Thursday, December 29, 2011

March 1936 letter written by Bessie Morgan Rex

Thanks to cousin Gail for this picture of Bessie Morgan Rex and her sisters; Gail Morgan Clayton and Helen Melvina Morgan Burt Austin. Bessie probably didn’t get to Salt Lake City often. This picture could have been taken in the summer of 1930 when the family gathered for their mother, Helen Melvina “Mellie” Groesbeck Morgan’s funeral.

Bessie Morgan didn’t travel very far from her birthplace in Salt Lake City when she married P. H. Rex in 1912 and made her home with him in Randolph, Utah. Randolph is in the northeastern corner of Utah about 123 miles north of Salt Lake City, and became her new world. Her mother and most of her siblings resided in Salt Lake City--that was a long ways to travel a hundred years ago. In 1936 Bessie’s son Harold went to Brazil, South America to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

At Bessie’s insistence the family wrote to Harold weekly. Harold and his wife preserved the letters, and their daughter let me copy them. I’ve posted a few on my blog in the past. I’m going to put the others up here week by week, as I once told a cousin I would. I’ll tag them BMR for Bessie Morgan Rex, add the year and month they were written, add other applicable tags, and they'll appear in the alphabetical index in column to the right.

When I can make the time, I’ll transcribe them, otherwise only the original letter will appear. Click the hand that appears when you run your cursor over the letter—it will enlarge so you can read Bessie’s letter in her hand.

Bessie’s biography part 1. Links to Bessie’s biography and other family stories are on the Rex Family Index Page.
Randolph, Utah
March 2, ‘36
My dear son,

It is Monday morn at 7. I am just wondering where or what part of the country that flying train is taking you. I’m wondering if you are twisting in a chair car seat or if you got a Pullman. And how did you like Denver. The old world has vaster open spaces than you dreamed of, I’ll bet. I know New Orleans will be interesting so hope you have time to sight see. How do you like the South. You will have to write long letters to satisfy me. Hope this letter finds you before Red Sails in the Sunset carry you out. Suppose you have met Fred & did you hug each other.


(page 2) It is rather foggy and dreary here this morning. Yesterday was a beautiful day, however, and the snow melted so, it made walking difficult. Helen had a bad dose of asthma. The worst she has had this winter but I think she is better this morning. Saturday the boys went with Daddy & Maeser’s face looked like a piece of beef steak of your flannel shirt. He surely burnt himself
Morgan dug the lane out to let Fab in with a load of coal & now we have a pile 4 or 5 ft. high on the west side of the drive. You would think we lived in Alaska.

I do hope you got your watch. Your pictures came


(page 3) but we are broke until tomorrow. Will send one to Clara Wed.

Three young men came in Sat. eve. They were selling knit goods. They said they had met you in Evanston the week before. They were the talkingest kids I ever saw but we got quite a kick out of them. They want your address in S.A. Two are going to the B.Y. next winter. It ended up with Helen buying a beautiful knit outfit from them. It is surely pretty. I really did admire them.

Hope some relations were at the station to see you . I know Winnie was. Oh we were so dis-

(page 4) appointed. We wanted to come so badly.

Well I have written much more than I tho’t I would.

Hope you enjoyed the cake & hope your bill of fare wasn’t too much on the train. Be careful with your money so it will last out.

Must close now and send Winnie a few lines. We have neglected her this last week.

Oh do send us a line from Havana & any ports you may stop at. We want the stamps besides hearing from you.

Love & kisses from all of us.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck 1868-1872

Continued from here
It is very possible that Mellie met John Morgan before she enrolled in The Morgan Commercial College in January, 1868. John roomed in Serepta Heywood’s boarding house across the road from the Groesbeck home. According to the early Salt Lake Valley mock-up in the Church Museum, an orchard separated the two properties, and both households were members of the 17th Ward.

John Hamilton Morgan and a friend arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1866 and delivered a large herd of cattle they had contracted to drive from Kansas City to Salt Lake. They had to wait it out a week or longer in Salt Lake to receive payment for their work. John liked Salt Lake so much that he stayed.

