Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Morgan 2: Harold Morgan, Part I

Harold Morgan
b. 2 June 1892 Nephi, Juab, Utah
m. 28 March 1914 St. Johns, Apache, Arizona
d. 1 November 1963 Pasadena, Los Angeles, California
b. 5 November 1963 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah
Wife: Jessie Christensen
Father: John Hamilton Morgan; Mother: Mary Ann Linton

My earliest recollections are of the small central Utah town of Nephi, the place where I was born June 2nd, 1892.

My mother was Mary Ann Linton, also a native of Nephi. My father was John Hamilton Morgan, who at that time was high in the councils of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For more than 15 years he was a member of the first Council of Seventy. He was a gifted speaker and a great missionary. For a number of years he presided over the Southern States Mission, when that Mission included most of the southern states.

He endured many hardships and had a number of narrow escapes from death at the hands of religious bigots. Prior to coming to Utah in 1866 he served as a volunteer in the Union army during the Civil War. He was wounded during a battle in Tennessee and carried the bullet to his grave. As his company advanced up a hill, held by he enemy, the color bearer was killed. My father seized the colors and led the advance, which ended in victory. For this act of bravery, my father was awarded the bullet torn company flag, which is now encased in Salt Lake City.

He was born in Greensburg, Indiana, a son of Garrard and Eliza Ann Hamilton who came to Indiana from Kentucky, where they were neighbors of the Thomas Lincoln family.

My mother was the eldest daughter of Samuel and Ellen Sutton Linton. My grandmother was an emigrant from her native England. She was converted to the LDS church with her family the Peter Suttons. She spent six weeks crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a sailing vessel. Arriving at the Missouri river town of Winter Quarters, now Council Bluffs in the middle 1850’s, the family joined a handcart company captained by a man named Martin. [They were in the Joseph Young Company in 1853 and had a rather uneventful crossing. Records show that Samuel Linton probably assisted with the rescue of the Martin Handcart Company]…

I remember my grandmother as a refined, gentle, generous woman, who served for a number of years as secretary of the Nephi ward Relief Society.

My grandfather was a native of County Cork, Ireland. Moving when quite young with his family to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. [Samuel Linton was born on June 27, 1828 in Murbin, Tyrone, Ireland]. Later the family moved to Philadelphia, where my grandfather heard the Mormon missionaries and joined the church, the only member of family to do so. Crossing the plains to Utah in 1856 he became a teamster for Brigham Young. He was also an excellent axman and could cradle more grain than any man in the community. My Grandparents were married in Salt Lake City and at the request of Brigham Young moved to Nephi in 1857. The town had been the target for a number of Indian raids.

To better protect themselves the settlers built an adobe wall around the town. The wall was six feet thick at the bottom and two thick at the top. Heavy wooden gates permitted entry and exit. The Nephi colonists like other in Utah, heeded the advice of President Young that it was better to feed the Indian than to fight them. As Indian depredations became fewer, the colonists eased their vigilance and the wall deteriorated. I recall my mother telling of the children of her day burrowing into the wall to make a playhouse. Nephi was first settled in 1850. One of my most vivid recollections is the jubilee celebration of the founding in 1900. It was a colorful event. Covered wagons, ox teams, handcarts and flag bedecked carriages made up the procession which was several blocks long. I remember an old pioneer, Thomas Bowles, with his long blacksnake whip driving six yoke of oxen. The whip would sometimes cut through the thick hide of the animals.

The town of Nephi nestles at the foot of Mt. Nebo, one of the highest peaks, 12,400 feet, of the Wasatch range. The perpetual snows of this and other mountains fed the streams that flowed through the valleys and provided irrigation and culinary water for Nephi and other communities. One of the crystal clear streams known as Little Salt Creek flows through the center of Nephi. In this stream I was baptized on my eighth birthday, June 2, 1900. My first school teacher was a Miss Hamilton, other Nephi teachers included Miss Sorenson, Florence Christensen and Thomas W. Vickers. It was while attending the fourth grade under Miss Christensen that a most tragic event occurred. We were having an evening Christmas party. Kids outside were interfering so the teacher locked the two doors. As the young Santa Claus, Ivan Kendall reached for presents on the candle covered tree, cotton on his coat caught fire, soon turning him into a human torch. Children screamed and fled in all directions. The teacher finally caught the boy and smothered the flames with her coat, but not before he had been burned over much of his body. After three or four days he succumbed to his injuries.

One of my fondest recollections is going with my mother to visit David and Rebecca Udall, near and dear friends. Here the old gentleman whom we called Grandpa Udall, would regale us with fairy tales as well as Bible stories. From the time I was about seven years old until we left Nephi in 1903, Lin, my eldest brother and I worked for Udall during the summer months and on Saturdays during the school year, hoeing weeds and thinning sugar beets on his farm. He paid us 25 cents a day. It was hot, hard work. Sometimes he would pay us in script, which my mother could use at the store.

To be continued...

Photo of Nephi, Utah, from
Photo of Civil War reenactment from
Photo of Mary Ann Morgan with Harold, Richard Linton, and Mathias Cowley Morgan.
Photo of Ellen Sutton and Samuel Linton from
Photo of Presidio Adobe Wall (Tucson) from
Photo of Mt Nebo from
Photo of sugar beets from
Photo of David Udall (NOT David King Udall) from


  1. Someone pointed out that the 1853 emigrants including the Suttons came through Keokuk, Iowa. (Do a search for Keokuk on this page for an article about the migration through Keokuk.)

    I also see that the Suttons are from Lancashire, including Chorley, which is the location of the Preston Temple.

  2. I had no idea Nephi had an adobe fence around it!