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Morgan Family Pioneer Heritage

Florence Melissa Morgan

Florence Melissa Morgan was born the sixth child of Joseph Charles and Melissa Bassett Morgan


In the picture above are Florence Melissa Morgan and her second husband George Howard Pitman.

Florence Melissa Morgan was born 12 December 1914 in Poplar, Bonneville County, Idaho, and died 8 March 1990 in Bountiful, Davis County, Utah. She married first 20 February 1934 in Gooding, Gooding County, Idaho, to Leland Hollis Wessel who was born 20 January 1908 in Exline, Appanoose, Iowa, and died December 1976 in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was the son of William Wessel and Carrie Edity Bennett. Florence and Lee Wessel settled in Dietrich, Lincoln, Idaho, where they had one child, surname Wessel.

But the marriage of Florence and Leland was a troubled one, ending in divorce. Florence married second her sister's widower, George Howard Pitman (aka Howard), 4 April 1946 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born 17 October 1901 in Ucon, Bonneville, Idaho, son of Sidney Pitman and Elizabeth Billman. Florence and Howard Pitman lived on the Pitman farms in Dietrich, Idaho, and while they had no children together, she became the stepmother of her sister Emily's Pitman family and reared them to adulthood in Dietrich. Her daughter Alice was 11 when Florence and Howard Pitman were married. Alice was reared in the Pitman household in Dietrich and was legally adopted by Howard Pitman.

Florence as a child lived in Poplar, Bonneville, Idaho, where she attended the local school. She was still a child when her family moved from Eastern Idaho to Emmett, Gem, Idaho, and a few years later to Montour, Gem, Idaho. She remembered her four years at Montour as being her favorite place when she was a teenager. She moved to Dietrich with her parents and family in 1931 when she was about 17 years old. She married Lee Wessel in 1934 while living in Dietrich.

Information below extracted from a life sketch of Florence Melissa Morgan by daughter Alice Hunt, 1999.

By the time the Morgan family had moved to Dietrich, Idaho, in 1931, Florence had completed school through the eighth grade. Due to her mother's poor health, she did not attend school in Dietrich. She remained at home, helping with kitchen duties and caring for the younger children.

In 1934 Florence married Leland Hollis Wessel. Later that year their daughter Alice was born. The earliest years of this marriage were spent in the Dietrich area with Lee working at farming and later with the Union Pacific Railroad. Florence had a reputation by this time of always taking care of someone. When mothers-to-be needed help, she would go to their homes and stay until the new mothers were able to resume the normal duties of the home.

During World War II many defense plants began operating in the Ogden and Salt Lake City, Utah, area. Florence and family moved to Utah in 1943. She worked for a short time at the Union Pacific Railroad laundry, then was hired at the Ogden Arsenal. Here she disassembled, repaired, and reassembled firearms. She was very proud of her "war effort" contribution.

Another big change came about in Florence's life after her sister Emily Pitman passed away in 1945. She and daughter Alice made a move back to Dietrich, Idaho, to live with the George Howard Pitman family, as his wife Emily's death left a family of five children without a mother. Florence assumed the responsibility of helping to care for her sister's five children. She and Lee divorced. The melding of two families is not usually easy and this one was no exception. But Florence and Howard were married in 1946, making this arrangement permanent. She worked diligently in gardening, canning, cooking, and cleaning. There was always plenty of everything to be done.

In 1950 Howard and Florence sold their first farm in Dietrich and bought about 600 acres of unimproved range land, also in Dietrich, where he built a new house and farm buildings. With the help of his boys and a nephew (George Ward), he put about 100 acres of that land under irrigation which he used to grow mainly hay and grain for his livestock.

In 1960, after her daughter Alice and all her Pitman stepchildren were married or gone, she and Howard sold the family home and farm and moved to Shoshone, Lincoln, Idaho, where he continued to build houses and work as a contractor on other building projects

Alice continues:

From 1970 to 1974 they lived in Puyallup, Washington, working on a church building project. Howard would help build and Florence would stain and varnish the woodwork. When they moved back to Idaho in about 1974, the town of Jerome became their next home.

As the years passed Florence was a helpmate and devoted companion to her husband Howard. Florence enjoyed mostly good health until serious intestinal surgery in 1972. She recovered but did have stomach problems periodically after that time. It was also observed that her once sharp memory was slipping. After Howard's death in 1985, her condition deteriorated rapidly. Florence moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1986 and lived with her daughter and son-in-law, Alice and Chester Hunt. As her health worsened her necessary needs required constant nursing care. She was moved to an Alzheimer's care center in Bountiful, Utah, in July of 1989. While there she contracted pneumonia and passed away on 8 March 1990. She is buried next to her husband and sister in the Shoshone, Idaho, Cemetery. She is remembered as an avid flower gardener with a special love for geraniums.

Joseph Charles Morgan

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