Monday, December 31, 2012

"Well it looks as though we are in the war at last" December 9, 1941.

December 9, 1941. John Morgan Rex wrote: “Well it looks as though we are in the war at last. I hope they soon get us to where we can do something”.

Johnny sent these post cards to his sister Helen, while he was at "Neutral Ports"  in the Pacific following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

This series of John Morgan Rex's involvement in World War II will be completed in the next few weeks, and links will be added below.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was bombed December 7, 1941.

John Morgan Rex at Hamilton Field, Marin County, California about 1941
Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier were living in Oakland, California and attending Church on Sunday December 7, 1941 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. They heard about it as they left the building and rushed home to turn on their radio.

Helen’s brother John Morgan Rex was stationed at nearby Hamilton Field. On December 5th he left for the Philippines aboard the troop transport SS President Johnson. After learning of the December 7th  Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the President Johnson returned to San Francisco.

The following letters from Helen’s collection better tell their story.
John Morgan (Johnny) at his barracks at Hamilton Field, California,
or during schooling in Illinois; at Scotts Field and Rantoul.

Letter dated and postmarked San Francisco, December 9, 1941.
Dear Sis,
Just a note to let you know everything is ok. I am in a Neutral port and safe. We are awaiting further orders. I sent you a wire “collect” and I don’t know if you got it or not. They may not send them out. I hope so though as I sent one to the folks too. I also sent them a letter. You write them too won’t you. Well it looks as though we are in the war at last. I hope they soon get us to where we can do something. I’d like to say more but this country of ours is at stake and we can take no chances.

Oh the only way I could send a wire was collect so don’t think I am trying to chisel you out of anything.
I’ll drop you a line later as soon as I find out about where we are going, but I’ll never tell you where I am at so don’t worry. Well I must get this off so I will stop.

Take care of yourselves and I’ll do the same.
Bye for now,
Lots of Love, Johnny
Oakland, California
1309 Derby Ave
December 10, 1941
Dearest Johnny:
Received your most welcome letter today. To be honest with you, you don’t know how happy I was to get it. At first I thought you must have mailed it before you left San Francisco. We didn’t get the wire. Guess they have been too busy.

Oh Johnny we saw you leave. We were on the fishing docks. We got over there about 6:45 p.m. They wouldn’t let us in because it was so late. It certainly looked like there were lots of men.

Your packages arrived OK. It was very sweet of you my dear. I hid them in the cedar chest and Glenn doesn’t even know I have them. Also the money order.  I’m going to do some shopping today. Get something for Harold & Diana and get it on its way.
I have a letter from Winnie. They are having a reception on the 12th, Joy that is this Friday, for her.

Everyone at the Ward inquires about you, particularly Ralph and Aileen. I’ll have to let them know I have heard from you.
So far I haven’t heard any of the warnings. We did miss the radio Monday night.
 We only held a short mutual last night, because there was to be a black out.

I sent an Airmail letter to the folks yesterday saying not to worry and that we are ok. I guess there will be those who will feel safer in the mountains and will return home.
Well I have to get to work. Inasmuch as I have to go to Leadership meeting tonight. I thought I would get this written now.

We constantly pray for your safe keeping Johnny dear. I’ll write often, and hope you receive them all.
Loads of Love [Helen]

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex. Letter June 23, 1937.

Choke Cherry Blossoms from Wikipedia.
Randolph, Utah
Wednesday, June 23, 1937.
My dear boy,
Well, this is your sister’s new typewriter, that is, the writing, and this is your mother doing the thinking of it. I have been making FLORA a dress, but stopped to get this written. You see, last Sunday was conference, and last week I was a very busy woman. Then Sunday there were meetings all day until nine at night, so I had no chance to write.  Clara was down to the afternoon meeting, but her folks had gone to Provo to visit. She is still a very sweet girl, so don’t worry if you don’t hear from her all the time.
I must tell you. Ben [Rex] gave Afton [James] a diamond last week. Oh me. You know Afton, and how she would act.
It is beautiful weather here now. We thought it would never warm up, but finally summer has come. Aunt Edna [Rex] took me to Monte last evening. It is so beautiful up there. The roads are grand. No dust; and the scenery is gorgeous. I suppose though you are used to beautiful scenery. Mr. Murray from the college was here yesterday. He asked about you. Did you ever write him? He would be delighted to hear from you. Excuse letters missed and extra spaces. This is a funny little jigger to work, and I shall have to get used to it. I am going to practice the touch system though. Maybe some day I shall want a job. I am wondering what to tell you. We didn’t get a letter from you this week, and I surely missed it. Nothing much happens up here. It was Mutual and Relief Society conference convention, so we just had board members from the organizations. It was very good though, but I must confess the women were the best speakers.
There are some choke cherry blossoms we gathered yesterday, on the buffet and they surely do smell sweet. Are there tall pines and quaken asp groves down there, or are they distinctly American, or Rocky Mountain. They are most beautiful anyway. I brought down a few shrubs, so maybe by the time you come home they will be growing well.
They played “Red Sails in the Sunset” the other night on the radio, and Oh dear, did I get homesick to see my boy. Willard Tingey sails the 28th for home. Doesn’t seem like he has been gone two years tough. His father always asks me how that Brazilian is. Oh, and Mr. Guymon told me to tell you hello.
Mr. Jackson is working in his garden. Cant you see him, grubbing along each row, clearing out every weed. He gets a little slower each year, and a little more crippled. Poor old fellow. Did we tell you Ina was going to be married. She is going to marry Patriarch Easton’s son. They live in Diamondville. However the patriarch did two weeks ago. Do you remember him?
Did I tell you Helen gave me a lovely pressure cooker for our wedding day. It is a beauty. I shall put [up] plenty of vegetables this summer. I feel so much better now, and have a little ambition to do things, for which I am very glad. I shall cook you a nice dinner in it when you come home, in just thirty to forty five minutes.
Maeser is going out with the bulls this next week. I object, but that doesn’t help any. His father says you were much smaller than he when you first went out. Well, be that as it may, I think father gets some things mixed, and I am afraid, by the time his boys are grown he will have them doing certain things when they were mere infants. Maeser is such a little wart, I think it is too much for his constitution. Of  course I do remember you piled on a horse and off to the hills when you looked like a little pickle sitting up there, but your father was usually with you, wasn’t he?
I am beginning to get tired sitting here, so I must stop for a while and do something else. This is going to be a joy though. Say, Winnie keeps asking about missionaries to Brazil, but there haven’t been any yet. I am sorry we haven’t got those things that you wanted, to you.
Well, here it is the next morning and I must finish this and get it off with Helen’s letter. No wonder she could write to fill pages. She indents so far, that half of the page is empty.

