March 03, 2009
President Franklin D. Roosevelt hired Arthur Morgan (seated in car, 2nd from right) in 1933 as the first Chairman of the TVA Board, Morgan was famous for two things that might seem to have nothing to do with each other: building efficient dams for flood control, and believing in the perfectibility of humankind. In TVA he saw his chance to bring the two together.*
We Morgan's have some pretty interesting people, in our lineage. From Sir Thomas Morgan, knighted in 1658, who was awarded the original Morgan coat of arms, to John Hunt Morgan (Morgan's Raiders,) Daniel Boone (whose mother was Sarah Morgan,) and other Welsh dignitaries. We had royalty in our lineage, really. Just ask my wife who is the authority on confirming these awesome connections.
We've traced back 100's of years, and together, we truly do love discovering our past. But, you only need to go back to 1878 to find, Arthur E. Morgan (1878-1975). Arthur Morgan was a thinker, a scientist, hydraulic engineer, ethical leader, and was the key figure behind the Tennessee Valley Authority, a project he was called on by Franklin D. Roosevelt himself. He was the de-facto master in hydraulic flood control at that time. He was also president of Antioch College from 1920 to 1936. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in northern Minnesota.
Arthur Morgan was a collectivist, with many social ideas. It was intriguing to me because today, there seems to be a hard line between liberals and conservatives. The word socialism is a taboo word today. It swims in the same pool as Marxism and Fascism, of which I understand as other shades of Communism.
To understand his thinking, we have to put ourselves in the context of life between 1878 and 1940. Liberalism was very different and socialism was not yet stamped with failure. Arthur found many social ideas appealing because of his strict, ethical principles. In 1933, he was astonished when President Roosevelt invited him to the White House and offered him the chairmanship of TVA. “I like your vision,” said FDR. Arthur Morgan dreamt of the perfect society, a utopia. Yeah, what we've all read about in school. He looked at his appointment to the TVA as a way to bring his visions together.
Morgan was famous for two things that might seem to have nothing to do with each other: building efficient dams for flood control, and believing in the perfectibility of humankind.
Reading his diaries and several other books I found on him, he was a genuine individual with good intentions. He believed in hard work and our responsibility to contribute to society. He was good friends with Thomas Edison, Charles Kettering, and he was at the "first flight" launch in Dayton with the Orville brothers. As you can see, his peers offered a lot to measure up to.
Morgan's TVA boasted low accident rates, high worker morale, and ingenious solutions to tame the wild Tennessee River.** However, he butted heads with David Lilienthal, another young director on the committee. David suggested to distribute the power produced by TVA would be better to let a network of local public utilities handle the job. Arthur argued that the TVA enter into an agreement with the existing private utilities to distribute electricity. It seems Arthur he just didn't like David and considered him a political opportunist. Arthur went as far to suggest to the president David not be re-appointed. The fighting went on for quite some time, and when it finally spilled into public view, Arther was asked to substantiate his claims, and either could not, or would not. This is another story in itself.
In the end, President Roosevelt suggested that Arthur resign, and when he refused, he was ultimately fired by FDR for insubordination. He was 60 at this time and most thought he was at the end of his career. But, he returned to Yellow Springs, and lived for nearly four more decades, and maintained a strong interest in Antioch College. He served as a trustee for many years and as a perennial lecturer. In retirement he founded Community Service, Inc., to promote recognition and development of the "small community." The small, self-sufficient community was the vision and desire of Arthur Morgan. He published a string of thoughtful books on topics ranging from the ideas of Sir Thomas More to dam-building by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His last work, “The Making of TVA,” was released in 1974, just a year before his death at age 97. In it he documented the creation of the dream he had done so much to shape, but had seen fulfilled by by others.
