Morganville: Coming Full Circle

When the residents of one Kansas community reached out to help those in need, their actions brought the community together, forged lasting friendships with a sister city that spanned generations, and inspired a KHC grant project.

In 1948, through a desire to help the citizens of post-World War II Europe, Morganville in Clay County (population 250) launched a series of fundraising efforts, including a pageant and a Noel Ball, to assist the town of Feves, France. An article by Jan Biles in the Topeka Capital-Journal recounts the inspirational story of friendship and cooperation that developed when one community came together to help another.

Christmas Card from Feves

The residents of Morganville and Feves exchanged Christmas cards with one another. Photo by Jan Biles/Topeka Capital-Journal.

In 1992, KHC provided grant support to the Clay County Historical Society for “Beyond Our Rim: Morganville, KS/Feves, France and UNESCO’s Marshall Plan,” a year-long research project on the post-World War II aid project and cultural exchange between Morganville and Feves exploring the origin, implementation, and long-term effects of the aid project on residents of both communities.

What were the long-term effects of Morganville’s aid to Feves? This month, some 65 years later, Gerard Torlotting will visit Morganville with his family. Gerard is the nephew of Henri Torlotting, the Feves resident who distributed the items sent by Morganville the citizens of the French town. A reception for Torlotting and his family is planned in Morganville on December 29, 2013, from 2 to 4 PM in the gymnasium of the old elementary school.

Does your community have local stories, photographs, or archival material to preserve? Consider a KHC Heritage grant project for 2014. Click here for more information or contact Murl Riedel, director of grants, at murl(at)kansashumanities.org or (785) 357-0359.

Note: KHC offices are closed through January 1, 2014 and will reopen on January 2, 2014.