Morley, Harold J.
Manuscript Correspondence of Harold J. "Harry" Morley and Celia Stuelke, his wife, of Nashua, Iowa and Denver, Colorado, with letters of their son, Frederick Burton Morley, written to his parents while he served in World War One, dated 1899-1941

172 letters, 680 pp., (133 retained mailing envelopes), dated 1899 to 1941, with the bulk of collection dating between 1899-1904, includes WWI letters of 1918-1919, plus 58 related ephemeral items, including: 3 telegrams; 8 used postcards; 22 printed calling cards, invitations, etc; 15 pieces of printed and/or manuscript ephemera such as receipts, memorandum notes, tickets, newspaper clipping, coupons, etc., plus 10 used envelopes, which likely can be matched to letters in collection.

Celia Stuelke (1876-1963) and Harold "Harry" J. Morley (1867-1940)

Celia Stuelke was born about 1876 in Nashua, Iowa, the daughter of Fred Stuelke and Augusta Berman. She graduated in 1892 from high school. She married Harry J.  Morley on 4 August 1897 in Chickasaw County, Iowa and they moved to Denver, Colorado. Together they had at least three children: Frederick "Burton", Dorothy, and Robert B., all of the children were born in Colorado.

At the time of her marriage to Harry, she was almost 22 years old. Her husband, Harold J. Morley, was born 3 August 1867 in Dyersville, Iowa. He was the son of English immigrants John Morley and Mary Plaister.  At the time of his marriage to Celia, Harry was working as a telegraph operator. His marriage to Celia was his second marriage.

After his time as a telegraph operator, Harry worked for the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Company. At one point he went into business for himself selling bottled spring water. Besides the correspondence of Harry and Celia, there are also later letters written by the couple's son Frederick "Burton" Morley, while was serving in the military during World War One, when he was stationed at a camp at San Pedro, California.

The 1910 Census shows the family enumerated at Pacific Grove, Monterey, California, where Harry was listed as a general agent for the railroad. In 1920, the family was enumerated at Yuba, Sutter County, California, where Harry was working as an accountant for the railroad.

In 1927, a local Nashua, Iowa newspaper (The Nashua Reporter) published an article stating that Celia Stuelke Morley, a former Nashua girl, played a part in the movie that was filmed in Nevada, "The Winning of Barbara Worth." The Winning of Barbara Worth was a 1926 American Western silent film directed by Henry King and starring Ronald Colman, Vilma Bánky, and Gary Cooper in his first feature role. Based on the novel "The Winning of Barbara Worth" by Harold Bell Wright, the film is notable for the climactic flood sequence, depicting the 1905 formation of the Salton Sea. Celia had a small role in the film.


In 1933, the couple is found living at Marysville, California. Harry J. Morley, a resident of Marysville, California, died about 1940. He was stated to have been at one time employed as telegraph operator at Nashua, his father being employed as depot agent at the same time. Burial was at Anaheim, California. His wife died in 1963.

Their son, Frederick Burton Morley, was born on 4 January 1899 in Denver, Colorado, and died in 1991.  Burton served in the military in World War One. Afterwards he found work in the oil fields in California. He is found enumerated with his wife and children in 1940 in Anaheim, Orange County, California.

      Description of Correspondence:

74 letters, 221 pp., (63 envelopes), of Harold J. Morley to Celia Stuelke Morley, dated 1899-1940, the bulk dated 1899-1904, but there are no letters for 1900.

39 letters, 246 pp., (35 envelopes), of Celia Stuelke Morley to Harold J. Morley, dated 1899-1927, the bulk dated 1899-1904, again, no letters for year 1900.

10 letters, 16 pp., not dated, 9 of the 10 are written by Harry to Celia, the remaining one written by Celia to Harry.

4 letters, 22 pp., (4 envelopes), dated 1901-1904, written by Lydia Stuelke to her sister Celia Stuelke, written by Lydia from Fremont, Nebraska and Lead, South Dakota, to Celia at Nashua, IA and Denver, CO.

