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Morgan, William Jones - Biography

Biography of William J. Morgan

by Karen Savage

My grandfather was William J. Morgan, son of David Morgan and Mary Jones. He was born 11 Feb 1846 near Llandovery, Wales. His parents were baptized in 1851 and he was baptized in 1855. They moved to Allt Gwin when William was 4. In 1868 he quit the tin works and came to America, accompanied by his eldest sister, aboard the steamer John Bright. They crossed the Atlantic in eleven and a half days. This was a record making trip since it was the first load of passengers to cross the Atlantic in a steam vessel. When he arrived in New York, a gentleman came aboard looking for men to work on the building of the Union Pacific Railroad then being built across the continent and completed as far as Laramie. He accepted work and came out to Lost Creek in the eastern part of Utah. From here he was taken to Weber Canyon where he was put to work with a pick, shovel and wheelbarrow. He found it much harder than the tin works at home and much colder as it was getting late in the fall. He held this job until near Christmas when he decided to winter in Salt Lake City. He found the cost of living to be very high there so decided to 'batch' along with Elias Davis in a room they engaged from Jane Morgan. They arranged with her to do their cooking also. In February 1869 he and Elias decided to shoulder their blankets, there being no means of transportation, and started out for Brigham City on foot, paying at the rate of $1.00 a meal for food and taking such accommodations as they could get. Later that month they arrived in Brigham. They stayed there but a short time before they secured employment on the Central Pacific railroad at the promontory. This line was being built from the west to meet the Union Pacific from the east. They met on the promontory, but failing to agree, each line proceeded onward, paralleling each other. An understanding was finally reached and the Golden Spike was driven at Promontory. William and Mr. Davis returned to Brigham after the completion of this work and while in Brigham, William made his home with John D. Rees. About this time it was decided to connect Salt lake with the railroad so the Utah Central was built from Ogden to Salt Lake. William put in considerable time on this line and on the completion returned to Brigham where he rented a farm and tried his hand at farming with good success. Corinne was built at this time. Here freight from Montana and other points was unloaded to be freighted north by team. Great trains of oxen and mules could be seen daily going and coming. William's parents came to Utah in 1870, coming on the first passenger train to come in over the new railroad. They settled in Brigham. On 2 Dec 1872 William J. Morgan married Agnes Rees, of Brigham City, daughter of John D. Rees. In January 1873 the construction of the Utah-Northern was begun. He worked on this road as far as Logan when the work was suspended until spring on account of the deep snow and he returned to Brigham. The following spring her resumed work on the railroad and worked for some time. Returning to Brigham he engaged to labor for Apostle Lorenzo Snow hauling material for a new home that the Apostle was erecting. He again labored on the Utah-Northern Railway changing that line from a narrow to a standard gauge track, he worked as far north as Ross Fork. Returning to Brigham he bought some land, set out an orchard and engaged in farming and fruit raising which he followed with good success for a number of years. He hauled much fruit to sell making many trips to Malad and other parts. In the fall of 1904 he purchased a farm on Deep Creek, but before he moved on it he had the misfortune to lose his wife by death on 11 Dec 1904. This was a very hard blow and prevented his moving to Malad until the following spring. In March with his seven motherless children, four boys and three girls, he moved on this ranch on Deep Creek. It was indeed lonely for them and they felt the loss of their wife and mother very keenly. In 1907 William married Nellie DeGooyer of Salt Lake City and they lived on the farm on Deep Creek. Finally the farm was turned over to his boys to cultivate and William and Nellie moved to Malad to reside. Four children were born to them, two boys and two girls. 16 Oct 1928 William Jones Morgan died at his home in Malad at the age of 82 years. His death came as a shock to the family and friends because he had been most active to the evening of his sudden death. He had returned for a Priesthood meeting and had discussed the proceedings with his wife. After retiring he continued to talk for some time and when he did stop talking, Nellie said she thought he had gone to sleep but upon trying to arouse him, she found that he had passed away. He was the father of 16 children, ten of them survived him. He was a member of the LDS church and held the office of High Priest and ward teacher. His body was taken to Brigham City for burial on 20 Oct 1928.


Morgan, William Jones


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