Well, Maeser got off this morning, with his lips all greased. They have to go over the whole east range during breakfast. Remember. It is a beautiful day, and I must work outside before the mosquitoes get too thick. They are plenty this summer, but of course that is a sign that things are growing.
Well, my dearie, write each week. I believe you have more time than we do. I suppose you don’t think so. Well, anyway, we love to get your letters, so write long ones. Must close now and get this off. We all send best love, and mother sends an extra lot, prayiong that the Lord will ever bless you in your work.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex. May 30, 1937 letter.

Flora Rex Lamborn 1937-38.
At home, Sunday evening.
May 30, 1937.
My very dear boy,
Helen has the typewriter from the office here, and so I shall make good use of it. Her typewriter hasn't come yet, and will I be glad when it does come. Oh, my dear, we do neglect you so. But you see last week, was a mixup. Heln got home from California Monday night, and the Sat. before I had taken Flora up to Evanston to dance, and got all tired out, and so I was simply on the lift all week long. Am feeling very much myself again now though, and shall try to not let it happen very soon again. I suppose you like to hear from this forsaken valley, dont you. I received two letters week before last and then none last week. We did enjoy your last letters so, and we are so glad you are enjoying your work.
It has been raining and snowing today; dark and miserable. A great Memorial Day. But we wont mind the storm. We need it, and nothing is up far enough to be hurt if it should turn cold. The valley does look quite green and pretty right now, and the mosquitoes haven't started yet. The best time of the year here.
Went to church, and Mearl and Helen Kennedy talked. It was to be on Genealogy, but Helen wasn't prepared on that subject. Mearl took the Seminary class down to the Temple a short time ago, and they had a wonderful time. He told us their experiences today.
I called Clara up when I was in Evanston last Saturday. She is working in Central. I didn't go up there tho' as we had taken a room and had the kiddies resting. They were surely cute. Your sister is some tap dancer. You'll see when you come home.
Floyd Kennedy is leaving this year. He didn't get a contract to come back. I am sorry. I wanted her to take music from him. Oh, between Helen getting her English lesson, and Flora trying to write you a letter I am all mixed up. Daddy and the boys have gone to the field to milk. I do hope they wont get too wet. They were soaked this morning. Morgan had a new pair of gray trousers and white shoes to wear today. I think he will surprise you when you get back. He has grown so.
I think Winnie is coming home for the 12th of June, our wedding day. I shall be so glad. She hasn't been up for some time, and I surely get homesick to see the pair of you, but that is all the good it does for you. Well, the time is flying by, when you look back, but an awful long time to look forward. I cant get any inspiration from the weather today. It gives one the blues to look out at gray dripping skies. I always do think of this little verse of Longfellow's.
Be still sad heart, and cease repining.
Behind the clouds the sun is shining.
Thy fate is the common fate of all;
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.
Well dearly, I just cant think of anything worthwhile. Daddy will put in a few lines, I think, and I know Helen's letter will interest you. Nothing has happened here. So I think I shall close. I get tired sitting on a straight back hard chair. Keep up you good work, and may the Lord's blessings be with you. We are very proud of you, and I surely do hope to see the other two boys go when they are old enough. Love and best wishes from all of us and a good big hug from

Note: Portions of this letter were posted here on August 21, 2009.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex. Unknown day in May 1937 letter.

