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.


  1. Wonderful! What a creative way to track down that question!

  2. I agree with Amy and what a tender mercy that you got to look in the book.

  3. Well that got me laughing...I'm thinking how can brothers be blessed on the same day. Then I look at the birth dates and am even more perplexed????? Obviously I didn't read very close as to who the mothers are:)

  4. Thank you Amy, Flora Lee and Nancy for your comments.

    In the face of this family’s impending loss, and in spite of their pleadings that it might be otherwise, Matthias Cowley voiced these sacred blessings. Perhaps at John Morgan's request as in earlier blessings.

    Some of our responsibilities differ from these exemplary ancestors. As for us, today, we get to tune into our best device and receive a clearer vision of what we need to be doing right now. Enjoy your conference weekends.