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Morgan Family Pioneer Heritage

Vaughn Morgan

Elmer Vaughn Morgan


Vaughn Morgan was born 14 November 1910 in Neeley, Idaho, and died 1 October 1994 in American Falls, Idaho. He married 16 September 1929 in Pocatello, Idaho, to Ilah Fifield, born 11 January 1913 in Rockland, Idaho, daughter of William P Fifield and Amorette Allen. Ilah died 23 november 2001 in Blackfoot, Bingham, Idaho. They lived in American Falls and Rockland, Idaho.

Life Sketch for Elmer Vaughn and Ila Fifield Morgan


Elaine Morgan Hess

Vaughn Elmer (changed his name from Elmer Vaughn) Morgan was born November 14, 1910 in Neeley, Idaho to George William and Emily Alice Baugh. I know very little about his early childhood. All pictures of him indicate he was very blonde as a toddler. He was child number four in his family of seven, including the oldest Leon, Roy, K.B.(Pete), Dad (also known as V.E.), the twins who came later (Merle and Earl, and Wilma, the baby.

His early years were spent in Rockland, Idaho where his family lived and farmed. As the family grew, and shortly after the American Falls Dam was built and the town was moved out of the way before the filling of the reservoir, grandpa (G.W.) Morgan having had several good grain years, bought a new car and a big two story house which sat upon a hill in the newly "moved" town site of American Falls. The American Falls cemetery could be seen from the kitchen window. Dad told the story about when their Aunt Mattie Stanger, Grandmothers sister, came to visit. When she looked out the window and saw the cemetery she tried to convince our grandmother that seeing a cemetery was bad luck. She may have had some insight because they didn't live in the house very long. The weather, the stock market along with numerous happenings took a tole on everyone's finances. They lost the home and Grandpa moved the family to the reservation into a miserable house. Dad's mother developed cancer and the older boys had to take over the chores of the house, dad being one of the older children.

Dad went to school in Rockland and American Falls, where he excelled in Track and Field winning a few medals for his efforts. He graduated from the 8th grade, never to return. However lackng in formal education, he continued to teach himself and could solve nearly any math problem presented him. He loved reading and when we were kids, read some of the classics to us.Dad wasn't a person that attended church often. But seemed to know scripture.

One of the times dad was hauled off to church, he met our mother. Mother was the pretty little red-head from Rockland, who became his bride September 16th 1929. Their first home was the bunk house at the Gardens (His father George William's home at the time). Their first baby, Jimmy as he was called in his early years (He later changed his name to Vaughn William). He was born April 28, 1930. Later, with grandpa's help dad built a little log cabin on the creek up the road from the Gardens.

For a little extra money Dad and his brothers would catch wild mustangs from the Indian Reservation then haul them to the corral at the Gardens where they would attempt to break them to ride.

Myrna Alice, named for Grandmother, came during the dust bowl of "33." April 19th to be exact. And, so the story goes, because of dry weather, she never saw snow until she was 2 years old.

Times were very hard and the depression took it's toll on young families. Pigs were traded for roosters, things were swapped for what ever it took to make a living or to live. Cash was next to impossible to come by. Any opportunity to make a little cash was never overlooked. Dad and uncle Pete (Kyrel Baugh Morgan) hunted rabbits in the lava's for 25 cents each for the hides, which they stretched and dried, then loaded them up in an old truck and hauled them to Pocatello, Idaho to the junk dealer. It was my understanding the Navy used the hides for wadding in the big guns. Dad and Pete became crack shots with .22 caliber rifles. They couldn't afford to miss a rabbit what with the cost of .22 shells. Hunting was a big part of dad's life. He was known to open deer season a little early on occasion. He never shot just for the pleasure of shooting. His hunting was done to feed his family.

In 1936 I made my appearance. Eighteen months later my brother Danny was born. He lived less than a week. The end of the depression was near and times became a little easier.

The first house I can remember was on Sunbeam Road. I was about 3 or 4 years old. It was 2 or 3 old houses shoved together, moved up from the old dam site. It sat on a 2 1/2 acre lot. There was no electricity but there was water. Our toilet was outside. This must have been where dad's building career was launched. That old house was in a state of remodel for several years. Dad was enterprising and thought he could build a furnace in a little area he had dug out under the house for a basement. As I remember the so called furnace was an old oil barrel. He built a roaring fire in it, it got red hot and very nearly burned the house down. He went to plan B and let the unit cool off, built a fire in the wood cook stove so we could stay warm. Later he added a coal burning furnace, added two bedrooms and a bath to the then existing house. In the early 50's dad built mother a new house where they lived until dad passed away. It too was always in a state of remodel.

