My Grandmother, Dora Bell Dice Morgan Hunter

15 Jul

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Story Dora Jane Bowers

“We only have two pictures of Dora Bell. This one was taken late in life yet it gives you a hint of what she looked like. The man in the picture is Daddy Hunter, the only grandfather I ever knew. He was good and kind and I loved him. ”

Dora Jane

Dora Bell Dice had a calamitous life. Her parents lived on a farm outside Warsaw Missouri where she was born June 4. She had nine brothers and sisters.  She died in 1942 at the age of 73. In between, she had sorrows and pain aplenty. Her first two calamities were when her father died after a fall from his horse. The second other was when her mother died from a burst artery in her leg. She was working in the garden when it happened.

Grandmother Dice didn’t tell me when the calamities occurred. When she was 14, however, she married the son of a Welsh miner named Frank Samuel Morgan and moved on with him to the goldfields of Colorado. At some time they had two children. A boy, Charles, and a girl, Vera. 

Modern Day Breckenridge  Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash

They ended up in Breckenridge sometime around 1875. In that day, the town was called, “Colorado’s Kingdom” or Swan River Valley. The name Breckenridge didn’t become official until 1961. Now it is a resort as famous for skiing as Aspen is.

The Morgans lived in a log cabin among the pines. It had belonged to someone who had moved on to another mining town. It had the luxury of a few glass windows and a porch. In the summertime, the temperature was mild and breezy, but wintertime brought freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. 

The town was as wild as any mining town has ever been. It had too many bars and an active house of ill repute. Miners with wives and families were scarce, but the wives stuck together and helped each other survive. Most of them made quilts, not just for a past-time, but to keep their families warm. They would have quilting bees from time to time in the home of the woman who had the best quilting frame, and unless they went to church that was the only social life they had. 

Trees, birds and flowers along with other needlework such as quilting and embroidery helped to fill the lonely hours for the women while the men were endangering their lives both in the tunnel mines and on the gold dredges, which would remind you of a steam shovel, except that the buckets on the dredges were much heavier so they could break up the rocks at the bottom of rivers and pull up the dredges to see if there was any gold in it. Many men died doing this kind of work, and any who fell off the dredge and into the freezing water died of pneumonia if he didn’t drown. 

Dora Bell remembered giving biscuits fresh from the oven to hungry Ute Indians who came to the cabin. 

The food for the family was biscuits, gravy, pork, beef, deer, grouse, quail, rabbits, and pheasants. They raised lettuce and rhubarb (which was called pie plant). Other vegetables grew quickly in the short summer and were harvested and canned. Wild raspberries grew at high altitude but needed to be harvested just when they were ripe to beat the bears. Sugar, coffee, and flour were necessary ingredients for many meals cooked on the wood stove or baked in its oven.

Another calamity was set to happen around the time that Frank and Dora Bell’s third child was about to be born. 

To be continued.

If you want to know more about the mines, the miners and the old timey families of Breckenridge get hold of a copy of Prayers for Sale, a wonderful novel by Sandra Dallas

Location of Breckenridge 

A gold dredge 

Author, Poet and Artist

DiVoran has been writing for most of her life. Her first attempt at a story was when she was seven years old and her mother got a new typewriter. DiVoran got to use it and when her dad saw her writing he asked what she was writing about. DiVoran answered that she was writing the story of her life. Her dad’s only comment was, “Well, it’s going to be a very short story.” After most of a lifetime of writing and helping other writers, DiVoran finally launched her own dream which was to write a novel of her own. She now has her Florida Springs trilogy and her novel, a Christian Western Romance, Go West available on Amazon. When speaking about her road to publication, she gives thanks to the Lord for all the people who helped her grow and learn.  She says, “I could never have done it by myself, but when I got going everything fell beautifully into place, and I was glad I had started on my dream.”

2 Responses to “My Grandmother, Dora Bell Dice Morgan Hunter”

  1. Onisha Ellis July 19, 2019 at 10:25 pm #

    Dora Bell had a kind heart and it certainly has been passed down through time.


    • divoran09 July 20, 2019 at 3:35 pm #

      thank you


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