Welcome Chapman was born on the 24 of July 1805, Readsborough, Bennington
Co, Vermont; the 2nd child and eldest son of Benjamin and Sybil (Amidon)
Chapman and grandson to Throop and Deborah (Wilson) Chapman on his father's
side and on his mother's side to Lt. Samuel and Ruth (Wood) Amidon. Both
grandfathers served in the American Revolution and were prominent in the
founding of Readsborough, Vermont. Hannah Chapman, a daughter of Throop
and Deborah, was the first white child born in Readsborough.
Welcome's parents moved to Ondaga Co. NY. when he was very young, since
their next child, Samuel, was born in Syracuse, NY. It is said that as a
young man Welcome was not very well and he was invited to accept
employment as a cook on a fishing vessel. He accepted and would be on
the water for as long as six months at a time along the coast of Maine and
also on Lake Ontario, not far from his home. His health improved.
After one of these fishing expeditions, probably in the year 1831, he
chanced to meet Susan Amelia Risley, then in her early twenties. It seems
according to tradition that it was almost love at first sight, however Susan
Amelia's parents, being fairly well to do and very prominent in the community,
objected to their daughter marrying a fisherman, since they did not think the
occupation would provide sufficiently for their daughter. Welcome, previous
to his fishing experience, had been apprenticed to a stone mason and therefore
was skilled in this trade; so he quit the fishing boat and pursued the stone
cutting trade; this satisfied Amelia's parents and they consented. We have
not as yet found the date of their marriage but apparently Welcome and Amelia
(the name she was known by) were married in late 1831 or early 1832 since he
was 26 years old and she 24 when they were married. Incidentally the fishing
expeditions brought robust health to Welcome.
Susan Amelia Risley was born the 24 of Aug. 1807 at Madison, Madison Co. N.Y.
the daughter of Eleazer and Amelia (Matson) Risley. she was the fourth child of
12 children, having six sisters and five brothers. Susan Amelia and Welcome
made their home in Hubbardsville, Madison Co. N.Y., a nearby town and
established their home there; their first 4 children were born in
The Risley girls were taught all the things it was thought necessary for young
girls of that period and locality to know. They were taught to sew, knit,
tat, embroidery, weave and also to read, to write and mathematics. The Risley
girls learned to cord, spin and weave wool yarns and linen thread and cloth,
to braid straw to make hats. In fact these girls could cut out, fit and sew
all kinds of clothing for men, women and children. Flax was raised on the
Risley farm, from which the family produced, through cording and spinning,
their own supply of linen thread which was in turn woven into sheets, pillow
cases, chemises, petticoats etc. Each of the Risley girls had one dozen
linen sheets, two dozen pillow cases, a feather bed, a pair of pillows and
in addition, a good supply of clothing in her Hope Chest. The making of
clothing required not only cording, spinning and weaving but also the hand
sewing of each article with fine stitching by needle and thread and it also
required the bleaching of the linen articles in the sunshine.
The Risley parents were very strict with their children, limiting their
daughters opportunity to meet eligible young men and our Susan Amelia was
concerned when she passed twenty and not married.
Referring again to the articles made by the Risley girls and their mother of
such fine excellent material and fine workmanship, they were hard to wear out,
Susan Amelia's linen lasted throughout her entire married life, in fact, when
she died at the age of eighty one, she was laid out in two of the sheets she
had made when a girl at home.
As soon as the Chapmans joined the Mormon Church, persecution against them
began and their friends and neighbors shunned them and looked down on them.
This hurt them and especially Susan Amelia, as her family had always been one
of the most prominent and highly respected families in Madison Co, N.Y.
The first children born to Welcome and Amelia were twin girls born 28 Mar. 1833
at Hubbardsville, they were named Almina Jo and Chestine, both of whom died in
infancy. Their next child Rosetta Anise was born 5 Sept. 1834 also at
Hubbardsville. The parents joined the L.D.S. or Mormon Religion shortly after
Rosetta was born therefore, they would have joined in the latter part of 1834
or early part of 1835. (We have not found the date of their embracing
Mormonism.) One Family Tradition, related by one great granddaughter,
Rhoda (Knudson) Richey on Oct. 7, 1966 in St. Johns, Ariz., follows: "Welcome
Chapman joined the Mormon Church first and his wife Amelia on hearing of it
from her husband exclaimed 'You have went and joined those awful Mormons."
