Author Recounts Experiences as an Eisenhower

Article excerpt

Part 1 of 4

Anyone wondering what it's like to be a member of one of this nation's most illustrious families would do well to talk with Kathryn "Kaye" S. Eisenhower Morgan of Arroyo Grande, Calif.

Morgan, who lived in North Charleroi during some of her formative years and was graduated from Charleroi High School in 1952, has been there, done that. And she is writing a book about her experiences as the daughter of a state legislator and the niece of Dwight David Eisenhower, military hero of World War II and the 34th president of the United States.

Her first book, the first edition of "The Eisenhower Legacy: A Tribute to Ida Stover Eisenhower and David Jacob Eisenhower" (Roesler Enterprises Publishing) was released in 2010. It is available at Amazon.com or by contacting Morgan at ladybug0935@charter.net.

Ida and David Eisenhower were Morgan's grandparents.

"I wrote the book to clarify some of the myths and untruths about my family, their origins, et al," Morgan said. "It is strictly about David and Ida, their formative years, how they both traveled west, met and married and raised their sons to adulthood. It ends about 1946 when Ida died."

The book is dedicated to Morgan's grandparents and chronicles their lives together raising six rambunctious boys -- Arthur, Edgar, Dwight, Roy, Earl and Milton -- in Abilene, Kan. The late Earl Dewey "Red" Eisenhower Sr. was Morgan's father.

"Many people think there were only five brothers," Morgan said. "Roy died in 1942 shortly after his father David passed away. That kind of left (Roy) out of the notoriety of the Eisenhower routine that covered the press in the next several years. Actually, there were seven boys -- an infant brother, Paul, was born in 1894 and died in 1895 at the age of 10 months. Ida, my grandmother, grieved for him the rest of her life."

As poor boys coming from parents who were highly educated for the time and place (rural Kansas), the Eisenhower brothers "developed an unusual consciousness about being the Eisenhowers," Morgan says in her book.

"Life was never easy during those times, their collective success seemingly stemming from strict discipline, Bible study, regular church attendance and adherence to the Golden Rule," she said. "They made lives of their own, leaving a legacy for future generations of Eisenhowers."

John S.D. Eisenhower, son of President Eisenhower, wrote the foreword in his cousin's book.

"This book, researched with incredible thoroughness and highly readable, may well turn out to be the most definitive treatment ever written on the Eisenhowers of Abilene," he said. "It is a history, not only of a single family, but also of a Western culture, the memory of which is worth keeping."

Perpetuating that legacy, Morgan emphasized, was not always easy.

She recalls the unfounded rumors that circulated across the campus during her freshman year at Pennsylvania State College (now The Pennsylvania State University).

"Uncle Ike was running for President at the time (1952), and I wasn't really keen on letting it be known I was an Eisenhower," Morgan said. "There were stories that I got drunk at a party and they were completely false, perhaps created out of jealousy, spite or dislike for my uncle. The truth did come out eventually that I was an Eisenhower and then everyone wanted to be my friend - or in many cases, a boyfriend -- because they were interested only in my name. …