Sunday, June 17, 2012

His Blood Lacked Strength, You See. From Eating Too Many Grapefruits at Luncheon.

January 20, 1911, The [Utah] Evening Standard, Paul Morton Suddenly Stricken in New York, Page 5,

NEW YORK, Jan. 19. Paul Morton, president of the Equitable Life Assurance society and secretary .of the navy under Theodore Roosevelt, died of cerebral hemorrhage in the Hotel Seymour tonight. He was stricken in a hallway of the hotel and died an hour later without regaining consciousncss.

His wife and his elder brother, Joy, were summoned to his bedside, but he died a fow minutes before they arrived. His close friend, D. J. Berwind, arrived ten minutes before Mr. Morton breathed his last, but the stricken man was unconscious from the moment of the stroke and neither recognized those about him, nor spoke.

The body was removed to the house tonight, but no statement of funeral plans were given out. The coroner's office is satisfied that death resulted from natural causes.

Did Not Know Life Was in Danger.

Mr. Morton himself had no idea that his life was in danger, but his family, his physicians and a few close friends knew that his condition was precarious. Joy Morton, after he left the room where the body lay, gave a full account of his brother's ill health and sudden death.

"Paul and I took luncheon together at noon today," he said. "I came from Chicago this morning and Paul met me at the station. We went to the Equitable building, where, at Paul's request, I attended a meeting of the board of directors at which he presided. Then we had luncheon together in the building, and sat together, talking, until half past two.

Brother Tells of Deceased's Illness.

"'I had other business and so had he. 'See you at the house at six or a little before,' I said, and we parted. At 5 o'clock I dropped into his office, thinking we might go up town together, but he had left. So I went on up to the house, where I met Mrs. Morton, and we drank tea together. "I told her Paul had promised to be home at six, and as it grew late, she said:

" 'Joy, isn't it odd that Paul is late? He is so punctual The words were hardly out of her mouth before the telephone rang. The butler answered and then said:

"'Mrs. Morton, the Hotel Seymour telephones that Mr. Morton has just fainted.'

"We jumped into an automobile and were there in a jiffy. Mr. Edward J. Berwlnd was there before us. The hotel had telephoned to the Metropolitan club, to Paul's office and to several friends.

Fainted In the Hallway.

"He was stricken on the fifth floor, where he had an appointment with a lawyer, whose name I'm not sure of.
They told us that ho had fainted in the hallway, on his way to his friend's room, and that they carried him into
a vacant apartment.

"About the first of last December, the Equitable got out what it called a Christmas policy, and when everything was in readiness it was suggested that it would be fitting to make out the first policy in the name of the president of the company. Paul was examined and Dr. Wells, the chief examiner of the company, rejected him.

"Of course, it was a shock and Paul never dreamed how serious was his case. It alarmed the family, however, and we had him go to Chicago to be examined. That, I think, was about December 5.

Knew of Paul's Ill-Health.

"Paul laughed at us. 'They're only trying to scare me," he said. Of course, Dr. Billings did not tell Paul, but he did tell me, 'your brother's blood pressure is too high. He has auto-intoxication. ' and then he explained that auto-intoxication is a condition in which the body does not rid itself of the toxins it secretes and so poisons itself. In addition, he diagnosed cerebral thrombosis. My father died of precisely similar conditions on April 27. 1902.

"Then I came to New York to find out what they thought of him. Dr. Isaac Adler, the family physician told me that Paul was suffering from a kidney and arterial condition, indicating Bright's disease.

"Dr. Wells told me that he had rejected Paul because his tests showed traces of albumen. 'Your brother,' he said, is feeling the effects of what we call an unbalanced ration.'

Blood Lacked Strength.

"Paul was a very temperate man. He ate sparingly, drank and smoked not at all. For breakfast he would eat sometimes a grape fruit, nothing more. For luncheon he would sometimes eat a sliced orange and nibble at sweets. You see his diet was unbalanced and his blood lacked some of the elements of strength needed by a man that did the work he did. Dr. Wolls told me that he would have to take the greatest care of himself and that he ought to cut down on work.

"It was his first illness, and he refused to call himself sick, but we persuaded him to go on a vacation. He would have sailed for Europe February 22.

"This is tragic," he ended abruptly. "He was my younger brother, the last of us. Treat him kindly, gentlemen."