These Spring 1937 letters explain so many things. Cousin Gail H. gave me this picture of her Grandmother Gail Clayton. It is a picture of Bessie Morgan Rex (L-R) and her sisters Gail Morgan Clayton and Helen Morgan Burt Austin. It was probably taken in front of one of their homes while Bessie was in Salt Lake receiving treatment from Dr. Pyott.

[unknown day in May 1937]

My dear boy,
I had a part of a page typewritten to you & now I cant find it. You didn’t get a letter last week did you.  It was my fault. I was to write. I had been to S.L. [Salt Lake] and came home feeling so much better, but it will take me some months to build up. So it was my slowness, dearie.

It is a beautiful May morn. Daddy has just loaded a 7B milk cow for market. The only one thank goodness.
I told you so much on that piece of paper. I don’t think they are sending missionaries to Brazil any more. None going this time. Your shirts will reach you in time to wear them home.

Clara & her mother & father were in to see me a week ago. It was the music festival. She is a lovely girl. Tonight is the Primary May festival. This is a busy time of year.
I hope you get your money on time this month. Daddy is late

getting it down. It will come, so don’t worry. 

So you get the Reaper? Well there is not much to read. It might keep you in practice with your English. It will be “Pardon my foreign accent.” Will you. Yes? I’m glad it is cooling off there – and warming up here. It has been a long winter. Seems so good to see green grass again. Salt Lake is lovely this time of year. Winnie and I had such a nice time. She is a dear. 
Well, I better close & find that piece of paper. Will write more next time. Am getting stronger & have more ambition. I need it. I went to Dr. Pyott. His is chiropractor dietician & I take no drugs. He has certainly done wonders for me. 
Helen says H. Hunger is going with Ruby’s cousin, a Probst girl.

Keep up your good work my son. I hope you keep the spirit with you when you come home as well as Mearl P. has. He is a fine young man. I know the Lord is helping you. Love & kisses from all of us.
Lovingly Mother
Note: There is a 1946 picture of the Pyott Sanitorian and Clinic at 1213 East 13th South in Salt Lake on the Utah State Historical Society picture database here.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Percy Harold (P. H.) Rex. Letter to Harold April 18, 1937.

Picture of the P. H. Rex sons; L-R, Maeser, Morgan, Harold, 1930.

Note: The note across the top of this letter reads: Being chief cook and bottle washer along with going to work is some job. I do think of you lots. Will write a big long letter this week. Love, Helen
Randolph, Utah.
April 18 – 37.
My Dear Boy,
Just another Sunday night and time to start a few more lines to the little Boy down in the South. We are all pretty well up here. We did not get a letter from you last week but the week before we received two. It seems that is the way your letters come lately, every other week  two at a time.
We sure get a jack out of your letters and look forward to the time when we receive them, to know you are well and enjoying your labors, which I hope you do every minute of it.
We took mother to Salt Lake City last Tuesday to the Basic Food Clinic and she is still in the city. He gave her a diet and keep [kept] her there to give her treatments. We had a letter from her last night and she is feeling fine and able to eat better than she has done all winter. They treat her just well at Aunt Gails, but she said she is home sick I wonder if you know what that
is. I hope you never have it very bad.
To think that by the time this reaches you you will have about half of your time behind you, the last half will not seem so long, I hope. But to look back it does not seem so long in a way since we said good bye that morning when the wind was blowing so hard. I don’t think I will ever forget it.
We have spring now but there has not been any farm work done as yet, it is so wet. We are sort of catching up a little on moisture as the ground is so wet, and the snow melting, that it has the river out of its banks, the creeks are all full of water too. It washed out several hundred yards of the railroad over here in Nugget Canyon going to Kemmerer last week, and they had to send there trains by Ogden, but they have it fixed up now.

Helen is here writing to some you can guess very early she is quite thrilled she has her lay off or vacation coming up the 15 of May and is going down to Calif, to see that fellow from Woodruff. We had Sunday school union meeting here today and Miss Burdett was down today. Helen was there and saw her in fact. Miss James came up here with her and say [said] if Ben did not take a fresh notion for her, he is pretty slow, as she sure looked very nice in her new spring outfit.
Last Sunday we had the Evanston choir down to sing for us and the Bishop to speak. We always like to have Harold talk and the choir sing. John Nielson always has them Pretty well trained and timed. They put on an Easter cantata but they don’t seem to have the same kind of music and melody that the good LDS Hymns do--at least to me.

May be mother has told you we were thinking of make [making] a change in the house so we can have an apartment upstairs to rent. We have to parties wanting it now, so this steam Heat is popular  in this cold country. I had better hurry and fill this side of the paper as it is time I was in bed as it is past ten o clock. The boys are going now, Maeser has been asleep on the couch. They are pretty good boys. They have done the work the past two days, as Friday when I came home from Feeding  I felling [fell] and hurt my back so I have been unable to help since. But feel pretty good tonite and hope to be able to get out in the morning and get at the chores, as they have to go to school and I will have to feed the cattle and take care of the milk Cows. Morgan is getting to be quite a man, he has grown quite a little this winter. I will be drawing to a close again asking our Father in heaven to continue his choicest Blessing on you, that you may ever become more of a success in your labors in his work is my Prayer for you, with Love Daddy
[written along the top left side] Excuse the mistakes and pencil.
Note: I added some punctuation to this letter.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Percy Harold Rex letter to his son Harold. March 22, 1937.

