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.

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