Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mellie's homes on Bryan Avenue.

Continued from here.
These homes are at 359 and 363 Bryan Avenue, Salt Lake City, Utah. I took this picture in 2007, when I happened upon an open house at 359 Bryan Avenue, the house on the left.

According to Nicholas G. Morgan’s biography the home Mellie moved her family to in 1897 was at 363 York Street (York Street was renamed Bryan Avenue prior to the 1910 Census). She was only able to make the move because that year she began receiving a widow's pension from her deceased husband's Civil War Service.

While her son Nick was attending law school and working in Washington D.C. he wrote his Mother a letter on March 15, 1908.

My dear Mother
I must tell you that the senate passed a bill the other day that will raise your pension to $12 p.m
[per month]. All that is required is teddy’s [Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. president 1901-1909] signature and it is a law.

This is 363 Bryan Avenue.

This is 359 Bryan Avenue.

1900 Salt Lake City, Utah Census, 363 York Street

Helen M. (Mellie) Morgan family

1910 Salt Lake City, Utah Census, 359 Bryan Avenue

Helen M. (Mellie) Morgan family

Sonder Sanders' family next door had a daughter

named Ellen Winifred.

Perhaps she is the dear friend Bessie Morgan Rex named

her second daughter after, Winifred Rex Andrus.

1920 Salt Lake City, Utah Census, 359 Bryan Avenue

Helen M. (Mellie) Morgan family

Helen M. (Mellie) Morgan family
This is a picture of Mellie's 359 Bryan Avenue home from my mother, Helen Rex Frazier's, collection. She and so many other family members lived there with their mother and grandmother.

Mellie didn't own this home, her sister Josephine Groesbeck Smith did. You can see it pictured in a history of one of John Henry and Josephine Groesbeck Smith's descendants here.

(To be continued.)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck Morgan's children search for sego bulbs. 1895.

Continued from this post.

In 1895 Mellie sent Ruth and Nick up Capitol Hill on a May day hike. She sent a bandana with them to fill with sego lily bulbs. Their search among the Capitol Hill rock and rubble from the 1876 Arsenal explosion, and remnants of the old Salt Lake City adobe wall was fruitful. The gathered a bonanza of sego bulbs.

“Let’s go, Ruth. We’ve got enough.” Nick held up the bulging bandana, tied at the corners.

“All right, Nick, but you’ve got to promise not to run all the way.” She threw her head back and tossed a bulb into her mouth. …

“I wish Papa was here to eat some of these. He loved them.” The two started down the hill, Nick swinging the loaded bandana.

In 1897 Mellie received a Civil War pension she had applied for during the previous year, with retroactive payments. She was able to move her family south of the city into the Farmers Ward area where they lived in three different homes. Each home is still standing. I will post pictures of them here next.

(To be continued.)

Picture from Wikipedia. Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan; The Man Who Moved City Hall, by Jean R. Paulson, published 1979 by Marjorie Morgan Gray, pgs 40, 56.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck Morgan. 1894-1897. The years following her husband's death.

At the time of John Hamilton Morgan’s death Mellie was 42 yrs old and her children were Helen Melvina Morgan Burt Austin-22, married (son Wallace-4) , Eliza Ann Morgan Smith-19, married, Ruth-16, Nick-10, Gail-6, Bessie-3, Earl-2, John Hamilton-6 mos.

She and her children we able to continue living in their home at 163 South 1st West until 1896 when a sheriff’s order evicted her family from the fifteen-room home her father had given her. They moved into a duplex on Second West between 4th and 5th South. The very next Spring Mellie moved her family from there because “the rent is twenty dollars a month—and Aunt Josephine [her sister, Josephine Groesbeck Smith] is paying it. She and John Henry [Smith] have their own problems. They shouldn’t have to take on ours.”

Mellie and her six remaining children moved to a lumber shack on Armstrong Avenue. At that time Armstrong Avenue extended from State Street west to Main Street approximately opposite Capitol Avenue. Just where that avenue and home were located I have not yet established--presumably on Capitol Hill.

Her son Nick said it was the “second move within the year.” He described this home as a shanty with two rooms and a lean-to-for a kitchen, and in “this slant-ceilinged room was a hand pump which, when muscle was applied, would bring water spurting from a shallow well. The rent was three dollars a month, and this was paid by Uncle Joe [Mellie’s brother, Joseph Smith Groesbeck] Groesbeck.

After her rent was paid, Mellie provided for her family with the help of a twenty-five dollar a month tithing order, Nicks earnings, and whatever money she earned sewing and doing housework for others. Family history states Mellie worked for women she formerly hired to work for her.

In spite of the confusion these changes may have caused her family, Mellie would not let it permeate her home or the values she’d established there. With her prized furniture under sheets in a storage room and in her sister’s barn, night fell on their new two-room home. The children made a game of where to throw mattresses and quilts for their sleeping arrangements. Their mother stood in the doorway and “decreed that the beds must be in orderly rows.”

This picture is labeled Kennsington and was probably taken in the 1950's. Thanks for the picture cousin Karen M. I believe it must be the Armstrong Avenue "shanty" Mellie's son Nick writes about. I need to look into this further. I know the family lived near Capitol Hill for a while, because of an account in the book Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan; The Man Who Moved City Hall by Jean R. Paulson, copyright, 1979 by Marjorie Morgan Gray, which is my source for this post.

