Francis Merle Morgan (Twin), born 30 December 1916 in Neeley, Idaho, and died 27 February 2003 in Emmett, Idaho. He married
Billie Dean Adams 10 August 1950, born about 1927, probably in Palisade, Bonneville, Idaho.
Life History For Francis Merl Morgan
Bonnie Morgan Walker
On December 30th, 1916, in Neeley, Power County, Idaho, in a winter with lots of snow, twin sons were born to Emily Alice
Baugh and George William Morgan. They were named Chester Earl and Francis Merl. Dr. North who delivered them said they should
have named them Pete and Repete. They had four older brothers; Leon, born April 16, 1902, William LeRoy, born April 24, 1904,
Kyrel Baugh (Pete), born July 29, 1906, and Elmer Vaughn, born 14 November 1910. Vaughn, Pete and Merl were all left-handed,
and Pete wrote backwards. At that time they lived on 10 acres their grandpa William Thomas Morgan had given them next to his
own place in Neeley, Idaho. George William Morgan had built a log house for his family to live in, and it was in this house
the twins were born. It burned to the ground a few years later.
When the twins went to first grade they lived in a "big yellow house" in American Falls, Power County, Idaho. They
also had a homestead at the head of the Little Creek and a dry farm in "Nigger Heaven." In the spring and fall they
would take their cattle to Sunbeam on a cattle drive. Merl and Earl learned to ride a horse at about the age of four. Their
dad wouldn't let them have a saddle for fear they would get drug to death if their foot got hung up in the stirrup, so they
learned to climb up the horse's neck to get on. They rode the surrounding countryside playing Cowboys and Indians, roaming
the hillsides and enjoying each other. Merl loved horses and was very good with them. He taught them to kneel, to say "yes"
and "no" with a shake of their heads, to bow, and other tricks as well. Merl remembered going to get wheat in a
bobsled when he was about five years old.
Their father George William leased some land on the Indian Reservation with their uncle Dick (Clifton) Morgan and a Mr. McKnight.
They had the first car and (grain) combine in Power County. In one year they harvested $25,000.00 in grain. Then in 1927 George
William (they called him G. W. or Will) lost everything. Because of a drought they could not raise a crop for three years.
Each spring they planted, but because it was a dry farm and no rain came they did not get enough of a harvest to get their
seed back, so they ended up losing their ranch. When they lost out, the banker came to foreclose, they took all of the horses,
but the man saw Merl and Earl ride up on Bonnie and Lady and he said, "Leave them for the boys."
After the foreclosure they moved to Sunbeam, which is just outside of American Falls, Idaho. There were no buildings there,
so with the help of all the boys, they built a barn and corrals, a house, and chicken coop by the side hill. They dug out
nests for the chickens out of the hillside. Later on they built a bunk house for the boys to sleep in. The place was along
Sunbeam Creek, it was pretty and cool with trees all around the house, bunkhouse, barns, and corrals and outbuildings. There
was also a fresh spring nearby.
George William planted fruit trees of all kinds. The garden spot never had to be watered. The water subbed up from the creek
and kept the garden just right for growing things. They grew tomatoes, potatoes, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, and
turnips, everything they could grow. Beyond their house, on the south slope of the mountain, they planted potatoes, watermelon
and cantaloupe. Each year they got out of school on the 20th of April and the next day they would be planting potatoes and
The barns and corrals were up above and the house was down in the trees. They grew rye and fed it to the cows, but it didn't
have enough nutrients in it to keep them healthy and strong. They had 12-15 red Durham milk cows. They milked them by hand
and separated the cream before they went to school. They also fed and watered the chickens, fed the horses and cows too. They
had about 50 head of horses. They sold the mares to someone from Georgia to raise mules on. They sold the cream in American
Falls and fed the milk to the calves and pigs. They had about 30 pigs. George William would buy a sow and raise her piglets,
and they raised chickens and gathered their eggs. They ate pork and beef and fried potatoes with oatmeal mush. George William
would cure the hams. They raised a lot of turkeys. They would have to catch them, chop their heads off, pick the feathers
off them, and take them to town to sell. They only went to town once or twice a month for supplies they didn't make or raise
To find "the Gardens" (that's what they called their Sunbeam home), you drive out from American Falls on the Sunbeam
Road past Uncle Vaughn's old house, continue driving and a few miles out on the right was Uncle Leon's place. Keep going
and the road forks to the right and left and straight ahead. "The Gardens" was on the left down in the trees. The
hillside in front of you as you drive towards it was theirs, too. Straight ahead about three miles was the school they went
to. The Sunbeam School was a one room schoolhouse in 1930, it had grades 1 thru 8.