Dad and Pete started a building partnership in the middle 40's. They built a lot of cinder brick buildings in the Soda Springs (Idaho) area. Later the partnership was dissolved and dad continued building and remodeling homes in American Falls. I recall a few of the people dad hired to work for him. Dad always said "You take away a man's dignity if the man asks for a handout. You give it back when you offer them a job to earn his money." There was one person in particular dad gave a lot of dignity to. Poor guy was one of the town characters who had a love of the bottle. Dad hired Earl to do menial things around our house, just to keep him dignified.

In 1949 our little sister Patricia Jo and her twin brother Patrick were born, Patrick was still born. One more son, Kevin, born in the 50's was also still born. Seems mom and dad had R-H factor, but never knew it while having the family.

One of dad's passions was raising calves and pigs. His motto was "buy 'em high, sell 'em low." He farmed a little on ground in the Sunbeam area that he rented from the State of Idaho. On the hillside of the property he raised wheat, down by the creek he raised some of the biggest red potatoes I have ever seen.

After the folks retired they took a lot of fishing and sight seeing trips with his sister Wilma and her husband Bob. Also Uncle Earl often accompanied them. Knowing dad's love of history, we invited dad and mom on a 2 week trip to the North East, taking in a lot of historic battle grounds, the great scenery of and around Niagra Falls, New York, the state of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean. While in Maine we made plans to take the ferry out to Nova Scotia. When we arrived at the port dad flatly refused to go. I don't know if he had a bad time on the boat trip up the inland passage to Alaska or the thought of all that water between him and the boat and land frightened him or what. But he dug in his heels and refused to go, he even went so far as to tell us to take he and mom to the bus station and put them on a bus back to Idaho. He was a determined little man! They did enjoy themselves and we were so glad after we had been home for two weeks, that we had taken them.

Dad loved life and family. He worked very hard, he was a devoted family man. Even after he had a stroke, he continued to try to maintain things around their little home place.

The folks celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, dad's health was failing, he became very ill. Mother became ill caring for him. They spent time together in the hospital. Mom recovered enough to go home. After her recovery most of her time was spent with dad while he was hospitalized. On the evening of October 1st, 1994, mom, after being with dad all day at the hospital, returned home, and on arriving the hospital called saying he had passed.

The funeral director told us dad's funeral was the largest he had attended to, for a person his age. People we did not know he knew, came to honor him. He was a man of small stature but at the end, he was a man with a very large following of friends.

Extracts from Vaughn Morgan's obituary

Monday, October 3, 1994

"The fourth child of George W and Emily Alice Baugh Morgan, Vaughn worked on farms and ranches in the American Falls and Arbon Valley areas during his youth. Attending school in Rockland and American Falls, his athletic abilities earned him awards in track events."

"He and his brothers caught and broke wild horses, and he worked as a railroad construction welder as a young man. He lived at the Gardens in the Sunbeam area, where he ran range cattle during the early years of his married life."

"Before and during World War II he worked as a carpenter and construction worker on many projects including Register Rock Park and the Naval Ordnance plants in Pocatello, Ogden, Utah, and Stockton, California."

"Following the war he formed a private construction company with his brother, 'Pete.' He later started his own business in which he built, remodeled or repaired numerous homes, farm buildings and businesses in and around American Falls and southeast Idaho."

"These included buildings in Soda Springs and the rebuilding of the local Indian Springs Natatorium following a fire in the 1950's. Related to his construction business was a small sawmill first located in Knox Canyon in Arbon. The mill also produced timbers for the mines in Conda, Idaho. During the initial construction of the natural gas pipeline across southern Idaho he worked on many of its substation buildings."

"Vaughn also enjoyed raising livestock and farming most of his life. One of his last farming operations included the land along the Snake River between Register Rock and Massacre Rocks that is now part of Massacre Rocks State Park."

Vaughn and Ila's headstone

Click on the link above to see a picture of Vaughn and Ila's headstone in the Neeley, Idaho cemetery.