Sunday, April 29, 2012

2012 Springtime Visit to Manassa, Colorado.

San Luis Valley, Colorado map

4th Street, Manassa, Colorado, looking to the South. 
The trees on the left border John Morgan's lot.

A Trip to Manassa, Colorado has been on my “To Do List” for the last three or four years. This spring my husband made it a reality by driving us there. We got a taste of the route a train trip from Salt Lake to Manassa, Colorado might take, and what Manassa, Colorado is like today.

We definitely got a taste of Springtime weather in the San Juan Mountains and the San Luis Valley in Colorado. Historian Andrew Jenson wrote that the “San Luis Valley extends north and south about 150 miles, with an average width of about 50 miles. The elevation of the valley is from 7000 to 8000 ft. above the level of the sea. Winds are very prevalent in the valley, but usually only a little snow falls in the winter.” This was the valley John Hamilton Morgan guided emigrating converts from the Southern States Mission to in 1878.

Each of the five days we traveled it snowed, and each day the sun broke through revealing blue skies. As we descended below the 10,700 ft. high Wolf Creek pass in the San Juan Mountains, and dropped into the San Luis Valley, we met a wind so fierce that the skies had turned gray and were filled with dust. Gray blotted out everything, making it difficult to identify road signs. The skies cleared as we reached Manassa, but the winds never did die down.

True to John Morgan’s journal entries the railroad tracks traced the length of the valley from Alamosa, Colorado south to Antonito. We did not drive further south than Manassa.  A highway followed the course of the train tracks through the valley. As we turned off the highway and left the railroad tracks behind to drive to Manassa, I was reminded that it was always a three-mile-walk for Great Grandfather John Morgan, if he hadn’t arranged for someone to meet him with a wagon.

When we arrived in Manassa we followed the Platt Map that John Morgan’s son, Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan, included in a pocket of his 1965 book, The Life and Ministry of John Morgan by Arthur Richardson.

We saw most of the Manassa sites that are posted on the Internet here. And we found John Morgan’s lot on 4th and Smith Streets where he built a home for Annie and their family, and where he planted countless trees. The home no longer stands.

This is the west side of John Morgan's corner lot.

John Morgan planted many trees on his Manassa property as recorded in his Spring 1888 journal entries.

March 20- Went across the river with Henry Huffaker to look at some government land and found a very nice tract. Had some holes dug to plant trees in.

March 21 – Accompanied by brother Samuel Jackson, went across the river and looked over the country again. Planted a dozen apple trees and six Lombardy Poplars.

March 22 – Hung my meat up to smoke and moved the coal. Fixed down the floor over the well and went across the river with several of the brethren to look at the land.

March 24 – Busy this a.m. setting out shade trees along the west side of the lot and other work about the place.

The sign is across the street on the corner.

The site where the first church and school house was built in Manassa
 is marked by this cairn and plaque. 

October 10-11, 1885 while John Morgan was in Kansas City he purchased some fruit trees and arranged for their shipment to Manassa. On November 25, 1885, John Morgan, Annie, and their baby daughter, Annie Ray, moved into the home he built on 4th and Smith Streets in Manassa. 

To be continued.
Part 2
Part 3

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

Sunday, April 22, 2012

P. H. and Bessie Morgan Rex - letters written October 4, 1936.

Color plate from Ernst Haeckle’s Kuntsformen der Natur from Wikipedia

[The letter is not dated. Written with a pen at the top is:] Didn’t see any of the [Clara] Burdetts in Evanston. They had gone to Kemmerer.

My dear boy,
I have searched the house down for the pen and can’t find. I know I wont have a better chance to write than now, so here goes, with a pencil.