When Merl was in the fourth grade he contracted Scarlet Fever. He said he was unconscious for about a month. The doctor told
them he wouldn't live. While he was unconscious he felt like he went to heaven. He saw a beautiful place that had green grass
and trees and blue water. He said it was peaceful and it felt so good he didn't want to leave. When Merl was sick, Earl wouldn't
go to school without Merl, so they both stayed out the rest of the year. It set them back a year in school. All of Merl's
skin peeled off because of his high fever. When Merl and Earl were in the 5th grade they moved to Rockland for a short time
and then they moved back to Sunbeam and lost half of the cows in the winter because the only hay they had was rye and fine
grass and it didn't have enough nutrients in it for the animals. When the boys were home they worked hard. They worked a trap
line and caught jack rabbits, weasel, bobcats, and coyotes; they would get 10 cents a piece for rabbits, $5.00 for coyote
hides. They would take them to Pocatello to sell them. They played the card game rummy. Also Mumblypeg, a game you play with
a knife, you would flip the knife off of your nose, ear, elbow, wrist, forehead, shoulder, ect. if the knife sticks in the
ground you keep going, if not it is the other guys turn and you have to start over. I remember Dad and Uncle Roy teaching
the boys and playing it with them.
When they lived in Sunbeam and American Falls the boys learned to swim at the Indian Springs Natatorium, it cost 10 cents
a piece to swim there. They stayed in Sunbeam until they graduated from High School. Merl and Earl graduated from high school
at American Falls in 1936. His brother Leon and his wife Mamie lived on a ranch there too. His brother Pete lived there and
his brother Vaughn and his wife Ila lived right in American Falls. His brother Roy never married and lived with his dad G.
W., the twins Merl and Earl, and Wilma the baby sister. They all loved Wilma.
The boys rode horses to school every morning. When they were in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades they were asked to drive the
"School Bus" which was a wagon in good weather and a bobsled in the winter with two horses pulling them. They picked
up the other kids and took them to school. Coming home from school sometimes they would not stop, but just slow down and have
the kids jump out, as they kept going. Then they would drive home at a dead run. Everyone teased them that no one would go
on the road until after they had gone to school or knew they were home from school for fear they would be run over. One time
the tugs came loose from the double tree and the tongue went down and tipped the sleigh over, the horses ran home. The folks
came looking but the boys were OK.
Their teacher's name was Elizabeth Neyman. Everyday at noon they would climb up the hill behind the school when it snowed.
They had one pair of ski's and they would strap the ski's onto the feet of one of them and the other would stand behind on
the ski's, and hold on tight and ride down together. "But if your partner fell you sure took a tumble." When they
graduated from grade school there were 4 boys and 1 girl in their class.
In the seventh grade a new teacher came to the Sunbeam School. Her name was Miss Roberts. She would pllay with the kids and
everybody loved her. She came to their high school graduation in 1936 in American Falls about five miles from their home in
Sunbeam, and gave them a big hug she was so proud of them. To their disappointment, no one from their family came to the graduation.
Editor's note added by James Morgan, nephew of George William Morgan.
