Thursday, August 30, 2012

1985 John Morgan [Jack] Clayton memories of his Grandma Mellie Morgan.

  Helen Melvina "Mellie" Groesbeck Morgan abt. 1925

The following is from a 1985 interview with John Morgan [Jack] Clayton, son of Gail Morgan Clayton. His mother, Gail was born in 1888, the 8th child of John Hamilton and Helen Melvina "Mellie" Groesbeck Morgan. Jack was answering questions asked by his cousins, about his memories of his Grandma Mellie Morgan.
Jack said: “The way she did her hair up in that knot. And beautiful hair!
“She was a very interesting person. She tried to keep up on things that were going on in the world all the time. I mean, she wasn’t just way back there, she was up here. As a matter of fact, when you would do something, she would try to kind of interview you. Every time I’d come back from Randolph from spendin’ the summer up there, she would sit me down and say,’Now tell me everything you did—don’t just say you went swimming in the river and that you went to church once. Tell us about it.’

“Going back to my first recollection of Grandma was really on a trip to Randolph. And we were little. And it took you all day to get to Randolph. My father had an old touring car—I don’t know if it was the old Columbia, or when I had a Lap, I don’t remember. But we were going up there, and all of us kids, and Mother and Grandma. And it was lousy weather. As a matter of fact, the car spun around—all the way around—and the women screamed and hollered, but Dad said, “Don’t worry about it!” I am sure he was a surprised as she, but I didn’t notice. As we were driving along, Grandma looked, and there was a herd of cattle down there with the snow, and she said, “Oh, look at the sheep.” And us kids laughed and said, “Grandma, they are cattle!” And my Mother said, “You shouldn’t laugh at Grandma, because at her age maybe they do look like sheep, and the day will come when you’ll have a little trouble with your eyes too—when you get as old as she is.”

Written on the back in Winifred Rex Andrus' hand:
 Uncle Jack & Aunt Gail & family

I recently understood whose family is in this picture. It is the very family and car Jack is referring to in the interview above. The John Morgan [Jack] and Gail Morgan Clayton family. The family members according to New Family Search are:

John [Jack] (1882-1974)and Gail Morgan Clayton (1888-1984)
Berenice Clayton Purchase (1912-1992)
John [Jack] Morgan Clayton (1914-1995)
Gail Clayton (1919-1968)
Darwin Spencer Clayton Sr (1921-1997)
Richard William Clayton (1925-)

Find an old Columbia touring car by searching for "Columbia" here.
An account of the Clayton cousins' trip to Randolph, and vacation with their Rex cousins at Bear Lake, is written here in Helen Rex Frazier's autobiography.

A special thank you to cousin Karen M. for transcribing and sharing early family interview tapes.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex - letter February 5, 1937.

About 1927
Helen, left rear. L-R Maeser, Morgan, Winnie,
 Harold in front of the Rex's Bear River Ranch House
My dear boy,

Helen has written a letter, and I had her wait until I wrote one before we sent it. So I mustn’t fail today. Last week I was rather under the weather. Experimenting—and it did not turn out so well. I thought of so many things to tell you. Whatever were they all about? I suppose you have heard of the floods up here. Disaster can certainly humble a mighty nation. Today a heavy storm on the Pacific coast is tying up traffic and communication. The whole country, practically, has had its share. Strikes tie up business & men wrangle back and forth until it is all sickening. It makes on wonder how it is all going to turn out.

The weather is acting very much like it did a year ago, and I shouldn’t be surprised if the snow is piled up much the same as it was last year.

Winnie hasn’t been able to get home yet. I suppose she has told of the Flu down there. Maybe she can come next week. We all hope so. Tonight is a basketball & dance. The new building is a delight to go to. I think they will make plenty for a while anyway.

Well, here it is 9 p.m. The family (excepting Flora & myself) have gone to the game. A while ago I read an essay on writing letter with many reasons for putting it off. In the end, the friend of the man who has been putting the letter-writing off, walks in. Now if you could do that, I shouldn’t have to finish this, rather dumb, letter.

