Sunday, June 28, 2009

John Hamilton and Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan Part 3

On October 24, 1868 John Hamilton Morgan and Helen Melvina Groesbeck were married in the Endowment House. The following evening, a reception was held in their honor at the Groesbeck home at 222 North West Temple.

Mellie’s mother, Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck, had insisted that Mellie learn to sew. And she became an accomplished seamstress.

Mellie made beautiful christening outfits with shawls for many of her grandchildren. Granddaughter Marjorie Morgan Gray wrote that, “when my father graduated from law school, Grandma could not afford a present for him so she embroidered a beautiful pink rose and had it mounted on a tray. She did the same thing for her son John, when he graduated from law school.” Her handiwork would win many first place ribbons at Utah State Fairs. When her eyesight diminished in later years, family members attributed her vision loss to the fine needle work she’d done for so many years.

On 8 October 1875 President Brigham Young called John Morgan to serve a mission to the states of Kentucky and Tennessee. On 27 Oct 1975 he left Mellie and their two little girls for his mission.

The first three entries that begin the typed version of John Morgan’s journal follow.

Normal, Illinois, November 15, 1875
Remained in Bloomington last night and wrote a reply to the Editorial of the “The Leader”, which will be published Saturday. I spent the afternoon in conversation with parties who are anxious to learn the truth and they appear to be honest of heart. I gave them some passages of scripture to read and think about. I was at my father’s home in the evening and listened to an argument between father and another man, and was struck with the utter lifeless character of the argument. Surely I have abundant reason to be thankful to God for the knowledge he has bestowed upon me and for the friends he has raised up to me.

Normal, Illinois, November 20, 1875
Have been very busy during the past few days bearing my testimony to different individuals, talking and conversing upon the scriptures and have enjoyed myself very much indeed. I have felt the good influence of the Spirit of God made manifest to me in numerous ways and on various occasions. I have met with many friends and found that the promises made to me are being fulfilled to the letter for which I feel thankful indeed and especially as to the fact that my faith can be proven by scripture and that those who try to sustain themselves by the wisdom of men fail.

Normal, Illinois, November 28, 1875
It is Sunday, and I have just finished writing to Mellie and a letter to the Deseret News. Have enjoyed myself much during the past week. My way has been opened up so that I could talk and teach to a large number of people. My faith has been increased and the goodness of God has been made manifest to me in many ways for which I feel very thankful. My heart has been made to rejoice in the Gospel and the principles thereof. I trust that God will continue to bless me with the great gift of his Holy Spirit.

This picture of Elder George Palmer’s family, and the writings by Ben E. Rich at the end of The Ancestor Files, March 4, 2009 post, More on The Southern Star, reflect the times.

(To be continued.)

"To My Mellie," Memories Never to be Forgotten, Copyright 1971 by Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, Sr., pgs. 11-12. Portrait family sheet, and picture of Mellie from Helen Rex Frazier collection.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck Part 2

These paintings of our ancestors are in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah; 2nd floor, south wall, above the display cases. L-R. Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck, pioneer mother 1820-1883, presented by Nicholas G. Morgan (negative #1794). Nicholas Groesbeck, pioneer business man 1819-1884, painting presented by Nicholas G. Morgan (negative #1795), Helen M. Groesbeck Morgan, pioneer of 1856, painted by Roscoe A. Grover (negative #1863). John H. Morgan, pioneer of 1866, painted by Roscoe A. Grover (negative #1864. You may order copies of these pictures by contacting the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Photo Department.

During her early life in Utah Elizabeth spun the yarn that made her children’s clothes. She made the dyes to dye the yarn, and practically every evening was devoted to knitting. Her hands were never idle. She was a member of the first Relief Society organized in the 17th Ward, and the first president of the Primary Association in the 17th Ward.

According to a granddaughter, Elizabeth was prone to say, the rich can take care of themselves, but the poor I delight in assisting.

She was noted for her great generosity. It was her custom to meet the immigration wagon trains at the old Immigration Square, where the City and County Building now stands [4th South and State Street]. She took food and clothing there for those without necessities. Sometimes she employed them as domestic help and companions for her children. She was instrumental in the emigration of a number of Saints into our country. One of them, Sarah Blood, became her daughter-in-law.

Elizabeth was a woman of intense religious convictions. And she was ever ready to defend them. She had no schooling, but learned to read the Bible and other church works.

She always wore her hair crimped but her family never saw her with the crimping pins in, nor did they see her face without it being powdered.

The floors of her home were covered with fine, English velvet carpets. The furniture was made of the old solid walnut of those days. Her finest china was imported from France and she enjoyed buying the very best silver, jewelry and glassware.

She had exquisite taste and her dresses were very distinguished. An immigrant that she met at Emigration Square, Miss Mary Hansen, was an exceptional dressmaker, and apparently made many of Elizabeth’s dresses.

One particular dress was made for the wedding of Priscilla Paul Jennings and William W. Riter, which took place in the early 1880s [Priscilla Paul Jennings married 11 Apr 1883, Endowment House, to William Wollerton Riter, familysearch]. Grandmother and her eldest daughter, Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan, assisted Mary Hansen in its completion.

The material is mainly heavy black satin over a foundation of heavy black lining. It is a two-piece costume, with a caught-up bustle effect at the back of the short train skirt. The skirt is decked with two draped flounces of satin trimmed black velvet, and edged with jet bead and chenille fringe. The velvet was purchased by Grandfather Groesbeck while in England. He paid $25.00 a yard for it. The back of the skirt is draped and caught into the side seams to give a tucked draped picture across the back. There is a short train which is lined with black lining laid into wide box pleats to hold the velvet train away from the feet and the floor.

The jacket is made with a shirred V-shape vest which extends to the waistline. It is edged with wide black lace. Open reverse of the jacket below the waistline are trimmed with a facing of black velvet. It is also edged with black lace around the bottom of the jacket. As grandmother always wore a watch and chain, there was a small velvet pocket placed at the left front side on the waistline for this purpose.

(To be continued.)

Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Daughters of Utah Pioneers and their Mothers, Jas. T. Jakeman, p. 219, Heart Throbs of the West, vl. 8, p.44, Arzilla Smith, History of Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck, DUP History Dept., by Barbara Rex Wade, Jan 28, 1999, sources family history by granddaughter Arzella Smith. Family portrait sheet from Helen Rex Frazier collection.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck

Nicholas Groesbeck
b. 5 Sep 1819, Buskirk, Rensselaer, New York.
p. Harmon Bogardus Groesbeck, Mary Bovee
m. 25 Mar 1841, Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck,
(2) Elizabeth McGregor (div), 24 Apr 1859
d. 29 Jun 1884, Salt Lake City, Utah
b. 1 Jul 1884, Salt Lake City Cemetery

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck
b.16 Aug 1820, Meadville, Crawford, Pennsylvania
p. John Amberson Thompson, Ruth Peterson
d. 28 Dec 1883, Salt Lake City, Utah
b. 30 Dec 1883, Salt Lake City Cemetery

Picture of the Groesbecks and their daughters. Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan married John Hamilton Morgan 24 Oct 1868. They entered into polygamy in 1884 when John married (2) Annie Mildred Smith. She lived in Manassa, Colorado. (3) He married Mary Ann Linton in 1888. Josephine Groesbeck Smith, married John Henry Smith, becoming his 2nd wife, 4 Apr 1877. She lived in Manassa, Colorado.