The Pocatello, Idaho airport was used as an airbase during world war II. George William had some kind of an arrangement that
allowed him to haul away the food leftovers from the kitchen at this airbase. These food remains were fed to the pigs. Servicemen
with kitchen duty at the airbase were careless in scooping the leftover foods into the garbage with the result that some of
the table flatware, and even some of the heavy white handle-less corning mugs, were dumped into the garbage. So when the pigs
had eaten the foods there was perfectly good flatware with U. S. stamped on it and a few white coffee mugs left in the bottom
of the troughs. George William retrieved this eatingware, cleaned it up, and gave my parents, Kenneth and Mary Morgan, a set.
For many years after the war ended we ate our everyday meals with U. S. stainless steel knives, forks and spoons. I still
have some of the white Corning mugs, which were very durable.
Back to Bonnie Morgan Walker's narrative
The boys and their dad would go to the timber for about a month at a time. They would camp out and cut logs for houses and
logs for fence posts. Leon, Vaughn, Uncle J. P., Gib Hunt, Merl and Earl and their dad G. W. would take sandwiches at lunch
time and walk around and look up and "eye a tree" and tell you if it would make a good house log or not. They would
go out to cut the Cedar that grew on the hillsides for fence posts, the cedar would last a long time.
The boys made their own fun. They had fun with brothers Vaughn and Roy. They would go swimming, play Cowboys and Indians.
Loosen the cinches on their saddles and put a rope over each other's saddle horns to see who could pull the saddle over. They
never were destructive, just good clean fun. They often went to a neighbor's named Paulson, where they had a lake and a big
red horse. They would take the horse to the lake to swim. They would take him out where he had to swim and then hang onto
his tail while he swam around the lake. He was a gentle old horse. Ernie Paulson was a little older than Merl and Earl. He
looked out for the twins and acted like a big brother to them. He joined the army and went to Boise for his training, but
while there he caught pneumonia and died. Merl and Earl were pallbearers for his funeral.
They had many family gatherings, but especially on Memorial Day. All the relatives from Idaho Falls and Rigby would come to
Neeley to decorate the graves and have a good visit. Their grandpa William Thomas Morgan would tell them stories of the early
days in Neeley and how the cowboys would ride past them working in the fields and shoot at them. (Editor's note: Variations
of this story have come down to us. The earliest one I recall was William Thomas Morgan saying that the cowboys would shoot
at the dugouts the Morgan's lived in just to scare them. He said when the bullet hit the dugout they would all duck and he
laughed and told them the bullet had already gone past and it was too late to duck now). Almost always at these family gatherings
G. W's brother uncle Al, and his son Pete would start water fights. By the end everyone was soaked. They would fill buckets
with water and even run through the house and throw it out the window at people. Uncle Al and G. W's son Leon tied a dead
chicken to a little old ladies door. The Morgan boys were always thinking up something to do to tease people. They tipped
over outhouses, put buggies and wagons on top of buildings.
They laughed about going on picnics out in the sage brush and having to brush away horse manure and rabbit pellets and having
a picnic in the sand. Aunt Mame, Leon's wife, told me they didn't need an excuse. Someone would say "Let's go on a picnic"
and people would gather together whatever they had and off they all would go. G. W. loved going on picnics, usually down on
Lake Channel, where Uncle J. P. (Marvin) Morgan lived. G. W. loved his brother J. P. One day they made a trade, one of G.
W's big trees for one of J. P.'s lakes. Lake Channel was on the other side of the Snake River (From the highway-therefore
the dirt road down to Lake Channel was pretty rough). J. P. told the boys "If you get your wife working and your clock,
you don't need nothing else." J. P. never liked to work too hard.
Merl, Earl, Vaughn, and a cousin Dale (Uncle Dick's son) were driving their old model A along a road by Arco. The road ran
side by side with the railroad tracks. There happened to be a train on the tracks and the boys were driving alongside the
railroad track racing the train waving and laughing thinking they were going to beat that train. When all of a sudden they
saw the road curve in front of the train, so Vaughn went off the road into the sagebrush and off went the train. They all
got a good laugh from that as the train left them in the dust. Another day they were driving and the gas gage didn't work
too well so they stopped to get gas. The gas attendant said said it was full but the gage said it was not so Vaughn told
the man to keep putting gas in till it was running out onto the ground.