Wife and Daughter Gather.

In the ante-room of the Hotel Seymour, whlle Mr. Morton was talking, stood Thomas Fortune Ryan, E. J. Berwlnd and Theodore Shouts, all of whom had been summoned by telephone. Mrs. J. Hopkins Smith Jr., a
daughtor, and her husband, had joined Mrs. Morton upstairs.

Coroner-Physician O'Hanlan said that from the antecedents, history and the symptoms, there was no doubt in his mind that death was due to arterial sclerosis, a hardening of the walls of the arteries, terminating in a cerebral lesion. He thought that Bright's disease was indicated, but there would be no autopsy.

A permit for the removal of the body to Mr. Morton's house was granted almost immediately.

Report Death to Coroner.

The death was reported to the coroner's office in the usual stereotyped form as follows:

"Paul Morton 53 years old, died suddenly at the Hotel Seymour, No. 50 West Fifty-fourth street; reported to coroner's office by Dr. Pearson, West Forty-fourth street; occupation, railroad man."

Few, if any, of the directors of the Equitable had news of the death until they were informed by the newspaper. Frank S. Wiltherbee, a  member of the executive committee, said

"I am inexpressibly shocked. I saw Mr. Morton as late as 4 o'clock this afternoon, after the regular monthly meeting of the Equitable directors, he complained of not feeling well, and I urged him to take a rest and vacation, never dreaming, however, that his condition was so serious."

January 20, 1911, The Logansport [IN] Pharos, Paul Morton Dies Suddenly, President of Equitable Life Assurance Society Succumbs. HIS DEATH DO TO APOPLEXY, Rupture of Blood Vessel In the Brain Causes Demise in New York Hotel—Relatives Not Present When End Came. Page 1,
New York, Jan. 20. — Paul Morton, president of the Equitable Life Assurance society, was stricken with apoplexy late Thursday afternoon- just after he had 'gone to the Hotel Seymour on West Forty-Fifth street, for the purpose, his friends say. of keeping an appointment with Paul L. .Kiernan, the lawyer. He died an hour and a half later in an apartment just vacated by Mr. Kiernan earlier in the day and just a few minutes before his wife and brother, Joy Morton, of Chicago, readied the house. Coroner Felnberg, who Is a physician, and Coroner's Physician O'Hanion agreed after they had examined Mr. Morton's body and had talked with Joy Morton concerning his brother's condition, that death was caused by apoplexy due to a rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, which resulted from aeterio-sclerosis, from which Mr. Morton was found to be suffering within the past months.Edward J. Berwind, the coal merchant, was the only one of Mr. Morton's relatives or friends to reach his bedside before he died. He went to the .hotel in response to a telephone message to the Metropolitan club asking that if any of Mr. Morton's friends who happened to be there, to come to the hotel. After Mrs. Morton and Joy Morton got to the hotel, Thomas F. Ryan and T. P. Shonts arrived. Mr. Mr. Morton-'s son-in-law, James Hopkins Smith, Jr.. and his wife also arrived. Mr. Morton was born in Detroit, in 1857, son of J. Sterling Morton, who was secretary of the interior under President Cleveland. His only education was in the common schools and that only lasted until he was 15 years old. He then went to work as a clerk in a railroad freight office and kept busy plodding along for years with only an occasional promotion until 1890, when he became general freight agent of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. Two years later he left the Burlington to become vice president of tbe Colorado Fuel and Iron company. In 1896 he left that company to take the office of vice president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad in charge of traffic.

Mr. Roosevelt, when he became president, offered Mr. Morton appointment to the first cabinet position that became vacant. The place was secretary of commerce and labor. Mr. Morton did not feel able to throw up $36,000 a year and declined, but In a short time requested again to enter the cabinet, became secretary of the navy. His term as secretary of the navy began July 1, 1904, and ended exactly a year later. When the life insurance scandal had been aired, there was need of a man of high character and executive ability to take charge of' the Equitable Life Assurance society. Mr. Morton assumed the presidency, at a meeting at which there were tendered the resignations of President J. W. Alexander, Vice President J. H. Hyde, Second Vice President G. E. Tarbell, and Third Vice President G. T. Wilson. When a young man, Mr. Morton married Charlotte Goodrich, of Chicago, who survives. He also leaves two daughters, Mrs. Caroline M. Potter and Mrs. Pauline M. Smith.