Following his Civil War service (1861-1865), John attended and graduated from Eastman’s Commercial College in New York. Salt Lake didn’t have a commercial college. John recognized a need and an opportunity. With encouragement from Robert L. Campbell, Territorial Superintendent of Schools, John developed and established The Morgan Commercial College. In January 1867 John opened his school in a small downtown Salt Lake Building. On November 26, 1867 Robert L. Campbell baptized John Morgan into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

By January 1868 John moved his school to larger quarters he rented from Nicholas Groesbeck at 257 South Main Street. In exchange for rent, Nicholas sent some of his children to John Morgan’s school. Fifteen-year-old Mellie, was included--however, not for long--because Elizabeth needed her help at home. 

Family history tells us that Elizabeth was pleased to have John Morgan call on her daughter, Mellie, and encouraged their courtship. Elizabeth’s home and graciousness beckoned to John, perhaps reminding him of his own mother and comfortable home. Mellie played the piano, and John wrote his mother earlier how he felt about the warmth and attractions he found in an Alabama home. Perhaps he found the same at the Groesbecks.

[December 21, 1863 letter from Maysville, Alabama battlefield] “There is a pleasant little village close to camp and I have formed some pleasant acquaintances there. There is one particular friend, a Mrs. Hall. It appears more like home than anywhere else that I have been in the South. I have passed several pleasant evenings there and the little Yankee soldier boy always receives a kind and polite invitation to call again. Well, besides that, Miss Jennie Hall and her piano are not the least of the attractions of this kind family.”

John and Mellie were sealed in the Endowment House on October 24, 1868, and that night the Groesbecks held a reception for them at their home.

According to the 17th Ward Relief Society records for the February 20, 1868 meeting, Mrs. J. Morgan was among the members listed.

Elizabeth's son John Amberson was married to Ann Dilworth Bringhurst on September 27, 1871. The following year Elizabeth and her 14-year-old daughter Josephine, traveled with her son Nicholas Harmon and his wife Rhoda, to New York City and Maysville, Kentucky. Their they visited Elizabeth's father, John Amberson Thompson and Elizabeth's oldest sister, Mary Thompson Dunlap. After their six-seven week trip, they returned to Salt Lake in August of 1872.

Note: the January 2012 DUP (Daughters of Utah Pioneers) lesson is The Pioneer School Room. Pages 208-212 discuss the "Morgan College," which I will post here soon.

Thank you to John Morgan descendant, cousin Gail H., for this additional picture of John Hamilton and Mellie Groesbeck Morgan at the time of their marriage.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck. 1866-1868.

Cathedral in Derby, England

In 1866 when Nicholas Groesbeck was called to serve a mission to England, all but one of Elizabeth’s children were still living at home with her. Their oldest son Nicholas Harman married Rebecca Sanderson in 1862, and was presumably living in Springville, Utah with two children, and running the mercantile business Harmon purchased from his father in 1863.

William was 19 years-old, John Amberson was 17 years-old, Helen Melvina (Mellie), was 14, Hyrum was 12, Josephine, 9, Samuel, 6, and Joseph Smith was 2-years-old. Elizabeth’s eighty-year-old mother-in-law, Marie Bovee Groesbeck, would have also been living with her. Elizabeth probably had further household help, as she did twelve years later according to the 1880 census.

1880 Census Salt Lake City
Elizabeth was noted for her generosity and it was her custom to meet the immigration wagon trains as they arrived at the old Immigration Square (present day City and County Building, 4th South and StateStreet), where she presented baskets of food and clothing to those without necessities. Sometimes she employed young women as domestic help and companions for her children. She was instrumental in the emigration of a number of Saints,one of them, Sarah Blood, who became her daughter-in-law. Sarah married Elizabeth’s youngest son, Joseph Smith, March 24, 1887.

What motivated Nicholas’ return home from his mission in the Spring in 1867 isn’t known. In the letter (posted here and here) he wrote to Elizabeth from Derby, England in February, 1867, Nicholas discussed a variety of topics that may have influenced his early return; his health, longings for Elizabeth, his dreams, concern for his sons’ behavior and education, and his properties and holdings.

He wrote in the letter, “You have a comfortable and a happy home, which I feel thankful for, and a plenty to make you happy, as far as this world’s goods are concerned but that does not always add to happiness.”