Merl and Earl were riding some colts they were breaking on the reservation. They rode by a sheep camp and the herder gave
them a lamb and tied it to the saddle horn. As soon as they were out of sight of the sheep herder they untied it and held
it in their arms. If that lamb had started to kick they would have had a ride!!
They had a little Bay horse named Bud who could run all day chasing mustangs on the reservation. They also had a pair of Bays.
Merl's was Cougar and Earl's was Clipper and they would buck at the drop of a hat. They weren't hard to ride they just liked
to buck. They always tried to out walk each other. They often rode from Pocatello to American Falls (25 miles). They would
ride from Mashod at Sunbeam and back in a day, a bout 25 miles.
There was 40 acres they had their saddle horses on and they would chase them for about an hour. When the horses would get
tired and head to the corral then the boys would saddle them up. They thought it was cheating to take grain in a bucket to
catch them with, Merl said, they chased horses as far as they rode them.
In 1929 their mother, Emily Alice Baugh Morgan, get breast cancer. She had surgery in Blackfoot. She was very ill. They made
a bed for her outside under the trees to help keep her cool. Her sisters came to visit quite often before she died, but not
much after. She was born in Cache Valley, Utah, July 23, 1881. She died August 11, 1929. Merl and Earl were about 11 and
Wilma was seven when she died.
Emily had come up from Utah to help her sister Mattie with her babies and she met G. W. They were married April 24, 1901 in
the Logan, Utah temple. She sang in the church choir and was president of the church women's organization for years. Merl
said she was a spitfire and taught the boys to cook and to work. After her death the family stopped attending church. G. W.
never remarried. Her death left a big hole in the family. Sometimes the older brother's wives would feed the boys. Uncle Roy
(LeRoy) helped her take care of the twins and Wilma. Roy helped her raise the garden and can in the fall. Shortly before her
death Roy promised her that he would help his dad raise the twins and Wilma.
Sam Baugh, Emily's brother, built a hotel in American Falls and had an island named Horse Island. They cut hay there from
May to September, but when they built the American Falls Dam, it was covered with water. Then the Baugh brothers moved to
On Sundays they would go rodeoing. They would ride all the neighbors horses that couldn't be broken. The Bishop tried to get
them to go to church, but they were the "Stars" riding at the neighborhood rodeos and so they had to go to the rodeo
and not to church. Mrs. Rast, Leland Ralph's sister, took pictures of them riding. Her husband played fiddle at the local
If you were a real cowboy you had a pocket watch and if you were really a cowboy you had a chain and watch fob to attach it
to your belt loop. Their nephew Theo Morgan, Leon's son, got a pocket watch for a gift and Merl and Earl were as excited for
Theo as he was. They bought him a chain and a fob for his pocket watch to hook it to his belt loop on his pants.
Merl and Earl had so much fun breaking horses. They both had a real knack, or a way, with horses. They didn't drink or carouse,
they just loved breaking horses. In five days they could have a horse broken to ride. They broke horses for the Calvery for
$20.00 a head. Walt Kerr raised horses for the government. He had 30 mares and 2 stallions. For two summers they worked for
Walt Kerr, breaking 20 horses a month, then he would sell them. He had a daughter he wanted one of them to marry but neither
of them accepted the offer.
Merl remembers December 7, 1943, they went to a dance. It was so foggy you couldn't see the road to turn in to home. The next
morning they heard that the Japanese had bombed Peal Harbor. President Roosevelt pulled F. Merl Morgan (Dad's name) out from
Power County, to be drafted into the army. Aunt Ruth, Uncle J. P's wife, was on the draft board, and they knew they would
go to war because she was very patriotic.