20 letters, 72 pp., 14 envelopes, of Frederick "Burton" Morley to his parents, dated 1918-1919, written while serving in the military during World War One. He starts his letters from quarantine when he first enters the military at San Pedro, CA. He then writes from the U.S. Naval Reserve Training Station at San Pedro, CA.

25 miscellaneous letters, 103 pp., 17 envelopes, dated 1899-1941, plus 3 letters not dated, bulk (14 of 25) written from 1901-1904; written mainly by family & friends to Harry & Celia, mostly to Celia.

The correspondence shows that Celia had a difficult time being separated from her family (parents) after her marriage and move away from home. She travels back to Iowa and Salt Lake City, Utah, to visit family. She made at least four trips between the years of 1899 and 1904, the time when the bulk of the letters were written. One trip she stayed away from her husband for six months and on each trip back she took she took the baby (Burton) with her. Her letters are filled with news from home, as well as news about their son Burton and descriptions of her various train trips and travel by train back home.

After moving to Denver, Harry Morley appears to have played for an amateur baseball team called "Rio Grande." The team consisted of men from his employer, The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company. There are a number of letters that describe baseball in Colorado. Information includes playing games, getting hurt and traveling to other cities to play. Morley played center field.

     Sample Quotations from letters:


"Salt Lake City, July 25th, 1901

    My Dear Harry. We arrived at Salt Lake at 5:30 this morning. Of course I'm dead. At least nearly died the first night. I might take the time to explain all about the start of my sea sickness. I am so dead tired that I can hardly sit up but must let you know we are alright and safe now, but you come within an ace of losing us. I wanted to telegraph you and tell you we were stuck but safe, but thought you would see the particulars in the papers perhaps. There were two landslides.

    One was terrible, so bad that they weren't going to try to remove it but build a track around. We stood on the side track from eleven until five in the morning and then they backed up to [?] and staid there until eleven and then there were two trains on the west bound and three east bound on the track on either side of the slides. They took us back as near to the slide as they could  and then we had to walk a mile or a little over and transferred us to the trains on the west side and those on the east vice versa.. Well, the whole affair had its funny side as well as serious. There were first crowds of people on all the cars. There was a fine looking large man carried Burton for me and then they transferred all the valises on hand cars as also the children but when we had gotten half way Burton cried and wanted me to carry him, so the conductor wanted to put him on the hand car but he wouldn't without mamma so they put me on top of the [?] with Burton on my lap. Oh for a  Kodac there was a man took a Kodac picture of Burton the man and myself leading Burton down the tie path to Salt Lake. I wish I could have jotted down all the remarks made as we passed the people. One man came along in his shirt sleeves, no hat and only a beer bottle in his hand. He looked as if he had had a few before. Another old man and younger man was walking along with a valise over a stick. The old man said to us "This life wasn't a hard road to travel." Everyone would just laugh when they saw me on the hand car and one young fellow met us and he stood stark still and looked at me as if he were envious of my position.... [Celia]"

"Salt Lake, Aug 23rd 1901

My Dear Harry; - I received your two letters this week. Wednesday we went to the Salt Palace and out to Calders Park. I bought a picture of the Salt Palace. Thursday Mr. Mc came down from Bingham and took Burton and me to the Lagoon. It is a lovely place. Mrs. Mc didn't go. I enjoyed seeing the Lagoon. We went out at 11 o'clock and got back at a quarter of 4 o'clock and then he took us through the city and county buildings. Then we came home. Mr. Mc. went back to Bingham this morning before Burton and I were up. I was glad of it. I don't like him very much. He is too soft for an old man. Whenever he would want to point out anything to me he would make it a point to put his arm around my shoulder. I suppose he only meant to be attentive but it was disgusting to me. I always felt like saying do keep your hands off from me. When we were out at the Lagoon he said Celia now first watch. See those women look at us. I suppose they think I was some old Mormon with my plural wife,. People were looking at us but I thought it was because they thought he might be my sweet heart. And the way he was dressed. He had on a broad cloth coat and pants and no vest and a white shirt (not very clean) with a long white bosom and then it had that little flapper in front hanging over. Also an awful dirty brown soft hat...

