard about us and to save our lives he sent his team and some help and they moved us to a little house on his own farm on the upland where we were more comfortable. We were all alone and our neighbors were quite a distance away. It was about a mile to the business part of town. I could get nothing worthwhile to do at that time – I was only about fifteen – and to get things we needed mother would send me to town with something of our belongings to sell or trade for a few provisions. One day while on my way to sell our silver teaspoons I met a gentleman. I think he must have known who I was. He stopped and asked me how I was and how was mother. I told him, and then asked him if he would not like to buy the spoons. He took a dollar from his pocket and pressed it into my hand, and patting me on the shoulder said, “You go and get something with that, my girl, and take the spoons home to your mother.” I found out later that it had been Joseph Young, brother of Brigham Young.

We were very lonely and I missed my brothers and father very much. My father was always loving and kind. Brother Will was such a dear, good boy, and so was our baby brother George. I felt the world was a dreary place for me.

Mother and I had a hard time getting along. A good friend of ours, Brother George Grant, told us he had some friends in Chicago who wanted a girl to help with the housework. So mother consented to let me go with him to a Mr. Hogan’s family. Brother Grant too me with him a buggy and drove to Chicago. The Hogan’s were very nice people and treated me like almost one of their own. I lived with them for quite awhile, a year or more. Mrs. Hogan was a delicate woman and appreciated the help.
I went to go see my mother after I had been away several months and found to my sorrow that mother had remarried. His name was Robert Madison. He had been a bachelor and was comparatively comfortable and could take care of mother. Mother said that he was good to her and tried to make me feel at home but I could not bear to have anyone take my father’s place and wanted to go back to Chicago. The Hogan’s had moved away but I was well acquainted with other people so I went back a got a place with a family by the name of Clayburn. They had a large place not far from Lake Michigan in the suburbs. He was in the meat market business and had seven meat markets in Chicago. They were very good to me although there was a lot of work. Mrs. Clayburn had a sister living with them who did a lot to help. They had three young daughters and two sons. They had a private school in the house with a teacher who lived with them, also a governess. They had singing classes often at night and read standard novels. They always came and called to come and join them, and if I was busy they would come and help me so I could have time. In that way I had an opportunity to learn quite a good deal. I had free access to all their books. I learned a great many of their good, old songs. They knew that I was a Mormon but it made no difference to them. Those girls seemed as happy as larks and never left home without some of the grownups as escorts. I stayed with them until my brother John had emigrated and came to Nauvoo.

In the meantime my mother became a widow again. Mr. Madison had taken a fever that was so prevalent there and died. He was a very good man and very good to mother. My brother John Welch came in a buggy to Chicago to take me back to Nauvoo. Mother was very glad to have me with her. The people were brokenhearted about the cruel murder of their prophet and patriarch and were looking toward the Rocky Mountains where they could be in peace and safety. The martyrdom took place while I was in Chicago working.

We attended a meeting in the Nauvoo Temple. I had not been able to attend many meetings for a year or so and enjoyed the privilege very much. President Brigham Young and his associates had already left to find the promised Zion in the West. I noticed especially some of the sweet-faced young women who were sitting in the choir seats. One in particular was Lucy, a wife of the prophet, who later was known as Lucy Walker Kimball. At this meeting my testimony was increased and I wished to cast my lot with the people of God and continue in the work.

My mother and I got some work. She was good at very fine hand sewing and I was able to get a little house work, but there was no choice in the matter and we were glad to get anything we could to help make an outfit for the journey which we expected to make.

Ann’s brother John had married Eliza Billington and they all lived together, all working hard to prepare for crossing the plains. They started in the spring of 1846. When they came to the Missouri River they had to wait for a ferry boat to take them across. It was there at Cutter Park that she met Robert Crookston, whom she married a year later, and his family. They all lived in Winter Quarters, Nebraska and Savannah, Jackson Point and Glenwood, Missouri until they crossed the plains in 1853. After arriving in Salt Lake City they moved around a lot first to Payson then Moroni. In 1864 they were persuaded to move to Cache Valley. She was sick and tired of moving and told her husband she would never move again. They lived in Logan the rest of her life.

All her life she worked in the church singing in the choir. She was president of the Fourth Ward Relief Society for 17 years. She was a very hard worker, a good nurse and mid-wife. From necessity she helped bring a great many babies into the world with success. She understood herbs and all the pioneer remedies.

She was tall, about five feet eight and straight with blue eyes. She was very economical and thought it a sin to waste anything, even time. She was well read and a real student always studying something. I can see her now, reading with her book on the corner of the table while she churned the butter or knitted stockings. Her mending basket was kept handy where she could pick up work when she had visitors and she had lots of friends that would come to talk over things and tell her their troubles.

She was a hard worker. She not only raised her own large family and four grandchildren but she adopted another little girl whose parents died in Winter Quarters. This little girl, Caroline Holland, became a plural wife of John Lyon the LDS poet who wrote some of our LDS hymns. Ann never had a sewing machine. They also never had electricity, city water or coal until after she died. Only oil lamps, well water and wood for fuel. All the washing was done on a wash board.
She died February 3, 1904 and is buried in the Logan Cemetery. 

This history was dictated to Mary Crookston Farmer by her mother Ann W. Crookston. The end of the history was written by granddaughter Emma Dun. It can be found in the Utah State University Special Collections.

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