Merl and Earl got a job tamping rocks down by the railroad ties for the railroad. The section boss told them if they worked
for him he could keep them out of the army. But after three days their hands were so sore they couldn't close them so they
quit and figured the army couldn't be that bad. It took the section boss a month to track them down so he could pay them.
With the money they earned they sent to Iowa and got their first registered Border Collie and named him "Scotty."
The draft board called them up for the army and sent them to Pocatello for their physicals. They told Merl he had a heart
murmur and so classified him 4-F, and rejected him. He felt so bad about not being able to go to serve his country . It was
the first time the twins had been separated.
Merl and Earl had always wanted a ranch, so every spring their dad would take them out looking. After Earl went to the army
Merl, his dad, and brother Roy moved to Pocatello. There was an army [airforce] base at Pocatello and there was a ranch right
across from the base. They lived on this ranch for a time, and then they decided they needed a bigger place. They knew that
when Earl came back he would want to farm and ranch with them too. When Earl went to the army , Merl sold all of the cows
except for a few registered herefords. They had $10,000.00 in the bank. Leon, Merl and their dad G. W. went looking in the
spring of 1944. They went up to Salmon, Lemhi County, Idaho, and it was raining and had been raining, it was greener than
green. They made the down payment on a place and bought some more cows. Later Pete and Leon moved up there too, but Vaughn
and his wife stayed in American Falls.
The ranch was located along a creek called Withington Creek, but in July and August the creek dried up, no one told them that.
Along the creek they had a milk house with a trough to hold the milk and cream and butter in, the creek ran right through
the milk house. It was their refrigerator in summer. They had a log house up above the creek and a beautiful garden spot above
the house. In the garden were fruit trees and berries and vegetables of every variety. Up the lane was a root cellar dug into
the hillside for storing winter fruits and vegetables.
When it was time to move, Merl went to get tires for the truck, the man said "We sure hate to see you go. Power County
needs good boys like you." When they moved to Salmon it took 48 hours to get from Pocatello to Salmon with a load of
cattle. Tires were rationed and they would only let Merl have two for their truck. Every time he would turn a sharp corner
it would break a wheel and he would have to go and buy a new wheel. Finally when he got about a mile from the new place he
dropped the gate and drove the cows home. In the morning the milkman couldn't get through because the road was blocked with
When Earl came home from the army Merl gave him half of his cows so Earl would have as many as Merl had. They lived on the
ranch for two years with their dad and uncle Roy.
Once at the Salmon fair somebody said "We signed you up for the walk, trot and run race." Merl said "I don't
even have a horse." And Earl said "Damie is at Whitings," so they went and brought the horse back and he won
the race. Merl used to win money riding as a jockey in all sorts of horse races. Merl loved horses and he loved to train them.
Aunt Julia's [Julia Morgan Hansen] daughter Verna and son-in-law Glenn Montague brought their daughter Verna Alleene up to
stay with Leon's family. While she was there she wanted to stay with her Uncle G. W. for a while. Then she and Earl got married
[2 December 1947]. The next spring they bought a place on Whimpie Creek.
Billie Dean Adams came to Salmon to visit Alleene who had been a friend in Idaho Falls. She met Merl and they were married
on August 10th, 1950 by Bishop Parks at Leon's place at Baker. He was age 34 and she was 23.
After he asked her to marry him and she said "Yes," he said "The Lord really does answer prayers." He
said he used to ride and talk to The Lord about how lonely he was and he just wanted someone to love him. Billie says it was
revealed to her that she was sent to Merl as a gift.
Merl and Billie bought 160 acres close to Baker for $4,000.00. There was a one room cabin and they built on two rooms. It
was up the road from Earl's place, and then they bought 500 and some acres below Earl's place for $25,000.00. Merl raised
cows and horses and Billie fished in the creek below the house.
Their first daughter Bonnie Marlene Morgan was born June 21, 1951 while they lived on the ranch.
Merl had helped his family members many times but when he found himself in need of help to make the payment on the ranch none
of them helped him. It hurt him deeply that his family wouldn't help him when he needed help and he gave up. He walked down
to the little grocery store in Baker, which wasn't far from their ranch, and signed over his ranch to the man who owned the
store without a penny exchanged. Billie was so upset with him and told him he should have asked for some kind of payment,
but he didn't. She knew he could have done things differently. He could have sold some of the cows they had. Billie asked
him "Merl, what are you doing?" He said "It doesn't matter to me any more." He walked away from that ranch
without even trying to sell it. They had two places and he got about two hundred dollars out of the other one and that is
all they got. After signing over the ranch they packed up and moved down to Baker.
During the summer Merl's sister Wilma and her husband Bob Ground moved to his dad's ranch. The next summer Pete and his wife
Velma were building a house at Leadore. They paid Merl to work on the ranch up there. In the fall they moved back to Baker
and rented a little house and Merl worked on different ranches in the area. One of his jobs was to feed cattle in the winter.
Billie and Bonnie would bundle up and go with him. Billie drove the team as Merl threw hay off the sleigh to the cattle. They
had fun doing that together.
A son, Thomas William Morgan, was born August 2, 1953. Tom was born at Baker while they were living on the ranch where Merl
was working. Bonnie was almost three years old.
The next summer Pete and Velma decided they wanted to move. They found a place around Boise and they came back and told Merl
about the place they had found. Merl had worked on a ranch at Baker for about two years. He wasn't interested in moving around
too much, but he thought about moving to where Pete and Velma were going. It was hard because the rest of the family was still
there and they had made some really good friends, but in the end it was decided they would go with Pete and Velma. They helped
Pete move their things and were able to look around for a farm for themselves.
Before they left Baker Merl signed his portion of the ranch that his dad, Roy, and Merl owned together. He didn't tell any
of his family what he did. He felt what went on between him and his dad was their business and what he did was his own business,
so he never told anybody except Billie. Merl told Billie that the reason he built the ranch up in Salmon was he wanted his
dad and Roy to have a home when they got old.
In 1954 Merl sold his horses to Wilma's husband Bob, and that really broke his heart. They sold all the cattle they had. It
was bad enough that he had to sell his cattle, but he loved his horses and it was especially hard for him to part with the
horses. Merl had a golden palomino named Tuffy that he loved, but he felt he couldn't move him Meridian with them. He left
Tuffy with his dad and Tuffy bucked uncle Bob off, so they sold him. That just about broke Merl's heart. He loved that horse
but no one else could ride him but Merl.
They started over with $1000.00 and ten head of cattle and bought a 30 acre farm on Ten Mile Road, which is now called Eagle
Road, just out of Meridian, Idaho. They kept their milk cows and moved them down and their furniture. They moved in a stock
truck and camped out on the way outside of Boise. It was just a small place and they couldn't make enough off the place to
live. Luckily Merl had Pete and Pete was always helping him get jobs as a carpenter. Merl worked with Pete in the Emmett Valley
and they built the first sawmill in the town of Emmett. Merl and Billie helped Pete and Velma remodel or build three different
houses they lived in. Velma told Billie years later in apology "We didn't even pay you to help." Billie told her
"That's alright we had at least one full meal a day when we came to help." Merl also worked on different farms around
the area when Pete didn't need his help with a carpenter job. Merl milked for one dairy farmer and he liked him so well that
he told others about Merl, by then he was milking for 5 guys while they went fishing and stuff. There were many good people
there. They took them in and really treated them good.
They were working hard, but milking cows and selling the milk didn't bring in much money. They had chickens and Merl loved
to go to the sales and buy calves. He raised a lot of calves, but many of those calves would up and die, so the money they
hoped to make on them didn't happen.
When Merl finished the sawmill in Emmett he decided to look for a bigger place. So, in 1958, they bought 70 acres in Star,
Idaho. The grade school was just up the road from the new farm so the kids could walk to school. Here he milked cows, raised
hay, corn and grain to feed the animals. Merl could fix anything; mower, rake, baler, tractor, he would read the manuals and
if he really got stuck there was always Uncle Bob Ground to ask for help. We always raised a large garden, had chickens, rabbits
for pets not for eating, had horses and baby lambs in the spring. Merl began working at the Sugar Factory near Nampa at $1.85
an hour and worked there in the fall and winter for 14 years to supplement our income. Some good friends in Star were Ranny
and Fern Tucker, Norma and Neil Hink. On October 22, 1966 we were sealed in the Idaho Falls Temple (of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints) while living at Star, Ada County, Idaho.
Earl and Alleene moved to Vale, Oregon about the time Merl and Billie moved to Meridian, Idaho. After they moved to Star Earl
and Alleene moved about two miles from Merl and Billie onto a twenty acre place. Billie said "We worked back and forth
with them and enjoyed that."
Their son, Daryl Francis Morgan, was born October 29, 1957 and another daughter, Emma Suzzette (Suzie) Morgan, was born May
6, 1962. Merl's dad got sick when Suzy was a baby. Then he slipped and fell. He never recovered from the injuries he incurred
and died in the hospital at Salmon, Idaho on March 22, 1964.
After his dad died his brother Roy bought the twenty acre place that Earl and Alleene lived on just down the road from Billie
and Merl. Earl and Alleene moved to another place not far from them. Roy and Merl helped each other with their farm work.
Roy spent a lot of time at their farm and it was nice to have him living close by. Soon all of Merl's brothers and his sister
and their families lived in the Boise area.
Merl's third son and last child, Scott Allan Morgan, was born on November 4, 1965. Merl and Roy spoiled Suzie and Scott Royally.
They just loved them so much, but they loved the older three too.
About 17 years after Merl's dad died Roy developed throat cancer. He didn't live very long after it was discovered. Before
Merl's dad died he told Roy to be good to Merl and watch out for him and help him and he will take care of you. And that's
what Merl did. He was there for him all the time. When Roy went to the hospital Wilma took him and then she took Roy to her
home to die. He died the next day, July 23, 1981. Merl just couldn't make himself go over to Wilma's and watch Roy die. Roy's
death was very hard on him.
They lived on the farm at Star for fifteen years then Merl decided it was time for a change. In December of 1973 Merl found
an 80 acre farm he liked at 8597 Bill Burns Road, in the little farming community of Letha, Glen County, Idaho, which is ten
miles from the town of Emmett, Idaho. When they moved to Emmett, Scott was in the first grade, Suzie was in the fourth grade
and Daryl was in high school. It didn't take them long before they all decided they liked it there. Merl raised alfalfa hay,
oats and peas together for hay, and corn, and pasture for the cows and always a horse or two. The kids helped Merl with the
hay. They hauled hay until it got really hot then the kids would go swimming. Then about four or five o'clock they all helped
with the milking. If it was still light Merl and the boys hauled more hay. He continued to milk cows. Later they sold the
milk cows and went to raising beef cattle. Merl loved animals. He always had one or two dogs, cats, chickens, cows, horses
and even a bum lamb or two. They had chickens and geese and guinea hens that were so noisy they were like watch dogs. He worked
hard to take care of us. Merl loved staying home. Even when he was a boy, he enjoyed peace and quiet. When he would go to
visit his daughter Bonnie, in Washington, it took a day to get there, he would visit for a day and the next morning he would
say, "I'm homesick it's time to go home."
He loved his grandchildren and enjoyed their company at the barn, on the tractor, irrigating, riding the tractor, or at the
sale-yard; wherever he went they were welcome to come along. If you wanted to be with Dad you went with him.
Daniel Walker remembers when Grandpa asked Daniel, "Do you want to wait up on the barn with me and we will shoot Santa
Clause?" I said, "If you do that you won't get any presents." Grandpa said, "No, we will get all the
Grandpa would say, "Come here," the kids would ask, "Why?" "So I can pinch you!" Or he would
give you a little tweak and you would say "What was that?" and he would say "It was a mosquito."
