Note for: Samuel Sylvester Welker, 5 Jan 1887 - 21 Feb 1974 Index
Date: 25 Feb 1974
Place: Sugar City Cemetery, Sugar City, Idaho
HISTORY OF SAMUEL S. WELKER
By Hazel Welker Briggs
My Dad had never written any history about himself and when he was about 73 years of age, I asked him to tell me a few things about his youth. He did and I typed it up, but when we had the Teton Dam Flood, this history was washed away, so I am writing from memory some of the things he told me.
He remembered when he was young his parents took the children and traveled from Bloomington, Idaho to Arizona to visit with his grandparents, the Gad Morris family. He said, "we kids would run behind the wagon and father would hurry the horses like he was going to leave us and we would have to run to catch up". One time some Indians stopped them and asked his Father for some chewing tobacco and he gave them some, but they were not satisfied and wanted all he had so he gave it to them to avoid trouble and they went away. He remembered crossing the ferry with the horses and wagon and how scared the horses were -- they would squeal and rare up on their hind legs. They were all happy when they got on dry ground again. He also remembered when his little sister, Caroline, died and how sad they all were.
His Father was an old time fiddler and used to play with a group for all their hometown dances. His mother would go with him, leaving Quincy and him to stay at home and take care of the younger children. Sometimes he and Quincy would put them to bed and sneak up to the dance. But usually their mother would see them and send them back home.
When he was young, he and Quincy walked out in the country about 11/2 miles to where his grandparents (Jacob Stoker Welker) lived to pick raspberries, Many young girls walked from Bloomington out there to pick berries on shares and he and Quincy would help them carry their berries back home.
He remembered going hunting on horses and his Mother would wrap sacks or old clothes around their feet to keep them from freezing, because they had no boots.
For years he and his Father and Quincy were custodians for the church house and dance hall and would have to go early and build fires whenever they held meetings or socials or funerals. They kept the place clean and in order and most of the time would miss their meetings because they were too late to clean up and go.
When he and Quincy were in their teen years, they went with their Father to work hauling hay for farmers and they traveled up into Wyoming hauling and stacking hay for big ranchers. He was way this way working for her Father, when Mother became acquainted with him. They were married on Dec. 18, 1908. That is about all he told me.
Now I am going to write down a few things I remember about my Dad when we were kids. We all called him Papa. He was a big man, at least 6ft. tall and weighing about 240 pounds. I remember when he quit smoking when I was about 10 years of age and how happy we all were, especially Mother. He usually wore bib overalls.
He was always a hard worker and always spent all he earned on his family. I remember when he run the flourmill in Sugar City and when he worked in the boiler room at the Sugar Factory. This was very hard work and hot and he would come home with big blisters on his hands and sometimes on his face.
While we lived in Salem, he always raised a large garden and we delivered vegetables to people twice a week in Rexburg. He would take us over there in the one horse buggy and usually Jesse and I would deliver the vegetables from door to door. We had orders from them each week. We enjoyed doing this.
From Salem, we moved to Moody on a farm. Dad bought a threshing machine and went all over the valley threshing grain for farmers. He also bought a shearing machine and built shearing sheds on our farm where many sheep men brought their herds to be sheared. He hired several men to work for him. He also traveled many places to shear big herds. He also bought a big truck and he and Mother would travel to Utah and buy fruit to sell to the stores in Rexburg and other towns. They did all this besides farming.
I remember he was always kind and thoughtful to Mother. Many washdays he would come in from his farming and get dinner for the family, because wash day was such a hard day for Mother. We had a hand washer and she boiled all her white clothes on the cook stove. Remember, they had 12 children and lots of clothes to wash. The favorite thing he would cook was scalloped potatoes and pork chops.
Note for: Sophronia Ricks, 8 Dec 1889 - 4 Dec 1961 Index
HISTORY OF SOPHRONA RICKS WELKER
(Born December 8, 1889)
History written by her January 30, 1957
I was born in Salem, Fremont county, Idaho in a little two room log house which had a dirt roof and rough boards for a floor. Mud was used to daub between the logs to keep out the cold. We burned wood to keep warm. We heated our irons on the stove, heated all our water on the stove, washed on the board and scrubbed our floors on our knees, We had no floor coverings at these times.
My father's name was Willard Ricks who was born in Logan, Utah, April 24, 1861 to Thomas E. Ricks and Elizabeth Jane Shupe Ricks. Thomas E. Ricks' father was Joel Ricks born February 18, 1804 son of Joel Ricks born May 8, l772.