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck was one of ten children reared in the back woods of Pennsylvania. She had little opportunity for schooling herself. Perhaps that accounted for her intense effort to see that her own children had every opportunity to gain an education and experience the cultural arts.

Her mother died when she was a young woman. From then on she was required to earn her own livelihood. Many people living in that section of the country had a hard time finding work. She immigrated to Illinois and relocated to Springfield where she met Nicholas Groesbeck. They married on March 25, 1841 and lived in Springfield about fifteen years.

In Springfield Elizabeth first heard the (L.D.S.) Gospel preached. Later she became acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith. On April 6, 1841 she was baptized by W. Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois.

The Groesbeck family home in Salt Lake City is still standing.

Search for Groesbeck, or page 4, in the Capitol Hills Community Bulletin March 2009 article . It is an interesting history of the Groesbecks and their home.
[I took this picture this Spring from the nw corner of the landscaped Conference Center rooftop. You can see the Groesbeck home in the middle of the trees by matching the windows. The 17th Ward Chapel is across West Temple and a vacant lot on the left. What you can't see is John Henry and Josephine Groesbeck Smith's two story brick home on the corner of West Temple, in front of the Groesbeck home. The trees are too thick. A granddaughter wrote that their home was known as the Groesbeck Homestead.]

(To be continued.)

History of Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck submitted to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers History Department by Barbara Rex Wade 28 Jan 1999. Early Groesbeck home from Helen Rex Frazier collection. I took the new Groesbeck home picture this Spring.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan Part 2

Among the things the Nicholas Groesbecks carried with them to Utah in 1856 was a square grand piano. Donated to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneer Museum by Mellie Morgan Burt, it stands in the second floor foyer of the Salt Lake City Museum. The sign on the piano reads: Piano, square grand brought to Utah by Nicholas Groesbeck by ox team. He was a pioneer merchant. This piano was among the first ones brought to Utah. Ca 1850.

Mellie learned to play the piano. According to this card to Messrs. Burton and Stewart, after becoming Mrs. Mellie Morgan, she became the Morgan Commercial College music teacher.

Granddaughter Helen Rex Frazier remembers Grandma’s long fingers, and how it looked like she could almost reach from one end of the piano to the other with one hand.
Another granddaughter wrote, "I think all those who knew Grandma Morgan remember how well she played the piano."
Her niece Esther Parr said “Aunt Mellie literally made the piano dance.” Two of her favorites pieces were The Battle Hymn of the Republic and O, My Father.
Granddaughter Winifred Rex Andrus recalls Grandmother Morgan visiting them at their Randolph ranch house. She would sit beside Winnie on the piano bench as she practiced the piano, counting for her.
The following excerpts are from a typed copy of a letter written by Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck while she was at her son Harmon Groesbeck's home in Springville, Utah. August 14th 1869 she wrote Mellie,

My dearly beloved daughter:

I received your kind and welcome letter this morning. I was very glad to hear that you were all well and so willing to do without me till next Friday, as Harmon has taken the buggy and gone to Chicken Creek to enter some land, and may not get back till Tuesday or Wednesday, he could not say for certain.

I wish you would look to the carpet upstairs and see that the moth don’t get in it, as I haven’t swept there for two or three weeks; don’t neglect it please.

I was really very sick yesterday and last night, but feel better today; have eaten some dinner, the first time anything has tasted good since I left home. Now don’t feel uneasy, and think I’m going to die; that is wrong; I shall live many more years to bless my children. ...

The girls both accepted your love and thanked you kindly, and send theirs back to you and to all the rest of the family. Rhoda says she wants to come to the city, one purpose to see how cozy and happy you look at home. Mr. Morgan has just come up here. Everybody seems glad to see him, and me with the rest. ...

Take good care of Ivy and keep Samual and Joseph in school steady. Please too give Pet her lessons and get her to practice. Don’t think of anything else. Give my love to all the family and keep a good portion for yourself.

From your loving and affectionate mother,
Signed Elizabeth Groesbeck.
Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) histories by Barbara Rex Wade (1999), Marjorie Morgan Gray (1977). Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, vol 4, p256. The Life and Ministry of John Morgan, Richardson, 1965. Pictures from that book and The Man Who Moved City Hall, Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, by Jean R. Paulson, 1979. I took the picture of the piano in 2008.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

John Hamilton Morgan, A Father's Heart

This is my second post from studying the John Morgan journal in the Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. My intent continues to be to learn more of him, my great grandmother, his other wives, and our family. I’m grateful for the increased strength and understanding I’m gaining from this course.

John Morgan is preparing to travel with Southern Mission emigrant converts.

February 19
Emigrants coming in all day from various parts of the mission. Bought tickets and checked luggage during the day and at 10:20 p.m. took Memphis and Charleston train for Zion. J. M. Sutton of the east Tenn. and E. F. Lisson of the Santa Fe accompanied.

On February 23 his group arrived in Pueblo, and then LaJara, ... where we were met by a goodly number of saints who cared for the emigrants.

During this time John Morgan stayed in Manassa and in various homes throughout the area. His daily journal entries detail the saints he visits, blessings he administers, meetings he attends, those who attend, and addresses given. He records people he visits with, arrangements he makes for his properties, his manual labors, and notates letter writing, reading, and mail received. March 6: Administered to sister Campbell and then took a ride across the west field to the ditch. Had two or three runs with some dogs and Jack rabbitts. From this descendant’s view, 118 years later, his pace is exhausting.

March 9
Had a severe attack of rheumatism last night and in much pain this morning. Met a number of the brethren in counsel. About noon accompanied Pres. Smith to Richfield where I tried to alleviate my pain with linements and administering and otherwise, but to no effect. At 5 p.m. took train at LaJara accompanied by three sisters enroute to Utah. At Garland was joined by brother B. In much pain all evening.

March 10
Arriving at Pueblo at 12:35 a.m. Walked over to the Fargo House and secured room with fire in it. Rolled and tumbled the rest of the night. Most of the time on the floor. As early as I could, walked up to the Artesian well and had a bath and began using the water.

