John Morgan's tombstone in Pine Ridge Cemetery

Born: August 2, 1869, in Peru, New York

Died: July 23, 1927

Married: Alice English


John C. Morgan ran the Franklin House with his father before building the St. Regis Hotel.

He moved to Saranac Lake from Peru, New York with his family in 1888. He served as chief of the fire department for many years and acted on several municipal committees. Taking an added interest in politics, he was elected to the office of village president on the Democratic ticket. When the Elks Lodge No. 1508 was formed in 1925, Morgan became the first exalted ruler. He died on July 23, 1927 in a drowning in an accident while canoeing on Long Pond near Floodwood.

Lake Placid News, July 29, 1927


John C. Morgan Meets Death While on Fishing Trip—Prominent Politically and Former Owner of St. Regis Hotel

The many friends of John C. Morgan in both Lake Placid and Saranac Lake were deeply moved the first of this week when the news of the drowning of the popular hotel man and Saranac Lake village official reached these villages.

Missing since Saturday night, the body was found Monday noon in Long Pond, 18 miles west of Saranac Lake village, only a short distance from the dock, in seven feet of water. The search began Sunday when his companions found the boat floating on the surface of the lake with his gun and dog in it. All evidence pointed toward an accidental drowning, nothing having been disturbed in camp or boat.

Mr. Morgan started on a fishing trip Saturday with his two friends, Gurney Raymond and George Downing, both of Saranac Lake.

He journeyed into camp ahead of his companions and was to prepare supper and then cross the lake and pick up his friends. When Mr. Morgan failed to appear at the appointed time, Raymond and Downing borrowed a boat and crossed to the camp. They found supper ready and everything in preparation. Upon the failure of their friend's arrival they decided he had tried a little fishing before night-fall, so they ate supper and waited. As night fell they abandoned their former conclusion but still were not alarmed, deciding he must have visited one of the nearby camps. They went to bed that night, expecting him to return during the night.

Failed to Appear

When morning came and still he failed to appear they took alarm [illegible] His boat was found floating near the center of the lake with his gun and dog in it.

Upon this discovery, they relayed the news to Saranac Lake and about 200 friends joined them in the search. All day Sunday they dragged the lake without success. Early Monday morning again saw them at the task. Late in the forenoon, Frank Davis and Edmund Lamy, two volunteer searchers, came upon the body with grappling hooks. The spot of discovery was only 15 feet from shore and in but 7 feet of water.

No Definite Explanation

Although no definite explanation can be given, it is assumed that Morgan was trying to start the motor when it kicked and he was thrown off balance. Although he was an expert swimmer, the force of the blow and weight of his clothes evidently made it impossible for him to reach shore.

A touching bit of loyalty and devotion was seen by the searchers in Morgan's dog. The two had been inseparable companions, and after the tragedy the little dog refused to eat and whined for his master the whole night through.

Known throughout North

Mr. Morgan was widely known through the Adirondacks, having at one time served as village president of Saranac Lake. At the time of his death he was Saranac fire chief. He also was the former owner of the St. Regis hotel of that village. Active in politics, he was nominated by the Democrats early in the year for the office of village president. He was defeated by Mayor Fred C. Conrad.

The body was brought to the undertaking rooms of H. J. Conley of Saranac Lake.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Alice Morgan, his mother, Mrs. M. Morgan, and three sisters, Miss Jennie Morgan, Mrs. William Mulflur and Mrs. Lytle, all of Saranac Lake. The coroner gave the verdict of accidental drowning. The funeral services were held Thursday.

Mr. Morgan was a cousin through both his father and mother of Mrs. George W. LaMoy of Lake Placid.