My mother's name was Emma Emelie Jeppesen, born February 10, 1861 in Brigham City, Utah to Rasmus Nielson Jeppesen and Emma Emilie Bravandt Jeppesen.
I was born on my father's homestead which comprised of all the land east from where the Sugar City High School now stands to the section line on north east and south which was a quarter section or 160 acres. Our little log house stood in the southeast corner of this section where the Charles Hamilton home now stands. This Hamilton home was built by my father.
I grew to womanhood on this place and enjoyed life with my family which consisted of father, mother, five brothers and one sister. Another brother died at birth on February 24, 1899 (Joseph Bravandt). My brothers were Willard N., Clarence, Edwin, Theodore, George J., Warren Arthur, and my sister was Mabel Annette and there was Elmer J.
This new farm my father bought also had a log house with a dirt roof. It was rather hard to give up the dream of moving into a new home and again going back into an old dirt roof home. This is one thing in my life I still hold as a very deceitful act that high officials dealt to my mother causing her to loose faith in all men the rest of her days.
My school days began in Salem with Luella Garner as my first teacher and what a wonderful teacher she was. She is still alive and also taught my two oldest boys and daughter in their early days. I can well remember zany days in school with this teacher. I remember many times coming home from school crying. Mother would ask what I was crying for and my answer would be I was the only girl that had white hair. But I had other things that made me feel better. I learned to crochet when I was real young. Miss Garner and the older girls all brought their crochet work to school and during the noon hour and after lunch until one o'clock they would get out their crocheting and work on it. They invited me to bring mine and set with them.
Of course, I was the most wonderful little girl in school, at least I thought so. Mrs. Garner was also my teacher the second year of school. The rest of my teachers as I remember then were Henry Clay, Mabel Walker, Sadie Turman, Anton Petersen, James J. Chandler, James Myers and James T. Worlton. In my early grades of school we had but one teacher for all classes and also one room. We had seats made of rough lumber which we used to set on and held what few books we had on our lap. We had no paper and no pencils, nor ink but just a slate pencil and slate.
Our schoolhouse was also our church house, amusement hall, theatre and anything else you wanted it to be. We went to school this way for about the first five years of my school life. At this time a new schoolhouse was built which contained four schoolrooms and a hallway. After this we also had four teachers and the school was turned into a graded school. A year or two later the town of Sugar City was organized and again a new schoolhouse was built. This is where I went while in the 7th and 8th grades, graduating from the 8th grade in the spring of 1907. This completed my education. My class had about 16 pupils, if I remember right. Mabel Taylor had the highest marks and was made valedictorian and I was second high and had the honor of being class historian.
There are a few incidents in my early school days I like to remember. My first and second year teacher, Mrs. Garner, lived about five miles from the schoolhouse. She drove to school a team hooked on a covered wagon with a little stove in the wagon and wood to keep a fire to keep them warm in the winter. She would pick up as many of the children as she could that were on her way. Many times the snow was so deep the horses could not get through and so the teacher and her load would just have to set and wait until some one happened by.
Many times she would have to turn and go back home and there would be no school that day. In the summer she had a different type of conveyance which consisted of a two-wheeled cart with a mother horse attached to it. The colt would have to be left home. This made it bad for the mother horse, because by noon she had accumulated quite a supply of milk for the little colt which stayed home, so the milk had to be drawn from the mother horse. Teacher didn't have much trouble getting it done though because as soon as school was dismissed for noon, each child would run to the teacher to see which got the chance to milk the mama horse today. It was really a great thrill.
My route to school was in a different direction than my teacher's route, so father took us to school in a bob sled in the winter most of the time. Some winters he would take the front runners off the bob sled, build a box on it and hitch the old horse to it. He would fill the box with straw and mother would heat two or three big rocks in the oven to put them in the straw wrapped in gunnysacks. Then she would set us kids on one big heavy quilt and tuck another over us and off to school we would be. What were these rocks for? Well you see in those days we hadn't rubbers or overshoes to keep our feet warm and it was about three miles to school, so we had those rocks to keep our feet warm. In the spring when the snow melted away the roads were almost impossible because there were no paved roads or even gravel on the roads in these days. Part of the time it was impossible to travel until the mud dried up.
One little joke our teacher told I will always remember. One spring morning as some of the boys and girls came into the schoolroom the teacher greeted us with a cheery "good morning" and said he had quite a struggle getting to school this morning. As he was on his way he saw a man's hat lying out in the middle of the road, so of course, he walked out to pick it up and found a man's head under it. He asked can I help you out and he received a shocking answer, "Oh no sir, I am on horseback". This was in the spring of my graduation. There was not much amusement in those days.