P H Rex standing in front of his wife, or his mother's, flower garden in Randolph, Utah. About 1937. It had to be a Sunday!

Randolph, Utah
March 22 - 37.
My Dear Boy,
I will try and write you a few lines again it seems these weeks  roll around before we know it and two weeks go by before we get a letter off to you it is almost shameful the way we treat you by not getting a letter off each week. I understand you are getting a letter from Evanston real often now so that may help to break the time up a little that we fail.
I hope you are well and continue to enjoy your labors as in the past we are all fine up here with the exception of Mothers stomach it still bothers her some she feels just fine at times then others she is not so well. Grand mother Rex is pretty good for her age, I wonder if you have ever written to her and sent her a picture of yourself she would think it very nice of you if you can spare the time to do so as I think she has enjoyed a letter from some of her other grandsons and I think my son one of the finest boys she has. I hope that neither of them ever do what some of the other Grandsons do. I think if you could see the way these little fellows crawl out in the morning when

I call them you would be rather ashamed of the way you were in the morning at getting up [on] time. I think you will remember me telling you to get on the U.S. Government Payroll well I managed with a tip from the Bishop to get on and did my first days work to day at $5.00 per day not so bad for a man on the shady side of fifty.

We are having some real March weather  snow, wind and slop around the yards. I think that if I had money enough to travel one month out of the year it would be March as it is so hard on the face and lips I would go to the warmer climate.
We had stake conference here yesterday a spiritual feast we had apostle Merril up and he gave us 2 very fine talks it was just grand to sit in the new Building every thing clean and nice some 428 people there and room enough for 125 to 175 more we have been using it for everything since we got into it to save the expence [sic] of heating the other up.

Clair E. Carrel Johnson and Blain Marshall are out in the mission field by now and Sheldon K. and William Smith go in the Mission Home on the 29 of March but they will be out in field by the time you get this. If you ever get down in the mouth because you are so far away you had better read an article in the Feb Era written by Brother [illegible words] I had better close now asking the Lord to let his richest Blessings be with you at all times to inspire you to greater work are the Blessings we ask for you [illegible]
Note: I didn’t add punctuation to this letter of P.H. Rex’s, but enjoyed its lack thereof as he wrote his thoughts to his son.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex's history of her Grandfather Nicholas Groesbeck. 1935.

I purchased this picture of Salt Lake City's Kenyon Hotel on e-Bay last year. It was cut from a pamphlet of some sort. The Kenyon Hotel Nicholas Groesbeck built undoubtedly stood on the same corner (2nd South and Main Street) years earlier. Nicholas Groesbeck died in 1884. This card states that the main building opened 1899. The Annex opened in 1900.

The following brief  history of Nicholas Groesbeck was written by his granddaughter Bessie Morgan Rex in 1935 when she submitted her application to become a member of Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. I posted it here three years ago. A close read of her hand written account reveals many interesting facts about her grandfather.

"Nicholas Groesbeck joined the church at the age of 19. He was baptized by Patriarch Hyrum Smith. He lived in Springfield, Ill, but made many trips to Nauvoo, and was intimately acquainted with the prophet, acting as his bondsman at one time. He knew Abraham Lincoln who acted as his counsel on several occasions.
"When he came to Utah he brought considerable merchandise, and engaged in general merchandizing. He later turned to real estate and mining, and provided the money to develop the noted Flagstaff Mine in Little Cottonwood. He later sold it and purchased real estate in Salt Lake. He built the Kenyon Hotel at a cost of $200,000. He became interested in the development of coal & iron, & was director of the Deseret Savings and several railroads. He was recognized as one of the outstanding financiers of his day.
"Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck was very good to those who needed help & when her husband gained wealth she spent her time helping the poor & meeting immigrant trains to give them food & clothing.

Nicholas Groesbeck's biography begins here. An index to all of the posts about Nicholas Groesbeck is found here

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1914-1919 World War I. Helen Melvina "Mellie" Groesbeck Morgan worked with the Red Cross.

Someone must have said, 
“Oh, Mother, you look so nice in your uniform, let me take a picture.”

Cousin Karen M. asked me some time ago if I’d like a picture she had of Great Grandmother Helen Melvina Morgan wearing her Red Cross Volunteer uniform.  At the time I wasn't interested. As I have pieced her life together, I now understand where it fits. Her granddaughter Helen Rex Frazier recalled those years in her autobiography.

Helen wrote, “World War I was being fought in Europe at this time. Grandma Morgan [Helen Melvina Groesbeck Morgan] came from Salt Lake to visit [Randolph, Utah]. I remember watching her knit socks and scarves for the Red Cross and watching her and mother save the pits from peaches for use in making gas (I believe). They let Harold and I arrange them in dripper pans as they put them out to dry."  [Helen and Harold were 5 and 3 in 1918.]

