Leah Marjorie Johnson
  b: 8/Oct/1892 - Cooper Twp., Gentry Co., MO
  d: 29/Aug/1972 - King City, Gentry Co., MO - bur: High Ridge Cem., Stanberry

Father: John Andrew Johnson
Mother: Delilah Russell

Spouse: Everett Hughes Morrison
  b: 3/Mar/1894 - Cooper Twp., Gentry Co., MO
  d: 20/May/1983 - bur: High Ridge Cem., Stanberry, Gentry Co., MO
 m: 16/May/1961 - Stanberry, Gentry Co., MO

Biographical Details:

Leah Marjorie Johnson was born in Cooper Township in Gentry County, Missouri, on October 8, 1892, along with her twin brother, Cleo.  She was the daughter of John A. and Delilah Russell Johnson.  Her mother had been a schoolteacher and evidently valued education.  Consequently, about 1905, the Johnson family moved to a farm at the eastern edge of Stanberry (later known as the "City Farm"), perhaps, to improve access to schooling for their children.  Moreover, in contrast to her older sister, Angie, who apparently did not finish high school, but went on to earn a teaching certficate from the district normal school, Leah completed high school in Stanberry, graduating in 1910.  She seems to have been high-spirited as a girl and young woman and participated in many school and later civic activities.  It is not known if she was involved in many romantic relationships, but one suitor is evident, viz., Everett Hughes Morrison.  He was more than a year younger than Leah and had grown up on an adjacent farm east of Stanberry.  Family tradition recalls that they were close, but on October 2, 1917, Everett was drafted into the United States Army for service in World War I.1  He was transported overseas to France, leaving the United States on June 6, 1918, and returning on February 19, 1919.  Fortunately, Everett was not seriously injured during his service, but he did suffer frostbite from cold and exposure, which caused him difficulty later in life.  Upon Everett's return from World War I, he and his family soon relocated to Maricopa County, Arizona, which currently corresponds a location within metropolitian Phoenix.  It may be supposed that this was motivated by health concerns as it was then believed that an arid climate had beneficial effects, particularly, with respect to progression of tuberculosis.  (Of course, this thinking has been entirely superseded by the advent of modern antibiotics.)  In any case, the Morrison family appeared in population schedules of 1920, 1930, and 1940 for Maricopa County.  During this time, Everett evidently worked for his father as a farmer, in a "wood yard", and later ran a service station.  Both Leah and Everett committed themselves to the care of their aging parents; she in Missouri and he in Arizona; hence, most family members believed that they had lost contact with each other after the 1920's.  Concomitantly, Leah and her parents made a long trip in 1920 to Idaho, Oregon, and California to visit far-flung relatives, particularly, from the Russell family.  (It is not known if Leah and Everett met for a "last time" during this trip, but it is possible.)

Accordingly, Leah Johnson lived with her mother and father until their deaths in 1926 and 1934, respectively, and after this with her sister and brother-in-law, Angie and Homer Evans.  This was the period of the Great Depression and it is known that Leah provided some financial assistance to Homer allowing him to retain his farm.  Even so, family tradition indicates that their personalities were not particularly compatible and that there was friction within the household from time-to-time.  Indeed, it would seem that by this time, Leah had fully accepted the persona of an "old maid" and, as such, was unafraid to offer advice and recommend courses of action irrespective of whether they were solicited or not.  Naturally, this resulted in some tense exchanges.  Subsequently, by or shortly after the end of World War II, Leah moved into the town of Stanberry to a small house on West Third Street.  She also had inherited a parcel of land adjoining the town, which she sold to the city in the early 1950's for construction of a sports stadium, golf course, and other civic amenities.  (Obviously, this is the City Farm.)  Fortunately, this sale allowed her to live comfortably and to pursue her various avocations such as flower gardening, collecting salt and pepper shakers, and doting on her cat, Lady.  In addition, she remained an active member of the Island City Christian Church, driving out from town nearly every Sunday to attend services.  Therefore, it would seem that she had settled into a traditional pattern of life for an older unmarried woman.  Nevertheless, about the year 1960 or, perhaps, somewhat earlier, it became evident to other members of her family that Leah and Everett were once, again, corresponding irrespective of the intervening geographical distance or the elapsed forty years.  Indeed, it is not known if they ever really lost contact during the passage of time or if such correspondence remained a well-guarded personal secret.  Of course, such speculations are neither important nor material, but on May 16, 1961, Leah Marjorie Johnson and Everett Hughes Morrison were married by her nephew, Rev. Russell Evans.2  At the time, they were both nearly seventy years old.  Moreover, as might be expected, reactions of other family members were mixed with the majority believing that two older individuals, each having never been married, would be so "set in their ways" that only conflict and unhappiness could ensue.  However, Leah and Everett proved them all wrong.  They were evidently happy with each other and during the first few years of their married life, they spent summers in Missouri and winters in Arizona (Lady the cat being relagated to the farm and the care of Leah's sister, Angie).  As Leah and Everett aged further together, they no longer made the increasingly difficult trips to Phoenix, but remained in Missouri through the winter months.  Furthermore, they clearly remained devoted to each other.  Leah suffered a debilitating stroke in the fall of 1970 and entered the King City Manor Nursing Home.  Everett was faithful to visit her nearly every day if he could until she died on August 29, 1972.  He continued to live in the house on Third Street in the summer and Pine View Manor in the winter until his death in 1983.  They are buried together in High Ridge Cemetery.  Of course, Leah and Everett Morrison lost any opportunity for children and a long life together; however, their lives still provide a sweet story of love and devotion that stretches over the years through various committments and hardships, but yet with a final shining triumph.