We went to church which was about three miles from home. Sometimes my rather would hitch the horses to the wagon and take us to Sunday School, but if the horses had worked in the field hard all week they would have to rest on Sunday and we would have to walk to Sunday School.
About twice during the winter months there would be a couple of dances and two or three home dramatic plays, which we enjoyed very much. When I was very small I can remember the grown-ups would have a get-to-gather party in the homes each one taking their turn. The floors were all cleaned and they would have a big time dancing. My mother and her brother R.N. Jeppesen played accordions for the music.
It took my father and mother several years to clear the sage brush off their ground. They had two horses, 1 wagon, I hand plow and one harrow and their own willing hands. But what wonderful crops grew on this ground after it was once cleared and cultivated.
There are many things in my life that were very interesting as a girl. The only way we had to travel was with two horses hitched to a wagon and about once a week father and mother would go to town to buy a few groceries which consisted mainly of sugar, flour, salt and sometimes cereal. The cereal would be cracked wheat as there was no such thing as prepared cereal at this time. We grew our own vegetables, made our own butter, and raised our own chickens. That is about the variety of our food in these days. And by the way, when the trip to town was made, mother and father and the smallest children set in the one seat of the wagon and the rest of family set in the box behind the rest of the floor where father had placed some hay with a quilt on for the rest of the children.
The town we went was Rexburg which was about five miles away and many times in our travels we would pass by Indians camped by the roadside. When I was a small girl I remember the Indians coming each spring. They would be riding horses trailing one behind another, and as they came to our house they would stop and ask mother for fees kit (biscuit) and in return give her some little black beads. I was very scared and would hide behind the door until they left.
At one time I remember the State Militia was called from Boise, Idaho to come and settle a water dispute up at Jackson, Wyoming and father and mother took us up where the Sugar City Cemetery now is to seethe soldiers march. In my mind it was a beautiful sight because they were all dressed in blue and brass buttons and marching in order. I will never forget this.
I remember we always had the worry of getting the crops to market. First the grain had to be cut, hauled, stacked and then threshed, and then we had to wait our turn for the threshing machine. When our turn came we would have from 16 to 20 men to cook for, for about 5 to 10 days. Mother would make many pies and cakes and kill chickens. It was really a big event. We threshed with what we called a horse powered threshing machine. The power to make the separator go to separate the grain from the straw was made by hitching 16 horses to a machine. A man stood in the center of this horse powered machine to crack a whip at the horses. The horses would be hooked two by two and go around and around to make the power. There would also be a wide leather belt attached from this machine to the separator where 2 or 3 men would stand and toss the bundles of grain on a platform at the end of the separator. There two men with knives stood to cut the string from the bundles of grain and push it into the separator where it would be beat around until the grain was separated from the straw. A man stood at the side of the machine with a sack to catch the grain as it came out in half bushels. He measures 2 bushels to the sack and another man stood there to tie the sack and set it aside. Finally the threshing was done.
Getting it to market was the next step. The closest railroad was 25 miles away so the grain was stored in a log building until winter and then was sacked, loaded on sleighs, and hauled to Market Lake which is now Roberts, Idaho. My father would get up early in the morning and leave about 4 o'clock and get back from 12 to 2 o'clock in the night sometimes longer. He would be very tired and cold. Mother would set and keep a wood fire burning until my father's return.
It was in the year of 1899 the first train made its way into this vicinity and you can be sure the farmers were really thrilled. All this summer as children we would get on father's shed and watch the men work building the track each morning as the train came in with supplies. It came a little closer and finally in the late fall the track was laid as far North as St. Anthony, Idaho.
My mother was very strict with me when I was young. It was not until I was past 16 that I was allowed to go out to places of amusement with my friends. In those days dancing was about the only amusement we had.
It was here that I met and later married Sam S. Welker the father of my twelve children. At the time we had a family of nine children but one of them passed away the year before so we had eight to take through the temple and be sealed to us. After this time we were blessed with 3 more boys which made 12 in all, and I can truly say we loved ever one of them and still do. There were 8 boys and 4 girls.
When we were married we went to Bloomington, Bear Lake County, Idaho to live, which was the hometown of my husband. Here our first two boys were born and in the fall of 1911 we moved back to my old hometown, Sugar City, where my husband worked in the Sugar Factory as a fireman. He was paid the daily wage that the Sugar Co. paid which was $2.72 for 12hrs. work. In the spring he would shear sheep and work on the farms in the summer. In the spring of 19l2 we bought a little home on an acre lot in Parker, Idaho.