On November 2, 1867, their son William married Eleanor Philotta Pack. A couple of months later, in January, 1868, while enrolled at The Morgan Commercial College, their daughter Mellie met her future husband, John Hamilton Morgan. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

John Hamilton Morgan and Serepta M. Heywood

Native foliage atop the Salt Lake Conference Center, summer 2009.

This morning while working on Great Great Grandmother Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck’s history (to be continued from here) I discovered that after Ellizabeth’s 1878 to 1880 service as president of the 17th Ward Primary, Sister Serepta M. Heywood was called to be the new 17th Ward Primary President.

Serepta M. Heywood was Bishop Joseph Heywood’s wife. He was bishop of the 17th Ward, and Serepta ran the boarding house, where Great Grandfather John Morgan lived soon after he arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

On a whim I “googled” Serepta Heywood and discovered a wonderful site, Hallowed Ground Sacred Journey where Brigham Young University professors tell the story of the sites that are of importance to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Take a few minutes and enjoy a virtual tour of the Heywood Homesite, and John Morgan’s sacred experience. It is also recorded on the John Hamilton Morgan Family webpage here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Henry Sanborn's death. 1914-15 Newspaper account.

Henry Sanborn's gravestone in the Ogden, Utah Cemetery.

A few years ago I met one of Henry Sanborn’s descendants at a DUP convention because I introduced myself to a woman whose last name was Sanborn. She led me to some of my husband’s never-before-met relatives.

Recently Henry Sanborn’s great grandson wrote me and sent me newspaper clippings that cleared up some misinformation I was perpetuating in my post here.

For anyone interested in reading through the following newspaper accounts, they clarify several things. The tale is every person’s fear and heartache; it only draws me nearer to Henry’s mother, Sarah Jane Rawlings Smith Sanborn.

The dates handwritten onto the newspaper articles are incorrect. Henry Sanborn’s Utah Death Certificate states he died January 12, 1915.

December 18, 1912 [sic 1914] – Two Husbands File Suits for Divorce

SL Tribune Jan 12 1913 [sic 1915] -- Wounds his wife; attempts suicide, Henry Sanborn, Estranged Husband is in Jail, Spouse in Hospital

The Ogden Examiner, Jan 13 1913 [sic 1915] -- Bullet Taken From Mrs. Sanborn

SL Tribune Jan 13, 1913 [sic 1915] -- Takes own life in presence of niece; Henry Sanborn Drinks Poison; Child Attempts to Stop Him.

SL Tribune Jan 14, 1915 -- Funeral Notices; Henry Sanborn funeral notice

Thank you so very much to this Henry Sanborn descendant for sharing these clippings with us.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck's sealing in the Endowment House. 1857.

This history of Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck is continued from here.

Early in the year following their October 1856 arrival into the Salt Lake Valley, Nicholas and Elizabeth went to the Endowment House and were sealed there on February 19, 1857. Elizabeth had accepted the doctrine of plural marriage, the opposition of which led to her estrangement from the Church in the years following her 1841 Nauvoo baptism. On February 19, 1857 Nicholas was also sealed to Elizabeth McGregor in the endowment House. That marriage however ended in divorce. According to New Family Search NFS their sealing was cancelled April 24, 1859.

The Utah War confrontation lasted from May 1857 until July 1858, and the Groesbecks, along with everyone else in the Salt Lake Valley, packed up all of their belongings and moved South (some time after baby Josephine’s October 1857 birth). Nicholas settled his family in Springville, Utah where he set up another store, stocked with the merchandise he brought with him from Salt Lake.

The following year, 1858, when the Saints were given the go-ahead to return to the Salt Lake Valley Nicholas and Elizabeth left the store with their son Nicholas Harmon, who remained in Springville and purchased the business from his father.

The Groesbecks returned to an adobe house and an adjoining lot on the southeast corner of Main Street and 2nd South upon their 1858 return to Salt Lake. They lived there until 1864 when Nicholas purchased a home and land from Alfred Randall at 1st North and West Temple. There they were members of the 17th Ward, and Nicholas and Elizabeth lived out their lives in the home on the land that became known as the Groesbeck Homestead.

Nicholas built the Kenyon Hotel on the southeast corner of 2nd South and Main Street, where the family lived from 1858 to 1864. It is not yet clear to me when he built the hotel, but looking at the picture of it does clarify why his son-in-law John Hamilton Morgan aspired to do the same thing.

Nicholas Groesbeck became a very wealthy man, and any privation Elizabeth suffered as the oldest of ten children in the back woods of Pennsylvania surely was alleviated by the affluence she enjoyed as an adult.

A granddaughter wrote, “The floors of her home were covered with fine English velvet carpets. The furniture was made of the old solid walnut of those days. Her finest china was imported from France and she enjoyed buying the very best in silver, jewelry and glassware. Her choice was always in good taste. Her children and grandchildren are now enjoying the use of the lovely things she left to them.”

DUP Pioneer History of Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck written January 28, 1999 by granddaughter Barbara Rex Wade

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day!

John Morgan Rex marker 2009 in Memory Grove,
Salt Lake City, Utah

Family Veterans Remembered here.
are across the road from the veterans markers
in Memory Grove.

Agnes Rufi Frazier is my grandmother [Emily Rufi Frazier's] sister.
Agnes' son Stephen Frazier was killed in World War II.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Elizabeth Thompson and Nicholas Groesbeck arrive in the Salt Lake Valley October 3, 1856.

This picture of a caravan of covered wagons wending their way down Emigration Canyon into the Salt Lake Valley is from a Nicholas Groesbeck pamphlet written by his grandson Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, 1963. The John Banks 1856 emigration train may have appeared similar to these travelers.

This concluding post of the Elizabeth Thompson and Nicholas Groesbeck family’s trip to the Salt Lake Valley in the John Banks 1856 company is continued from here.

The following notes comes from a typed history of Nicholas Groesbeck I found among my mother’s [Helen Rex Frazier 1913-1982] papers. The sources and the author are unknown. The reference to Groesbecks and Humpherys diaries is most interesting.

[1856] Not much can be found in Church History per the trip up the River nor as they left “Outfitting” camp. Both the Groesbecks and the Humpherys diaries give the first of July activities. “We left Florence and covered 3 or 4 miles, finding a good camp, we stopped to celebrate our Nation[’]s founding. We sang songs, offered prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord, bore our testimonies, related experiences, upbuilding our faith. There were games played, duties, repairs made. The journey then continued.”

“September 4th, we camped for the first time on the banks of the Sweetwater River, a half mile west of Independence Rock. It was called ‘Register of the Desert,” because it was so flat the pioneers had carved their names on it and many famous people who had passed that way. It was a very hot day.

The last of September, we hurried to Echo Canyon, and wended our way downward, at Devil’s Slide, a big crevice in solid rock like someone chiseled it out, was passed. The trip was good from there on in, with little to mar our happiness in at last reaching our goal.

1 Oct 1856 the St. Louise Company halted. The Bunker group arrived 2 Oct. We prepared for descent into the Valley. President Young sent a military escort with a brass band of music at the foot of “Little Mountain” in Emmigration [sic Emigration] Canyon to great these companies and escort them into the city. The populist turned out en-mass to receive them. They pulled their wagons to Pioneer Camp, “at Union square, (where West High School now stands) and camped.”

Thus ended the long, tedious treck.

It took three and one-half months or more to come from St. Louis to Salt Lake, 1856 …

After camping at Pioneer Square for three weeks, Nicholas Groesbeck purchased a two story adobe home across the street on the Northeast corner, 2nd West [now 3rd West] and 1st North. He moved his family there and set up a store with the merchandise he’d freighted to the valley. The family lived there, and Nicholas operated his store from there until May 1858, when President Brigham Young evacuated the city from the path of the approaching Johnston’s Army[Utah War]. On October 13, 1857 daughter Josephine was born to Nicholas and Elizabeth in this home.

This picture of the Groesbeck's first home is from the Nicholas Groesbeck pamphlet mentioned earlier. The home was later occupied by the Union Academy, the University of Deseret, and the Deseret Hospital.
Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel records of the John Banks Company lists Mary Sudbury Humphreys (45) traveling with her seven children

Friday, October 28, 2011

Winifred Rex Andrus 1918-2011.