January 26, 1911, The Spectator, Sudden Death of Paul Morgan, page 53,


Men in insurance and financial circles were greatly shocked last week on hearing of the sudden death on Thursday evening of Paul Morton, president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society and a man of National reputation. It appears that Mr. Morton visited the Hotel Seymour, in New York city, for the purpose of making a business call, and suffered a stroke of apoplexy after leaving the elevator and before reaching the place of his intended call. He died within an hour and a half without recovering consciousness, and before members of his family could reach him. For some months past Mr. Morton had been in ill health, although he would not admit it, and just before Christmas his own company declined to issue additional insurance upon his life. Following this verdict he yielded to the persuasion of his family and promised to take a prolonged rest after the annual statement of the society had been disposed of.

Paul Morton was born in Detroit May 22, 1857, and was the son of J. Sterling Morton, who subsequently moved to Nebraska and became prominent in that State. The son grew up in Nebraska and began his business career in the land department of the Burlington and Missouri Railroad. For many years he worked steadily at railroading and rose, step by step, until he became a vice-president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe. In 1904, the then President Roosevelt appointed him to a position in his cabinet as Secretary of the Navy, where he displayed his ability at establishing efficiency and economy.

The year 1905 witnessed the upheaval over life Insurance conditions, and when Thomas F. Ryan bought the controlling Interest In the Equitable Life, Mr. Morton was placed in charge as chairman of the board of directors, and on the resignation of James W. Alexander he became president. Under his administration the society has been thoroughly rehabilitated in public confidence and the way paved for its continued progress among the most important financial institutions of the country. Apart from his connection with the Equitable, Mr. Morton had many financial interests, and the burden of work which he assumed doubtless contributed to his sudden demise. Those who came in contact with Mr. Morton were quickly imbued with confidence in him, while his subordinates admired and respected him highly. His death is a distinct loss to the Equitable Life Assurance Society, to financial interests and to the Nation at large. The funeral services were held on Saturday last at St. Thomas' Church, the active pallbearer being the officers of the Equitable, while the honorary pallbearers Included many noted public men.

Memorial resolutions on the death of Mr. Morton have been passed by a number of institutions with which he was connected. At a meeting of the executive committee of the Equitable Life, presided over by Vice-President W. A. Day, the following minute was adopted:

The announcement of the sudden and untimely death, on January 19, 1911, of Paul Morton, president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, has been received by the executive committee of the board of directors of the society with profound sorrow and regret.

Pending a meeting of the entire board, when more formal action will be taken, the members of this committee wish to place on record their appreciation of the character and abilities of President Morton, and of the services rendered by him to the Equitable Society and its policyholders.

They desire also to extend their heartfelt sympathy to Mr. Morton's family in their bereavement.

Paul Morton assumed the grave and difficult responsibilities of chief executive officer of the Equitable Life Assurance Society on June 9, 1905, at a critical period in its history. And the masterly ability and unflagging diligence exhibited by him in conducting the affairs of the society during the five years that have intervened furnish an imperishable monument to his character, wisdom, business efficiency, and care. As the direct result of his skillful management the strength of the society has been enhanced, its revenues have been increased, economies have been effected, and the confidence of the public and of its policyholders throughout the world has been firmly and permanently established.

In the death of Mr. Morton the directors, officers and agents of the society have lost an associate and friend for whom they have had the most sincere respect and admiration. And the policyholders have lost a stanch leader, in whom they have had the utmost confidence.

At a meeting of the executive committee of the society on Friday, January 20, at which resolutions above printed were adopted—and which committee has all the powers of the board of directors when that body is not in session—it was decided that the affairs of the society should be administered for the present by the first vice-president, Judge W. A. Day, It not being considered necessary to call a meeting of the full board. This arrangement will continue at least until the annual meeting on the third Thursday in February.

The executive committee of the General Agency Association of the Equitable Life adopted the following:

In the death of Paul Morton the Equitable and its agents have suffered a great loss. His uncompromising ideals and strict business methods, which have done so much in upbuilding the society and rehabilitating it in the confidence of the insurance world, were the accompaniment of a cordial nature and a generous heart.

All who knew Mr. Morton are sobered to-day by the sudden and sorrowful appearance of the grim spectre, Just when the results of his unceasing efforts for the society's progress were being crowned with success.