      ...Well, I should be happy to get home. I declare I'm sick all the time I'm in Salt Lake. They have such horrid things to eat. She has cold meals all the time. The water looks so muddy. And she's always praising up the water. She has cold tea all the time nearly. Buys old dry cookies made of lard and she keeps buying the very things I detest. That old pressed corn beef. I've had terrible cramps all night and all day in my stomach. She has those miserable green cucumbers. Oh! Lord! I be dead if I staid here a month....

     While I think of it, Burton is playing with a Mormon Apostle's kid. The kid was 2 years last April. Well, I'd like to entertain Bertha, as she would like to stop off in Denver for a couple of days but I don't hardly see how I can when I won't get there until the night of the 28th do you?...Love, hugs, and kisses from us both, Celia"

"Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, Denver, Colo. 4/23 1902

My Dear Little Girlie,

     Everything seems wrong today because I did not get a letter this morning and I feel sick too. Nothing at all serious, but you know at times my stomach gets out of order and makes me feel mean, so I can't write much of a letter today. I expect you will be going to Dub in a day or two. I have written the Supt asking him to issue you return transportation. Mrs. Ryan is up today the first day since she was down which I think was Friday. Have had meals at very irregular hours. Last night did not have dinner until 8 o'clock and it was 8:30 when we finished. I went to see Mrs. Bower's the other morning. She had lent the clock key to a neighbor but said she would get it that day. She is well & I think would appreciate a short letter from you as would Mrs. Coplin. I have not seen them for some time. A great many people inquire about you, want to know if you are having a good time, etc. Please accept this short letter with love & Kisses from your hubby, HJM"

"The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Co., Denver, Colo., May 5, 1902

Dear Celia,

I should have written you Saturday, but I was pretty busy at the office and when I get away from here never write any you know. Saturday AM we played ball at the city park, got beaten. There were matinee races, Polo, & flower show at the park that day & lots of people. Sat evening Ryan & I went out to the flower show about 9 o'clock after I got back from choir practice. We went on our wheels. Went to church Sunday AM & evening. In the morning I went down to the five points & had my hair cut & beard shaved off. Now I look like your little boy again. Sunday PM the ball nine went to Littleton to play about 1:30 we had the annual hail storm that you know visits Denver every spring, but the grounds were wet at Littleton so they played on an alfalfa field. I was even at Sanders & saw the Phelps family. Mrs. Phelps invited me over some evening & said they would write Sanders & his wife down & we would play cards. They will have to invite me again. I paid my board today & other bills which came in the first of the month. Will go to the bank tomorrow & get draft & send you tomorrow. Would have paid Dr. Tyler today but he is out of town. Publes asked me this AM to be at the church tonight & sing for the men's sociable. I don't think it. If you were in town you could play nurse for me in good shape. In Saturday's ball game, I got hit on the leg by a pitched ball, it's black & blue & sore, got second finger in my left hand hurt, it's swelled to about twice its size & in dodging a ball sprained my groin. I'm slightly knocked out but still at the same old stand. Will drop you a line tomorrow. Have quit using tobacco in every form except an occasional smoke. None of the four on the desk use it now, that is chew, so you see I'm a nice clean man, with love, Harry"

"The Continental Hotel, Leadville, Colo., May 11, 1902

Dear Celia,

     The ball team is in Leadville. Arrived at 7:30 this AM. I took a sleeper with Bob Herkins. It cost us 1 dollar each. Most of the fellows stayed up all night and are now in bed trying to get some sleep. Arthur Van Stone is with us. After breakfast we all took a walk around town. The game commences at 2:30 & the Mayor throws the first ball across the plate. They expect a big crowd. We have our expenses paid and get 50% of the gross gate receipts. We are 10,200 feet above sea level & I don't know whether I can run much or not. I get out of breath easily. I will not take a sleeper home, will be dead tired Monday. With Love, Harry"


"The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Co., Denver, Colo., 5/31 1902