However, about six month later Amelia joined also.
The Risleys, parents of Amelia, were broken hearted over their daughter
joining this new unpopular religion, but did not turn bitter, whereas the
family of Welcome were very bitter to the point of disowning him and refusing
to answer his letters. None of the members of either the Risley or Chapman families
ever joined the Mormon Faith.
The Chapmans decided to leave their home in Hubbardsville, N.Y. when their
daughter, Amelia was about one year old, she having been born on 20 Mar, 1837,
so they would have been leaving Hubbardsville in the spring of 1838 to join the
Saints either in Ohio or Missouri, probably the latter. The two daughters
Rosetta and Amelia were the only granddaughters the Risleys had at the time
and dearly loved; they tried desperately to persuade their daughter and son-in-law
to stay, but to no avail.
The Risley parents were very compassionate and not being able to persuade them
to stay, did much to help them on their way, such as supplying them with two
wagons, two yoke of oxen, bedding, utensils and even extra food and clothing.
It was indeed a sad parting, Amelia felt she was leaving her dear ones forever
and it was so, she never saw them again.
Shortly after the Chapmans had joined the Saints and established a
comfortable home, violence broke out against the Mormons and they were given
but a few hours to vacate their homes which were to be burned. It was in
August of 1838 that the crusade against the saints in Missouri began. The
Haun's Hill Massacre occurred on Oct. 30 1838. At this time Amelia was
expecting a baby in three months, she was carrying her son, who was to be
named Joseph Smith Chapman, (named after the Prophet Joseph Smith). During
their vacating processes it seemed they had been reduced to one lone horse,
named Holly, to move with; what had become the two prairie Schooners and two
yoke of oxen we don't know. Welcome took a chest of clothing the first two
trips, on the third trip he took the baby Amelia in his arms and 3 1/2 year
old Rosetta behind him and two pillows. As Welcome left this third time he
said to his wife, "I'll come back and get you next time, Amelia. In the
meantime you can pack the rest of the things and I'll see if I can get some
way to take them away before dark, the mob won't start anything before dark."
The road led through dense woods part of the way and as Welcome was returning
from the third trip in the late afternoon, the sunshine was almost shut out by
the thick growth of trees making it almost like twilight. When about a mile
from their home he saw a strange object coming toward him down the winding
roads. Because of its queer shape he could not make out what it was. Bears
were not unknown to those woods at that time but it seemed too top heavy for
a bear, besides a bear would scarcely be so bold as to remain in the open road
within plain sight of a horseman approaching. As he drew nearer, Welcome
could see that it was a woman with a heavy burden on her back, he urged his
tired horse on to investigate and give aid and presently was shockingly
surprised to discover that it was his own wife, Amelia, carrying her precious
feather bed. Sliding quickly from his horse Welcome exclaimed, "Oh, mother
Amelia, why have you done this, are you trying to kill yourself?" Amelia
answered "Why, Welcome, you surely didn't think I was going to let them old
mobacrats have my best Feather Bed did you, with me going to be sick in three
months? It seemed like you were gone so long this time and I was afraid the
Mob would come before you could get all the things away and I knew we couldn't
both ride Old Bolly and take the feather bed." Then Welcome said, "I'm afraid
you'll be sick in less time than you should." However, she went her full time.
In spite of the trying experience and the privations which followed the next
few weeks, later during this migration in Missouri, their first son was born.
He was born at Far-West, Caldwell Co. Mo. on the 17th of May, 1838, in the
midst of plundering and scenes of severe hardships and persecutions. They
named the son Joseph Smith, after the prophet as before stated.
