Taps Sound for Albert R. “Pawnee” Morgan, Singing Patriot
Albert R. “Pawnee” Morgan, prominent Legionnaire, widely known vocalist and one of the area’s most popular citizens, died in Clay County Hospital due to a heart condition, February 18, 1957.
Mr. Morgan was born December 14, 1888, at Staunton, the son of John T. and Margaret (Bolin) Morgan, who moved to Harmony in 1898. After completing his schooling at Harmony School, he attended Brazil Business University for commercial training. Following graduation, he became a postal rural route carrier, until he entered military service for World War I.
While in the Army, “Pawnee” was selected for a major part in the all-army musical comedy, “Who Stole My Hat?” This played during army camp engagements and in most of the larger eastern cities. Being honorably discharged from the service, he returned home and accepted a position with the local electric power office of T.H.I.&E. Company.
A short time later, he was successful as the Republican Clay County Recorder. At the end of his term, he became associated with Ralph McQueen in the real estate, abstract, and insurance firm of McQueen & Morgan.
A man of unusual vocal ability, “Pawnee” devoted considerable time giving freely of his talent, bringing enjoyment to others. Even before World War I broke out, he had won recognition as the baritone in the “Harmony Quartet,” which included his brother, Gene, “Jum” Lister, and Gilbert Hixon, all of Harmony. After his return to civilian status, the quartet was revived, using the name of “Harmony Four.” The group gained national fame and great demand as first class entertainment. About 1923 they presented the first “live program ever” over WRPI, the Rose Poly radio station. The following year, they went on the air in Chicago for KYW, the only station operating there at that time.
“Pawnee” was a 1939 charter member of the nationally-famous Elks Charters, of Terre Haute, and featured as a soloist until his illness caused his retirement. His splendid control and boundless volume helped the “Charters” to win national championship. He was in demand as a soloist on countless occasions, and his rendition of “My Buddy” and “Wagon Wheels” will be remembered by those who had the good fortune to hear him.
Morgan was active in political, civic, fraternal, and veteran organizations. He was considered one of the “wheel horses” of the Republican Party, was a past commander of Clay County Post #2, and a charter member of the American Legion. Pawnee was a member of Voiture 1287, 40 & 8 and one of the original members of the local Legion’s “Last Man’s Club.” For many years he was an active member of the Brazil Lodge No. 762, B.P.O. Elks, and the first president of the Kiwanis Club, which he helped to organize.
He was survived by his wife, Harriet, and siblings Katherine (Morgan) Plumer, Nellie, Fred, and Gene Morgan.
The funeral services were conducted at Lawson & Son Funeral Home at 2: p.m. Tuesday afternoon by Judge Robert B. Stewart. Interment was in Roseland Memorial Park with full military honors.
Submitted by: Jo Ann Pell -Clay County Genealogy Library, Center Point, Indiana
Source: Clay County Genealogy Library Family Files