March 13
Wrote a letter to brother Kimball and another to Pres. S. Smith. Am improving finely. The pain is leaving gradually and getting good sleep at night. Walked down into town with Annie, and click here

John Morgan and Annie and baby Annie Ray, left for Kansas City on March 17 on the Santa Fe sleeper. Traveling still on the 19th he noted Ray slept nearly all day. They arrived Chattanooga in the evening of the 21st. He conferred with many on mission affairs.

March 24
Read the decision in the Supreme Court on the Edmunds Law, annulling the Commission Test Oath. Arranged with Mrs. Paxton for Annie and myself to room there.

In the evening of March 25 they left for New Jersey via Washington. He arranged to have some printing done, wrote and received a number of letters, and Walked to the top of Cameron Hill with Annie and had a fine view of the city and surrounding country. On the 27th he received a telegram informing him Flora (John and Mellie's [Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan] daughter) was quite sick.

He wired a reply that day. The next day he received a wire that Flora had Malarial Fever and was slightly improved. On the 30th he arrived in Knoxville at 11 a.m. and wrote a letter to Mellie from the Hattie house. He continued conducting business.

March 31
Received a telegram at noon today that Flora was much worse and made arrangements to start home taking M. and C. train at 10 p.m.

April 1
Arrived at Memphis at 10 a.m. and transferred across the river. Started on time. Received a telegram that Flora was still living, but could not last long.

April 2
A heavy storm during the night. Train two hours late. Arrived in Kansas City at 11 a.m. Found the Santa Fe Train gone. Went to the Lindell Hotel. Received a telegram at 1 p.m. that my dear little Flora was dead. She was born on the [19] day of [September] 1882 and died at 11:05 a.m. on the 1st inst. A bright, beautiful child that my love and affections clung to as strong as the bonds of death, but we had to give her up for the time to claim her in the morning of the first Resurrection.

My heart seems almost broken at the thought that I could not be with her.

April 3
Took train at 10 a.m. for the west on the Santa Fe. A pleasant day.

April 4
Arrived at Pueblo at 10:30 a.m. had dinner and at 12:35 took D. and R. G. train for home. Considerable snow on Marshall Pass, but pleasant weather.

April 5
A large rock fell from the mountain side in Black Canyon and Lay on the track detaining us an hour or more. A heavy rain storm in Emery Co. delayed us still further. At Springville, met Jno. A. Groesbeck. Left the train at Francklyn and met H. G. who brought me to brother Pratt who carried me into town where I met my family and my dead baby. All the rest well.

April 6
The friends assembled at 10 a.m. for the funeral. Elder B. H. Roberts spoke and was followed by Pres. A. M. Cannon. The ward choir sang. Brother Geo. [unreadable initial] Taylor presided. Went to the cemetery and deposited her remains in the tomb. Returned to Josephines where I remained until late. Came home about 8:30 p.m.

April 7
At home during the day. A number of friends called to see me. Elder Roberts, S. S. Smith, Brother Cowley, and others.

April 8
During the a.m. the feeling came over me to leave which I did with Ann G. and went up to Johns where I spent the rest of the day. In the afternoon Apostle Jno. Henry Smith called and we had his company two or three hours. In the evening I had a long talk and visited with Apostle F. M. Lyman and talked over a variety of matters.

During the next few days he received many callers at home and he wrote letters. On April 12 At home and quiet all day. Walked out with Mellie in the evening. The next morning, the 13th, Brother Spence called with a ticket for Annie. Arranged to leave for the east tomorrow.

I took the picture of the flowers this Spring 2009, on the Church Plaza, Salt Lake City. Journal entries from John Hamilton Journal at Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan.

Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan
b. 5 Feb 1852, Springfield, Sagamon, Illinois
p. Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck
m. 24 Oct 1868, John Hamilton Morgan
d. 15 June, 1930, Oakland, Alameda, California
b. 20 June 1930, Salt Lake City Cemetery

When Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan was a little girl her father called her Mellie. And then everyone did. Her descendants call her Grandmother Morgan and Aunt Mellie. Her mother’s salutation on a letter of August 14, 1869 to Mellie expresses her own sentiments, My Dearly Beloved Daughter.

Mellie was four years old when she and her parents, Nicholas (36) and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck (35), and brothers Nicholas Harmon (14), William (9), John Amderson (6), and Hyrum (2) arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. They completed their three month overland journey with the John Banks Company on October 2, 1856.

An incident on the journey that frightened Mellie, she always remembered, and often retold, was of a buffalo stampede. On the 28th of July they sighted the first buffalo, and the next day came upon thousands of them—north, south and west, nothing but a heaving mass of buffalo.

They first camped at Union Square in Salt Lake. Most emigrants gathered there upon entering the valley. It was at 2nd West and 2nd North, the present location of West High School. Nicholas “had a good outfit, consisting of five wagons, six yoke of oxen, a carriage, five horses, and five Durham cows. The wagons were loaded with household goods and merchandise.”

Two weeks later, about October 15, 1856, they moved right across the street. Nicholas purchased a large two-story adobe home on the northeast corner of the intersection of 1st North and 2nd West. The house was used as a residence as well as retail store where Nicholas carried on a merchandising business

During his residence in Springfield, Illinois, prior to coming to Utah, Nicholas Groesbeck carried on a mercantile business and sold coal, wholesale and retail, and became a young man of considerable means. Later, in the latter part of 1857, when Johnson’s Army approached the Salt Lake Valley, he moved his family and merchandise to Springville, Utah, where he ran a store until the summer of 1858.

He sold his Springville business to his son Harmon and moved back to Salt Lake City into a house on 2nd South and Main Street (where J.C. Penney’s stands today ) [this was written in1977]. In 1864, the Groesbecks moved into the home at 222 North West Temple (that home still stands). In the City Directory of 1869, it says that Nicholas Groesbeck resided at Crooked, between Current and 1st North in the 17th Ward. They lived in the 17th ward when Mellie was baptized on April 10, 1860.

On December 9, 1867, at age 16, Mellie enrolled in the Morgan Commercial College. But due to her mother’s needs at home, she only attended until January 4, 1868.

A granddaughter wrote that Mellie possessed many qualities which the young school principal and teacher admired, and therefore he started calling at the Groesbeck home. Father Groesbeck had some misgivings concerning this romance. He said “John Morgan is a bright, intelligent young man, but he is a new comer, and we don’t know enough about him, and besides our Mellie is not old enough to be keeping company with a man who is ten years older and especially her school teacher.” But Mother Groesbeck thought differently, and she considered herself a person of keen perception, too. She was impressed with her daughter’s suitor, so much so, that she used her influence to soften her husband’s attitude and encourage John’s courting.

