Saturday, March 13, 2010

Joseph Hyrum Morris 1873-1955

(History as told by Joseph H. Morris (Jode) to his daughter, Mary Ellen Morris Parkinson in 1939)

I was born in Greenville, December 28th, 1873.  I received my schooling of eight grades or readers, as they were called, in a small school in Greenville where my parents were charged by the month for our schooling and bought our supplies themselves.

Our games and amusements were run sheep run, steal the sticks, horseshoes and a ball game called rounders.  There were several large chain swings in the village where the young people gathered on Sunday evenings.  We had candy pulls where our candy was made from Molasses.

Our home conditions were those typical of pioneer life at that time.  We used fireplaces for cooking, light from homemade candles, clothing made at home and the simplest of table fare.  Sugar was practically impossible to get and molasses was used instead.  We would get 60 gallons of molasses for a winter's use.

We were taught the Gospel and the value of good reading and we grew up with a knowledge of right and wrong.  Some were more active in the church than others.  As a boy I worked on the farm and gradually took over it's management as my father bought cattle for large business concerns.  We only had the crudest of farm machinery.  There were only one or two mower-reaper combines in the valley and the children had to follow and glean the hay left from loading.

I was baptized November 5th, 1882 and confirmed a member of the Mormon church by David Williams.  My first steady girl was Sarah Williams, whom I went with for about 1 1/2 years.   My next steady was your mother Emily Rosetta Edwards.  Our courtship lasted for about 3 years.  We were married August 16th, 1899 in her father's home.  Her father married us as he was the Bishop at that time.  I was 25 years old and she was 20.

We began our house keeping in a small log house where our first child, Myrtle Fay was born.  When she was 5 months old, we moved to Fay, Nevada where I worked for 7 months in the mines.  We returned to Greenville and were building our first home when our little daughter died on June 21st, 1901 of inflamation of the stomach.  She had always been a delicate child.

On August 7, 1902, our second child, Leland (Neal) Edwards Morris was born.  Violet Velma was born September 27th, 1904, Mary Ellen was born September 10, 1906, Joseph Sheridan was born August 16th, 1911 and died May 23rd 1913 of blood poisoning.  William Ormond was born May 6th, 1914 and Agnes Jeanette was born August 29th 1917. 

Our family lived very happily through childhood, there being few tragedies and not very many serious illnesses among them.  Violet and Leland escaped being kidnapped by a band of gypsies, because of the wise little boy's refusal to be lured to them by the promise of candy and by his quick thinking in managing to escape them when they pursued.  Three days after the death of Sheridan, Mary Ellen was saved from drowning by my sister's husband, Val Scott, who heard her cries after she had fallen into the millrace and came to her rescue.  Agnes had pneumonia when she was about ten years old.

Joseph Hyrum andf Emily Rosetta Edwards Morris on their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

After our children were grown we did experience two great sorrows.  On October 19th, 1933 our oldest grandchild Max Blackett, son of our daugher Violet and her husband William Edwards Blackett, died at the age of 8 years at the Iron County Hospital of a bowel obstruction which resulted from adhesions.  He had been operated on for appendicitis when he was 4 years old.  Two years later, in the fall again, October 29th, 1935, our oldest son Leland, accidently shot himself in the leg while hunting deer.  He lived a month, but suffered very much.  He died November 30th, 1935 in the Iron County Hospital of a staff infection resulting from hemorrhages from his wound"
* * * * * *
(Now follows the history of Mary Ellen Morris Parkinson in her own words)
Now may I go back to my own comments and memories of my life as a child in the home of my parents, Jode and Emmy Morris, as they were affectionately called.

The years when they were raising their family were hard ones.  They earned all they ever had by hard manual labor.  Besides supporting a family, our father bought and paid for his farm and machinery.  His father gave him the lot to build his home on, and they never moved from that first-owned-home until we were all grown but Agnes and Ormond.  Violet was married the spring that Grandfather Edwards died, and at his request, our parents moved into his home to care for mama's older sister Aunt Tissie.  They lived there until their illnesses in old age made it necessary to give up their home and live among us children.

As children we called our father "Papa".  Somewhere in my teenage years I began calling him Dad, but with the greatest affection.  He began his Priesthood work as a Deacon.  He was the first assistant to David Harris in the Sunday School before his marriage.  He was President of the M.I.A. three or four times.  The young people enjoyed him.  He filled 3 Stake missions of two weeks time, one at Parowan, one at Minersville, and one at Adamsville.  He was well qualified, as he was well acquainted with all the Standard works of the Church.  Reading was by far his favorite pastime, and he was a very effective teacher.  He was still in that position when he told me his life story.  He was a ward teacher for 40 years.  My parents were sealed in the St. George Temple in 1925.  Our father had a great gift of prayer.  I have heard many remark on his wonderful ability to offer prayer, his sincerity and choice of words and his definite pleas for the desired blessings.  People had great faith in his ability as an Elder in administering to the sick.  Our holiday meals were always preceded by a beautiful prayer from his lips and his heart.  One particular Thanksgiving, one of his grandsons remarked after prayer, "Grandpa's prayer is better than the dinner," and I feel sure he voiced all our thoughts.  His morning prayer was offered in connectionw ith the blessing on the food in which he gave thanks for blessings received, and a plea for continuation of blessings.

