Friday, December 18, 2009

Southern Star Obituary for John Morgan


It is with profound reverence and sorrow that record is here made of the death of Elder John Morgan. He may justly be termed the father of the Southern States Mission. Through the storms and tribulation of twelve years, he served the mission with fervent zeal and untiring devotion. To his remarkable tact, his manly attributes, and his ability as a ruler among men, the Southern States Mission owes largely the glory of its present attainments, and the name of Elder John Morgan shall forever stand first and foremost upon the pages of its roll of honor. The death of this worth servant of God occurred in August last, and a report of the sad event should have been engrafted in the record for that month.

The Deseret Evening News has the following obituary:

It is with feelings of deep sorrow that we make the announcement of the death of Elder John Morgan, of the Presiding Council of the Seventies. The sad news will come with great and sudden force upon the people, for notwithstanding the fact that Elder Morgan has been seriously ill for about five weeks past, his demise was unexpected until a very short time before it occurred. He was suffering from typhoid malaria, which culminated in his death at 5:30 o'clock yesterday afternoon, Aug. 14th, 1895 [Ed.—it was 1894], at Preston, Idaho. During his illness he received careful nursing and medical attention, but the body worn by toil and anxiety was overcome by the added burden of the disease which assailed it, and the spirit took its flight from mortality.

"Elder John Morgan was but five days over 52 years of age, having been born near Greensburg, Decatur county, Indiana, Aug. 8th, 1842. His parents were Garrard Morgan and Eliza Ann Huntington [Hamilton] Morgan. During the war of the rebellion, which broke out when he was 18 years of age, he joined the Union army, and served with honor and distinction, participating in several of the most important battles. Coming to Utah at the close of the war, he was soon engaged as an instructor in the University [inaccurate], when that institution was conducted in the Council House. Later he established the Morgan Commercial College, on First South street, in the building now occupied by the Morgan hotel.

"On Nov. 26th, 1867, he became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Some years later he responded to a call as a missionary to the Southern States, which position he filled with ability and zeal.

"He was next appointed to the Presidency of the Southern States Mission, and in that capacity his devotion and energy in spreading the Gospel made for him a bright and enduring record. On the 7th of October, 1884, he was selected as one of the First Seven Presidents of Seventies, in which position he labored with diligence and faithfulness up to the time of his being stricken down. He also has held other positions of importance in the community, having been a member of the Utah Legislature and Speaker of its House of Representatives.

"Elder Morgan was a man of strict probity and honor. Possessed of keen intellectual power and marked personal courage, he was an able, fearless expounder of Gospel truths; especially were these virtues exhibited during his long Presidency of the Southern States Mission, at a time when in that section of country feelings were high against the Latter-day Saints. His ministrations were attended with power, and to the last his energies were earnestly devoted to the cause of truth which he had espoused. He has done much traveling and preaching among the Saints during the closing years of his life. In his death a true and good man has been called away, and the hearts of all Israel will be bowed in sorrow with his family at the departure from our midst of a beloved servant of God.

"At the funeral services, which were attended by an immense concourse of people, Elders B.H. Roberts, J.G. Kimball, C.D. Fjested [sic], George Goddard, John Henry Smith, Seymour B. Young and President George Q. Cannon spoke. The remaining six members of the Council of the Seventies acted as pallbearers."

John Morgan was a marvelous man in many respects. It can truthfully be said that he made "footprints in the sands of time." Elder J. Golden Kimball in a sermon preached in April, 1899, made the following remarks concerning Elder Morgan:

"I picked up a Chattanooga Times one morning, and I was very much delighted to see in print these words, speaking of Elder John Morgan. It said: 'To shake his hand was to be his friend.' I have never forgotten it. When you shook John Morgan's hand and he looked into your face you always knew that you were his friend."


Latter Day Saints Southern Star, Vol. 2, No. 10, Chattanooga, Tenn. Saturday, February 3, 1900, pp 73-74.  

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