Lily Irene Ward
Lily Irene (Ward) Morrison, age 91, lives at Olney, Oklahoma with her husband of 73 years, Lee Morrison, age 94. She was born July 29, 1905 to Joseph McDaniel Ward and Minnie Rosa (Head) Ward at Olney, I.T. She has lived most of her life at Olney. She and her husband, Lee, met at Olney School when she was at the age of 11. Lee moved with his family to the Olney community in 1913 and started to the two-room school. Even though they were young children, it was love at first sight. He was so smitten that he composed his first (and only) poem and sent it to her. IT read, “as sure as the rat runs over the rafter, you’re the girl that I’m after.” When they were grown, they married and bought the land where the first schoolhouse had stood and built their home where they still live today. On October 17, 1996, they celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. They lost their first child, Thelma Lee, when she was 8 months old. They raised 5 more children: Wilma Jean (Morrison) Stutsman, Kenneth Morrison, Wendell Morrison, Jeanniene (Morrison) Beam, Alan Morrison. Lily and Lee gained recognition by being one of the first to introduce “purebred” cattle to coal County. They first raised registered Shorthorn and later, registered Angus cattle. They and their children won many county and state awards for their cattle. Lee also served as County Commissioner of Coal County for 8 years. He and Lily served in many ways in their community and church. Lee was song leader and Lily as the pianist for their church for 35 years. The two of them and two fellow church members, Noram Wood and Mrs. Portman had a gospel quartet for several years. Life has never been dull for them. Lily has always been prolific in writing songs and poems and at the age of 90, she finally had her book of poems, “Random Thoughts”, published and has had a second printing at this time. She was honored by a Citation from the Oklahoma Legislature commending her for her “PIONEER SPIRIT” for accomplishing this at her age. She has several gospel songs published. Lily had three sisters and two brothers: Alice (Ward) Morrison and is deceased: Martha (Ward) Taylor, Elba (Ward) Willey is deceased, Joseph Ward and Thompson Ward. Alice and Martha, both were original enrollees, also. Lily attended Olney school which only went through the eight grade, then she went on to further her education at Wheelock Academy, Murray Normal School in Tishomingo, East Central Normal School in Ada and Clarita High School in Clarita. Both of Lily’s grandmothers on her father’s side came to Oklahoma on the “Trail of Tears”. When the Choctaw had to move from Mississippi, Lucy Elizabeth Thompson was only 5 years old. She was a descendant of Chief Pushmataha. She moved to the Boggy Depot area where her father, Giles Thompson, established a salt works, the only one in this area, and became a prosperous rancher and businessman selling salt to the other Indians, white settlers, military people and others. Lucy Elizabeth grew up and married Joseph Henry Ward who had come to the area as a boy, with his mother from New Jersey who was contracted by the U.S. Government to “teach skills to the Indians of the Choctaw Nation” in a contract dated
- All their children settled in the Ft. Townson – Caddo – Atoka – Kiowa areas. Two communities were named for them ( Wards Chapel and Wardsville). Joseph Henry Ward and his father-in-law, Giles Thompson, were both charter members of the First Masonic Lodge established in what is now Oklahoma. This was at Boggy Depot. Lily’s other great-grandmother was Martha Redbird, a Cherokee, who came on the “Trail of Tears” as a girl. Her daughter, Eliza Beck, married Williams Giles Ward, one of the sons of Joseph Henry and Elizabeth (Thompson) Ward. They lived in the Caddo area when Lily’s father, Joseph McDaniel Ward was born. Little is known of the family history of Lily’s mother, Minnie Rosa (Head) Ward. She was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas. Lily and Lee have 14 grandchildren: Sharon (Jost) Maxfield: Donald Jost: Kathy Stutsman: Andrew Morrison, Sherry (Franklin) Livingston: Rhonda (Franklin) Luckett: Kenneth Morrison: Karen (Morrison) Savoie: Robert Morrison: Roy Morrison; Michael Morrison: Mark Morrison: Sarah Morrison: John Morrison. At the present, they have 17 great-grand-children. Quoting from Lily’s book: “Memories are all we have left of so many happenings in life, some memories are happy, some sad, but all are precious.