Dad was a very serious minded man, but he could entertain well when the occassion presented itself.  I remember how all the younger ones came to the front seats in the little old Greenville Chapel on a Mutual night when Dad was going to sing.  He always sang funny songs and acted as though he were enjoying it more than anyone.  Some of his songs were "You are just a little too small yount man", and one about "The old Speckled Rooster and the Old Spotted Hog".  He would play the harmonica and stop and say, "Sal chase the hound out of the mush pot and give this man some supper."  Then he would play again.  Then, "Hey mister how far to the forks in the road?"  I've lived in this place for nigh on to 50 years and I ain't seen a fork in the road yet."  Then he would play on again.  I can't recall more of the funny little jokes used in that song.  He and Mama sang together once in awhile.  The only song I can think of was a love song of their courting days, "The Sweet Forget Me Not."  This they sang very sweet and tenderly as though they were recalling those days.  I can never remember as a child, hearing my parents quarrel.

We would always have a harmonica in the house at Christmas time.  Dad would play it in the evenings for as long as it lasted.  It was the only musical instrument we ever had in our home until the radio came along and then I'm quite sure we had the first one to come into Greenville.  I guess there just never was enough money to buy an organ as many people had.  There was one in his mothers home and he learned to play it well enough to accompany the fiddle to play for dances and got $2.50 or $3.00 for a long evenings work on the organ.

One of my very choicest memories of life with Dad, was of Dad, Violet and I going to Aberdare or some other place in the wagon.  We all three sat on the wagons' high spring seat and sang, Violet and I soprano and Dad alto I guess.  Anyway, it sounded really good.  Our favorite song to sing together was "Memories of Galilee."  Spring and fall we all went to Aberdare to the farm to plant and harvest potatoes.  Mama stayed home, and when we returned there was always a wonderful hot meal ready for us, usually "Mulligan Stew" with her perfect homemade bread and butter and good milk to drink.

The work on the farm was hard and our hands weren't the same for weeks after the digging in the fall, but not one of us would have missed it.  Dad was so kind and patient with us.  Those delicious campfire dinners! I can taste them yet, usually cured ham, pork and beans, bread and butter and strong tea.  Dad made it, over the campfire too.  We never even wanted to have it at home, but at Aberdare, it was a must.

Grandpa Joseph H Morris with Grandkids on the plow in Greenville.

Grandma Emily and Grandpa Jode Morris

Our father was a truly honest man, in every sense of his life, and I'm sure he never owed a debt in his life that wasn't paid as fast as he could manage it.  It was the custom in those days to get our new, one and only dress and shoes for the 4th of July.  One year, our parents just didn't have the money to do it.  I was young but I sensed the seriousness of their quiet discussion and then Dad went to Beaver and borrowed money to get our clothes so we could be proud of our Fourth of July finery like all the other kids.  Looking back on those years, the thing that stands out the most forcefully is the wonderful feeling of security that our parents gave us in the house they provided for us, always so clean, with the wood boxes piled high on winter nights...dry cedar for the cook stove and green pine for the heater.  On such a warm cozy winter evening, Dad would usually be reading, Mama knitting those long black stockings to keep us warm, or mending; and us children either getting lessons or playing on the floor.  Perhaps we didn't realize it then, but we did have our own little heaven in that little log house, over on the hill in Greenville.
 Jode and Emily Morris on the south side of the home they inheirited from William Edwards in Greenville.

When Dad gave me his life story, I had gone up to Greenville to spend a week with them because Mama was ill.  I remember as though it were today...him sitting in his big chair and telling me about his life, as I sat at the table writing.  He was 65 years old, a very active farmer, milking a big herd of cows each night and morning.  Up at dawn and never quitting until dark.  Looking back, I feel that his chief virtues were: honesty, virtue, sincerity, love of his home and family.  He was quiet, and uncomplaining.  No work was too hard that needed to be done.  He carried the Morris name with pride and dignity and we all consider him an exceptional father.
* * * * *
Joseph's daughter Violet Velma Morris Blackett wrote in her own personal journal the following about her father. I remember when we lost my brother Joseph Sheridan, I was only 9 years old at the time.  I remember how grief stricken the entire family was.  I still remember my father sitting out at the end of the kitchen with his head in his hands sobbing at the loss of his darling son.  Our parents taught us love, honesty, thrift, and sharing and to work and help to make the family united and these things have stayed with me through my life.  We were also taught the gospel through the years as we grew up together.  We were taught to appreciate the things we had as we never had any luxuries but a very good living, good nutritious food from the most beautiful garden in town.  We lived on a farm about a mile or so from the main town of Greenville.  My parents worked very hard and taught us to help in every way we could.  Every morning my father would get up early and weed in the garden.  They grew lots of vegetables and had some berries.  They always shared what they had with those less fortunate than themselves.  My parents were very congenial and I never remember them having a serious argument.  I remember my mother telling dad "You can have your way now, and I will have my way when you go to work!"  After I married William Blackett, my parents moved into Greenville into the Edwards home so we lived in the home that my father built for some time.  Other members of our family lived in that home at other times as well.   I am so very grateful for my wonderful father.  He was a very great man.

No comments: