Friday, July 10, 2009

Helen Rex Frazier, "A Trip to the Lake"

Following are some facts and a few guesses about Helen Rex Frazier’s grammar assignment of October 6, 1926. It is the only paper she kept from that time of her life (or perhaps her mother kept it for her). The Lake in this account is Bear Lake, north of Randolph, Utah. Helen was thirteen years old. It was a new school year and my guess is she was assigned to write about something she’d done during the summer.

Bessie Morgan Rex (her mother) and Gail Morgan Clayton (her aunt) are John Hamilton and Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan’s two youngest daughters. As young women the sisters both worked for the Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company in Salt Lake City prior to their marriages, just a little over a year apart.

Gail Morgan and her husband John (known as Jack) Clayton lived in the city, Salt Lake City, Utah. Bessie Morgan and her husband Percy Harold (known as P. H.) Rex lived in the country, Randolph, Utah. According to Winifred Rex Andrus the families were close and looked forward to spending time together. During the summer months the Clayton’s oldest son John Morgan (known as Jack) Clayton worked on the Rex Ranch in the hayfields.

This essay is about the Jack Clayton family coming to Randolph to pick up their son Jack, after he’d spent the summer working with his Uncle P. H. Rex and cousins in Randolph. At the time each family had five children of similar ages.

Bessie Morgan married Percy Harold (P. H.) Rex 12 June 1912. Their children are: 1913 Helen, 1915 Harold Morgan, 1918 Winifred, 1920 John Morgan, 1924 Maeser Morgan, 1930 Flora Elizabeth.

Gail Morgan married John (Jack) Clayton, 08 Feb 1911. Their children are: 1912 Bernice, 1914 John Morgan (Jack), 1919 Gail, 1921 Darwin Spencer, 1925 Richard (Dick) William.

Amy is probably Amy Rex Gerber (1914-1998). Parents, John Oseland and Edna Josephine Brown Rex.

As for Mr. Smith. Neither Aunt Winnie [Winifred Rex Andrus] nor I can guess at who he might be.

I was finally able to identify this lovely portrait of Jack and Gail Morgan Clayton and their first child, Bernice Clayton Purchase. For years it’s been one of the few unknown/unmarked pictures among Helen Rex Frazier’s collection. The head used on the John Hamilton Morgan family portrait sheet for Gail’s husband, Jack, is from this portrait.

The scalloping on the skirt, and the tied sashes on the sides of the dress, toddler Bernice is wearing, are similar in style to the white dress Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan made for granddaughter Helen Rex Frazier in about 1921. I can’t tell if it is embroidered in the flowered, leaf, vine patterns she used.

From the Helen Rex Frazier collection. History, Descendants, and Ancestry of William Rex and Mary Elizabeth Brough of Randolph, Utah, compiled by Ronald Dee Rex, 1999, p. 245.

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