Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cora May Morris

Cora May Morris was born December 25, 1890 in Sanford, Colorado. Cora's parents, William Thomas and O'Lena Christina Mortenson Morris, had moved from Parowan, Utah in 1886 to join Lena's family who had responded to the call from the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to establish pioneer settlements in the San Luis Valley.

William T. and Lena in 1887

Cora was small and frail, but learned to help with household chores. At the age of 5 or 6, she used a flatiron from a wood-burning stove to iron handkerchiefs.

In 1900, Cora's father suffered a severe heart attack and was told to move to a better climate, so the family made their way back to Parowan.

Morris family in 1903: Rear: Will Jr., Cora, Earl, Isabelle. Front: William T., Una, Alfred, Angus and Lena. (Second son, Anders, died in 1895 at the age of 10.)

Cora was a good student and earned a full scholarship to the Branch Normal School in Cedar City, UT (now SUU). In 1909, Cora married George Samuel Rowley, son of Richard and Mary Ann Ray Rowley.

Cora and George were married on January 14, 1909 in the St. George, Utah Temple.

In October 1909, their first child was stillborn.

Baby's death certificate

Shortly after, they moved to Alberta, Canada, near George's sister Charlotte, but in October 1910, the couple return to Parowan due to Cora's health. The weather and water took their toll on her and they returned to Utah in October 1910. In October 1912, their first daughter, Ramona, was born. She was named after Cora's brother Earl Raymond Morris who died a few months early, at the age of 19, when a tree he was cutting fell on him. In 1916, they welcomed a son, George Morris. Their next son, Richard Melvin, struggled into the world in 1919.

Census, 1920

Over the years, the family had sheep, turkeys, farmed, and more, to provide for the family, which included Ramona, Morris, Richard, Leonard (born 1924) and Shirley (born 1928).

George and Cora, September 9, 1931

Cora was active her entire life in the LDS Church. She served just about every calling a women can serve in the church including Primary teacher and Relief Society counselor. George and Cora served together in the St. George temple for 8 years.

Cora and George in 1946. Cora was 55, George was 58.

In 1948, the couple served a mission to the Southern States. It was a 6 month mission.


In 1952, they left for another mission to the Central States for a year, spending most of their time in Kansas.

Cora, 1953. George, 1952.

George & Cora Rowley with their children and spouses, 1953.

In 1959, the celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary.

6 years later, in 1963, George passed away. After his death, Cora made extended visits to relatives and friends. They have been living a Cedar City for a few years, to be closer to the temple, but after George died she decided to sell the home in Cedar City and move to St. George. Most of the time she lived only a block from the temple and until she was 101 (1991), she walked to the temple 4 days a week to do between one and four endowment sessions.

For a few years, she lived with each of her children for 6 months at a time. Just after Thanksgiving in 1995 she fell and broke some ribs. She died November 30th, less than a month from her 105th birthday.

Click HERE to see her gravestone on Find A Grave.

Click HERE to read her obituary.

At my parent's wedding, March, 1972. Back: Doyle Robison, Richard Melvin Rowley, Lois Robison Rowley, Dennis Rowley, Rexine McAllister Rowley, Pearl McAllister, Rex McAllister. Front: Ida Swallow Robison, Cora Morris Rowley.

Myself and my sister with our great-grandma Cora in 1990.


  1. I'm so excited that you're doing this Robyn! In their marriage photo Great Grandpa looks so much like Grandpa! And like my dad, come to think of it.

  2. Thanks Robyn, I really enjoyed the post and look forward to more.