Monday, August 10, 2009

Bessie Morgan Rex Part 1

Bessie Morgan Rex
11 Jan 1891, Salt Lake City, Utah
p. John Hamilton Morgan, Helen Melvina Groesbeck
m. 12 Jun 1912, Salt Lake Temple, Percy Harold Rex
d. 12 Nov 1938, Salt Lake City, Utah
b. 15 Nov 1938, Randolph Cemetery, Randolph, Utah

At the time of Bessie’s birth her mother was 39 years old. Her father was 49 years old. Her living siblings were Helen Melvina (21) married Andrew Burt 1888, Eliza Ann (16), Ruth (13), Nicholas Groesbeck (7), Gail (3), and Bessie (newborn). Two younger brothers would follow, Gerard Earl (1892), and John Hamilton (1894).

[These portions of John Morgan’s journal entries mention Bessie. On January 3, 1891, after a twelve-day stay at his Manassa, Colorado home, John Morgan returned to Salt Lake City.]

January 10
… Mellie was confined tonight and a girl born. Very cold.

January 11 At home during the day. Took care of Mellie.

June 27 … Arrived at home this a.m. and found that Nicholas [born 1884] and the baby had the measles during my absence.

June 30 … Our baby very sick today.

July 5 … children improving slowly from the measles and the colds that follow.

July 6 [John Morgan took the train to Ogden for political business, stayed the day and night, returning the next morning.]

July 7 … found Mellie’s baby quite feeble and growing weaker.

July 11 … Sent Mellie and two children to Granite to see little Mellie and baby [probably Wallace J. Burt born 1890], the latter being sick.

August 8 Obtained some money this morning and met a lot of my debts, which was a perfect Godsend to me. Arranged to start to Colorado tomorrow. In the evening assisted by brother B. H.[Brigham Henry] Roberts blessed the baby with the name of Bessie.

March 27
[After a two week stay in Colorado.] ... Arrived home at midnight and found Bessie quite sick with whooping cough and pneumonia.

March 28 After working with Bessie a while, went to the office and afterwards to the President’s office where I met President Woodruff and Smith, Afterwards met John Henry [Smith]. At Groesbeck office and with Hyrum [Groesbeck] talked over the situation. Administered to Bessie a couple of times today. Cold and snowing all day.

March 29 Bessie very sick today. Spent most of the day and night working with her. ...

March 30 Bessie better today. …

The final entry in The John Morgan journal [Marriott Library, University of Utah copy] is for November 20, 1892. He died August 14, 1894 in Preston, Idaho when he was 52 years old. His death was unexpected.

Read the scanned article about John Morgan's death by Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, published in 1964 here. When Mellie was told of her husband’s death, she already knew they had lost her entire Groesbeck inheritance and the home they were living in. Following John Morgan’s death his family experiences multiple moves and poverty. I will post about them later under Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan history.

In 1900 Bessie's brother, Nicholas, describes himself working with his siblings.
“… glancing into the adjoining field at his crew of farm hands and business

“Two of them were his sisters, Gail, twelve, and Bessie, nine, whose long gingham dresses were dirt-smeared. Two were his brothers, Earl, nearly eight, and Jack, six. The fifth was his nephew, Wallace Burt, now living with the Morgans. Jack was a game little worker—at times. At the moment he was threading one dandelion stem into another. Bessie was watching fascinated.

“The small clod was thrown underhanded, but the aim was
true, and Jack squalled as it hit him on the side of the neck. He stood up and
yelled, strangely enough, “Ten cents! Ten cents!” Bessie, looking down at her
dirty, folded hands, chimed in, “Yeah, you’re cheap, Nick. We oughta get more
than ten cents a day.”

“Nick cleared his throat, marshaling his patience, It was nearing sunset and he’d been up since five. “Look, kids, you want to eat next winter, don’t you? You want potatoes and beans and corn and pumpkins. Pumkin pie. That’s why we’re working for ten cents a day. You know that. So we can eat. NOW PICK THOSE BEANS!”

Bessie and her siblings attended the Waterloo School and the Farmers Ward District School. They attended two wards of the church; Farmers and Waterloo (1623 South 5th East).
You can find Bessie by counting children left to right from the upper lefthand corner (return to the left after each row). She may have written her friends names in as she remembered them in 1936. The names below are written on the back of this picture in what appears to be her hand. The picture was copied by Shipler photo service in 1936.
This 14” by 17” certificate below was folded and pasted in Bessie Morgan Rex’s scrapbook. It reads:

Certificate of Graduation Salt Lake County Public Schools.
This is to certify Bessie Morgan has pursued and completed in a satisfactory manner the course of study prescribed for the first eight grades of the public schools of the Salt Lake County, Utah and is entitled to this certificate.
In testimony whereof we have hereunto appended our signatures, given at Farmers District No. 40, this Sixth day of June
Edwin S. Sheets Principal,
John W. Smith County Superintendent
[The year is not written or printed on the certificate.]

(To be continued.)
Picture of Bessie abt. 18 yrs. and school children from Helen Rex Frazier collection. Graduation Certificate scanned from Bessie Morgan Rex scrapbook. Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, the Man Who Moved City Hall, by Jean R. Paulson, copyright, 1979 by Marjories Morgan Gray, p. 59.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post. She certainly looks like a Morgan. I've seen the pictures of the Morgan brothers that Harold Morgan collected, but not any of his sisters. Thank you!