There is an interesting parallel between the birth of this son, Joseph Smith
Chapman, and the birth of Joseph F. Smith, the son of Hyrum, who became the
sixth President of the L.D.S. Church. Joseph F. Smith was also born in
Far-West, Caldwell Co. Mo. in the same month and the same year, namely
13 Nov. 1838. Joseph Smith Chapman came to the Salt Lake Valley with his
parents in the spring of 1848 in the large company which Brigham Young went
back to bring across the plains and also Joseph F. Smith and his mother, Mary
Fielding, came in this same company: these two Joseph's were 9 years old and
only 4 days difference in their ages and without doubt were well acquainted
with each other. The Company arrived in Salt Lake Valley Sept. 23, 1848.
Mamie (Mary Ann) Chapman Richey, granddaughter of Welcome and Amelia Chapman
and daughter of Welcome Chapman Jr. relates the following incident: Joseph F.
Smith was at a meeting, probably a conference. in Pine Top, Arizona. At the
assembly Joseph F. Smith was shaking hands with the people and as Welcome
Chapman Jr. shook hands with Bro. Smith and announced his name as Welcome
Chapman, Joseph F. Smith said to him, "Your father, Welcome Chapman, was a
very good man, yes, a very, very good man, there are very few men like him."
This would Indicate that he knew very well Welcome Chapman Sr. and of course
he did. Mamie (Mary Ann) who related this incident is now living and in this
same Pine Top, Ariz. having celebrated her 100th birthday on Apr. 22, 1972.
The Chapmans eventually settled in Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois. Here Welcome
worked at his trade, stone cutting and masonry and when the construction of
the Temple was commenced in Apr. 1841, he worked on it, Three sons were born
to Welcome and Amelia in Nauvoo, namely: Hyrum, named after Hyrum Smith, the
brother of the prophet, born 3 Oct 1841, then, Benjamin, born 12 Aug. 1843 and
died the 27th Nov. of the same year and Levi, born 20 Apr. 1845. They had
established a comfortable home in beautiful Nauvoo, where they were enjoying
their friends and neighbors. but they were not to enjoy these fine things for
long. Again, mobs of violent men descended upon Nauvoo in 1846 and the
inhabitants were forced to leave their beautiful city and homes, taking as
much as possible of their movable belongings and crossed the Mississippi River
The Chapmans settled at first at Garden Grove, Iowa but must have soon located
at Winter Quarters, since their daughter, Fidelia was born in Winter-Quarters
on the 11th of Oct. 1846. While in Winter Quarters, Douglas Co., Nebr., they
prepared for the journey across the plains which commenced in the spring of
1847, as heretofore stated. They then had six children, having lost three in
Chapmans was outfitted as nearly completely as most of their neighbors, with
two ox teams, two covered wagons, a milk cow, grain for seed and grinding,
beans, garden seeds, cooking utensils, bedding, clothing and a Loom for
weaving cloth which Amelia could use with skill. They had managed somehow to
hold onto a few precious articles through all the mobbings and movings they
had been through. Welcome still possessed a black broadcloth suit and high
silk hat, which was the pride of his heart and which was reserved to be worn
on very special occasions, Amelia still had her priceless linen, her white
wedding gown, her black taffeta dress with tiny black bonnet to wear on
special occasions when Welcome donned his high silk hat and broadcloth suit.
When they arrived in Salt Lake Valley in the Fall, September 1848 where they
found that some of the supplies which they had brought were in great demand
among the pioneers already here, especially food supplies. They shared what
they could spare, keeping only enough for their own needs and seed for the
The wife, Amelia, turned most of the housework over to the two older girls,
Rosetta, 14 and Amelia, 12 and devoted her attention to the weaving of
Linsey-woolsey cloth which was needed badly by the whole community. This
cloth, of a coarse wool woof and linen warp, was a dull gray, sometimes dyed
by the pioneer housewives with dies obtained from nature such as berries,
bark, roots etc., but more often used as it came from the loom, for the making
of clothes for men, women, and children. This material would withstand the
hardest wear for years.
Clothing for the entire family had to be made in the home with needle and
thread, even the boy's trousers, jackets, caps and even hats and women's
bonnets. Winter caps and jackets were often made of fur and animal skins.