I have been going in high the last few days & I am all in today. We had the National Committee woman for the Rep. party & another woman here overnight. Mrs. Cannon the Com. Woman had a son who had been on a mission in Germany with Pres. Howell. Tonight is choir practice. We sing in Evanston Sunday night. Come & sing with us. Going up tomorrow for R. Society conference. Just received a letter from Winnie. She thot your last letter was rather blue. Keep a stiff upper lip my dear. Hope you have received your money, all right. I worry about you & your living. How is the eating down there.

It is cloudy & stormy looking here. The frost took nearly every thing the first of the month. The cold winds are blowing & fall is here for


Daddy is working down at the corner. They are bolting the steel girders together now.

Morgan likes school very much. You know they are putting up a shop room. Maeser likes Glen R.  for a teacher, and Flora—well of course all girls like school.

Goodness, this is the last sheet of paper I have. I must send off with Helen’s tho’. Do your ears burn. We talk about you a lot. Maybe I can tell you a secret. It will be over by the time you get this letter. Don  [Donald Smith Rex 1913-1996] & Mabel [Mabel Sarah Cook 1913-1989]are going to be married sometime this next month. At any rate he came in to coax Helen into making it a double. Of course Helen declined. Glenn is leaving for California.

Aoh the wind is howling & it looks like snow. I always think of the night you left when it snows. I hope your homecoming will be much more pleasant. Well dearie I must close this. Take good care of yourself. Keep smiling. [Now writing with a pen.] Have been politicing [sic. politicking] since I wrote this. Will write soon. Love & kisses & the Lords blessings on you my dear.

Lovingly, Mother

Oct 4, 1936.

My Dear Boy.

Another week has passed but we did not receive a letter from you and we were somewhat disappointed as we look forward to a letter from South America to hear how you are in health and your labors. We are just fine.  Mother looks and feels lots better than she has for two years.

Morgan is here Building another plane he is getting to be quite clever at it, he has several around now.

We have listened to General Conference today over the radio we heard Myron Hillston, conference President speak he has just come home and he surely speaks Swedish and is 75 years old.

Ruby Rex [1907-1999] told mother tonite that there is a boy from Midvale coming down to Brazil on a mission so maybe we will be able to see him before he leaves and send a message of some kind.

We are working on the amusement hall we have the floor down the steel girders up and masons are laying the Brick it sure is going to be some Building if we can just get the money to put it through so we can have it for winter.
Do you ever see anything from the U. S. such as newspapers or manufactured goods. They would cost more than home made articles. It is getting nearly bedtime so I think we had better close for this time. I am afraid I am more or less of a failure in the art of letter writing.

I was in Evanston the other day and a chance to talk to Clara. I called for her father she answered the phone and wanted me to come up and have dinner with them but I was in working clothes and was with Ray Johnson so we were after some kind of a hoist to lift the steel girders that span the Building. I guess you would have enjoyed it very much but I got quite a thrill today when the Mission Presidents were telling of the good the boys were doing in the world. To think I had a boy worthy of being called to represent such a Church as we are members of, as there is no doubt it is the true Church of God, or it would never may [make] the gains it has and stood the test of more than a hundred years of the hardest kind of a test. Do you have any converts down there. I haven’t heard you say anything of Baptisms.

Mrs. Rachel Wilson asked me if you ever saw any orchids, if you do could you get some and press them and send them home. I don’t suppose you could send any seed up here, if you can please try it. As you know she is quite a flower lover. I will close asking God to continue his choicest  Blessing on you as ever. Loving, your Dad.
        P. H. Rex

Note: I don’t know what the radio the Rexes gathered around to listen to General Conference on looked like in 1936. I’m convinced that this 1933  Sunday Evening broadcast is the kind of program Grandma Bessie would have enjoyed listening to. And the radio pictured reminded me of their home.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

An Unexpected Bonus!

I noticed at the Utah State History Site that they have a collection of High School Yearbooks. I spent an hour there one morning going through a few of them and reaped a jewel.