Flora is asleep on the couch. Can’t you see her? She is growing so tall tho’. Morgan took one half hour pushing two waves in his hair. Did it look sleek & pretty—and does that boy primp. Heaven help me if I get three of my boys under the same roof. Maeser struts around in his new suit like—well like Harold
 used to.

Ohio University has been putting on a show on the radio. They are plucky. Ohio has been badly hit by the flood. Some announcers were giving news of the flood from Cincinnatti. Terrible news too-and then they said “We will now have some music.” The music was “Beautiful Ohio.” It would make you weep.

I wish I knew something to tell you. As far s the town is concerned, well I could live some other place for all I know.

Did I tell you I went with Uncle Will to S.L. to see Winnie while he went to a funeral. The funeral of Sis. Stoof was also held the same day. Bro. Stoof was president of the Argentine mission & I believe all of S.A. before it was divided. He is a German. He spoke at conference & I cut his talk out of the report. It is very inspiring, and if there
is room in the envelope, will send it to you.        

Did you get your garments? I am anxious about them. Do you get your money every month?
You never say. Its 30 or 35$ enough? Please advise.

Helen went down to Don’s and Mabel’s to stay overnight. I hope you never want to come back & settle down like that. There is too much in this world to bury one’s self on a place miles from nowhere. Don’t do it son.

Winnie surely looked grand when I saw her. She is a dear girl. I shall be glad if Helen can get to California. She is so thin here, but she is feeling pretty good.

I must be closing. Give Mr. & Mrs. Duke my best regards. They certainly must be nice people. Was that place you visited Xmas a resort of some kind. You are indefinite. The Lords blessings on you my dear is our constant prayer.

Lovingly, Mother

Sunday, August 19, 2012

1930 SRHS Junior Prom - When Helen met Glenn.

Dance Program from Helen Rex's Scrapbook

Glenn Frazier met Helen Rex while she was still in high school. They each told their descendants the same story. They met at a South Rich High School dance--in those days everyone went. 

After sharing a few dances Glenn asked Helen if he could take her home. She said, “no,” and explained that she’d return home with the person who brought her to the dance—her father. The Rex home was nearby in Randolph, it was just down the street from South Rich High School, the Church, the old Opera House, and almost everything else in town.

Glenn Frazier’s family lived ten miles south of Randolph in Woodruff, Utah.

The Rex and Frazier families were some of the early 1870 Rich County settlers and each family helped settle their respective town; Randolph and Woodruff.

Both families are represented in this 1929 Rich County Fair Report.

Complete List of Winners at the Second Annual Rich County Fair--September 29, 1929

The Second Annual Rich County Fair and rodeo held at Randolph, Utah, Sept. 24 and 25, under the direction of the County Farm Bureau, was a huge success.

The exhibits of fruits, farm products, livestock and home economics were first class. The display would be a credit to a much larger county than Rich.

Interesting programs were held each morning in the ward chapel. Speakers from the Utah Agricultural College, State Farm Bureau and the State Board of Agriculture gave instructive talks.

The Rodeo held in the afternoon was as fine as any held in the west.

The whole affair showed what real cooperation can do.

Following is a list of the premiums and of those in charge: 

[I list only winners I know belong to my families.]
Saddle Horses--3d., Sam Rex—ribbon.
Mare and Colt--1st A. G. Rex, 1-2--$1.25.
Yearlings--2d., Winnie Rex--$1.00
Boy Pony--2d., Maeser Rex--$1.50.

Dairy Cattle—Holstein
Grade Milking Shorthorns
Cow-1st. prize, P. H. Rex.

Sheep Department
Harry Smith, Judge, Wm. Rees, Supervisor.
Registered Ramboulilet--Ram—1st. Frank Frazier
Lincoln--Ram—1st. and 2d., Frank Frazier
Columbia--Ram—1st. Frank Frazier.

Grade Beef Cattle--Group 3 steers--2d. P. H. Rex

Cake—Mrs. Frank [Emily] Frazier, Woodruff, 50 cents.
Nut Bread—Mrs. Sam [Bess] Rex, Randolph, Utah, 50 cents.

Junior Prom February 28, 1930.

Helen's dance program and note at the bottom, A Wonderful time.