The Chapman girls learned to cord and spin wool and to sew, cook and clean
with inadequate supplies. Most of the women and girls owned calico sunbonnets
fitted with stiff slats to hold them in shape and long caped in the back to
guard the necks of the fair wearers from the hot sun. A few of them had
bright colored calico dresses which they wore for best and still fewer had
black silk dresses which they had brought across the plains and tiny boughten
bonnets which were only brought out for special occasions.
The mother, Amelia Chapman, was glad that she had kept her white wedding gown,
when she learned there was going to be a grand celebration on July 24 1849,
and girls with white dresses would be in great demand, to walk in the parade.
She made her wedding gown over for daughter Rosetta, who with Brigham Young's
eldest daughter, were chosen to lead the parade and carry the American Flag.
(These 2 girls, no doubt, led the 24 girls who marched and sang in the parade).
The eldest daughter, Rosetta, married Jerome Kempton, when she was sixteen.
This marriage took place after Chapmans had moved to Manti, Sanpete Co., Utah,
where they had been called to help settle this area in 1850.
July 8, 1854, the High Council of the Manti Branch met to select a Branch
President to replace Isaac Morley. They selected Welcome Chapman for
president with James Wareham, 1st counselor and Warren S. Snow, 2nd
counselor. On July 9, Sunday, the people unanimously voted to sustain these
men in these callings.
A stake was later organized on July 27, 1854 with Welcome Chapman as
President, which position he held for some eight years.
References: Manti News of July 15, 1854.
History of construction of the Manti Temple by Glen R. Stubbs,
Call No. 900-2-St-92 B.Y.U. Library, Provo, Utah.
In spite of her family and household duties, Mother Amelia Chapman found time
to work in the church and observe social customs of the day. She was
president of the Relief Society for several years there in Manti and fulfilled
the duties of that office with honor and ability.
During their entire sojourn in Manti, the Chapmans' home was chief
headquarters for Church authorities and official visitors from Salt Lake City.
Their home was better furnished than many of their neighbors and Mrs. Chapman
was an excellent cook and housekeeper.
President Brigham Young always made the Chapman home his headquarters while he
was visiting in Manti and nearby towns. An incident relating to Pres. Young's
carriage while it stood in front of the Chapman residence will be told later
in the history of Harriet Kempton Potter.
It is hard for housewives of today to realize how many things that we consider
absolute necessities, our pioneer women never knew about, or if they did, they
were unable to get them. For example, the rough wooden floors must be scrubbed
with sand (not soap), and also tables, chairs, stools and benches had to be
cleaned the same way. What little soap they had for washing clothes and
bathing was made from wood ashes and tallow, by a long, tedious process.
A form of alkali called "saleratus", the pioneers gathered from the soil,
dissolved in water, so that any soil adhering to it might settle to the bottom
of the vessel and then the liquid was carefully poured off, used with sour
milk or sour dough, as we would use soda as a leavener in making bread.
All edible plants or weeds that could be used for food, were gathered and
cooked for "greens". Mrs. Chapman was an authority on the medicinal
properties of many roots, herbs, berries and plants. She was a midwife, and
practical doctor and nurse and was often called by her neighbors, for many
miles around, to assist at births, and treating cuts, burns, bruises and even
Welcome Chapman had not had as many educational advantages as his wife Susan
Amelia, but she willingly taught him all she knew and helped him in many ways
in his active public life. Welcome Chapman Sr. was chosen presiding elder of
Manti, soon after arriving there, and also was chosen one of the first
selectmen or city councilmen as they are now called; he belonged to the first
Militia: 1850-1853 and, of course, being a stone cutter and mason played an
important role in the building of the Manti Temple and, of course, he worked
at his trade in the building of the Nauvoo Temple, before crossing the plains
to Utah. The Manti Stake was organized on July 27, 1854 with Welcome Chapman
Sr. as President, which position he held for eight years. After being released
as Stake president of the Manti Stake, he was called back to Salt Lake City to
assist with the stone work on that great structure, some of his sons also
worked as stone masons on the temples.