I'm blown away by the accomplishments of Arthur E. Morgan and I've not even touched on them all. The point of this blog was to lay out a collection of interesting facts I have been dying to document as well as make a contribution to our Morgan genealogy. Additionally, it has again shown me the importance of while we don't always see things eye-to-eye today (and it's harder than ever today as life has become so complicated,) we should first seek to understand... and then be understood. I look back at a successful man by any standards we use today but I see some flawed visions that may not have been apparent by the standard of thinking during the time. Still, it's something to live up to and it reminds me that the role we play now is likely only the start of something bigger when we are gone. I hope we leave a legacy that our children will be proud of.
Books I've read and have referenced for this article:
Finding His World, the childhood diaries assembled by Lucy Griscom Morgan
My World, Arthur E. Morgan
FDR's Utopian, Arthur Morgan of the TVA (still reading)
Arthur Morgan Remembered
November 12, 2008
Edith was the matriarch of our family... the glue that held our families together and she will forever be an inspiration to us all.
My grandma played a large part of NOT ONLY my childhood, but my entire life. She has always been there... at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthdays and every other significant event. I am grateful for the time that we have had with her. I'm grateful for the time my children have had with her. I *think* they will remember her when they grow up.
Her sense of humor, and love of travel have carried her far. She was a humanitarian, a role model, the unsung hero in many of our lives, and a gift to us all. While I can't speak for but a fraction of this rich, woman's life, I can say this:
She was Extraordinarily loving: never missing a beat when it came to acknowledging an accomplishment or special event for someone else or having the foresight to know that we had to save so that we can properly take care of our families.
She was Genuinely forgiving: when we messed up, sometimes violating the very principles that she stood for, forgiveness still followed.
She was Uncommonly strong: the discovery of a box of Ralph's old letters to her during the war surely kept her going during his almost 6-year absence. That, along with a diligent exercise regimen for so many years... and even up until this October.
Anyone remotely connected with our family knows of her adventure to California, much of which is documented on video.
Her love of God inspired many years of service in her church from Deacon to Women's Society President and Circle leader for years. We also found notes from circle meetings in 1979 & 1980.
She practically raised her grand children and has influenced everyone she met for the better.
And during the last years of her daughter Pat's career, she shopped and cooked meals for 4 people, 3 nights a week, followed by many Bridge games. She was an avid card player and has requested a deck of cards be in her coffin!
We've all enjoyed numerous photo albums and are grateful for the technology enabling us to share some of them with you today. (in the other room, you'll find almost 400 pictures from birth until death)
Many celebrations were held in her Kreis Ln. home of 64 years. She has been blessed with good health for 95 years and was thankful to enjoy that final birthday celebration in October before her illness was diagnosed. She had a full life and confidentally told everyone "I'm going home to die". She even called her friends to tell them goodbye. All she hoped for, was to go quick and pain free.
Most don't have the opportunity to have "Death and dying parties" and she reveled in them! She told us final words of wisdom... like to count our blessings, and be thankful in all things, and bury any sorrows in doing good deeds to others. Then, we too, can have a legacy like hers. Maybe not as long as the 34,718 days she was on this earth, but hopefully close.
Before she knew she had cancer, she whispered to me at our birthday party that she lost much of her appetite and was concerned about losing 10 pounds. She said, "that's not good for a person my age." ...knowing I don't talk to many other 95 year olds. Only days later, we got the diagnosis.
At one of these "death and dying parties," I told her it would be nice to have her around for the upcoming holidays, and her response was "...oooohhh no, I'm ready to go and in fact, I hope to be with Ralph in time for our anniversary" (This Sat. Nov. 22nd) She expects Ralph to be anxiously awaiting her at the gate and greet her with, "Edie, What took you so long?"
Well, we all know that reunion happened Tues. morning. So, my tears are tears of happiness, and it should be for everyone here. For she's been preparing for this occasion with great fervor and dedication, other traits for which she'll always be remembered.