Helen was part of the Junior Class that year.
My guess is this is the dance when Helen first met Glenn!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Queen of the Rich County Fair, 1931.

18 year old Helen Rex, Queen of the Rich County Fair, 1931.

My cousin’s comment about the Rich County Fair following the most recent Bessie Morgan Rex letter here triggered a memory of my mother,  Helen Rex Frazier’s, participation in one such fair. I have this nice picture of her as the “fair queen.” My father used to explain her becoming queen at his hand—he purchased enough winning votes to assure her reign. I always thought it made a great story, however, since there is no one left to double check the truthfulness of the tale, I tried my hand at the newspapers found here. Sure enough! In 1931, eighteen year-old Helen Rex of Randolph, Utah, did win the title of Fair Queen, after she received 3300 votes. According to my father, Glenn Frazier, then twenty-two years old and from Woodruff, Utah, he purchased most of them.

Rich County Fair and Rodeo. – Fair and Rodeo days, Sept. 22-23 at Randolph were very stormy days. This has been the case for the last three years and the funny part of it was,  fair weather prevailed up until the night of Sept. 22, and fair weather prevailed next day preceeding [sic] the Fair. This has been the case for the last three years. There is perhaps nothing worse than a storm period to keep the people from the neighboring towns from attending.

Due to the heavy storm, the financial side of the Big Show went behind. But the rest of the show met the expectations of the association. It is really the Biggest and Best Fair and Rodeo of Rich County.

The Rodeo was the snappiest ever held at Randolph. Several riders were thrown. The first one out of the chute was thrown and received a broken arm. A little later Henry Byrne, Rich County rider had has [his] bronc fall with him breaking his leg just above the ankle. The second day another rider was thrown and his foot caught in the stirrup. He received a broken shoulder and several kicks before he was finally released. Two lady riders rode some of the wildest horses—they rode them! You bet!

The loud speaker service did not turn out like it should have done. It was good the first half day, but some thing went wrong with it and the remaining day and a half it was entirely out of use. The kiddies hour the first day was very good and enjoyed very much by the large crowd, the children were very much disappointed when the system went on the “blink.”

Perhaps one of the greatest features of the show and ones that were enjoyed by all, were the clown acts, the fancy lady rider and the professional roper, Mr. Rooker. It hardly seemed possible for so many ropes to be kept going at the same time. Mr. Rooker is indeed a professional and one of the best in the West. “Pinky” Gist, funny clown, with his trick bules [sic]were enjoyed very much by young and old, as was the lady fancy rider.

The pulling contest which was scheduled for the two days was pulled the second day and caused a great deal of excitement.

Owing to the stormy weather, and the Fair being postponed the first day, G. I. Becker, Utah’s famous sportsman was unable to come but the strong man set came off in good shape. Mr. Attson gave some wonderful exhibits of strength.

Another great attraction of the Fair was the crowing of the Queen at the dance the evening of Sept. 23. Queens were selected from each town. Randolph, in order to give the other towns a better chance in the voting, was allotted two Queens. This was done to divide the Randolph votes. Special costumes were rented for this occasion and a special throne built for the Queen. Miss Helen Rex, who received the greatest number of votes became queen of the Fair. The other four Queens became maids in waiting. The trumpeters followed by the Queen, the crown carrier, the train bearers, the maids in waiting and chairman of the Rich County Fair Association, marched to the throne, where chairman P. H. Rex, crowned Miss Helen Rex, Queen of the Fair. This made a very beautiful scene.

The Queen committee deserves much praise for their efforts in making this attraction a success.
Dances were held Sept. 22-23-24 and record breaking crowds attended each night.

All Committees and Fair workers are to be commended for the efforts they put forth to make this the greatest Fair held in Rich County. Bad weather was all that made this impossible. Rich County people are not discouraged but will try and have the Fair at least three weeks earlier next year.

Out of the 9,580 votes cast:
Helen Rex (Randolph)--3300
Lola Johnson (Laketown)--2450
Elgie Moss (Woodruff)--2420
Dollie Nicolls (Randolph)--1350
Charlotte Cottie (Garden City)--1320

List of prize winners will appear in next week’s issue of The Reaper

I have no idea who the child is next to Helen, or where this picture was taken. The chair she is sitting in appears to be one of her great grandmother Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck's dining room table chairs.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bessie Morgan Rex - 1937 letter written after January 11.

Helen and Harold with 4-H calves in about 1936

 The most recent letter posted in this series is here.

Randolph, Utah

Sunday afternoon [after January 11, 1937]

My dear missionary,
I cant keep up with time, certainly. You tell us in nearly every letter, you have not heard from us that week. My dear, I can’t understand. Seems to me I spend quite a bit of time between my two wanderers—and here Winnie has gone this week without one, but she is coming home next weekend. Drop in too, wont you. [I enjoy Grandma Bessie’s tender playfulness.]

Received your letter with the Xmas card from Mrs. Duke. I was certainly pleased to receive it. Please tell her thanks very much, and I am so glad you are with such a nice family, and that they take such an interest in you. Do everything you can to show your appreciation, and also ours, for it surely helps out to know you are in a good home.

Yes, another milestone [birthdate January 11, 1891] I have passed. Received your very nice letter, my dear, also a card from Winnie. Helen & Winnie gave me

 A lovely scarf & Helen gave me some pans. It has been very cold 40 below, but has moderated the last day or two. Quite a blizzard on today however, so I didn’t go to church. Have had the flu I guess, but am better now.

Helen is studying her Mutual lesson & I am studying my R. Society lesson. The new building is practically finished, but I haven’t been down. Daddy says it is beautiful Tho’. Fri. night is the opening dance. Two orchestras. Helen is a lonesome widow, but Glen is doing fine in Cal. & so I suppose it wont be long before --- we’ll lose our girl. Morgan really looks bad but I am feeding him up—I suppose he has told you all about Ogden.

So many things are happening here, we watch for news continually. Airplane crashes, kidnapping, strikes, it fills one’s heart with terror. But I suppose these things are all to come to us.

I smile when you say you walk with your chin in the air. My dear, I cant feature you walking otherwise. You know we always did kid you about that certain air you have.
 Certainly, I hope you keep it. Do hope you get your things from Elder Stevenson. We will get some shirts for you if we can & send them with some missionary. Will write Winnie today & find out. It is an unearthly long time getting them down there.

I stopped writing yesterday & now I must hurry with this. Hope Morgan gave you a lot of news. I am not much good at it. Daddy is doing chores. Maeser isn’t much good in the morning & Morgan still feels under the weather.

My brain doesn’t seem to function yet this morning & so I’m dumb. Glen & Ruby are in their new home, but I fear Glen won’t want to stay here long. He has been taking the same course as Glenn F.  [Frazier] & he keeps asking Helen how Glenn is coming. I don’t blame him for want to get out. There is nothing here for a young fellow.

Ben chases to S. L. now for a nurse. He may bring her up to the opening dance & Winnie can come up with him. Ben will have to change his occupation, I’m afraid, if he gets his nurse. 

The electrician from Evanston, who has been doing the work on the building has been fixing our lights all up. I mean switches. I do so want some new lights. Well maybe I’ll get some.

Well, my dear, I have a letter to write to the bank, to send Morg’s & Maeser’s calf money up. They are pretty smart. You would die to hear Maeser tell his experiences.

Again, before I close, be sure to thank Mrs. Duke for her very kind remembrance. It was so nice of her. If I just knew my German, I would write to her. Did I tell you we decided you elders looked like you were ready for treasure island in your picture.

We have decided we won’t grow orchids here, but I should surely like to see one.
Helen says she will write in the middle of the week.

I know the Lord is watching over you, and I know he is helping to keep you there. It is strange how we always have some to send you & we don’t bother the ward.

Love & kisses from every one & a special big hug from me. It seems long to look ahead, but this year has gone fast.

Lovingly, Mother

[Note from NFS: Glen Hobert Rext was born to William Thomas and Agnes Amelia Hellstrom Rex on December 17, 1905 in Randolph, Utah. He married Ruby Probst (1907-1999). Glen died March 14, 1979.]