Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Morgan 2: Harold Morgan, Part VI

After struggling for two years and learning that championing the cause of the ‘Peepul’ is not always in the best self interest we decided to sell the paper. We received a few hundred dollars but that went mostly for debts. It was not long after this we moved to an apartment in a building formerly used to house students attending the stake academy. We had a fine garden on the lot but the principal of the Academy claimed it although we had planted it. We got a few buckets of peas and beans. During the summer I worked on construction of a bridge over the Rio Puerco river near Navajo.

Maxine, Jessie, Helen, and Alta (L to R).

On July 12 of this year our lovely daughter Alta was born. Again Jessie was at the home of Mother Christensen. [Francis Ann Thomas Christensen.]

During the summer I passed the county school teachers’ examination and received a teaching certificate. In the fall I took a school at Cedro about twenty miles northeast of St. Johns. All the pupils were Mexican and I boarded with a fine Mexican family.

The next year I lived with a Garcia family, also fine folk. The food was good but hot. The Mexican women would take the dry red chili pods, sprinkle with water and put them in the oven. When the pods were soft they were put through a food chopper and then made into a gravy like dish. This they would scoop up with a tortilla. The first year I was at Cedro I rode a horse to St. Johns on week ends. The next year I bought a fine bicycle and would ride the 20 miles in about an hour and one-half. Long stretches of sand made the going rough. It was during this year that I bought a lot in St. Johns and during the summer made enough adobes to start building. We completed the house before I began teaching the fifth and sixth grades in the St. Johns district 11. The pay was low and the hours long.

Our house was only two rooms but to us it was a palace. We had a Jersey cow so the children had plenty of milk. We were happy and the babies were healthy.

Jessie on left in center row. Linton Morgan in center back.

After school was out I passed a federal examination in Flagstaff, Ariz. The tests included shorthand and typewriting and I thought of getting a clerk appointment in Washington, where my brother Lin was studying law and going to school. My mother was also living there. On my return I stopped in Holbrook and was offered a job on the Holbrook Tribune. It was published by the Bryan brothers, who were expert printers and writers. In a few weeks I brought Jessie and the babies to Holbrook. Looking for greater opportunities in the newspaper field I took a job late in the fall with the Gallup, N.M. Independent.

Before the first of the year I had a job with the Albuquerque Morning Journal, my first daily newspaper experience. This was the year of a bad flu epidemic. [Probably 1918] We all had attacks except Jessie. What a wonderful job she did nursing the babies through that awful period. People were dying like flies. After the children recovered we moved to a house on the bench at the end of the street car line.

We were surrounded on every side with tubercular patients. But the air was dry and cleansed by the sand which blew almost constantly. As I worked on a morning paper, it was often 1 am and more before I could start home. Street cars had quit running so I would walk over a railroad viaduct. We had many good times in Albuquerque and we did pretty well financially. We had been there about a year when the paper was purchased by Carl Magee, an Oklahoman. He had soon stirred up a real battle with the Republican bosses who had long ruled New Mexico. It was a very exciting time. Magee was a real crusader. At one time he was charged with murder in the accidental death of a highway patrolman in Las Vegas, N.M. They fixed his bail at $250,000 in cash. This was furnished by Bronson Cutting, Santa Fe publisher and afterwards United States senator.

To be continued...

Photo of Jersey cow from
Photo of chiles from

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