Peach pits were used during World War I as filter for their gas masks. They would soak them in urine and make a special charcoal out of them that was used for the mask. World War I years were 1914-1919. Peach pits would have been available at canning time from August-September.

Presumably Helen Melvina “Mellie” Morgan was a part of the American Red Cross.

During an extremely active era beginning in 1917, the Greater Salt Lake Area Chapter of the American Red Cross saw the creation of several essential services. Home Service, the forerunner of our current Armed Forces Emergency Services, helped families cope with the problems associated with having a loved one in the military. Classes in First Aid and Home Nursing were begun and Canteen Service was started up to assist with wartime needs. The local Red Cross provided nursing services throughout the state during the Spanish influenza epidemic of 1918.

During World War I, 2,000 Utah Red Cross volunteers shipped bandages to the frontlines and clothing to impoverished Belgian families.

In 1918 Grandmother Morgan’s son John Hamilton was training in the armed forces as the letter he wrote his mother that appeared in a Salt Lake Newspaper and posted here attests.

I was moved by the realization that in the course of writing her autobiography, three years prior to her passing, Helen recalled her Grandmother Morgan’s visit to Randolph, and that her mother Bessie joined with her mother’s “war efforts.” 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Helen Rex's 1937 trip to Los Angeles. Concluded.

 “Anyway I think I was pretty brave.”

You most certainly were brave Mother--you traveled alone on a bus from Randolph to Los Angeles in 1937. That’s pretty brave in this daughter’s eyes. And then you found yourself a nice hotel apartment in downtown Los Angeles to live in during your stay.

Apr 4 1937 letter from Helen to her brother Harold in Brazil, describing her trip to Los Angeles to visit Glenn Frazier.

Friday we went to Santa Monica, Ella, Mrs. Eastman, Glenn and I. We had lots of fun. We had our lunch in the nicest café. From the window where we sat we could look right out over the ocean, and we had fish. We saw Betty Davies Home there. It is right on the ocean shore. There is a boulevard goes right around the coast line. We drove around it and saw some of the most beautiful views of the ocean. Then we came out in Beverley Hills and saw Will Rodger’s Polo field and ranch. I can’t explain it to you, you really have to see it all. We will go someday together I hope.

I forgot to tell you, Thursday night, we went to the Palomar dance hall. It is hardly as large as Cocoa Nut Grove in Salt Lake, but more elaborately decorated. Ted Fio Reto’s Orchestra was there. We dance up close to the orchestra pit and watched him p[lay the piano. That was sort of a thrill.

Something else.  I saw Mary Pickford on the porch of her home, and we were driving home Friday night and saw Errol Flynn. Were we excited? Oh, no. Ela, Glenn and I all said at once. “That is Errol Flynn.” I don’t remember whether he was very popular when you left, but he has made some good shows. On Friday night we went to a theatre in Hollywood and saw Romeo and Juliet. It is wonderful. Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard play in it. I hope you can see it someday. This theatre is a Chinese theatre, and in the cement walk in front of it, are the hand marks and feet marks of the movie stars. Janet Gaynor’s Bill Hart’s, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and lots of others. It is quite the thing.

Saturday we went to Exposition Park. The Los Angeles Colosseum is there, where the University of California and Southern California play football. It is simply huge, and that doesn’t explain it. Glenn says he is going to see a football game there next fall. Then there are buildings there with plants, minerals, and all kinds of things telling of the history of California. There is the skeleton of a huge elephant unearthed there someplace. It was all so very interesting, and we had to go through it in a hurry.

Sunday I checked out and started for home, it was awful. I left there at 6 p.m. and arrived home 11 p.m. Monday night. We crossed the desert in the night and with a full moon. It was a beautiful sight.

I also saw the sight where the Mormon Temple is to be built. It is near the University of Southern California. They purchased the land from Harold Lloyd Estate. It is in the beautiful part of the city. You see Hollywood, Beverely Hills and Westwood village are just suburbs of Los Angeles.

There were lots of other things I saw, but heavens I have written nearly three full pages, and I’ll bet while you have been reading this yarn you should have been studying, so must be stopping. The folks will be writing also.

When I came through Salt Lake, I saw Winnie. We had a stop of an hour and a half there. She is fine. She is the sweetest kid. Always has a smile on her face. I would liked to have stayed longer with her, but couldn’t. She is planning on coming home soon, so we will have a good visit. She is taking her vacation in August. Wish you were going to be home, so we could have a good family reunion. Maybe I won’t be home when you come back. If all goes well until fall for us, I think I’ll be making a new home. Glenn has done fairly well so far. There are so many strikes down there, it is rather a hard pull. When you come home, I hope these things are settled up. The place he is working at, has been under strike for two months. If it goes another month, and nothing more happens, then legally the strike is supposed to be over. He will then have a chance to work steady. It isn’t hardly what he wants, but it will be something to live on until he gets into a Diesel Company. It is with the Pacific Freight Lines, but they use Diesel trucks. He wants to work into a company where they sell the Diesel tractors, and all that.