A yearbook staff member, or someone, got the spelling of Beryl’s last name wrong. This is seventeen-year-old Beryl Burt, pictured on her Senior Class Page (23) in the 1923 Granite High School Yearbook, The Granitian, and a thought attributed to or about her. I wonder if she selected it--she wouldn't have misspelled her own name.

She looked just like her granddaughter, Sherry, looked as a young woman.

You can read Part 1 of Beryl Burt Sanborn's biography here, and find links to additional posts about her.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

#3 Beryl Burt Sanborn. Part 3.

Front row, L-R: Beryl, Margaret, Ag, and Edna (married to Irvin). Back row, Sid Park (married to Margaret), James Burt (father), Mel (holding son Bill), Irvin (holding son Merrill).

Pete and Beryl lived with her father James while they built their own home. Beryl cooked for her father and cared for his home. James was a plasterer by trade, and did the plastering in Pete and Beryl’s home, as he did in each of his children’s homes.  He did most of the plastering, crown moldings, and decorative cornices in the Mill Creek Ward they all attended on 6th East and 3900 South.  James wasn’t one to attend church, and his son-in-law, Pete, wasn’t either.

After Beryl moved into her own home, she and her brother Mel’s wife, Pauline, took care of James’ needs for the following six years. They took turns seeing that he had meals, his clothes were washed, and that his home was clean. He soon learned to play one against the other for additional food and goodies. On the week that Beryl cooked, her dad would go to Pauline and say, “My girl, I haven’t had a bit to eat today.” Pauline would immediately prepare something special for him. The same thing would happen when it was Pauline’s week. James was happy to spend his later years right with his family.

Beryl said she worked for a time during World War II at a small arms ammunition plant on Redwood Road. That was presumably the Remington Arms Company, that operated from about 1941 to 1945. They made 30- and 50- caliber ammunition and created 10,000 jobs.

During this time Beryl gave birth to her youngest son, Richard, on June 1, 1941, and gave him her given name for his middle name, Richard Beryl.

Beryl is the woman in the middle of the front row looking forward. 
The workers are all wearing corsages. I wonder why.

Beryl later worked at a Cannery in Murray, Utah. It’s difficult to determine what it was called while she was working there.

“Another smaller cannery in the state was the Twin Peaks Canning Company in Murray in Salt Lake County. The factory was burned twice. After the second fire, the factory was rebuilt and reorganized as the Rocky Mountain Packing Company. The cannery was later owned by the Hunt Company.”

Beryl was a hard working woman. She kept her home neat and tidy, and prepared delicious, nourishing meals for her family. There was a half wall dividing her kitchen from her dining room. The upper portion was an open knick knack-shelf unit. The light passing through the rooms shown off the white high gloss painted shelves that displayed her treasures.

Her daughter, Marlene, wrote of her mother that "during the 2nd World War nylons were hard to get. She had me stay out of school and go to town early in the morning to stand in line to get her a pair. When the store doors were open it was a mad stampede to get in. She did it the first time and that was enough for her. I was glad to get out of school and she always gave me money to have lunch in Kresses or Grants."

To be continued.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4
Part 5    

Friday, April 6, 2012

Percy Harold and Bessie Morgan Rex - letters written Sept. 15, 1936.

Old South Rich High School.  Completed in 1916, the old high school served for 32 years. Though aesthetically beautiful the building suffered severe mechanical difficulties. Randolph a Look Back, pg. 173

Randolph, Utah
Sept. 15, 1936

My dear Missionary Boy,

I am sitting in front of the stove with my tale on my knee. Rather familiar position for me, isn’t it. But really, it is cold. Last night came a blighting frost. It took nearly all my flowers. One mustn’t complain, however, as this has been a beautiful summer, & winter must come some time.

