Photo of R. Dell Morgan as an infant. Presumably in Rochester, NY. around 1870.
Bill's Discussion Posts
Bill Pratt Dell has been found! the original mystery is solved. We now have the beginning, a few details in the middle, and the end. But I would like to fill in some of the blanks. She spent the majority of her life not really knowing who she was. She was born in Colesville NY on March 1865 as Delphine Morgan, daughter of Sarah Pratt and William Morgan. Sarah died in 1868. The next time we see "Dell" is 1870 in Rochester, NY with Mr. Morgan and his new Wife, Emma Redding. In 1883, going by the name Della Rose Morgan, she married William C. Powers of the very prominent Powers family of Rochester. In 1886, they have a son, Daniel W. Powers (named after William Powers father). They have a rocky marriage that ends in a very bitter and well publicized divorce in 1895 with her name as Dell M. Powers on the divorce papers. In 1896 she is living in New York City but her 10 year old son is living with the Eli B. Pratt Family in Colesville. Eli, Sarah Prat's sister, is Dell's Uncle. Dan is off the radar for the next 9 years, He reappears in 1905 living with his father William and his new wife Callista O'Dell. We've found numerous details of Daniel Powers' life. It would appear that he had no interaction with his mother for the rest of their lives. Dell, except for a momentary appearance in NYC in 1900, doesn't reappear until 13 years later, in 1909, as Redell, married to William Payne, and living in Oneonta, NY. Dell appears to live a quiet and uneventful life with Mr Payne until his death in 1925. We've discovered that Dell lived in several apartments in, and around Norwich, NY until 1943 Apparently, the $10,000 divorce settlement and any monetary inheritance from Mr Payne had run out. she might have had some type of public assistance but we don't know. We know that she suffered a stroke at some point which had some lasting memory impairment. Alas, in 1943 she was committed to the Binghamton State (Mental) Hospital by the Norwich City Welfare Commissioner .... for eating garbage out of garbage cans. As for names? In the 1932 Norwich City Directory she was going by Redell M. Payne. We had thought that she finally found out that her birth name was Delphine because she started using that name in the 1938 Norwich City Directory.and agsain in the 1940 Federal Census. However, from 1943 to her death in 1952 her name on record at the asylum and her death certificate was Redell M. Payne. Unanswered questions What transpired when both Dell and William were living separate lives in New York City before her trip? Did she ever make the trip abroad? What was her legal business with Mr. Okie? Could it have had something to do with custody of her son Dan? How and where did she meet Mr. Payne and what activities might they have enjoyed during their 16 years of marriage? Little is known of Dell’s parents: What were the circumstances of Sarah’s separation from Edgar Orlo Reed and her subsequent connection to Mr. Morgan? Did Orlo and Sarah truly divorce and were Sarah and Mr. Morgan ever married? Was Dell an illegitimate child? What caused Sarah’s death at age 28? When did Mr. Morgan meet or marry Emma Redding? When, how, and why did they end up in Rochester? Where is Mr. Morgan buried? Why was Dell so confused about her name and birth date? Didn’t her father tell her anything? What happened to Dan between the time he was with Eli Pratt’s family and the time he appeared in Syracuse with his father and step-mother? What schools did he attend? From what school did he receive his engineering degree? What happened that caused Dan to become separated from his mother (who had legal custody per the divorce). What happened that was so bad that Dan would have nothing to do with his mother for the rest of her life? Not even death could soften his heart to forgive her for whatever it was she did (or was accused of by her ex-husband William Powers) Holding true to the nature of this story, what better way to conclude than in mystery and uncertainty, the way it all began, three generations earlier, in the small rural town of Colesville. The many, still unanswered questions are shrouded in the mists of the past, growing ever fainter with each turn of the calendar.
Nov 01, 2007 · posted to the surname Morgan