We have been having some lovely rain storms here. Everything is nice and green. There was a dance last night, but didn’t go. I’m still recovering from last week.

Well old dear, We love you heaps and do miss you. Oh, say Willard Tingey has his release and will be home next month some time. One year from now, we can be saying it won’t be very long before Harold will be starting toward home.

Love & Kisses, Helen

Two years ago Winnie’s daughter wrote about her mother and posted here on her blog a lovely picture of Winnie. That is the girl Helen greeted on her trip home to Randolph.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Helen Rex's May 1937 trip to Los Angeles, California.

On April 4, 1937 Helen Rex wrote in a letter to Harold:  "Well it has been five months since I saw Glenn last. He should be on a mission. He is fine, working most of the time. Sometimes his letters are so cheerful and other times he gets down in the mouth, but such is life. A fellow from Mississippi is living with him, and he doesn’t even have any kind of work, so Glenn does feel pretty good about his luck."

On May 29, 1937 in a letter to her brother Harold, Helen Rex wrote the following account of her trip to Los Angeles, California to see Glenn Frazier.

A week ago at this time I was in California. Now it is all memories. I was going to write from down there, but didn’t get it done. Anyway now I can tell you all about it. We surely had a grand time. I mean Glenn and I. He had to work some of the time, but got a couple of days off. I got down there the night of the 15th. Went on the bus and it was twenty minutes late. Glenn said he had nearly worn the corner off the street.

The first day I was there we went to the Forest Lawn Memorial Park. It is a beautiful burial grounds. There is some of the most beautiful sculpture work in there I have ever seen. There are two little churches there too, that are beautiful. Will Rodger’s funeral was held in one of them. Lots of the society of Los Angeles get married there.  Jannette McDonald is going to be married there in June. We took a lot of good pictures there.

The next day Helen went down town herself. I got me a hotel apartment to live in. It was surely nice and just as reasonable in price as a hotel in the center of town. I was only about three blocks from where Glenn lived. The center of Los Angeles is Broadway. On the corner of Broadway andSeventh Street is supposed to be the busiest corner in the world. The people are so thick there, that you can’t walk without rubbing shoulders, and the street is so narrow. Just barely enough room for two car tracks and two lanes for automobiles, beside the side walk. On one corner is one of Los Angeles largest theatres, Bullock’s store on another, the Bank of America on the third, and on the fourth the Hamilton Jewelry store. The Bullock department store is just immense. It takes in just one-half of the block on Broadway and one-half of the block on Seventh.
Then on Tuesday, Glenn’s cousin Ella and his Aunt Maude Eastman, (re-member her) took me to Hollywood and out to see the movie star’s homes. I got pictures of Mary Pickford’s home, Ronald Coleman’s Fred Astaire’s, Charley Chaplain’s and the estate of Gene Stratton Porter. I had some of the others pointed out to me, but couldn’t take their picture, because they were so far away. We went way up on the mountain and looked down on the city, it is a beautiful sight.

Wednesday we went to Long Beach. There I got my first sight of the ocean. I was surely thrilled. Water, water and more water, but I guess you know what that is. However, I’m not as good a sailor as you my dear. I was on the water about 5 hours and got sea sick. Maybe it wasn’t seas sick, but I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand up. We went out to a big ship had dinner and danced. It was anchored about 9-1/2 miles out. They had a big room where they gambled. Oh, I never saw so much money in all my life. You know those big wheels they whirl and every game you could think of. There were just piles and piles of silver dollars. Glenn & I kept our money in our pocket. Daddy called me tight, but I am a poor looser.

Thursday I went down town again. Glenn laughed at me, because I said I stayed on Broadway between Fifth Street and Ninth streets. My directions weren’t so good and I didn’t want to get too far from where I caught my car. Anyway I think I was pretty brave. There were enough stores between those streets for a person to go window shopping all day. There is a big furniture store called the Eastern. Glenn’s cousin Roy Eastman works there and June Tingey’s uncle. It is in a building 14 stories high. Every floor is filled with furniture. The window decorations were just beautiful. The Bus depot is on main street, Right next to it is one of the largest hotels in L.A., the Rosslyn, but other than that Main street is an awful place. Lots of foreigners down there.

Helen's account of her trip to Los Angeles to be continued.

A picture of Maud Eastman is at the bottom on this post.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex - 1937 Spring undated letters.

Glenn and Helen Rex Frazier, probably 1936
when she visited him in Los Angeles, California.
My dear boy,
It is Sunday evening. Helen & Daddy have been to Mutual & now Helen says we must all write a letter. I have been very negligent, haven’t I? Have been enjoying rather poor health, but am feeling better now.
Morg sits here with a book on aviation trying to show me a new type of machine with the stabilizer on the top of the rudder—get it? Well, you should be around here for awhile.
We were delighted to get your airmail letter, & so delighted to know you were transferred to Joinville. It is surely a pleasure to know you are so pleased &; we surely feel repaid when we know you are making progress. The weather has been delightful. It is warm & sunshiny during the day. The snow is melting ; blackbirds—they fill the trees.