The index page for all John Hamilton and Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck Morgan posts is here.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Grandmother Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck Morgan. Independent and outspoken.

Independent and outspoken are the two adjectives great grandmother Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck Morgan’s granddaughters used to describe her when we visited a couple of weeks ago. Eighty years after she passed away they recalled that she remained VERY independent and outspoken throughout her life.

They enjoyed sharing the fact that a neighbor boy, Robert Dansie (who later became an attorney), kept a German Shepherd dog, who on occasion would run through Grandma Mellie’s back field of flowers. Filled with beautiful cosmos blossoms one year, she could not tolerate the dog running through her field. She became so infuriated at the dog and her neighbor that she called the police and reported them. She complained to the police because the city would tolerate a dog running loose through her field of flowers, and they had denied her the right to keep a cow in her back field.

In this case Grandmother Mellie’s complaint may have been rooted in her family’s history of keeping a cow behind their house.

In the early 1900’s Mellie and her children farmed and gardened at their home on Bryan Avenue, as many in the Farmers-Waterloo Ward area did. When son Nicholas was seventeen years old he worked for a neighbor, doing morning chores each day, and he earned his mother their own Jersey cow. Nick built a small barn at the rear of his mother’s home of patchwork and odd-sized boards to house the cow, which loved to wander elsewhere.

Early one morning when Nick returned from chores he found his sister Gail waiting at the gate to inform him that the cow was gone, “and Constable Sam Nowell got her. He impounded her.” The “impound corral” was in the center of the block between Seventeenth South and Eighteenth South, and between Third and Fourth East streets.

Nick went to retrieve the family cow. He found no one home at the Nowell residence, so he went to the corral where he found their Jersey in a muddy mess; her belly and udder were covered with muck, her feet made sucking-slobbering sounds as she struggled to the fence, and just as he spotted her a wide cake of muck fell off her side. Trembling with rage, Nick led her out of the corral to her own shed, blocks away.

An hour later, as he was finishing his breakfast, Nick looked out the window to see Constable Nowell traipsing through the back lot toward the cowshed with a rope in his hand. Nick ran out the door and met Nowell at the shed door, “Where’d you get that cow, boy?” Nick told him. “Then you take her right back where you found her.”

“In that filth? Not my cow!” Nick described a verbal confrontation, some tripping and falling, and demanding, and a criminal complaint filed against the seventeen-year-old.

Justice of the Peace Francis M. Bishop, who was also Nick’s Sunday School teacher, came around the next day with a bit of advice, “Pay the fine.” Nick paid the fine, one dollar! [1]

[1] Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan; the Man who Moved City Hall, by Jean R. Paulson, Press Publishing Limited, Provo, Utah, 1979, pgs 61-62.

Picture of cosmos flowers and Jersey cow from Wikipedia. Thank you, cousin Karen M. for this beautiful picture of Grandmother Mellie Morgan.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Helen Melvina Groesbeck and Mary Ann Linton Morgan. 1894 cure for a baby.

Two weeks ago when I met some of Great Grandfather John Hamilton Morgan’s granddaughters, I heard a very interesting story.

Our group of eight sat around a table and visited over lunch. Pat (whose given name is Helen) is John Hamilton Morgan’s (II) [1894-1982] eldest daughter.

Pat asked me if I knew her grandfather’s youngest (third) wife. I said, "yes," I knew she was Mary Ann Linton Morgan.

“She saved my father’s life!” She declared, just like that.

“He had Pyloric stenosis,“ she explained, “and Mary Ann told Grandma how to make a gruel of flour and water, which she did. Feeding my father that gruel saved his life.”

Wow! I’d never heard that miraculous story before.

I’d also never heard of Pyloric stenosis. A look through Wikipedia when I returned home enlightened me. Pyloric stenosis (or infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis) is a condition that causes severe vomiting in the first few months of life. There is narrowing (stenosis) of the opening from the stomach to the intestines, due to enlargement (hypertrophy) of the muscle surrounding this opening (the pylorus, meaning "gate"), which spasms when the stomach empties. It is uncertain whether there is a real congenital narrowing or whether there is a functional hypertrophy of the muscle which develops in the first few weeks of life.
1894 was an extreme year in the lives of Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck and Mary Ann Linton Morgan, wives of John Hamilton Morgan. They each gave birth to their youngest child, and their husband became extremely ill and died on August 14, 1894. Family accounts report that baby John was too ill for Mellie to remain in Preston, Idaho with her dying husband.

In 1894 Grandmother Mellie needed a miracle to save her baby’s life. Mary Ann gave Mellie the life-saving directions that spared baby John. A hundred years later John's daughter passed this miraculous story on to me.

Mary Ann Linton Morgan's autobiography is posted here on The Ancestor Files where you can also read about other faith promoting incidences in her life.

A link to John and Mellie's family group sheet is here.

Mary Ann's sons are Linton 1890, Harold 1892, Mathias Cowley 1894.

Pioneer rosebush blooming in 2009 at the side of my home. Mary Ann Linton Morgan and her sons is from the Ancestor Files link above.