Necklace made by Private Charles Morgan added to NBM collections

Charles Henry Morgan, Canadian, born in England, 1886 – 1967
necklace, 1916-1918
glass and faceted brass beads with cotton
overall: 66 × 1 cm
Gift of Wendy Jacobson, 2022 (2022.13)

Thanks to the generosity of Wendy Jacobson of Newport, Virginia, the New Brunswick Museum has recently added a modest necklace to its collections.  The necklace was made by Private Charles Henry Morgan (1886-1967) who had enlisted in the Canadian Army in September 1914. It likely was made as part of physiotherapy he undertook while recovering from a severe injury as the result of a gunshot wound to the back which he received on 9 February 1916.   Morgan spent the remainder of the war recuperating in hospitals in England and Canada before his discharge from the army on 4 November 1918 at Fredericton, NB.

The creative endeavours of First World War soldiers such as trench art or objects made during rehabilitation, are relatively rare.  Apart from some identification bracelets, a couple of lockets and pins, this aspect of the war is not well documented in the NBM collections.  A few photographs of the interior of the Military Hospital in Fredericton, NB, do show soldiers at various tasks and treatments but none are recognizable as rehabilitation crafts.

This necklace was presented to four-year-old Muriel Palmer Taylor Jacobson (1914-2020) in 1918 upon Private Charles Henry Morgan’s discharge from the army and his return to the employ of the Taylor family at their farm near Florenceville, NB.

Muriel Jacobson treasured the necklace for the rest of her life and wrote when she was over 100 years old:

I was born at the beginning of World War I.  A young man of 18, Charlie Morgan, lived with my parents as one of the family.  He apparently had no family or relatives.  He was 14 or 15 when he came to our farm looking for work. My parents made him a member of the family and my Father taught him some work skills. I believe he enlisted in the Canadian Army at the beginning of the war…He made 2 bead necklaces which he brought home to Vivian [her older sister] and me.  I remember very clearly his returning to our home, the only home he had.  He was about my Father’s height but very slight.  He was dressed in khaki clothes.  I was a 4 year old girl and quite intrigued by his puttees, soon changed for trousers.  He lived with us until he decided to make a life on his own.