John Morgan, one of the First Seven Presidents of
Seventies from 1884 to 1894, was the son of Gerrard Morgan and Ann Eliza
Hamilton, and was born Aug. 8, 1842, at Greensburg, Decatur county, Indiana.
During the war of Northern Agression, which broke out when he was eighteen
years of age, he joined the Union army, and participated 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, when that institution was conducted
in the Council House, Salt Lake City. Later, he established the Morgan
Commercial College on First South street.
Having become converted to "Mormonism," he was baptized
by Robert Campbell Nov. 26, 1867, in Salt Lake City, and ordained an Elder
by Wm. H. Folsom October 23, 1868. The next day on October 24 he married
Helen Melvina Groesbeck by whom he would father eleven children.
In 1875 he responded to a call as a missionary to the Southern States,
which he filled with ability and zeal, and returned home in December, 1877.
Prior to his departure on this mission he was ordained a Seventy, Oct.
8, 1875, by Joseph Young.
In 1878 he was called on a second mission to the
Southern States, this time to preside over the mission. In that capacity
his devotion and energy in spreading the gospel made for him a bright and
lasting record. While presiding in the Southern States, he made frequent
visits home. On October 8, 1884, he was chosen and ordained one of the
First Seven Presidents of Seventies, to fill a vacancy caused by the death
of William W. Taylor. In this high
and holy calling he labored with diligence and faithfulness up to the time
of his last sickness, and traveled very extensively among the Saints in
the different Stakes of Zion.
He also served as a member of the Utah legislature
and held other positions of importance in the community. He became somewhat
involved financially, over which he seemed to worry a great deal, and he
was stricken with typhoid-malaria, which culminated in his death Aug. 14,
1894, at Preston, Oneida County, Idaho. His body was brought to Salt Lake
City for burial.
"Elder Morgan was a man of strict probity and honor,"
wrote the editor of the Deseret News in an obituary. "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 the country the feeling was 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 exposed.
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."