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My class reunion was held in Bridgeport this past weekend. A story was shared that had been written by a former classmate, titled “Jail.” It happens that the mentioned child, Richard L. (Dick) Morgan, was born in Grantsville on Mar. 22, 1928, the son of Amos and Mary Susan Hamilton Morgan. He was a nephew of Minnie Hamilton. His father worked for Hope and was later transferred to the Bridgeport area, where the family was raised.

Dick was an outstanding athlete, earning 11 letters in high school, where he was student body president. He was the first Bridgeport athlete to receive an athletic scholarship to WVU, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He earned a law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  He was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War.

He died Dec. 11, 1999, in Carson City, Nevada, and the following story was reprinted in a memorial celebration of his life on Feb. 12 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church:

“When I was 10 years old, during the summer of 1938, my bicycle and I were ‘arrested’ for riding on the sidewalk in downtown Bridgeport. Our town was a very small town and about one minute after the town’s lone policeman, Chief Woofter, stopped me, my dad happened to walk by.

Dad was on the Town Council that employed Chief Woofter, who was giving me a lecture when my dad walked by.

The Town Council had recently passed a local law that prohibited the riding of bicycles on the downtown sidewalks.

I expected my Dad to intervene on my behalf, but all he did was inquire about what I had done, and then say, ‘Chief, do what you need to do under the law.’ I am sure today that Dad had winked at the chief, but at the time, he never gave me any indication of helping me out.

My dad then proceeded down the sidewalk, leaving me alone with Chief Woofter to face my ‘crime.’ Chief Woofter returned to his lecture about the need to keep the sidewalks safe for pedestrians.

After he was certain that I understood the violation and the purpose for the law, he said, ‘Because this is your first offense, I won’t lock you in jail; however, I am going to put your bicycle in jail for three days.

My heart sank. I loved that bike. He then made me walk my bike down the street to the town jail, where I watched him put the bike in the town’s only jail cell and lock it. I don’t think I would have felt worse if he had locked me up. I really loved that bike. I visited it daily and retrieved it three days later.

I learned a great deal that day. Foremost, I learned that the fact that my dad was a town councilman, didn’t make any difference to him when it came to supporting the laws, even when one of his family was involved.

I also learned that there were reasons for laws and that I, too, had to obey that law. In later years, I came to see that my dad’s action had been very wise and was an indirect way of showing his love for me and teaching me a valuable lesson.”

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