August 17, 2006
View June's Obituary
June Morgan passed on August 10, 2006, but she remains in our hearts. She was an incredible person who meant a lot to us all. She was a devoted, loving mother and wife and we will truly miss, but never forget, her. May she rest in peace and watch over us from above. God Bless you, June. We love you. -Jason Morgan and Family
June Morgan, age 72, resident of Warren County, Ohio died Thursday, August 10, 2006. Born in Muncie, Indiana, June was the daughter of Virgil and Mildred (Artrip) Dugger. June graduated from Western Hills High School in 1952. She married her high school sweetheart, Robert W. Morgan, on September 11, 1954, when they were both students at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. They are the proud parents of 5 sons.
Bob taught at Sycamore High School and to supplement his income, he and June began "Canoe Trails" in the late 50's, a program which took hundreds of boys from the Greater Cincinnati area on 2-3 week long camping and canoe trips in Canada, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee. The boys knew June as "Blooming Flower", since she often would find wildflowers and wear them in her hair. On these trips, she was famous for her cooking- especially the yeast doughnuts she would make and let rise on the side of a hot canoe.
Bob and June established their first canoe livery, Morgan's Canoe and Outdoor Center, on the Little Miami River in Ft. Ancient in 1964, where they have resided since the early 1960's.
Throughout June's life, she was always involved with children and nature. She was a 4H Leader and taught children about conservation and nature. She also was instrumental in getting the Little Miami River designated as a National Wild and Scenic River, where she served on the advisory board of the Little Miami Incorporated. She served as president of the Middle Council of the Little Miami Incorporated for a time in the 60's. In 1969, she was the first woman to descend down the Gauley River in West Virginia on a whitewater raft with Bob. In 1970, she was chosen by Family Circle Magazine as Homemaker of the Year, where she was featured with her 5 boys and their pets, along with some of her famous recipes. As the grandchildren started to arrive, she instilled in them this same love of nature and animals. Her 16 grandchildren know and love her as "Jumie".
In the late 1990's, cable station HGTV featured June, Bob and their family on the program, "TheGood Life", which was broadcast nationally. By this time, 4 of their 5 sons had taken over the family canoe and outdoor businesses located in Ft. Ancient, Ohio and Brookville, Indiana. This allowed June and Bob to travel extensively in the Fla. Everglades and Louisiana where Bob would fish, and June would often paint scenes from nature.
Bob and June continued their love of sharing nature with others, by opening a small bed and breakfast eco-lodge called Morgan's Jungle Lodge in the late 1990's on the remote and pristine Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica . National Geographic lists this area as one the most "biologically diverse places on the planet". Here, she acquired yet another name, "Jungle June". June enjoyed the daily visits from the white-faced monkeys, the howler monkeys, macaws and other various rainforest animals. Many area families traveled to the lodge and recognized this as a very special place run by a very special lady.
June was preceded in death by her parents, and sister, Nancy (Dugger) Theobold. She is survived by her husband, Bob, and five children, Greg (Tracy) Morgan, Gary (Moira) Morgan, Dirk (Lori) Morgan, Rob (Michelle) Morgan and Randy (Joni) Morgan. She is also survived by 15 grandchildren, Jon and Drew Morgan; Chas and Mary Cate Morgan; Hunter Morgan, Teisha (Morgan) Widmer, Jessica, Jordan, Joni and Jadey Riewoldt; Ashley, Anne and William Morgan; and Amanda and Randall Morgan.
The visitation was held at the Bolton Lunsford Funeral Home, 3042 Harrison Ave, from 5-8PM on Wednesday August 16th.
A memorial service was held at Westwood United Methodist Church (the church they were married at,) 3460 Epworth Ave, Cincinnati, OH on Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 11 a.m.
Those wishing to give memorials are asked to consider The June Morgan River Sanctuary Fund, c/o Lebanon Citizen's National Bank, 2 North Broadway,
Lebanon Ohio, 45036. This has been set up in June's honor and will provide a place of rest and reflection for paddlers on the Little Miami River.
Click here to view a history of Morgan Genealogy and the legacies they left behind.
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