Please read John Morgan’s journal entry about proposing to Mellie from his biography on The Ancestor Files . John and Mary Ann Linton Morgan's descendant, Amy, has many posts on John Morgan history on her blog. You'll enjoy reading them, and want to check there frequently.

(To be continued.)

References will follow the entire history.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Frank Union and Emily Rufi Frazier Part 5

A few more excerpts from Frank. U. Frazier, Woodruff Utah, 1947 Journal

Sun., Apr 6--Had no lambs today. 1 last Night. Aunt. Maud- Rex went home this morning had a good visit with them, Harvey, Marry, Kattie Ann, Marie, Huburt, children was up to Verla for Easter, Bruce, Delora, Frankie, Shirley, Beverly came down for a while.

Thurs., Apr 24--Sheep are doing fine over Creek. Would not eat hay, had a yearling, registered Ewe have twins black faced lambs we put here on the Island, the ditch work that the boys done yesterday was a success, drained out the lower end of the other trench. Elmer & Verla went to show to night. I started to brush the Meddow this afternoon.

Sun., May 4--Emily, Verla, boys went to Sunday School. I worked ditch over creek, Elmer took twins, yearling out to Camp. We went down to Mr, Mrs. Heber Cox’s open house this after noon. Married 51 years on May 6th. Harvey, Marry, Kattie Ann are having supper with Verla.

Sun., May 11--Mother’s day. Bruce, Delora, Franie, Sherlay, Mark, Beverly Sims were down for the day. Went to Sunday School and dinner sure injoyed them. It has rained all day and still raining sure a dandy rain.

Sun., May 18--Little Stephen birthday, we went up the creek on a picknick, Marry, Harvey, Kattie Ann- had a dandy time. The shearers has got set up all ready to go.

Fri., May 30--Bruce, Delora- Frankie came down, Dee- Clair also. For Deckeration Day, It rain after noon, their was quit a crowd. Helen Scot had a baby girl at 12,30. Every one is fine

Mon., Jun 2--Washed to day. Emily hung cloths out- I went with Francis over in dogholler and found Charley Francis camped on Sec 21 had been their 13 days. I guess he will have some damage to pay. Fixed pasture fence over creek this after noon.

Mon., Jun 9--Washed to day. It rained of on, all Morning. Larence Johnson left with his yearling this morning. Elmer & I fixed the spring down in pasture. We Killed five hens. Two for Market, 3 for dinner to Morrow- Delora.

Sat., Jun 14--Emily & My wedding anniversery. 41 years. Quite a while to live together in peace- We went to Randolph to have car inspected will have to go back Monday. Elmer, Verla went to Evanston to show, supper with Harvey, Marry

Tues., Jun 24--I finished the rake turing and fixed two neck yokes this morning. We are voting on the $100000.00 Bond for two School houses got the push rake back from Shelbys.

Top picture, adults L-R, Verla Ione Madsen Frazier, unknown, Emily Rufi Frazier, Frank Union Frazier, children, Mark Frodsham, Shirley Frodsham Sims, Frank Frodsham. Bottom picture, L-R Emily Rufi Frazier, daughter Delora Frazier Frodsham holding baby, others unknown. From Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier collection.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Frank Union and Emily Rufi Frazier Part 4

Frank Union and Emily Rufi Frazier and their children and spouses 1940s.

Back row standing. L-R, Frank Union Frazier, Emily Rufi Frazier, Bruce Frodsham, Verla Ione Madsen Frazier, Elmer Frazier, Ronald Sims.
Front row kneeling, sitting. L-R, Shirley Frodsham Sims, Delora Frazier Frodsham, Glenn Frazier, Helen Rex Frazier.

Frank and Emily Frazier standing on a sidewalk at the Ranch.

Frank Frazier’s farm-truck loaded with Glenn and Helen’s belongings after their October-November 1949 drive from Oakland, California home to the Ranch in Woodruff, Utah.

In 2001 I made a typed copy of Frank Union Frazier’s 1947 Journal. It is the one his son Glenn Frazier inherited. I retained his spelling, capitalization, and punctuation (he frequently leaves the final “t” off of thought, bought, etc.), and sent a copy to his son and daughter-in-law, Elmer and Verla Frazier. They were so happy reading and remembering. They didn’t know of any other yearly journals that survived. I’ve been told he kept one every year.

Excerpts from Frank. U. Frazier
Woodruff Utah
1947 Journal

Most of the pages are filled for the rest of the year. I've selected a few for this post, and a few to follow. This little day journal gives us a glimpse into Frank Union Frazier family and Woodruff, Rich County, Utah, history.

Sat., Jan 11--Verla & I went to Evanston to shop and I to fix Internal Revenue. We had made a profit of $4400.00 and had to pay $118.00. Elmer & Verla & Brent went out to Harvey’s & Marry for supper. It was quit a blizzard in Evanston. I made the first payment on the Milker $18.61. The creamry ck. Was $98.66

Tues., Jan 21--I killed two lambs for Ray Cox and will take his hides to Salt Lake, he is going to haul our Ice for us with his truck. We got our first buck lamb today. Mother’s Ewe. Cloyd Eastman took one of our Calves $5.00. We had a cow hang another bull calf last night. Vallier had dinner with us today. The folks are all gone to Mutual and I am baby nurse.

Sat., Feb 1--The wind has stoped at last Frankie & Mark brought 4400# Coal down to day, took a truck of hay back. Joe Vernon & Lee Cox Killed a horse up by the Rock house, Elmer, Verla & Brent went down to a practace for Brent.. Emily & I are going to Conference at Evanston tomorrow.

Sun., Feb 2--We all went Evanston to Conference. That is Joe Curtis & Erosia went with Emily and I. There were 495 their this afternoon. Harvy & Marry were here for dinner. Had 4 lambs to day. The weather has turned warmer.

Thur., Feb 6--I put pet lamb on Ewe that lost her lambs. I was going to Camp after a Ewe – lamb but it was to Mudy. Will go in Morning. Arthor Dean was here and watched us milk as he has one like ours-

Mon., Feb 10--Coop Creamry Annual Meeting this afternoon, the Coop is in Very good shape payed a diveden of $86.36 that is Very good. Arthor and Thos Dean went down with us Ivine Eastman took care of things. Washed this Morning.

Sat., Feb 22--George Washington’s Birthday. A Very great man. Elmer, Verla- Emily went to Evanston to night to the Green-Ball for the Church. Had a fine Hamp. Ewe that could not lamb. I worked on her for two hours and had to kill her.

Tues., Feb 25--Snowed about 3 inches- Emily & I went to our party Emily dressed as Martha Washington. Took her far fine. Elmer – Charener Eastman went after truck charged $10.00. We had a Ewe have three Ewe lambs.

Mon., Mar 3--I went to Randolph to a Meeting of AAA of which I am a Member of the County board. Had a schooling of signing up the farmers. Vern Hopkins bought our dinner 8 of us had a nice day of it. It was a very warm day.

