Monday, August 29, 2011

Helen Melvina "Mellie" Groesbeck Morgan. "I am a poor one to write." Part 2.

Continued from here.
Mellie may have helped preserve her deceased husband’s journals, letters, and the letters he wrote to her. But after John Morgan’s 1894 death there was no one to hold on to, or preserve any of the letters Mellie wrote to him. Regardless of how he may have treasured Mellie’s letters, how many times he may have reread them, they were lost.

In 1890 when Mellie wrote to her brother, “Although I am a poor one to write I never forget you,” it applied to her brother, and to that time. Letters carried the news, thoughts, and directions that helped bind her family together during their frequent separations.

Two years later in August 1892, while John was in Manassa, Colorado, with his family there, he wrote in his August 6th journal entry: Tired and warn down. Not feeling well.

On the 8th John wrote a letter to Mellie in Salt Lake City:

My dear Wife:
Your two letters, with Mellies
[daughter 1870-1952] rec’d Sat. and read with much satisfaction. Was glad to know that you were all fairly well, and getting along as well as could be expected, under all the circumstances.

Nearly twenty years later in 1907 Mellie and John’s son, Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, traveled to Washington D. C. to attend Law School. During the four years he was in the East, he and his mother frequently exchanged letters of news and love and encouragement. Nicholas' letters were preserved by his granddaughter. Mellie’s letters did not survive, but we can learn much about her by reading her son's letters.

You can imagine my excitement when I discovered an original note written by Mellie to her daughter, Bessie in 1930. While recently visiting with cousin Flora Lee, in Randolph, I looked through some of her mother’s scrapbooks [Flora Elizabeth Rex Lamborn 1930-2011].

Bessie Dear
Hoping you can make use of these remembrances and that you are both just fine
Mother - Gail – Ethel & Helen

Explanation on Reverse Side [written by Flora Lamborn] “these remembrances” were presumably baby clothes made by Helen Melvina “Mellie” Groesbeck Morgan, and sent as a gift from her and her daughters and daughter-in-law, at the time of Flora's birth in the Spring of 1930.

Mellie passed away in June of that year. She fell while she was visiting her daughter Eliza Ann Morgan Smith, in Oakland, California.

Mother, Helen Melvina “Mellie” Groesbeck Morgan [February 7, 1852 – June 15, 1930]
Gail, daughter, Gail Morgan Clayton
Ethel, daughter-in-law, married to Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, Ethel Sophia Tate Morgan
Helen, daughter, Helen Melvina “Mellie” Morgan Burt Austin
Copies of letters are from Cousin Karen M., and in my possession. John Hamilton Morgan Journal from Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

John Hamilton Morgan. 1884.

Picture taken on October 5, 1886 in Rome, Georgia. At the left, standing is Pres. John Morgan. Seated in Center, Wm. Spry, later Governor of Utah. Unfortunately no other missionaries were identified in this picture caption.

Today I’m back to Great Grandfather John Hamilton Morgan in 1884, thanks to yesterday’s very interesting post at Keepapitchinin; B.H. Roberts in Water Valley, Mississippi, 1884. If you’re interested in a taste of what John Morgan, B. H. Roberts, and most missionaries who were called to preach the Gospel in the Southern States, dealt with in the 1880s, spend a few minutes reading this account. It’s excellent.

President John Morgan wasn’t in the Southern States Mission during 1884 for perhaps several different reasons. He appears to have acted upon counsel he noted in his journal on January 9, 1884 Met John Houston and R. G. Clark and while in company with them met Pres. A. [Angus] M. Cannon who gave us quite a talking about our failure to obey the Law of Celestial Marriage.”

On January 25, 1884 John Morgan was sealed to Adalina Annie Mildred Gwenolin Smith in the Endowment House.

Amy wrote about the Water Valley incident while posting her History of the Southern States Mission here in Part 18. A wealth of Southern States Missionary History can be found at the Amateur Mormon Historian blog. Another great picture of a group of President John Morgan’s Southern States Missionaries is found here.

