Lake Morris from its eastern shore late this afternoon.
All this time of late in another time, the 1940s, has brought up a question eligible for Trivial Pursuit --- Lucas County style: After whom are Lakes Ellis and Morris named?
I’ve found that those older than me generally know, as do a good many my own age. But the younger ones don't have a clue.
Ellis and Morris are two pretty little lakes --- more accurately reservoirs --- tucked into the valley of the Little White Breast just east of Chariton. They are the source of our water supply. One is old, the other newer. Ellis, the older, is west; Morris, the newer, is east. I have to think about it to remember which is which.
When the Civilian Conservation Corps developed Red Haw State Park in the 1930s, also east of town, the fork of the Little White Breast that feeds Ellis was dammed again above it to create Red Haw Lake, also very pretty.
But part of that deal was an agreement that if the water level in Lake Ellis fell low enough to threaten Chariton’s water supply, the gates of Red Haw’s dam would be opened to fill it. That agreement remains in effect, as the Department of Natural Resources discovered a few years ago to its chagrin when water was needed and it declined to cooperate --- briefly.