Frank Union Frazier journal and pictures from Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier collection.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Frank Union and Emily Rufi Frazier, Part 3

Frank was a rancher, and did all that entails. He raised and herded sheep. He was involved in the community and with his family and with the Woodruff School Board. He never joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was known for his honesty and always keeping his word.
Frank’s friend and chiropractor from Salt Lake City, Dr. Karl Hawkins, liked to visit the Ranch. He’d come for a short stay, set up shop and give adjustments to family and community members. He too enjoyed the deer hunt. Frank and Emily wrote frequently to their son and daughter-in-law, Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier, in Oakland, California. They sent pictures. Frank also kept yearly day journals.

Emily grew her own vegetables where the growing season never gave a tomato the chance to ripen. She was so pleased when the first peddlers brought their produce to this remote area. They produced their own milk, poultry, eggs, meat, and almost everything they needed. She canned and preserved her harvest. Frank helped her. Emily made the finest laundry soap.

Their children attended the Woodruff school as Frank had done. One afternoon soon after they returned home from school, Emily was frightened by a strange noise in her dining room. After some investigation the children discovered a white pig rooting the table around.

Woodruff stake conference was held in Evanston and required a whole day for the trip, meetings, and lunch at Aunt Maude Frazier Eastman’s.

Emily shared Frank’s enthusiasm for music, and in their early married life they often sang duets. My Wild Irish Rose and When You Wore a Tulip were among their favorites. Her favorite hymn, Nay Speak No Ill, reflected her philosophy of living. Two other favorite hymns are Truth Reflects Upon Our Senses and Let us Oft Speak Kind Words. Frank could frequently be heard singing Margie as he worked around the Ranch.

Frank’s name of endearment for his wife was “Emmie.” After a stay in Salt Lake City, Emily said to Frank upon her return to the Ranch, “I’m so happy to get back and don’t know that I would ever want to live anywhere else.” Frank replied, “You have made me very happy to hear you say that, Emmie.”

While a young woman in Woodruff, her dearest friends were Sophia Ashton and Ephie Longhurst. They served in a Relief Society Presidency together. For fifty-five years Emily served as a visiting teacher in Relief Society; from the days in Union when she traveled in a buckboard wagon with her small children, to later in life when she drove her nineteen fifty-something green Chevy. She shared the joys and sorrows of her family and community her entire life. As each of her grandchildren arrived she made herself available to attend the new mother and baby. She daily lived the principles of love and service she taught her family.

On 17 Jan 1953 Frank passed away in a Salt Lake City hospital. He was buried in the Woodruff City Cemetery.

Emily did not like living alone. Daughter and son-in-law, Delora and Bruce Frodsham, moved to the Ranch and lived with her. She would spend weeks at a time with her son Glenn’s family in Salt Lake City, or in Huntsville, Utah with her son Elmer and daughter-in-law Verla Madson Frazier’s family. Always anxious to be busy and of service she helped with cleaning, laundry, cooking, mending, tending, listening, wherever she was needed.

It was during several of her visits to Glenn and Helen Frazier’s home in Salt Lake City in 1968, that I interviewed her for this history. I kept the notes for nearly twenty years before compiling them in the 1980s. The things she shared with me are as clear today as when she told me her story, because I wrote them down.

Emily passed away at her home on the Ranch in Woodruff, Utah 15 Sept 1972. She is buried beside her husband in the Woodruff City Cemetery.
(To be continued.)
Continuation of History of Frank Union and Emily Rufi Frazier. Pictures from the collection of Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier. Picture of Frank and Emily's visit to California in the 1940s.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Frank Union and Emily Rufi Frazier Part 2

Frank gave Emily a red ruby ring on the occasion of their engagement. On 14 June 1906 they were married in the rock house on the Frazier family ranch by Peter McKinnon.

Their first child, Delora, was born 19 March 1907 at Aunt Lizzie’s house [Lizzie Dell Frazier Corless]. Grandma Frazier (Emily referred to her mother-in-law, Elizabeth Walton Frazier, as Grandma Frazier) was disgruntled because she wasn’t able to attend her new daughter-in-law. Sister Cornish assisted as mid-wife. Frank had to ride horseback to Woodruff to phone Randolph for the doctor.

Frank and Emily spent most of their married lives together living on the Ranch, as it is affectionately called by family members. At that time the Ranch consisted of a large three-story rock home built by Frank’s father, Stephen Vestal Frazier, a two-story frame home, known as the yellow house (even when the paint was worn off).. There were fields of hays and grains and alfalfa, a garden and various out-buildings, a blacksmith shop, coops and barns. The yellow house was to be their home during the early years of their marriage. It has since served as home to each of their children’s families.

At the time of their marriage the yellow house was made into two separate living apartments. Annie and George Frazier made their home on one side and Frank and Emily Frazier on the other. The apartments were connected by a small hall. There was such excitement when the first telephone installed on the Ranch was hung in that hall. From then on whenever the phone rang the race was on. Emily and Annie ran to see who could answer it first. Knowing the life-long stride of Emily, I know who usually picked the phone up on the first ring.

At Emily’s house washday meant beans for dinner. One such day a vagrant traveling down the Creek stopped at the old yellow house, where Annie was all too happy to share her family’s beans with him, since she too perpetuated that pioneer tradition. After offering his thanks he traveled on and stopped next door at Emily’s to ask for food. When she brought him a bowl of beans he exclaimed, ‘my you’re both having beans today.’”

A water pump and an outhouse were in the yard. In the winter the mercury was known to dip as low as 52 degrees below zero. Ice was raised in the creek. Blocks two to three feet thick were cut and stored all summer in a hillside dugout.

They’re first son Glenn was born 27 Dec 1909. Dr. Wing and his wife were called and spent the night. While Glenn was still a baby, the family journeyed by train to California with Frank’s fellow Moose Lodge members. He always said he carried Glenn all the way to California and back. As the train rolled along the tracks, Frank walked from car to car in an attempt to quiet his crying baby.

While Glenn was small Frank and Emily moved their family to Salt Lake City where they lived in a frame home at 7200 South State Street in Union. Their youngest son, Elmer, was born there 13 Aug 1913. Emily’s mother was able to stay with her for the birth of her baby.

In about 1917 they moved their family and livestock back to Woodruff. They packed everything into a horse-drawn wagon, and walked, driving their herd of milk cows with them. It was strictly horse drawn wagons for travel then. The train ran between Evanston and Salt Lake City. When she could, Emily loved to take it to Salt Lake to surprise her mother with a visit.

The family moved to Salt Lake City one more time and lived at 1041 East 17th South where they kept one milk cow. Hazel Dean lived with them and had her tonsils removed on their round-oak kitchen table. Again their neighbors were George and Annie Rufi Frazier, who lived at 999 East 17th South.

