Grandma Morris

Pioneer Tough

By Max Jenkins

In April 1916, after enduring several years of drought in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Grandma and Granddad moved with their four children to Idaho. Grandma’s brothers and sisters had already purchased train tickets to Idaho, and my grandparents sold their small ranch and boarded a train to American Falls.

When they arrived, Granddad bought a one-room house near the Snake River. He negotiated to purchase a homestead, which required him to live on the land, so Grandma stayed in the house in town, enabling the children to go to school. I have no idea how she and four kids could live in a one-room house. My Aunt Jo, Mom’s sister, interviewed Grandma Morris just before her death and wrote an essay about her life. Aunt Jo’s written description of the living conditions was simply, “It was crowded.”

About a year after their arrival, Johnny Morris, my granddad, was killed in a wagon accident near the homestead. The child who would grow up to become my mother, Orpha Mae Morris Jenkins, was then two years old.

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