In 2009 Winnie met for lunch with her Morgan cousins in Salt Lake City.

Last Wednesday, October 19, 2011, my Aunt Winifred Rex Andrus passed away. She was born in 1918 to Percy Harold and Bessie Morgan Rex. I was vacationing with my family in Virginia and Florida and wasn’t here for her funeral. I extend my heart’s deepest sympathy to my cousins and their families.

I visited Aunt Winnie in her Marion, Utah home not long before I left. As I left her room, she said, “Good bye, Bessie,” and meant it. While visiting with her she added more details to her story of the P.H. Rex family’s yearly move from Randolph, Utah to their Bear River Ranch. She’d evidently been remembering and rediscovering those years further.

The effort that P.H. Rex and his family took to transport their large upright oak piano from their Canyon Street home in Randolph to their ranch house on the Bear River each summer has fascinated me ever since Aunt Winnie first told me of it.

At the beginning of each haying season (sometimes as early as April through September) the family moved. In addition to bedding, clothing, and necessary household items, they took their piano with them. Aunt Winnie described how Grandpa would pull his horse driven wagon up beside the front porch. They would lay planks from the porch to the wagon bed, and with the help of other men, slide the piano into the wagon. It was tied down and secured near the front of the wagon, behind the driver’s seat.

She recalled wanting to sit in the seat nearest the piano, so she could keep a hand on it in case the piano began to slide [smile].

She added the detail that the bridge built over the Bear River in her youth would never support the piano loaded wagon and team pulling it. Her father drove his team through the river to cross over. He would carefully follow the curve of the river until he found the perfect spot, and only then turn the team into the river. When they returned to the town after each season, they repeated the exercise. The years the Bear River flooded, like this year, P. H. used careful timing.

Aunt Winnie is the last of my parent’s generation to pass away.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Groesbecks encountered buffalo on their 1856 trek to Utah.

The account of Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck’s trip from St. Louis, Illinois to the Salt Lake Valley is continued from here.

After securing the release of their son Nicholas Harmon from prison, Nicholas and Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck and family began their journey to Utah on June 3, 1856. They spent a few days with relatives in Schuyler County, Illinois on their way to the old Winter Quarters of Florence, about six miles above Omaha on the Missouri River, where Nicholas had sent all of his wagons and cattle. Their children, who traveled with them, were Nicholas Harmon, 14-years old, William, 12-years old, seven-year-old John Amberson, Helen Melvina (Mellie), four years old, and three-year-old Hyrum.

Their trek wasn’t without its share of blessings and disasters. Twenty days after their group left Florence they had to make a dry camp. That entailed digging wells to obtain enough water for culinary purposes. Their efforts provided very little water for their stock. The following morning as they started out, two of their teams became unmanageable and ran away. An eight- or nine-year old boy in one of the wagons attempted to jump from the front of the wagon, slipping. He fell in front of the wheels and was killed.

One night they camped by a shallow stream-let. A heavy rain fall during the night to the north turned the stream into a raging torrent of water six to eight feet deep. All were spared, however, they were required to continue camp until that night when the waters receded enough for them to cross over. When it rained again the next night raising the waters five or six feet, they considered themselves fortunate for they had camped on the south side of the river. They continued their journey, and camped on the south side of the next river. Unexpected deep stream waters weren’t cause for further delaying the Groesbecks’ journey.

The caravan saw their first buffalo on July 27 and some of the men took their guns and went out killing two or three. They brought in the first meat they’d had for some time which everyone enjoyed. The following morning, soon after they began their travel, they came upon some sand hills that were literally covered with buffalo. Two of their horses became frightened and ran into the midst of them. In the course of recovering the horses they came to the top of the hills and looked down on the valley below where, “we there saw the sight of our lives, for as far as the eye could see west, north and south it was a heavy mass of galloping buffalo.”

As the train proceeded they sent some men ahead shooting blank cartridges to scare the buffalo out of their way, and they traveled that way for a couple of hours. A row of buffalo traveling two abreast from the north then broke through their train separating the travelers. And it was with great difficulty they were eventually reunited. They traveled until reaching a bend in the Platte river where they stopped to camp for the night, turning their horses and cattle into the bend, and guarding the north side so their stock could not get our during the night, and the buffalo could not get it.

“It was a terrible night for all concerned for we were surrounded by those wild animals whose bellowing was like the roaring of the ocean.”

The following morning the company captains agreed to lay over a day to get some buffalo meat and jerk and dry it. During the day there was an accident that took the life of one of the Groesbeck teamsters. Solomon Hall was shot through the thigh, severing an artery, and causing him to bleed to death. They “buried him that evening in a very deep grave to keep the wolves from scratching him up.”

Four-year-old Mellie forever remembered her encounter with the buffalo, and for the rest of her life she recalled and retold the story of running into buffalo on her way to Utah.

They continued their travel for another ten days without incident, until they came upon a village of about three thousand Sioux and Cheyenne Indians who demanded a toll of provisions from the company. Through the course of a few days they experienced fear, they shared provisions, exchanged services, traded some and continued on their journey peacefully.

After they arrived west of Fort Laramie, Wyoming, their company split into five companies, each going on by itself. They crossed the Platte River--twice--and on September 4th they were in a great alkali bed where they gathered enough crude soda to last for years.

The day they camped east of Independence Rock, was the warmest they’d experienced on the road. The next morning they woke to six inches of snow on the ground and about “thirty head of oxen had been chilled to death. Fortunately there were some Indian traders there who sold us what cattle we wanted at a very reasonable price.

Notes: From Nicholas Harmon Groesbeck’s August 1916 autobiography. The copy in my possession is from cousin Karen M. Information about the John Banks Company may be seen here.

Thank you to cousin Nancy for the picture of "Brigham Young's Arrow." She took it three weeks ago about thirty miles east of Evanston, Wyoming, when she revisited the site where she'd walked on Pioneer Trek fourteen years earlier. She said there isn't a marker at the site. The rock arrow is fenced, and when she was on trek she was told this is the arrow President Young left, pointing the way for those who followed him. I assume the Groesbecks passed by that way also.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

1942 letter from Percy Harold Rex to his descendants. Pt 3

(Continued from here.)

(page 5) We named her Flora Elizabeth Rex after one of her Auntys. Now she is just blooming into young women-hood and I hope she grows into a loveable woman such as her Mother and sisters.

In October of 1929 I was again called into the Bishopric of this ward to be the First counselor to Bishop Lawrence B. Johnson and served for a little over 10 years.

Your Grandmother was very active in church duties singing in the choir in the Y.M.I.A. both in the stake and ward and in the last years of her life she taught in the Relief Society with her very dear Friend Sister Vera H. Peart.

In the cold Bleak days of Nov. 1938 Our Father in heaven saw fit to call your angel Grand Mother home to him and while writing this My eyes fill with tears and hope and pray that when our time comes we will all be as well prepared to meet our Maker as

(page6) she was. She was so sweet Loveable self-sacrificing and such a noble and grand Mate. May we all meet her sometime I pray.

In Aug. 1941 the 25th day I married Mary E. Herbert in the Salt Lake Temple for time and eternity and she is doing a wonderful job in filling the space that was made by the death of your Grandmother.

I may not be here when this is opened or Aunt Mary either but if she is and I am not will you all please be kind to her in her last years.
I pray that you will all live lives worthy of a kingdom in our Fathers Mansion when you have finished your labors here on earth.

Signed, Percy Harold Rex

Flora Groesbeck Morgan posts are here and here.

From Granddaughter Susan Frazier’s Journal: January 12, 1979. Aunt Mary died tonight. I was glad I was there with Richard [Lamborn]. Even though she might not have known we were there—she might someday. I was praying so hard for the Lord to take her home, and for Grandpa to come get her. I told her a few days before it wouldn’t be long before she would see her parents and brothers and sisters and grandpa and be out of pain. I told her it had been 2 years since she had seen “P.H.” and she said, “Oh no it hasn’t, I saw him the other night.” I cried after because I really will miss her.

The picture is from Helen Rex Frazier’s collection. Notice Maeser’s hand hanging onto his father’s—which may have been steadying Maeser for the picture. Remember part 2 of Percy Harold’s letter; “Now he is like a young Robin that thinks he can fly.” This picture was probably taken about 1939. Flora is wearing a Spring dress, and they must be outside at Randolph; L-R back row, Morgan, Harold, Winnie, Percy Harold (P.H.), in front Flora, Maeser.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

1942 letter from Percy Harold Rex to his descendants. Pt 2

(Continued from here.)

(page 3) to the bottom of the ocean with a great loss of lives.

Your Uncle John H. Morgan served in the war as had Both of your great grandfathers did in the Civil War: your grand uncle John Morgan Rex is doing at Present or has given his life for his country so you see he is the third generation to fight for this flag and country of ours.

I had to register then as I have done now and my number was called out but did not have to go.
On April 23-1918 we had another cup of Joy added to our home in the form of another little girl and we called her Winnifred after a very dear neighbor girl that lived next to Grandmother Morgan on 359 Bryan Ave. Salt Lake City, Utah.

June 1920 we moved to the Home we now live in on Canyon street Just west of Main Street.
In February of 1918 I was called to

(page 4) be second counselor to /Bishop Geo. A. Peart Jr. of the Randolph Ward and served for about Six years.

On December 28-1920 our home was again filled with the Joy of a fine big baby boy and we named him John Morgan Rex, the Hero in our eyes today he grew to be a noble and loveable son.

We went to Oakland, Calif. Last Nov. and spent Thanksgiving with him and Helen Frazier and said Farewell to him at Hamilton Field, as he was assigned to foreign duty.

On May 9-1924 we had another young man come to make his home with us and we named him Maeser Morgan Rex. Now he is like a young Robin that thinks he can fly and is preparing to go to Washington D.C. to meet his big Brother Harold who is there going to school and making a home for his family.

Six years later on April 7-1930 our family was increased again by the coming of a sweet little daughter. She surly had a welcome reception as her mother use to say that she would have a daughter to help for a long time.

(To be continued.)
Picture of the corner of Main and Canyon Streets, Randolph, Utah, August, 2011.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

1942 letter from Percy Harold Rex to his descendants. Pt 1

(The following links will be added after they are posted.)
In 1942 some citizens of Randolph, Utah decided to write letters to their descendants and place them in a “time capsule” to be opened fifty years later. I can’t remember just where the “time capsule” was deposited, but it seems like it may have been on a shelf, or in a closet in the city hall, or ward house. A few years short of the fifty years the “capsule” was discovered and opened. Many interesting items were in it.
This letter from Percy Harold Rex to his descendants was among the papers, and a copy made its way to me. I honestly cannot remember how. I believe it may have come via Aunt Flora Rex Lamborn, because my mother, Helen Rex Frazier, passed away in 1982.
Thank you to my granddaughter for typing part of it for me while she visited this past conference weekend. I added a few notes and some punctuation to make it easier to read.

Randolph Utah
May 26 1942
To John Morgan Rex, My first Grandchild, and those who come in the Future.

I was born here on Sept. 30, 1889 and lived here all my life. In June of 1911 your great Uncle John Osland and myself went to Salt Lake City to June conference or Mutual Improvement associations. And while there I met one of the sweet[est] and grandest persons that I had met in my life, your grand Mother Bessie Morgan. We courted for a year and on June 12-1912 we 
were married in the Salt Lake Temple for time and all eternity.

We made our home on the ranch that your Uncle Sam Rex now has and spent nearly all of the first two years of our married life there. And how happy we were together because no one will ever have a sweeter wife than I had at that time.

On March 31-1913 our joys and

(page 2) and happiness was added to greatly so we had a sweet little Black headed daughter come to our home and we named her Helen and today she still has that sweet Loveable nature that she was born with.

She expects to become a mother in the next few months and I hope that her joys will be as great as ours was.

We were getting along just Grand and on July 24-1915, Pioneer day at 4-30 A.M. a little boy appeared in our home to add more happiness to our little nest that was one half block east of Main Street on Canyon Street. And we named him Harold Morgan Rex.

He grew quite fast and when he was four years old he had a saddle and horse we called Nell and was following his father almost ever where he went.

I had a ranch at that time 3 ½ miles S.E. of Randolph with a number of cattle and he would help me with them as he grew up.