Glenn always found it easier to ask his mother for money, than his father. One afternoon, after successfully raising a few coins, he and Elmer walked to Sugarhouse to see the movie Robin Hood.

When the family again moved back to the Ranch in Woodruff it was into a new frame home just east of the old yellow house.

The Frazier homestead, The Ranch, meant home to several generations. All relatives where welcomed when they “came home.”

(To be continued.)

Continuation of History of Frank Union and Emily Rufi Frazier. Pictures from the collection of Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier. Left to Right Mary Ellen Frazier Dean, Emily Rufi Frazier, DeLora Maud Frazier Eastman, Frank Union Frazier, children in back of truck unknown, Delora Frazier Frodsham, Dee and Clara Eastman, Ella Clare Eastman.

Frank Union Frazier Part 1

Frank Union Frazier
b. 3 Aug 1884, Woodruff, Utah
p. Stephen Vestal Frazier, Elizabeth Walton Frazier
m. 14 Jun 1906, Woodruff, Utah
wife. Emily Rufi
d. 17 Jan, 1953, Salt Lake City, Utah
b. 20 Jan, 1953, Woodruff City Cemetery

Frank Union Frazier was the youngest child of Stephen Vestal and Elizabeth Walton Frazier's fourteen children. His father and mother were Woodruff pioneers. They moved from Lawrence, Kansas to Bountiful, Utah before 1874. They were in Woodruff, Utah with their six children by 1875.

Writing of her husband, George Frazier (12 years older than Frank Union), Annie Rufi Frazier said that as a child, “George would go fishing and catch some trout and then play with the Indians, which were camped on the Woodruff Creek on Frazier’s Ranch. Indians were camped on the Frazier homestead. They came as pioneers. The cabin had a dirt floor with straw on it and a fireplace we used to do the cooking with a big iron kettle. When George was five years old, the folks had one cow.”

Frank attended the Woodruff, Utah School, as would his children and many of his grandchildren.

The Frazier Ranch, about one mile up the creek from Woodruff, Utah, with some of the buildings in the foreground, and the willow lined creek across the meadow.

(To be continued.)

The First 100 Years in Woodruff, printed by Art City Publishing Co., Springville, Utah 1972, p269. Pictures of Frank Union Frazier and his father, Stephen Vestal Frazier about 1890, and the Woodruff school, and the Frazier Ranch from Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier collection.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Emily Rufi Frazier Part 1

Emily Rufi Frazier
b. 22 Jul 1886, Salt Lake City, Utah
p. Jacob Rufi, Anna Margaretha Tuck
m. 14 Jun 1906, Woodruff, Utah
husband. Frank Union Frazier
d. 15 Sept, 1972, Woodruff, Utah
b. 19 Sept, 1972, Woodruff City Cemetery

“Emily” was her mother’s choice of names. The name means industrious. Could her mother have known then how Emily would emulate the meaning of her name throughout her life.

Emily joined siblings Ann, Agnes, and Jacob, as the 4th child of Jacob and Anna Margaretha Tuck Rufi. The young family lived in a small adobe home at 244 South 9th East in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was easily spotted by the Shoemaker sign that hung in front announcing Jacob’s trade.

Within four years David and William arrived. Jacob and Annie were the parents of six children under the age of ten. Their home was a busy well ordered one; everyone taking turns in the vegetable garden and tending the rabbits they raised.

The children attended Webster Elementary and Bryant Junior High Schools and the family belonged to the 11th Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Late in her life Emily recalled with fondness Sunday afternoon walks to the tabernacle with her mother and brothers and sisters.

Jacob gave each of his six children a small ring, but Emily lost hers. He was a very strict and extremely thrifty man. Each of his children had two pairs of shoes; a thick sturdy pair for school and daily wear, and a thin soled finer pair for Sunday best. Always neat and careful in her appearance, Emily would leave the house wearing her thick heavy shoes as expected. Later she changed into the Sunday best shoes she’d hidden beneath her coat.

From her youth she could be trusted to get the work done. On wash day as her father left for the field, he would call to Emily, “keep things going.” And she did, all of her life.

Jacob worked as a shoemaker for ZCMI for many years. One of the most anticipated events of the year was the ZCMI employee outing at Saltair. On these occasions the entire family accompanied their father, who would yodel the many songs he’d learned back home in his native Switzerland.

During her youth, Emily did not like her father announcing his profession to the world in the form of a “shoemaker” sign in front of their home. From 1902-1904 Emily attended the University of Utah where she met a young man from back east named Frances Curtis. After making a date with him she tried to explain where her house was. Much to her dismay he already knew, “it was the one with the Shoemaker Sign.”

To help meet her expenses while attending college she began dipping chocolates for Sweet Candy. It was a line of work she did not like doing.

The fall of 1905 found Emily in Woodruff, Utah helping her sister, Annie Rufi Frazier. Annie had married George Frazier and given birth to her first baby, a boy she named Frances. It was during Emily’s stay in Woodruff that she met and fell in love with George’s brother, Frank Union Frazier.

The Frazier brothers, Frank, Charlie, and George, were sheep ranchers. And they made up the local orchestra. With Frank on the coronet, Charlie on the clarinet, and George at his violin, the brothers spent many an evening in the Putman Hall at Woodruff bringing music and entertainment to their community.

(To be continued)

From an 1968 interview with granddaughter, Bessie.The picture of Emily is 1916. Frank Union and another brother, Albert Frazier, from Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier collection.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Samuel and Elizabeth Bott Brough Family Part 2

The settlers in Randolph were pleased to have Samuel, an expert chimney maker, in their midst. While Samuel built chimneys for the settlers they cut and hauled logs for the house he was building for his family. He received 20 acres of land to homestead. He built a two-room log house located on the corner of Field Street and Second East.

Samuel returned to Porterville in the fall to harvest his crops and move his family to Randolph. By the time he returned, Elizabeth feared for his life. She was sitting by the side of the house crying when she saw him walking over the hill.

Samuel harvested his crops, sold his farm to his older brother, Thomas Brough, and sold their house to Charles White. With a horse, a pair of oxen and a prairie schooner, Samuel, Elizabeth and their six children left for Randolph. Ducks, pigs, chickens and all their belongings were packed in the wagon, which also had a box on the back. Their three cows along with some other cattle were driven. It took a week to make the trip.

It was after dark when they reached Big Creek south of Randolph. The wagon got stuck in the mud and they all walked into Randolph and stayed at Samuel Henderson's while Mr. Henderson went back to help Samuel get the wagon out. It was near midnight when they finally reached the little two-room log house with a dirt floor. Samuel had gathered the chips from the hewed logs and piled them in the center of the room. At the time, it did not have any doors or windows in it. Elizabeth sat on the pile of chips and cried. A fire was soon started in the fireplace in the west end of the room.

