The Passing of Elizabeth and Nicholas Groesbeck
by John Hamilton Morgan
[This is the cover page of a six page document containing brief biographies and accounts of the passing of Nicholas and Elizabeth Groesbeck. Grand daughter Marjorie Morgan Gray submitted it to the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers History Department on April 6, 1978. Purported to have been written by John Hamilton Morgan, their son-in-law, a copy of the same document, without a title, date or credits, is in the Helen Rex Frazier collection. Information similar to what is in the first two pages was previously posted. The balance of the document will follow in my next post. Spelling and punctuation of the original typed copy is retained here.]
Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck died at 10:50 a.m. on Friday, December 28, 1883, in her bedroom in the old home at 82 West First North Street. Her last illness and the manner in which she met death evidenced her supreme faith in God and His great Plan of Salvation. Since the early part of December of 1883, she had been feeling quite unwell and about the 13th or 14th of that month she remained in bed. From then on she grew weaker and seemed to realize that her mortal life was nearing its end. Every day her children were at her bedside and every day she was visited by friends and loved ones, including her son-in-law, John Morgan, who frequently administered to her with the aid of others. Helen M. Morgan, her only daughter then at home, was with her day and night during her illness. Her daughter Josephine was with her husband, President John Henry Smith, who, at that time, was presiding over the European Mission in Liverpool, England.
Christmas came and went and on the morning of December 27, 1883, her physician, Dr. Pike, gave up all hope of saving her. In the afternoon of that day she had all her children come to her bedside and she counseled with them, individually, giving good advice and encouragement and she seemed perfectly reconciled to die. To her son-in-law, John Morgan, she made him promise to remind her daughter, Mellie, and her oldest son, Harmon, to keep their promise in doing the work in the Temple for her father, John Thompson and her mother and relatives. She also asked him to select some nice hymns to be sung at her funeral and especially asked that he be good to Mellie, her daughter, whom she loved dearly. She then asked everyone to leave the room but Mellie to whom she talked for some time.
When Mellie came out of the sick room, she told her father, Nicholas Groesbeck, that her mother desired next to talk with him. Her husband, thereupon, went to her and they had a rather long talk and arrived at a complete reconciliation of some little trouble they had had previously. Each forgave the other and kissed each other goodby.
Later in the afternoon she rallied some by almost superhuman effort and appeared to be some better, but during the night she grew weaker until in the morning she went into an unconscious state and so remained until 10:50 a.m. when she quietly passed away as peacefully as a tired child who was just going to sleep.
Thus died Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck, one of my best friends and one of God’s noblest women,” wrote John Morgan in his journal entry for that day.
In company with Hyrum Groesbeck, John Morgan, then called on Bishop John Tingey of the 17th Ward and arranged for the funeral. Later he called on President George Q. Cannon and Daniel H. Wells, and, in compliance with the wishes of the family, asked them to be the speakers at the funeral. He then called on Brother Lewis, the choir leader and arranged with him to have the choir in attendance.
Having attended to these matters, he then wrote an obituary and had it inserted in the “Deseret News.”
The funeral was held in the 17th Ward Assembly Hall at 11 a.m. on Sunday, December 30, 1883. It had snowed the night before and the atmosphere was frosty and cold.
A large group of friends and relatives gathered at the Groesbeck home prior to the funeral. John Morgan assisted in getting the pall bearers assigned and aided them in getting the corpse down stairs from the bedroom to the parlor. The casket was then placed in the hearse and was taken to the 17th Ward meeting House while the friends and relatives walked. A large gathering was present. Presidents George Q. Cannon and Daniel H. Wells were the speakers. Both spoke with great feeling and effectiveness, but President Cannon, after reading parts of the 76th Section of the Doctrine and Covenants, delivered a powerful sermon on the hereafter. The services having concluded, a large cortege proceeded south on West Temple to South Temple and then east to the Cemetery where the remains of this noble woman were laid to rest in the Groesbeck family burial lot.
Thus closed the life drama of a very wonderful and beautiful woman.