Dear Mama,

I have concluded not to write to you any more this month, but will write you the same as usual next month. Well Thursday evening I thought I was killed sure, we were playing ball, practicing on the grounds at Grasshopper Hill. I was at the bat, Arthur Van Stine was pitching. He threw a wicked ball & I could not dodge it. It hit me on the right side of my breast & would have broken a rib or ribs had I not had my vest on with book & pencils in pocket. As it was it broke the pencils in splinters & hurt my breast. I could not sleep that night & have been a half cripple ever since. Am all right now for today's game if they have one. How did you spend the day yesterday? They had their big parade in the morning here. In the afternoon Clarence, Charlie Plummer & I went to the ball game at Broadway Park. Every fan in town was there. It is estimated there were 10,000 people in the grounds. I did not get home until six thirty after dinner. Ryan & I rode out to the city park we got there at 7:30 & stayed until 9. I wished you & Burton could have been there. The evening was beautiful & the music fine, but I think you will be home in time to enjoy same.....Harry"

"San Pedro by the Sea 1918

     Dear Dad & Dear Mother - Well I might as well start at the beginning. As you know Marysville I left Friday morning at 7 AM. I got off at Berkeley Ave went up to the B Club and saw Lloyd Hewitt. We went over to arrange for my berth on the train, but due to some mistake of the Yuba City Agent, I had to take the Valley Route and did not leave Frisco until Sat afternoon.. Lloyd and I took in a show Fri night slept the rest of the time. My trip to Fullerton was uneventful. Albert & Myrtle are well and little Richard is sure a bear. They treated me fine. Aunt Myrtle is going to make me a sweater. I will send all of my stuff home and will give my hat to Albert as he gave me a couple of bucks for I was busted when I left Frisco. Well, I will tell the important. I left Fullerton for camp Thursday morning. Arrived about 10 AM First I gave them my papers then I was taken with a bunch of fellows to the Goofie or Detention Camp for quarantine. Had my hair shaved off, gee I look fine. waited a while and had some mess (the food is good). Then the entire afternoon was spent in giving us our gut fit, here is the list. Here is the list 1) Hammock & Mattress 2) a kit or bag to keep our entire outfit in 3) 2 woolen blankets 1 whisk broom 1 hair brush 1 scrub brush 1 watch cap 1 comb 3 suits under ware 1 pair woolen glove 6 handkerchiefs 3 white hats 1 jersey 3 white suites of jumps 1 pair leggings 1 neckerchief or tie needless overshirts shoes soap 6 pairs socks three 1 blue suit 3 cotton under shirts 2 heavy under shirts. I have no overcoat as yet. Total bill 51 D sixty two cents. Some class. Hey  now I tell you what you have to send me. $5 for a wrist watch get me about a $15 one and charge it to me and a fairly good fountain pen. Dad get it here the quickest and safest way you can and thanks very much. This is the day night I  have had no shot as yet. Say D bet you I have a chance to go to an officers school I hope so. I am assigned to Company 5 and my commander has my name because of my High School cadet work. I might get a chance to do something in my Co. Well I guess I have told you all. I am feeling fine. Tell Dink Green I will write to him. Tell George Reed he is missing the life. I know I have struck the right thing. Tell Bobbie this is the life he will like. I can see long beach from here. I will be in goofor 21 das. How is your boil mother and how is Dorothy. For the love of mike write every day home body. Because all of the boys receiving something every day. There are 1400 bunched in this camp. I  have met no one I know. Must close now. Don’t forget to send the things. I will send my grip clothes & shoes home. Love to all. Bert”


“July 29, 1918

Dear Dad and Mother

I wish you would write occasionally. I haven’t received a letter for about a week. This is Monday and my Co is doing mess duty. I have it easy. I don’t have to do a thing except keep the roll call and distribute the mail to the boys. There are about 3500 boys in this camp and there are a hundred boys in the mess gage. They are called mess hounds. I have swam once in the ocean. I qualified swimming 50 yards. Every man in the navy must know how to swim. Well I went out to see Myrtle and Albert yesterday. I slept in the afternoon, had supper and returned to town. I took in the city of Los A.  I have also seen the best show houses in town. I am going out to see the movie studio soon. Well to get this letter out I must close. I have told you all since the last letter that is of any importance. I have seen and met some famous screen actors & actresses. I don’t smoke or drink yet I guess I won’t either eh Dad. Well write and tell me all the news. Love to all, Bert.”