Elizabeth and the children stayed and milked and fed the cows, pigs, chickens and ducks while Samuel went to Almy, Wyoming to work in the coal mines during the winter. In the spring Samuel cleared a piece of land and planted grain and had a small vegetable garden. They gathered hay from the "bottoms" east of town for the cattle. They carried their water from "Little Creek" for household purposes until a well could be dug--they called it the "Old Windless." They still had hard times as their crops were not certain. Samuel was a very good farmer and worked at this in the summertime, and worked in the coal mines in Almy during the winters.

Three more children, Hannah 27 May 1872, Benjamin Richard 6 Jul 1874, and Adria (Ada) 17 July 1876, were born to them in Randolph. Elizabeth and her daughters, Mary Elizabeth and Jane, were among the first members of the L.D.S. Relief Society there and Elizabeth was set apart as one of the first visiting teachers. She was a very generous person, with love in her heart for her family and all she knew.

Elizabeth was told in her patriarchal blessing, “Thou shall feed the orphans and be mothers unto them and they shall never want bread …” also, “God shall care for thee and thou shall never lack for means when thou hast a desire to clothe and comfort those who are destitute.” She and Samuel gave a home to Lena Haney, and granddaughters Opal and Bessie Brough after their mothers died.

Samuel and Elizabeth had the first brick home to be built in Randolph. Samuel made his own brick, lime, and did the mason work on his home, and many other homes in Randolph.

Elizabeth’s granddaughters recall her as a dainty lady; mannerly, polite and refined. Proper in everything she said and did. When working in her home she could always be found with a long black skirt, frilly black satin blouses, and a long clean white starched apron, edged in lace at the bottom. She always had pretty bonnets that tied under her chin. Her apron strings she tied into bows in front so she could get them just right, then slipped them around to the back. Her home and Elizabeth were immaculately clean and neat.

When she gave her grandchildren a slice of bread and butter or jam she would put the loaf of bread between her legs, buttering it and then cutting a slice off. All agreed her apron was as clean as any bread board would be.

Samuel and Elizabeth’s yard was beautiful and well kept. Flower beds lined the board walks. The house’s sunny bay windows were filled with plants and blooming fuchsias and geraniums. Her cupboard held the English china painted by her sisters, straight from the Wedgewood potteries in Staffordshire.

Samuel Brough was a religious man and attended to his Church affairs with dedication. He died 29 May 1911 at the age of 71. He left Elizabeth well provided for financially. On hand were all six of her daughters. Three of her fours sons passed away before she did.

Elizabeth’s life was an example of true devotion to her husband, family, church and friends. She was a hard worker and often said, “It is better to wear out than to rust out.” In later years she accepted help from her granddaughters to clean her house, but no one was allowed to polish her stove. She was known throughout the valley for her hot cross buns, raisin bread, and butterscotch candy. Her daughter and granddaughters delivered hot cross buns to loved ones on Good Friday as they had seen her do.

Elizabeth was the only one of her family to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She always defended her faith and encouraged her children and other Latter-day Saints to remain faithful to their beliefs. Of Elizabeth it was said, She never regretted the sacrifices and hardships she went through to come to Zion. She died 23 Nov 1921 at the age of 83.

See Part 1 for references. Pictures of the Brough homes are from Helen Rex Frazier collection. I took the picture of the Randolph Ward last summer, 2008.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Samuel and Elizabeth Bott Brough Family Part 1

Samuel Broughb.16 Sept 1839, Lane End, Longton, Staffordshire, England

p. Richard Brough, Mary Horleston Brough
m. 7 Feb 1858, Elizabeth Bott
d. 29 May 1911, Randolph, Utah
b. Randolph City Cemetery, SE corner

Elizabeth Bott Broughb. 9 Mar 1838, Lane End, Longton, Staffordshire, England
p. Benjamin Bott, Elizabeth Abbott
d. 23 Nov 1921, Randolph, Utah
b. Randolph City Cemetery, SE corner

[Editors Note November 8, 2014: people in this picture are identified here.]

Samuel Brough and Elizabeth Bott were both baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on 1 May 1857 by Thomas Orgill of the Longton, Staffordshire, England Branch.

As a young man, Samuel worked in the coal mines around Longton and practiced the trades of masonry and carpentry. British census records state that Samuel was working as a coal miner when he was eleven years old. Elizabeth was the oldest of nine children and did not attend a single day of school in her life. She and her sisters were china painters and decorators in the Staffordshire potteries.

Elizabeth’s parents were members of the Church of England and bitterly opposed her keeping company with Samuel. His father was a Mormon. However, she did, and walked down the country lanes with him as frequently as she could. After Elizabeth joined the Church, her parents turned her away from their home.

On 7 February 1858, Samuel Brough married Elizabeth Bott in Edensor, Staffordshire. He built one room onto his father's house where they lived until they came to America. Four children were born to them in England: Mary Elizabeth 20 Dec 1858, Jane 22 Feb 1860, Samuel 9 Sep 1861, and Eliza 3 Mar 1863.

Samuel and Elizabeth and their children left Liverpool on 30 May 1863 on the ship Cynosure. They sailed with a company of 754 Saints under the direction of David M. Stewart, arriving in New York Harbor on July 19.

While on board ship there was an epidemic of measles and little Samuel became very sick. After arriving in New York, the family started westward. They traveled part of the way to Florence, Nebraska in cattle cars. They crossed the Missouri River near Florence on a ferry. Shortly after arriving in Nebraska, young Samuel died on 7 Aug 1863. He was buried in a dry-goods box, dressed in a little colored nightgown. Elizabeth used the crepe from the bonnet she wore to her father's funeral a year earlier, to stuff the cracks in the box.

On 15 Aug 1863 they started across the plains in the Samuel D. White Company. Snow had fallen before they reached Salt Lake City on 15 Oct 1863. It was cold and miserable. They lived in Bountiful, Utah the first winter and in the spring, moved to Porterville, Utah in Morgan County. There they lived in a dugout in the hillside. It was lined with adobes, and there was a fireplace in one end. In the spring when the snow started to melt, the frost came out of the ground and the water washed down the chimney and part of the wall caved in. A little daughter, Emma, was born in this dugout 25 Mar 1865. This same year Eliza died.

The family was able to move into a two-room house where William Thomas, was born on 11 Dec 1866. The following February, Samuel and Elizabeth went to Salt Lake City, to the old Endowment House and took out their endowments. They were sealed by Apostle Wilford Woodruff who had converted Samuel’s parents to the Gospel in England in 1840. In February 1867, the Union Pacific Railroad was starting down the Weber Canyon. They moved to Henefer and Samuel found employment. Prudence was born in Henefer on 24 Sep 1868. Samuel then moved his family back to Porterville where he started a brick business with his brother Thomas.