We received your letter of Aug. 15 yesterday. It took it a week longer to get here, or else you held it a few days. We were so glad to get it tho’. Note what you say, about your money. We send it every month around the 28th. Can’t understand how it is you waited a whole month for one payment. I’m afraid $20 is hardly enough, and I shall try to see that you get more. Money is like goodness in the world. There doesn’t seem to be much of it. Daddy & Jack McK are working out at the field today. They ran the cement into the frames for the new

It took nearly two years to complete the old high school, shown here under construction. 
Randolph, A Look Back, pg. 172.

building last Sat. & are waiting for it to dry. The two boys are in school. Morgan is very much in earnest & is not going to get a C this year. I think Maeser is going to like Glen very much.

Must tell you – the Ward has helped some – but I am not sure how much – with your expenses. I’m sure tho’ that your father will have to get some this month as Helen has pain her dues for this month & that is what we usually send to you. Will let you know how much.

We didn’t go on our trip, dearie. Maybe it is just as well. Such trips do me up so. But I should certainly like to get out in the world all right.

I am so glad you are getting along so well with your German. Helen says, however that you mustn’t burden us with too much Scripture reading when you come home.

Mutual opening was last night. Helen says it was a success. Sis. Norris has asked her to be in the Stake Board. I think she will for this winter but next Spring she goes to California.

There was a boy here from Evanston, running the mixer, which they borrowed from Evanston – ‘Bob Hill. He thinks Clara is a very nice girl & thinks there are quite a few boys in Evanston who think so too. We laughed & said “That’s what Harold is afraid of.”

Listen, before you write to the girls, have you written to Bro. Larsen; Matilda Jones—did I tell you she came in with a dollar for you?—and don’t you neglect your sister in S.L. She is a darling girl, and loves to hear from you. She writes the nicest letter home, so I know she does the same to you. Aunt Gail wrote and told me they surely like her at the hospital & she hoped Gail got along as well as Winnie.

Dear me,  I have about run out of gab. Nothing much happens in this old town. Tomorrow is a Stake excursion to the Logan temple & Uncle Will wants us to go, but I’m afraid we can’t Daddy is so busy & I have 7 to cook for.

I think it is a good idea to write to Mr. Murray. I do hope you go back to school. Did we tell you Mal Pickett & Alto & Willa are going to the B. Y. [Brigham Young University] Reed K. is going to the A [Utah State Agricultural College]. Helen says she is sure you could get something to do at school.

The boys showed their calves at 4H Club day last Sat. Morgan’s came first ahead of Ross Jackson. Maeser’s needs fattening. There will be no fair this year. They thot it better to not have one. And it is just as well, with this building program on. 25 men worked there Sat.

It is the next morning. We received your other letter last evening. You see, you registered one and not the other. It takes a week longer when you don’t register them, but dearie, they come all right. You better not spend the money.

I could grin at the difference in your ideas and some others. What is it? Country & city ideas I’ll wager.
Tell us, can we send American money all right. We have been holding a dollar to send for Mrs. Jones. I’m afraid old Lu won’t win anything for you this summer.

I wish we could send the money for a typewriter. I know you need one. You do need practice with your handwriting too. No insinuations, my dear.

Will hurry & get this off this morning. It froze hard last night. We surely have a nice crop of potatoes out here tho’.

I think I told you last week that Helen was going to write. She is still saying it so—well I think she will so expect one right after this.

Mr. Murrays Name & address: D. P. Murray. Extension Service. Utah State Agricultural College. Logan, Utah.

Well, dearie, daddy will write a few lines on the other side. And now I shall finish. Take good care of yourself and make good use of your time. We always are thinking of you & praying for the Lord’s blessings on you.

Love and kisses from all
Auf Wiedersehen, Mother.
My Dear Boy in the Land of the sunny South. I hope you are well as it leaves us at present.  I enjoy your letters very much and Pray you may have the spirit of the Lord in your labors. It is beginning to feel like fall up here now the flowers have all frozen the last two nights.

I had better close now as I have to be at work on the Building in a few minutes. I will write more next time we have the hay and part of the grain cut. May the Lord Bless you at all times is the Prayer of your Daddy.