He always had frozen marshmallows in the freezer, they were the best ever! He loved the candy bar, Idaho Spuds.
One time Matthew, Laura, and Daniel were riding in the bucket of the tractor while he was doing some work in the field. Matthew
said, "If you close your eyes when the tractor turns it feels like you are falling off the edge into the canal."
So, as they neared the edge of the field they all closed their eyes and waited and waited and waited and the tractor didn't
turn. Finally they opened their eyes and they were heading straight toward the canal. They screamed "Grandpa!!"
Grandpa said "Well you wanted to know what if felt like to fall over the edge into the canal." He was just teasing
them, of course.
When we went to church with Grandpa the kids always knew when he was going home from church. If he got up to go to the bathroom
and didn't take his briefcase with him he was coming back in, but if he took his briefcase with him he was going home. So
if we wanted to go home we would ask Grandpa if we could go to the bathroom with him. He sang the grandkids songs that he
had learned when he was a boy. It was fun to hear him sing. We have a video of him singing. It is pretty sweet.
Merl was always honest and generous with what he had. Neighbors were always borrowing his equipment. He worked very hard and
taught us to do the same. He was always gentle with his animals, he was never mean to them and wouldn't let us be mean to
them. He wasn't mean to us either, in fact he would get after Mom if she tried to spank us, but we respected and obeyed him.
He was kind of grumpy and gruff sometimes, but children and animals loved him, they could sense his heart. He loved his farm,
his animals, little children, and his family.
My dad told me once, "Yep, Sis, I've had a pretty good life. I always wanted to be a cowboy and I was." He was fun
loving and had a quick wit. He never drank and went out with the guys, he just wanted to be home with his family. Wherever
he and Mom went they took us, whether it was fishing, to the sale yard, a drive to the mountains, or to visit relatives.
He had a heart attack in 1997 which slowed him down considerably because of congestive heart failure. Merl usually felt pretty
good, but every once in a while he would have a spell. One day he fell in the bathroom. When Billie found him he was lying
on the floor and didn't know what happened. Scott came and helped him get up, but he broke some of his ribs during the fall.
One time Bonnie came to visit and Billie wanted to go to Idaho Falls to visit her family, and we asked Dad if he wanted to
go, he said, "I never left anything in Idaho Falls that I need to go back after." Mom didn't feel she could leave
him alone, so she packed his suitcase and we said, "Dad, do you want to go for a ride with us?" We got him loaded
up and drove toward Boise and as we went through Eagle, Dad said "I think I've been kidnapped!" He was a good sport,
and Mom's family had a get together at Clyde Myers and Dad really enjoyed visiting with everyone. He enjoyed himself once
he left home, but didn't much care for leaving home.
Then, on Sunday February 23, 2003, he had a stroke. They took him to the doctor. After his examination the doctor told them
Merl had suffered a massive stroke and there was nothing they could do for him. They took him home and made him as comfortable
as possible. About three weeks before the stroke Merl told Billie that his dad and his brothers, Roy and Earl, came and told
him they were there to take him home. He asked them if Billie was coming too and they told him they would come for her another
time. This event helped Billie realize that Merl was going to die and it was going to be Okay.
Francis Merl Morgan died peacefully on Thursday the 28th of February at 11:45 in the morning at the family home in Letha.
Funeral services were held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Letha. He is buried at the Middleton Cemetery,
Canyon County, Idaho, near his brother William LeRoy Morgan.
He is survived by his wife Billie, daughters Bonnie (David) Walker of Ferndale, Washington and Susie (Kevin) McKerchie of
Emmett; sons Tom (Carol) Morgan, Daryl (Carla) Morgan of Sweet, and Scott (Duey) Morgan of Emmett. He has 25 grandchildren,
28 great-grandchildren and a sister Wilma (Robert) Ground of Boise.
More Merl Morgan Memories
Click on the link above to read more about Merl Morgan.