His was a life of service, giving freely of his energy, of his time and his best thought to the betterment of human conditions, to the progress of affairs; and he did this for use of the Equitable, and for our policyholders. He was the exponent of the "square deal," which phrase he coined.

And so, we pause in our work to pay tribute to the life and achievements of this strong man, to bear testimony to his worth and his character, to realize and appreciate that the great advance made by the Equitable was because of his efforts, and that the "Well done!" on his monument is but a reflection of the sentiment within the heart of each of us.

On his bier the association lays a floral offering, the fragrance of which is not sweeter than the tender regard we bear to his memory and the prayers we breathe.

The executive committee of the Association of Life Insurance Presidents, of which Mr. Morton was a member, passed the following resolutions:

The untimely and sudden death of the Hon. Paul Morton, president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, has brought profound sorrow to the Association of Life Insurance Presidents. Mr. Morton more than any other man was responsible for the inception and organization of this body. To it he brought a broad knowledge of affairs, a wide experience in dealing with men, and great executive genius. During the years of its existence, by consistent advice, constant loyalty and untiring energy, he contributed greatly to the success of its work. He has been itB leading spirit.

Bringing a large experience gained in the conduct of private business and as the head of one of the departments of the Federal Government to the Equitable Society, he became its head at a time when a strong, conservative and clear-minded personality was needed. He gave to it, as to all things else with which he was identified, the qualities that brought success to his many undertakings and contributed so largely to the growth and development of the' Equitable In recent years.

In his death the association has suffered an irreparable and grievous loss. His associates in business have lost a real inspiration, a wise counselor and a friend of much personal charm.

Mr. Morton, a portrait of whom accompanies this issue of The SpecTator, is survived by a widow and two married daughters.

Voting Trustees of the Equitable Life of New York.

The New York Insurance Department has given out a copy of the Equitable Life voting trust agreement, executed between J. P. Morgan, as the controlling owner of the stock, and Morgan J. O'Brien, Geo. W. Perkins and Lewis Cass Ledyard, the trustees; together with the correspondence on the subject passing between Mr. Morgan and the Department.

The agreement is dated December 31, 1910, and runs for five years. It is identical with that executed by Thos. F. Ryan, in June, 1905, save that—it apparently being intended to operate only until a feasible plan for mutualization or its equivalent is worked out—the clauses in the Ryan agreement, giving the trustees power to renew the trust every five years and, themselves, to put into effect a mutualization of the company, have been omitted. Instead, the agreement may be canceled at any time by Mr. Morgan; this, seemingly to permit the immediate carrying into effect of a permanent plan along the lines of his announcement when he acquired the stock in December, 1909.

In a letter to the Department Mr. Morgan says:

You will note that it places us all in such a position that when some determination can be reached in the interests of the policyholders, and which is satisfactory to your Department, it can be carried into effect without unnecessary delay.

I trust that you and the trustees will continue to pursue the subject until a plan is worked out that will be satisfactory to all concerned, and to that end I would bespeak a continuance of your kindly interest and co-operation.

In reply Superintendent Hotchkiss wrote:

The voting trust agreement evidences the understanding arrived at some months ago, which was, in substance, as follows: That, pending the ascertainment of a legal means whereby the Equitable Life Assurance Society could, without protracted litigation or a substantial reduction of its free surplus, be made a mutual company, in fact as well as by representations, the former voting trust—which expired by limitation last June—would be renewed, but with trustees of your choosing, and so modified that it could be canceled whenever mutualization or some equivalent plan had been arranged.

I, therefore, accept the formal execution of such agreement as a preliminary and, for a time—no satisfactory solution of this perplexing problem having yet been found—seemingly necessary step toward fixing the control of this insurance corporation where it belongs, namely, in its policyholders. Understanding, therefore, that it is your purpose, as soon as possible, to formulate or accept a plan whereby the dangers which inyears past have lurked in the private ownership of this vast public trusteeship will be permanently avoided, I will continue to cooperate with you to that end.

Morgan J. O'Brien was appointed one of the original trustees in 1905 by T. F. Ryan. George W. Perkins, a portrait of whom accompanies this issue of The Spectator, was until the close of last year a partner in the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co., and prior to that was vice-president of the New York Life. Lewis Cass Ledyard is a well-known lawyer of New York city, and is also connected with many financial and industrial corporations.

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