The ward held a reunion last Wed. Everybody had a very nice time, I think. The hall is so grand. Bishop & Sis. Oluf Larson were up. Now, my dear boy, he has sent you 10$ & you have not written to thank him. Please do so right away. Their address is
216 D St., Salt Lake. They are both very much interested in you. Grace Norris told me to be sure & remember her to you. Every body of course asks about you.
Oh Helen says to tell you she & Glenn haven’t any day set yet. They have a hard time trying to get married but we must all have patience with them.
My dearie, it is morning & Helen has her letter all ready. My, I’m slow. It is cold & foggy this morning, but I think we are going to have an early Spring. You haven’t told us whether you got your garments. I can’t understand your not getting but two letters a month. I very seldom miss a week.
One year has gone. It seems an age since you left. These missionaries are in the home now. Will get those shirts to you if we can get hold of a missionary for Brazil.

Must close & get this off. Be a good boy, study hard & get all you can from your mission. That is your part my dear boy & may the Lord be with you to inspire you. Lovingly Mother.
My dear boy,
Well if I cant do any better, I shall use a pencil on type paper & sit in front of the stove. You didn’t get a letter last week, did you dearie, but really, I was sick all last week. Helen was studying to give a story at conference last night. Daddy has a new job. He is on the soil conservation committee. Everybody is so busy around here. Helen has to go to Coalville tomorrow to take an examination. Is she excited. She better get married.

We haven’t had a letter for two weeks, but if you haven’t been getting our letters, well I don’t blame you, but really dearie, this last week I believe is about the second time I have missed writing.
Yesterday was conference, and Br. & Sis Burdett were here for dinner. We had a lovely time. Then after church Clara & Afton came up to see me. You see, they held meeting in the new amusement hall & the seats aren’t comfortable, so I thot I better not go. I feel much better today though. Clara is a lovely girl, & we are all glad you got a letter to her. She seemed very much pleased too. Bro. Jos. T. Merrill was here for conference & everybody enjoyed him so much.

Evanston is crazy about our new hall. It is surely grand. Did they tell you the basketball tournament. [?] Helen says yes.
Morgan is--what would you say, girl struck—or maybe it is the girl

[illegible]  Woodruff has asked him to go to a party with her. Does that boy get razzed? He pleaded with me not to tell Maeser.
I suppose you got the news of the terrible explosion in Texas. 425 children killed in an explosion. Bro. Merrill told the people yesterday to not expect better.  It wasn’t common.

I am to give a book report tomorrow in Relief Society & I have had to study. My ambition is at a low ebb.
Don’t you get the Des. News or Sat. News. I thot they sent it out to the missions. Let me know & we will try to get something down to you.

I am so glad you are at Joinville. I worried about you at Blumenau.
Next morning. I see the family has been writing. It has snowed several inches during the night. Not a very good day for Helen to go to Coalville.

Well, my dear I must close. I wonder if you will have a strong German accent when you come home. You are having wonderful opportunities. Make the most of them. I know the Lord is helping and it is just for us to do our part.
Love & kisses my dear from all of us & I should certainly love to give you an big hug. Time is going tho; isn’t it;

Lovingly, Mother.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Brothers Double Blessing, August 9, 1894.

September 6, 2012 I visited the Church History Library in Salt Lake City to look at the Fourteenth Ward’s original membership records. I determined that if I could locate a blessing record for Mellie Groesbeck and John Hamilton Morgan’s youngest son I would be able to prove or dispel the notion that the baby’s name had been changed following his father’s untimely August 14, 1894 passing.
I had only a few hours to spend downtown so I went to the desk in the library and submitted my request for the microfilm of the earliest 14th ward membership records. I was disappointed to learn that the microfilm was in use by another patron that day, and I wouldn’t be able to use it. The librarian suggested that was most unusual, and if I searched through the catalog further I might find something else I’d like to use. There was a book version of the very record I wanted, so I asked for that. The librarian apologetically explained that the book wasn’t available for patron use. I suggested that since the microfilm was in use, and the pockets of time that I can get to the library are few and far between, perhaps the “powers that be” would permit me to use the book this one time. And they did! What a thrill!
The original Fourteenth Ward Record Book was delivered to my table in the reading room. The large 18 x 14 black leather volume took up the entire table when it was opened. Gold leafed lettering in the center of the cover read
Nineteen beautifully penned Morgan names were written in the index-- I found what I was looking for. Each numbered member’s name is followed by their parent’s name and birth and blessing dates.
# 858, Morgan, John Hamilton
John Morgan, Helen Groesbeck
7 Feb 1894, Salt Lake City
 blessed on  Aug 9, 1894 by M. F. Cowley
# 859, Morgan, M. [Mathias] Cowley
John Morgan, Mary Ann Linton
24 Jan 1894, Salt Lake City
blessed on Aug 9, 1894 by M. F. Cowley
These entries answered more questions than I’d asked. And they raised quite a few additional ones.
Both of John Morgan’s sons were blessed by Matthias Cowley on the same day, five days prior to their father’s August 14, 1894 passing.
John Hamilton Morgan Jr.’s name was NOT changed following his father’s death. I wonder what he’d been called before he was blessed and given the name John Hamilton Morgan.
Were the babies blessed in Preston, Idaho?
Family history tells us Grandmother Mellie sent her ailing husband to Preston, Idaho to recover from his illness. She must have hoped that away from the city he would have had a better chance for recovery, his wife Mary Ann would watch over him.
At some point Mellie traveled to Preston to be with her husband, only to return to Salt Lake when she received word her own baby at home had become very ill.
The train trip between Salt Lake and Preston was routine, and the trip was familiar to the Morgans. The train for Preston departed Salt Lake City daily at 5 p.m., and arrived Preston at 11:30 p.m.  The return train to Salt Lake left the following morning at 5:30 a.m. On John Morgan’s normal visits to Preston he would remain there the second day--his journal entry usually read something like, “Read and quiet today. George C. Parkinson [a community leader] called.” The next morning John Morgan would depart Preston on the 5:30 a.m. train, and arrive home in Salt Lake at 11:00 a.m.

