Morganville, Kansas and Fèves, France - a tale of two villages



In 1947, the village of Morganville, Kansas, population less than 300, wanted to aid people devastated by World War II. The village decided to adopt Fèves, France, a small farming community. It thus became the smallest community in America to ever form a sister-city relationship with a foreign community.

The story of what followed was broadcast across the United States, mentioned in newspapers across the country and featured in a book. Milton Eisenhower, brother of president Dwight Eisenhower, believed strongly in these people-to-people arrangements and Milton's influence led directly to the president creating Sister Cities International in 1956.

The Fèves home of Mr. Rondel and his daughter.

The "Preface" button will lead to the pages that tell how the story came to be revisited and will, in turn, connect to the story proper.

Fèves schoolmaster Henri Torlotting was a key person involved in the distribution of the items that began arriving near the end of 1948. So early in the friendship between the villages, plans were set in motion to have Henri and his wife Mathilde visit Morganville.

Over the months and years that followed, Fèves was rebuilt with the materials from Morganville and relief agencies and the efforts of the resilient citizens of Fèves. During that time and subsequent years, several citizens of Morganville were able to visit their sister city near Metz. But for reasons that are unclear, neither the Torlottings nor anyone else from Fèves ever visited their small partner village on the Kansas prairie.

Until last year!

Mr. Gérard Torlotting, nephew of schoolmaster Henri Torlotting, visited Morganville on Sunday, December 29, 2013, accompanied by his wife Solange, son Hervé, daughter-in-law Christine and grandchildren Paul and Emma.

The citizens of Morganville held a reception in the old Morganville elementary school gym. There were two presentations - one told the story of how the connection began, while the second related what Fèves is like today.

A celebration was also held in the city hall in Fèves, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Check the Update link in the Table of Contents for the latest news!

Schoolmaster Henri Torlotting, nephew Gérard, age 7, and
Henri's wife Mathilde. Photo probably by Ed Utley in 1949.

If your curiosity was piqued by the flags across the top of this page, the one at the far left is the flag of the United States and the one at the far right is the flag of France. Next to the American flag is the flag of Kansas. Adjacent to the French standard is the flag of Lorraine, the administrative region of France containing Fèves. In the center, is the coat of arms for the village of Fèves.

If you have any questions, comments or other musings about the Morganville-Fèves story or any related matter, please contact us.

Art Vaughan