The Chapman's were community builders, wherever they lived and they raised a
good and honorable family; 10 children were born to them, three died young,
seven married and had families. Susan Amelia was always kind, generous and
self-sacrificing, she would often give to neighbors, friends, her children and
grandchildren, food, clothing, useful items and toys she had made, and no one
knew of her generosity except herself and those receiving the gifts. Susan
Amelia acted as mid-wife for some of her grandchildren and assisted in the
births of some of her great-grandchildren.
The children of Welcome Sr. and Susan Amelia (Risley) Chapman are: Almina J.;
Chestina, (twins) born 28 Mar. 1833 at Hubbardsville, N.Y. (they both died in
infancy): Rosetta, born 4 Sept. 1834 at Hubbardsville, N.Y.; Amelia, born 20
Mar. 1837 at Hubbardsville, N.Y.; Joseph Smith, born 17 Nov. 1838 at Far West,
Caldwell Co., Mo.; Hyrum, born 3 Oct. 1841 at Nauvoo, Ill.; Benjamin, born
12 Aug. 1843 at Nauvoo, Ill. and died on the 27 of Nov. 1843; Levi, born
20 Apr. 1845 at Nauvoo, Ill.; Fidelia, born 11 Oct. 1846 at Winter Quarters,
Douglas Co., Nbr.; Welcome Jr., born 2 Oct. 1849 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Susan Amelia (Risley) Chapman died at Fountain Green, Sanpete Co., Utah on
the 18th day of Feb. 1888 and is buried in the Manti Cemetery, across the road
west and a little north of the Manti Temple.
Welcome Chapman Sr. died also at Fountain Green, Utah on the 9th of Dec. 1893
and is buried also in the Manti Cemetery by the side of Susan Amelia.
Welcome Chapman Sr. married two other women while in Manti and had a large
family by each. They were 1. Ann Mackey and 2. Cathern Staner.
(A bit is missing here: the first speaker at his funeral.)
A.C. Peterson spoke next. He asked that all remember the widow and her
children. (Later events proved that this man was one who did remember them in
very deed.) The fifth speaker was Patriarch Willard Farr. He attested to the
goodness of Welcome and said he thought the Saints should help finish paying
for the family home. Speaker Solomon Waite said he had worked with Welcome
often and his work was always honest in both temporal and spiritual affairs.
The concluding speaker was Elder Charles Jarvis, the senior president of
Seventies. He stated that Welcome was an honest worker and a good Latter-day
Saint. The closing song sung by the choir was "I Know Not." The benediction
was by N.P. Johnson.. Afterwards the congregation viewed the body and
proceeded to the cemetery. The proceedings were recorded by W. J. Mallory,
Welcome was given a Patriarchal Blessing by James W. Works in Salt Lake
City, on Sept. 23, 1877. In it he was told that in the Lord's own due time,
he would be called by the Lord's own voice out of Heaven to perform a great
and mighty work in the midst of nations, to plead the cause of Zion, even
before presidents, governors, and before kings and queens and great men of
This sketch was prepared in 1965 by John Davis Chapman, second son of Welcome
Chapman, Jr. Information was furnished also by Harriet Ann (Davis) Chapman,
Mary Ann (Mamie) (Chapman) Richey, Elizabeth Amelia (Chapman) Henderson, and
Welcome Davis Chapman, also by Ida Ann (Chapman) Burrell.
In the back of a Book given to Welcome Jr. by his wife on his 32nd
birthday is the following message from his mother written in her very
fine, unique and neat handwriting.
IT IS AS FOLLOWS:
MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY.
MY PRAYERS TO GOD IS THAT YOU
MAY LIVE TO BE A MIGHTY MAN
IN ISRAEL AND LIVE TO ENJOY THE BLESSINGS
OF GOD THAT IS IN STORE FOR THIS PEOPLE
IN THE LATTER DAYS, THAT YOUR HOUSE MAY
CONTINUE TO BE A HAPPY HOME.
IS THE WISHES OF YOUR LOVING
MOTHER, AMELIA CHAPMAN
This book, The Key to the Science of Theology, by Parley P. Pratt is in my
possession (John D. Chapman) Mar. 21, 1978.