In life we all get our start somewhere. In most instances, that start begins with experiences and connections we share with people. Henry McMorran’s start is no exception. As I discussed in an earlier blog, Henry worked for W.H.B. Dowling as a clerk until his business closed in 1860. During the Civil War period from 1861 to 1865, Henry went to work as a clerk for two men, John Stillson, who was engaged in the lumbering and mail stage business in Brockway & Port Huron, and Myron Williams, who is known for having been heavily involved in the lumbering and vessel building trade in the Marysville area with his son-in-law, Nelson Mills, starting in 1850. In 1862, Myron sold his interest in the lumber mills to Nelson and focused entirely on his vessel business.
There was more to R.C. Mudge than just making paper garments. He enjoyed music, acting, and giving to those less fortunate than himself. In 1889, he printed a piece of piano sheet music titled “The Paper Vest Gallop” composed by J.E. Fancher from the sulphite paper used to make his paper garments. He gave out free copies to anyone in the Port Huron community who requested one. At the time, the cost of a piece of sheet music was 50 cents. Today, that would equate to $12.50. The sheet music survives and is part of the Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection at the John Hopkins Sheridan Libraries & University Museums archive. In addition to printing off and giving out free music, Mudge was praised many times by the Port Huron community for donating paper blankets to the Port Huron Hospital and Home Association and paper vests to local mail carriers.
Sometimes an idea is sparked by a simple thought, a notion, or a gesture that stays with us. We let it mull around in our minds for a while, keep it close, and when the time is right we put it to use in our physical world. These kinds of ideas mass produced by all of us contribute to our personal experiences and essentially create and dictate the world we live in. Other times, it is almost like the form of an idea runs quickly across our consciousness and is filtered out. Gone. Was it a missed opportunity for exploitation? Doubtful. I like to think that ideas that brushstroke our consciousness are in fact faulty thoughts gone astray that our mind was supposed to weed out and dispose of in the trash receptacle space of our unconscious mind. But who knows? All I do know is we are lucky creatures to have the intellect that we do and the physical means to share it. When I read or hear a personal story that entails an idea that take hold, grows, and shapes our world or someone’s individual life path, I love to share it. So here we go……
We have all heard the expression “Life is a Journey”. As we progress through our lives, this sentiment truly begins to morph from a mere saying into a true feeling. During my examination of Henry McMorran’s life, this feeling of journey and the passing of time holds steady in me. The process of putting together the pieces and parts of a person’s life from an historical perspective makes me personally reflect on my own life and serves up a large slice of inspiration pie.
Henry G. McMorran served as the US Congressional Representative for the 7th Congressional District of Michigan from 1903-1913 (United States, Congress, n.d.). While in Washington, he and his family frequently took up residence at The Portland located in the Thomas Circle neighborhood. (The Port Huron Daily Times, 1909 & Detroit Free Press, 1912).