Source Notes and Citations:
1. MORRISON, EVERETT H.            2,185,222              W
       (Surname)     (Christian name)  (Army serial number)  (Race)
Residence: STANBERRY, MO
   *Inducted at:  ALBANY  on  10/02/1917
Place of birth:  STANBERRY, MO  Age or date of birth:  23 7/12YR
Grades, with date of appointment:  PVT 6/19
Served overseas from: 06/03/1918  To 02/19/1919
Honorably discharged on demobilization      Y
In view of occupation he was, on date of discharge, reported  N  per cent disabled.  (Soldiers' Records: War of 1812 - World War I, Form No. 724-1, A.G.O., Missouri State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, MO.
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2. K. Bovaird, N. Newman, E. Miller, B. Phillips, N. Summa, and R. Pierce, Once Upon a Railroad, Stanberry, Missouri 1879-1979, Inter-Collegiate Press, Shawnee Mission, KS, 1979: pg. 347.
     "Everett and Leah Morrison   Everett and Leah Morrison were married in 1961.
     Leah was the daughter of John A. and Delilah Russell Johnson.  She had a twin borther, Cleo, and one sister, Angie Evans.  Her entire life, except for a few years in Phoenix, Arizona, was spent in or near Stanberry.  She inherired the farm, which she later sold to the city of Stanberry, where the golf course, swimming pool, Pine View Manor and other facilities are located.  She was a faithful member of the Island City Christian Church.
     Everett was the eldest child, and only son of Frank L. and Effie Huughes Morrison.  His sisters are Rachel, Blondina and Alice, who live in Arizona, and Gertrude, who lives in Aberdeen, Washington.  They were all born and reared near Stanberry.  After World War I, during which Everett served in the Army for two years overseas, the family moved to Arizona.
     Everett and Leah had kept company before World War I, but because of distance and family responsibilities, lost contact for many years.  Eventually, they resumed their courtship by mail and were subsequently married.  They maintained homes both in Phoenix and Stanberry for a few years, but finally returned to Stanberry to stay.  Leah died in 1972, and Everett lives in her former home on Third Street in Stanberry.   Submitted by Laurel Evans"
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Additional Citations:

3. 1910 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 190B, (microfilm: roll T624_781; img. 379).

4. 1920 US Census Population Schedule for Los Angeles County, California, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 136B, (microfilm: roll T625_104; img. 894).

5. 1930 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 76A, (microfilm: roll T626_1188; img. 153).

6. 1940 US Census Population Schedule for Gentry County, Missouri, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 89B, (microfilm: roll T627_2106; img. 542).

7. World War I Draft Registration Cards, National Personnel Records Center, National Archives-Southeast Region, Morrow, GA, (microfilm: roll MO-1683214; img. 5519).

8. 1920 US Census Population Schedule for Maricopa County, Arizona, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 276A, (microfilm: roll T625_48; img. 1122).

9. 1930 US Census Population Schedule for Maricopa County, Arizona, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 30A, (microfilm: roll T626_50; img. 61).

10. 1940 US Census Population Schedule for Maricopa County, Arizona, National Archives, Washington DC:  pg. 2114B, (microfilm: roll T627_108; img. 361).

11. Marriage Records, Gentry County, Albany, MO:  Bk. 12, pg. 228, (Missouri State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Jefferson City, MO (microfilm: roll 37666; img. 135).

12. Don Raymond,"High Ridge Cemetery", unpublished. (Gentry County MOGenWeb Archives, 2005.)

13. Nadine McCampell, Johnson Family History, The Printery, Albany, MO, 1982: pgs. 165-6.

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