In April of 1917 our good old U.S.A. declared War on Germany as one of her U. Boats had sent one of our ships

(To be continued.)
Picture of the Randolph Ward taken February, 2011.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck. April 11, 1883.

Guest Post by Karen Matthews

The Dress made for a Wedding

Elizabeth was very fastidious about her clothes and wore clothing that was distinctive. It was at Emigration Square that she met Mary Hansen. Mary was an excellent dressmaker who made many of the dresses for Elizabeth. One particular dress was made for the wedding of Priscilla Paul Jennings and William W. Riter, which took place April 11, 1883. Elizabeth and daughter, Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan, assisted Mary Hansen in its completion.

The material was mainly heavy black satin over a foundation of heavy black lining. It was a two-piece costume, with a caught-up bustle effect at the back of the short train skirt. The skirt was decked with two draped flounces of satin trimmed in black velvet, and edged with jet bead and chenille fringe. The back of the skirt was draped and caught into the side seams to give a tucked draped picture across the back. There was a short train which was lined with black lining laid into wide box pleats to hold the velvet train away from the feet and the floor.

The jacket was made with a shirred V-shape vest which extends to the waistline. It was edged with wide black lace. Open reverse of the jacket below the waistline was trimmed with a facing of black velvet. It was also edged with black lace around the bottom of the jacket.

The velvet was purchased by Nicholas Groesbeck while in England. He paid $25.00 a yard for it. As Elizabeth always wore a watch and chain, there was a small velvet pocket placed at the left front side on the waistline for this purpose.

It was a custom with Elizabeth to wear lace caps as so many women of her day did. With this dress she used a black one. It was made of the same lace as trimmed the dress. It had back ruffles which came down over the back of the neck. Between these ruffles she always wore a few dainty flowers.

B. H. Roberts said of Elizabeth, “She was a quiet, calm, dignified, splendid pioneer queen—no less!”

Thank you cousin Karen for your wonderful account.

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck

Helen Melvina "Mellie" Groesbeck Morgan

John Hamilton Morgan

John Morgan would have missed this wedding because on April 1, 1883 he arrived Pueblo, Colorado with Southern States' Emigrants. And On April 10 he recorded, “assisted to plant some walnuts around my lot”

April 13, 1883 he was traveling home to Salt Lake, "Slept all night soundly and had late breakfast at Pleasant Valley Junction. Arrived at home at 2:30 p.m. and found all well."

John Hamilton Morgan Journal, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Percy Harold Rex, September 30, 1889

While standing in the train line with two grandsons at the zoo this morning I was reminded that today is September 30th, my Grandfather [Percy Harold] Rex’s birthday. I remember well how important it was to my mother, Helen Rex Frazier, for our family to gather on September 30 to celebrate or commemorate Grandpa Rex’s Birthday. In recent years I haven’t remembered, this year is different.

In remembrance of Grandpa Rex, today I’m posting one of two letters he wrote to his descendants. Look for the other one next week.
Percy Harold Rex
[September 30, 1889 –March 20, 1977]

Randolph, Utah
May 22, 1967
My Dear Descendants,

I am in my 78 year enjoying good health for this time in life. Have seen many of the important inventions up to this time. Of late I have been helping Thornock Bros. with their farm work as help is not too plentiful with war on in Viet Nam. What a difference now and when I was large enough to help with Farm. A team of horses with handplow we had hold the plow up stra [illegible] work and drive the team all at once. Now we have tractors to pull the plows from 1 – to 3 or more at a great speed of 5 or 6 or 8 miles per hour.

I am enclosing one of Jeff’s letters as he is on a mission in South America. Ilene Andrus leaves shortly on a mission to Chile in S. A. I have been greatly blessed in my life thus far. Have a family any could be proud of 25 grandchildren to Great Great Grandsons of John Rex living in New York, 3 girls and their families in Utah, Maeser in Calif., Harold in Bogota, Columbia S.A. Aunt Mary and I are in the home we have had since June of 1920. I am enclosing a section of the Church [News} which may be of interest to some of you & will God Bless all of you through your lives.

I will be gone when you receive this letter in 25 years. Which one of you gets [it] will you please make the contents known to the rest of the family.

Good Bye for now.

God Bless and Protect all of you.
Your Grandfather,
Percy H. Rex