APRIL 14, 1997
When they were children, Chase Morris and his sister Willow used to play tag around this tree.
Photo by Oscar Roloff.
by Oscar Roloff
Jackie Morris Norris wrote to me that her Pop, Chase Morris, his wife, B.J., and his sister, Willow Guptill, would be characters worth writing about. I drove out to Carnation.
I've known Chase for years. Anyhow, I met Chase and his sister at her home. Sitting around the table drinking coffee and eating cookies, I asked Willow how she got that unusual name. She didn't know. How about Chase? From his Pa, who was Chase, Sr.
Willow was born in the house she now lives in. It was built in 1910, and she was born there in 1922. She has two children, Gay and Dan.
I asked Chase, who lives down the road a bit, how the two got along when they were kids in the wooded area. He laughed, "I used to run out and hide and she couldn't find me."
Willow countered, "I used to get the broom and chase him down the road."
During the Civil War, Shamgar Morris enlisted and served three years under Captain James Garfield, who became a general, then President. Morris knew him well.
At war's end, Shamgar, his wife, and their three daughters went to Missouri, then San Francisco, then by sailing ship to Puget Sound to end up in Tolt in 1870. He bought railroad land in 1884 and '85. Through the Homestead Act, he acquired 160 acres of land.
According to Willow, Tolt's first schoolhouse was built on their land. The first pupils were Shamgar's two daughters, Zidania and Florene. The second schoolhouse was built on the same land. Few trails existed at that time, and girls would tell of meeting Indians who were friendly.
Two of Shamgar's brothers, Issac and Moses, and their families went out to Tolt in 1876. They traveled up river by dugouts with Indian paddlers.
Shamgar logged and cleared his land. He died in 1914. Son Chase Sr. took over. When he died in 1984, Chase Jr. took over and his wife B.J. continued to live on the land. They had four children, Judy, Jackie, Kathy, and Ted. They all married and had children.
Willow, of course, lives on the homestead land. Currently, the 5th generation lives on the homestead.
Both Chase and Willow attended Tolt High School. Each morning, brother Chase gets up, hops aboard his bike, and pedals down the road a few hundred yards to check on his kid sister, Willow.
Indeed, a couple of Carnation characters. There are more there that I'll ferret out.