An Opportunity to be Better - Chapter 2 Page 3

Half a continent away from New York City, three Kansans were wondering what they could do to help those suffering from the effects of the recent war. The president of Kansas State College was one of these. Another was a Methodist minister. And the third? She was once described as being a citizen of the world who just happened to be living in the tiny village of Morganville. She became the catalyst.


In 1945, UNESCO - the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization - was created by the United Nations. Its goal was to promote peace by connecting people with other people across the world without governments standing between them. Milton Eisenhower, the brother of Dwight Eisenhower - WWII Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and later President - was selected by the American committee as the United States UNESCO chairman.

Milton was also the president of Kansas State College - now Kansas State University. The college was located in Manhattan, just 40 miles east of the Eisenhowers' boyhood home in Abilene, Kansas. Milton immediately took steps to establish the Sunflower State's first chapter of UNESCO.

Left: Modern map of eastern Kansas. 1: Morganville, 2: Clay Center, 3: Manhattan, 4: Abilene, 5: Wichita, 6: Emporia, 7: Topeka, 8: Kansas City; right: Milton Eisenhower

In October 1947, Methodist minister Henry E. Millikan replaced retiring Morganville minister E. H. Knepp.

Millikan had served in France twice - as a soldier in World War I and a chaplain in World War II. He encouraged Morganville's citizens to think beyond their borders ... to think about the wider world that many of their sons had returned from a year or so earlier.

Henry Millikan, son Richard, daughter Mona, and wife Florence

While Millikan's church activities continually focused Morganville's citizens on the larger world, it was probably his encouragement of local Velma Carson to attend a December UNESCO meeting in Wichita, Kansas that had the greatest effect.

Velma Lenore Carson was born in Clay County, Kansas in 1896, the first child of Edward Lincoln Carson of Illinois and Viola Belle (Pettey) Carson of Missouri. The farm Velma's parents owned was called Eagle Bend after the loop in the nearby Republican River. That river separated them from the village of Morganville 2.5 miles to the northeast. Years later during a flood, high water cut through the loop and eliminated the bend.

Carson was about 9 when her only brother Lloyd was born. Sisters Winona and Nelda followed.

Both parents valued education and had taught school before turning to farming. Carson also taught a year before going to college.

Carson's parents on their wedding day

This 1918 plat map shows the location of the Carson land compared to the village of Morganville.

The areas enclosed in red belonged to Carson's father. The farm home was in Section 7.

The James Pettey property to the south in Section 18 was owned by Viola's parents.

The blue line represents the modern road across the Republican River. Note the markings of the earlier river bed.

Carson apparently enjoyed reading and had an aptitude for writing that was evident at an early age.

She seemed to have had an opportunity to experience a bit more of the world beyond the boundaries of her small farming community than many youngsters her age. For example: the picture of her at age 12, left, was taken in New York City.

Velma Carson, age 12