In May 1870 Samuel left Elizabeth in Porterville with five children and her expecting another. He walked through the hills to Randolph where land was available for homesteading. Their son, George Henry, was born in Porterville 9 Jul 1870.

(To be continued.)

Great great-granddaughter Flora Lee Lamborn Wall and her husband Bob Wall are presently serving a Church Mission in the beautiful Porterville, Utah Valley where the Broughs lived. They’re watching over and running a multi-stake girls camp there. Camp Zarahemla. They register, coordinate, track reservations (as many as 450 youth and leaders at a time) and care for everything else there; campers, grass, trees, road, river, lodge, cabins, showers, kitchen, meeting hall, and the snow. Camp Zarahemla is across the valley from the hill where the Brough brothers’ dugouts and kilns were. Cemetery hill remains. They can see it from the lodge stoop.

For more Brough Family History visit the Richard Brough Family Organization.

Samuel Brough family picture. Back row Left to Right; Emma, George, Prudence, William, Ada (Adria),
Second row; Mary Elizabeth, father Samuel, mother Elizabeth, Jane
Third row: Hannah, Benjamin. 

The History of the Broughs of Staffordshire, England, and their English, American and Australian Descendants, compiled by Robert Clayton Brough, Catharine Ann Brough Hind, Richard Brough Family Organization, 2004, “History of Samuel Brough and Elizabeth Bott,” pages 117-122. Histories on file at the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah written by daughters MarJean Thomson, Randolph Utah; Vendla K. Roberts, Ogden, Utah, Jan 1986; and Mary McKinnon Crompton, great granddaughter, November 1970. And Helen Rex Frazier family records.

Monday, June 1, 2009

John Morgan Rex, Broome, Australia, One Day War

The encounter/battle that took the P. H. Rex family's son and brother, John Morgan Rex on March 3, 1942, is now known as Broome's One Day War. It was to Western Australia what Pearl Harbor was to America.

In 1998 at the P. H. Rex family reunion John Morgan's sister, Flora Rex Lamborn, reported on what she'd learned of her brother's death. She had been contacted by Mr. Arvon Stats of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma concerning the circumstances surrounding John Morgan Rex's death. Mr. Stats is a descendant of one of the other soldiers who lost his life at Broome, Australia. The lone survivor was Melvin O. Donoho. Mr. Arvon Stats and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Waterhouse of Broome, Australia sent her information and newspaper clippings. She received a booklet called Broome's One Day War; The story of the Japanese Raid on Broome, 3rd March 1942, by Mervyn W. Prime. And they shared information about the April 25, 2000 dedication of a new war memorial in Australia where John Morgan Rex is listed among the allied troops who lost their lives at Broome.

The Americans, Australians and Dutch were evacuating from the island of Java. Broome, Australia was one of the nearest airfields but the air strip was prepared to handle about one flight a month which brought supplies to the town which consisted of one grocery store, one gas station and a few homes, most of them at this time had been boarded up and the occupants had left to find a more secure place.

Broome was certainly the kind of target that the Japs could be trusted not to overlook indefinitely. A growing tension became manifest on the base. The men worked hard to get incoming planes refueled and out, but it was not always easy to keep them moving. Most of the crews and passengers on evacuation planes, no matter how tightly keyed by the circumstances of their own escape, suffered a letdown as soon as they landed at Broome. Australia was sanctuary. It was hard to persuade them of the need of moving on immediately.

That night of March 2 was an uneasy one for the men running the base. They were sweating out a B-24 that had gone back to Jogjakarta to bring out any men who might have been left behind. It returned at dawn; but long before it was due, about 2:00 a.m., an unidentified plane appeared over the town, flying very low. It was unquestionable Japanese.

Though all planes were warned to clear Broom before 10:00 that morning, there were still six planes loading at the airfield and 15 flying boats in the bay when, almost to the minute, the Japs struck. They used only nine Zeros; but 50 could hardly have been more effective, so defenseless was the town. There was no warning of their approach. Two flying boats had just come in from Java. Small boats with passengers for Fremantle were clustered around the other 13. A B-24 that had just taken off was swinging out over the bay.

This B-24 was one of the three Ferry Command planes of its type that had reached the Southwest Pacific. All three had been working overtime in evacuating refugees from Java and then in flying them on to the south. Of the other two, one was at Broome, waiting to take off; the other, had reached Melbourne. The one in the air was the same plane that had flown up to Jogjakarta. It had been serviced immediately after landing. Loaded with men and had barely climbed to 600 feet when three of the Zeros went after it.

None of the B-24s had self-sealing tanks. Almost at the first pass, the ship puffed into flame, dived sharply, and crashed in the bay. The impact broke it into two pieces, and two of the 17th Squadron men, Sergeants Melvin O. Donoho and William A. Beatty, were thrown clear. They could not see the shore, but a tower of smoke against the sky served as a landmark. They headed in its direction, not knowing what had caused it.

Meanwhile the six remaining Zeros were quickly rejoined by the three that had shot down the B-24, and all nine made one leisurely pass after another till every plane in Broome had been destroyed. There only opposition came from the side arms of a few frustrated men on the airfield and a single .30-caliber machine gun which a Dutch pilot had taken from his burning ship and fired from a slit trench, holding the gun in his hands till his palms were nearly burned through.

The two sergeants were still alive, however. Keeping together, they swam steadily all through the afternoon. Towards evening they were close inshore; but then the tide, which falls 29 feet at Broome, caught them and carried them to sea. They swam all night, with Beatty, who had begun to weaken badly, between Donoho’s legs. Beatty kept urging Donoho to strike out for himself, but the latter refused. By next morning they had once more painfully drawn in toward ashore. Near noon they saw a lighthouse. They were then within 200 yards of land. And now, no longer able to make headway while towing the other, Donoho at last agreed to leave Beatty and go ahead for help. But the tide had again set against him. For a while he was ready to quit. It was more reflex than any purpose that kept him going, and finally, after the tide had swept him five miles down the coast, he made shore—33 hours after the breaking plane had dumped him in the sea. He could not see Beatty, so he rested awhile before setting out for the light house. He found it deserted and stumbled on along the shore. Toward sunset, hours after he had crawled up on land, he made the airfield, stark naked, sunburned, and exhausted.

Next day they found Beatty, who had somehow managed to pull himself ashore. He was delirious and nearly gone. They rushed him to Perth on the next plane leaving; but, though he was still alive when he reached the hospital, he never regained consciousness.

They Fought With What They Had by Walter D. Edmonds.

Thanks to a kind cousin for referring me to this information on a B-24 Liberator