 John Hamilton Morgan, Jr.
born February 7, 1894
Mathias Cowley Morgan
born January 24, 1894
You will find further information about these children at The Ancestor Files:

Where did John Hamilton Morgan die -- Preston, Idaho home.
And a Story of Mary Ann Linton’s cure for baby John on this blog.

Pictures of John Morgan's sons are from Special Collections, Marriott Library, University of Utah, used with permission.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Helen Melvina Groesbeck and John Hamilton Morgan gravestone. Sept 15, 2012.

Smiling into the sunshine on Saturday, September 15th, some John Hamilton Morgan descendants gathered at his grave site in the  Salt Lake City Cemetery. We were celebrating his life, and that of our grandmother Mellie Morgan, and the completion of several projects at their grave sites.
This new Helen Melvina and John Hamilton Morgan gravestone was recently completed and replaced the former deteriorating poured stones, placed there after Grandmother Morgan’s 1930 death. They had become increasingly difficult to read.

A big “thank you” to cousin Karen M., who led the way to the new gravestone's plan, design, completion, and purchase--and to all who contributed.
Gathered around the east facing side of the John Morgan Monument are L-R John Hamilton Morgan descendants; Claudia S., John Morgan G., Karen M., Rick P., Nancy B., Yara S., Bessie S., Judy H., Tom H., John Hamilton Morgan, Jr., in front Tom K. H., and Perry H.   

John Hamilton Morgan, Jr., grandson of Great Grandfather John Hamilton Morgan was with the group in the cemetery. His father was born February 7, 1894, just months before Great Grandfather Morgan's death.
Earlier updates at the John Morgan Family cemetery plot are posted here and here. Additional pictures will be posted at the John Hamilton Morgan Family Website in the near future.

Monday, September 24, 2012

John Morgan's Commercial College, The Pioneer College of Utah. March 1869.

On Saturday The Ancestor Files posted this pamphlet for Morgan’s Commercial College. Seeing it in its entirety answers and poses a variety of questions.

All eight pages appear in The Life and Ministry of John Morgan, “For a Wise and Glorious Purpose,” by Arthur Richardson, copyright 1965, Nicholas G. Morgan, Sr., pgs 51-58. Thanks to modern technology, internet access, and Amy’s discovery anyone can study and enjoy this little pamphlet, as it appeared in 1869.

The following is my list of questions and answers triggered by reading The Pioneer College of the Rocky Mountains pamphlet.

1-- After the lengthy vacation students have been treated to, caused indirectly by the illness of the Principal, the work is taken up with renewed interest; and during the time of the vacation arrangements have been made perfect for the more complete control of the school, and an entire reorganization of the management coupled with the experience of the past, satisfy that the college will excel its previous success---unparalleled as that has been in the territory. What illness did John Morgan suffer from that caused his school’s lengthy vacation?

2—"Change of Base to the Music Hall."  J. Morgan, M. A., Principal, Music Hall, First South Street, Salt Lake City, Utah.   Was the “Music Hall” John Morgan moved his school into on First South Street the site of the future Morgan Hotel?

3— Great Grandmother Mellie Groesbeck is listed in the “Ladies Class” and as a teacher in the Music Department after she became Mrs. Mellie Morgan, Teacher, Piano-Fortes because the students listed on pages 3-4 are a “List of Students who have attended the College between Feb. 1, 1868, and Jan. 31, 1869.” Mellie Groesbeck married John Morgan October 24, 1868. 

4—In an earlier time this pamphlet was considered “Very Rare,” which is penciled on the top of the cover, perhaps because Samuel Auerbach is listed as a student on page 3.  It looks as though a “book dealer” was hoping to get $25.00 for it.

5—I would have liked to audit Grandfather John Morgan’s Commercial Course on “Railway.”  I wonder if he could have imagined at that point in his life, the expert on railways he would become in the remaining twenty-five years of his life.

Picture of John Morgan from Richardson, pg. 45.