Monday, July 25, 2011

Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck Morgan. July 24, 1897 Pioneer Parade.

I attended today’s 24th of July Pioneer Parade. According to the Deseret News it is called the Days of ’47 KSL 5 Parade now, the first parade was held in 1849. The article said one of the most successful parades was the one held in 1897.

As I went through this morning’s ritual that got our family seated on a green grassy parking strip along the parade route, I reflected on that 1897 pioneer jubilee celebration here in Salt Lake City.

Today’s parade was so enjoyable. Sitting under a cloud-covered sky is my favorite way to see the parade.

I’ve learned quite a bit about the 1897 Jubilee pioneer celebration in DUP this past year; we had two lessons on the topic. I was particularly interested because I knew, my Great Grandmother Mellie Morgan had been able to attend the parade. It had been three years since her husband, John Hamilton Morgan, unexpectedly died in 1894, and she had walked through some very difficult times.

“When the family resided briefly in the duplex after being evicted from the big house, Mellie had told the children about a dream she’d had, in which a great wave had engulfed her as she walked along the seashore, then receded, leaving her safely on shore. This renewed her faith that better days were coming.”

In the summer of 1897 her son, Nicholas, worked as a hired hand in the hay fields about ten miles south of their 363 York Street home. Nicholas worked in the hay from sun-up to sun-down, after which he fell into bed in his employer’s Draper barn hay-loft, where he slept in more hay. That July 24th he was excited to be able to return home for the parade and woke before dawn to begin a good two hour run and trot home. His mother was happy to see her boy and embraced him warmly in spite of his dusty dirty state.

Mellie was “fancied up in a white waist she had made for the occasion, and a long blue skirt, ignored the dirt and drew Nick to her in a crushing hug. “You’ve grown an inch.” The children crowded around as Nick drew a tied hankerchief [sic], clinking with silver dollars, from his pocket and plunked it into her hand. “Here, Mother. And there’ll be more.”
Mellie had borrowed a horse and carriage to take her family to the city.

Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan; The Man Who Moved City Hall, by Jean R. Paulson, Copyright 1979 by Marjorie Morgan Gray, pgs 56-59. Picture from Wikipedia. I took the parade pictures today.

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