Wednesday, July 22, 2009

John Hamilton and Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan, Part 6

A closer look at John and Helen Melvina Morgan’s home reveals interesting details; lace curtains, scalloped tasseled blinds, a nice double front door, and ornamental trim on the porch. There is a hint of the same ornamental trim on the front porch of the neighbor to the North. And there is the question of when was it taken? Which children are with them? Is the child next to Helen Melvina pasted onto the picture?
The First West of Salt Lake City in the 1880s is the Second West of today. In the 1970s The Salt Palace building eliminated First South between West Temple and 2nd West. When the Morgan College was at 144 West First South, the 14th Ward House was across the street at 151 West First South. The move to the Morgan’s new home at 163 South 1st West [now 2nd West] was only ½ block west and ½ block south of their college and the 14th Ward House.

Presently South Temple to 2nd South on 2nd West is very unappealing. Concrete, blacktop, Salt Palace loading docs, and an underpass line the street. There is, however, one refreshing spot. It is the restored 1877 home at 126 South 2nd West, across the street from where the John Morgan home was at 163 South. It is much in the style of their home. It was built by Lewis S. Hills and is on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Salt Lake City, Utah. It houses Honest Jon’s Hills House Antiques Gallery.

[John Morgan Journal, Marriott Library, Salt Lake City, continued from April 5, 1879 return home.]

1879, April 6
At home all day. Not well, but resting up a little. Quite a fever part of the time.

April 7
Went out to Conference this p.m. and enjoyed the privilege very much, it being the first time since 1875. Rain and snow tonight, needed badly.

April 8
At conference forenoon and afternoon today. Brother Murphy came home to dinner with me.

April 9
Attended the meeting of the Board of Trade [paragraph 10] this a.m., and of the Pres. Of Stakes this p.m.
April 10
At home part of the day and feeling well. Wrote some to Brother Standing.

April 11
Went to Brother G. [probably Nicholas Groesbeck] today and spent the day, returning late in the evening.

April 12
Very windy today and quite unpleasant. At home all day.

April 13
Pleasant day. Quite a crowd of friends and relatives in to see me today. Spent the day pleasantly.

April 14
Started Mellie [daughter Helen Melvina, born 19 Jan 1870] to school to Mrs. [Mildred Eliza Johnson] Randalls today, bought slate, etc. for her. Visited Mrs. Johnson, Andrew’s mother and found her feeling well and getting along well. Rained hard this p.m. and turning cold. Visited Savages [photography shop] with Mellie [wife Helen Melvina] to get some pictures framed.

[I didn’t know Mrs. Randall’s first name until I found her in Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, Vol III, M to R, International Society of Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, 1998, pg. 2486-87. Mildred Eliza Johnson Randall is one of eight Randall biographies in the book. She appears to me to be the Mrs. Randall John and Mellie Morgan selected to teach their nine-year-old daughter, Mellie. She could also be the Sister Randal[l] Nicholas Groesbeck mentions in his 13 Feb 1867 letter, Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck, Part 4. ]

“… Mildred Eliza [Johnson Randall] was born in 1827, in Virginia. Hers was a home of culture and refinement in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Her father taught school, and she was scholastically inclined. She desired to follow the teaching profession and attended the Augusta Female Seminary in Stanton, Virginia. She also enjoyed doing fine needlework. She often traded her chores to her sisters so she could sew or pursue her studies.

“When she was seventeen years of age, her father died. She requested two books he had written on English and math, and her share of the inheritance in money to enable her to pay for additional schooling.

“After teaching in Virginia some years, she went to visit her brother, Cicero, in Council Bluffs. While there, she was converted and baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on May 22, 1859. She left shortly thereafter for the Rocky Mountains with Captain James Brown’s Wagon Company. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley on August 29, 1859.

“Mildred went to Bountiful and lived with the Randall family. On May 29, 1860 she became Mrs. Alfred Randall, in the Endowment House. She returned to Salt Lake City and began teaching in the 17th Ward. To this marriage was born two sons, but both died soon after their births. She resumed her teaching.

“In 1865, she and her husband were called on a mission to the Church Plantation in Laie, Hawaii. … While there Mildred conducted two schools, one for foreign children and one for native children. Upon her return to Salt Lake, she took charge of Brigham Young’s private school on his Eagle Gate property. She taught all classes from ABC’s through reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, geography, history and botany. She was well liked by her pupils. …”

(To be continued.)

Picture of John Morgan Home used with permission of The Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved. I took the pictures of the home at 126 South 2nd West this month.

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