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An Audlem Mormon – Part 2

18th July 2021 @ 6:06am – by George Hardy (with ghost writer!)
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An Audlem Mormon – Part 2

In brief, this is the story of Job Welling, born and raised in Audlem, who left for America, was married 4 times (3 plurally), raised 28 children, and travelled back to England on his way to be a missionary in Australia, before returning to America.

Early Life

Job was born in 1833 to parents John Wellings and Margaret Ann nee Key. They had 6 sons and 2 daughters. Job and his eldest brother Samuel became tailors, working in a shop cutting and fitting men's clothes. Both became members of the church, converted to Mormonism, but fell out for some unknown reason, and did not work together again. Job became a travelling elder for the church, and whilst visiting Portsmouth in 1852 met his first wife, Frances Yeoman. Their first child died in infancy, their second, a boy named Job. Both were now committed to the Church of Latter Day Saints.

To America

In 1856 they joined other "saints" to sail from Liverpool to Boston. They sailed on a ship called the "Samuel Curling" for Boston. The ship left Liverpool on April 7th and arrived on May 1st. The voyage looks to have cost £9 for the family.

Across America

On arriving at Boston, they took the railroad to Iowa, where they joined the first handcart company leaving for Utah. After nearly 4 months of rigorous travel, they reached Salt Lake City. Of the 273 people that started, only 228 reached that city. Their son Job died on the journey.
From the diary:-

  • "On the 17th of June 4 am the bugle was blown for all to turnout and at a 6:45 the camp moved off. Travelled 10 miles and rested two hours. At 2:20 we pitched our tents. The journey was performed without any accident. No wood but plenty of water. About 3:20 Job Welling son of Job Welling died age 1 year and seven months. Died of canker or inflammation of the bowels.
  • June 18 at 4 am the bugle sounded for all to turn out and travelled 10 miles without any accident pitched tents at 8:35 to give the sisters an opportunity of washing the clothes. Today the body of Job Welling was interred 3 feet from the north-east corner of Mr Watron's farm section 25 township 80 range 17 on the plains of Iowa."


Job kept a detailed diary of much of his travels, the book in particular has diary entries for the handcart journey, and also when he returned to visit his relatives in Audlem and locality in later years on his way to Australia. There is also a wealth of letters that he wrote during his life.

Utah

There was quite a celebration upon the arrival of this handcart company in the valley. There was a brass band group and dances and a large concourse of citizens and worthy elders.

Job immediately established himself in the tailoring trade as well as farming, and carrying on with his duties in the church and community. He was also a member of the choir played in the brass band and was a Sunday school teacher.

They met and became friends with the Holmes family who had already lived in Farmington for seven years – the two families eventually knew each other quite well.

Setting up home on the new farm, they had the misfortune to have two children die at birth or just after. But they also had two children who survived. Sadly in 1864 Francis died at the age of 35 on the 29th of December 1865. By May the following year, job had married one of the Holmes daughters, and over the next few years married the other two daughters as well. Job eventually acquired land to farm of about 100 acres about 2 miles north of Farmington.

Australia via England

In a conference in 1875 Job was asked to go on a mission to Australia. This could not be refused. He left home by June 16, 1875. The brethren had given permission to go by way of England and visit relatives, reaching there on the 4th of July 1875. He came into Liverpool, spent some time visiting relatives. His father was still alive, but his mother had passed away. It seems that some of his sisters/brothers did not recognise him at first, and were quite doubtful about talking to him. He sailed to Australia from Southampton, his diaries contain much detail of this visit "home".

His diary records much of the sea journey to Melbourne from Southampton. Interestingly he sailed on the SS Great Britain, now renovated at Bristol after having been rescued from the Falkland Islands. This was also the ship he sailed on to the west coast of America for his return.

He managed to return to America in April 1877 after an absence of 22 months. He had not been impressed by Australia – he was quoted as saying:-

  • This is a very wicked and adulterous people. They are very liberal in their religious views so much so they don't care a cent what you believe – perfectly indifferent to everything but the gratification of their bellies backs and pride. They came here to get rich and enjoy themselves and seem bound to do it at the expense of everything – everything moral or divine.
  • Of course there are exceptions and churches are bound but the substrata is corrupt to the extreme.
  • Holidays – horse racing – boat racing – betting and gambling are the orders of the day, on the 24th of this month there were 80 to 100,000 people at the races


There is much more of interest in his diaries. Indeed he lived at a fascinating time, if not bitterly hard. He sailed out from Liverpool, handcart and wild camping for nearly 4 months, lived through the civil war, photography flourished, and sailed around the world in the most famous steamship of its time. 4 wives and 28 children must have been a burden as well as a blessing!

Job eventually passed away in 1886.

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