Angus M. Cannon
Southern States Missionaries:
Riley G. Clark, set apart, Nov 8, 1880, release date not given
John Houston, set apart, Nov 8, 1880, released, Nov 20, 1882

Picture from The Life and Ministry of John Morgan; For a Wise and Glorious Purpose, by Arthur M. Richardson, Copyright 1965, pg 421.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

P. H. Rex's Bear River Ranch House, 2011.

Look how the water in the Bear River has receded in the last month since Cousin Nancy shared this shot of the bridge crossing the Bear River. I took this road to P.H. Rex’s River Ranch house with cousins Nancy and Flora Lee on my recent trip to Randolph, Utah.

This is the log home the P. H. Rex family lived in on their Bear River Ranch during the months they worked their fields. Some of the P.H. Rex children are standing in front of this log house (posted here) one summer.

This old hay wagon is similar to one Flora Lee's father fed his livestock from. Sleigh runners were still on it.

This picture is taken from atop the Crawford Mountains. The straight road leads east from Randolph to the Bear River bridge pictured at the top of this post. We followed it left as it wound south to the far left of the picture. That is where the P.H. Rex River Ranch house still stands.

When I saw the beautiful shots of Randolph and the adjoining Bear River Valley, I commented to Nancy about how happy I was to see them on her blog, because that was one place I was certain I’d never go. Well, not unless she had her way! The next thing I knew she’d invited me to the top of the Crawford Mountains.

On that day she drove Flora Lee and I through the canyons of abandoned phosphate mines in the Crawford Mountains, with tales of her riding her horse there as a girl with her father. Everything was picture postcard perfect. This picture shows the flooded Bear River back in her banks contrasting those Nancy posted a month ago. We drove all along the mountain range following the hand drawn map their mother, Flora Rex Lamborn left us. Each Rex Ranch was identified along the way.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck Morgan was a prolific letter writer. Part 1.

In 1869, the year following Mellie’s marriage to John Morgan, her mother Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck, left Mellie in charge of her younger siblings and the Groesbeck’s Salt Lake City household while she traveled to Springville, Utah. On August 14 Elizabeth wrote:

My dearly beloved daughter:

I received your kind and welcome letter this morning. I was very glad to hear that you were all well and so willing to do without me till next Friday.
(More of this letter is
posted here.)

Mellie frequently exchanged letters with her husband during the fourteen years he was away from home, assigned to the Southern States Mission as missionary and president.

On November 28, 1875 from Normal, Illinois John’s journal entry read, “It is Sunday, and I have just finished writing to Mellie.” From Selma, Illinois, on 7 March 1876, he wrote, “have written several letters home.” Upon reaching Rossville, Illinois on March 30 he wrote, “received a letter from Mellie with six stamps in it.” While still in Rossville on April 13th he wrote, “received a letter from Mellie.” And on 29 April 1876 In Perrysville, Indiana he wrote,
“received a letter from Mellie, who reported. All Well.”

In his absence Mellie treasured his letters and prepared for his return.

On December 7, 1877 John Morgan arrived in Salt Lake at 8:20 p.m. and recorded in his journal, “Came up home and met my dear wife and children after an absence of 2 years, one month and ten days. My family all well.” The following day he wrote, “About home all day which I enjoyed very much. My wife had a new suit of clothes for me, which I needed very much. The rooms of the house were nicely fixed up and everything looked cosy and neat. I feel very thankful to God for His mercies and blessings.”

In October 1878, while John was back in the mission field, Mellie delivered her fourth child. She wrote to him with the news and on 17 October 1878 he recorded, “Started to write my letters and answered one from my wife informing me that a little babe [Ruth, born 4 October 1878] had been born into my family at home.”

On Christmas day, 1878, in Alabama he recorded, "Early this a.m. Brother R. A. Elkins took Elders Ralph Smith and E. Edlefson 10 miles on the way to Rome. I walked some distance with them and parted leaving them feeling well. In the p.m. I rode to the P. O. and got a letter from my wife. "

John and Mellie undoubtedly longed for the next letter; the familiar hand, the warmth and comfort the written words and news carried with them. However, not one letter written by Mellie to John survived.

(To be continued.)
John Hamilton Morgan Journal, Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah. Helen Rex Frazier collection.