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Mrs. Edna Morgan celebrates a century
24 yr old Edna Quinby
Edna Quinby came to Clyo to teach in 1937. - photo by Photo provided

Mrs. Edna Quinby Morgan of Clyo will celebrate her 100th birthday on Oct.  22. By personal request, she plans to celebrate with her immediate family. She will be glad to receive a card or call from her friends.

I have written about Mrs. Edna before, explaining how she came to Clyo to teach, arriving by train in 1937. She taught one year and then took a job for one year near her hometown of Charleston, S.C.  She returned to Clyo and married Hollis Morgan. She taught in the schools of Effingham County, taking a few years off having children.

Mrs. Edna’s childhood was that of a hard-working mother and father who reared six daughters and one son in downtown Charleston near the Ashley River. They lived in rental property until they came to live in her father’s childhood home.

Her parents stressed education, wishing for their children to be able to attain more than circumstances had allowed them to accomplish in the classroom. Her first teacher was her mother, teaching the children to read from the newspaper and assigning tasks requiring them to learn how to keep accounts, learn measurements, etc.

Her childhood was colorful, with an Uncle Edgar who kept the lighthouse and trips there to see him and her grandmother, who later came to live with them. Her Aunt Daisy also was a person who shaped her future, bringing Girl Scouts and other activities into her life.

Edna went to school a few weeks before the proper entrance age. After some testing and several teachers swapping her from classroom to classroom, she landed in the class of Miss Simons, who obtained permission from Principal Whormsley for her to be allowed to begin her education. Young Edna grew to love learning, and at a young age decided she wanted to become a teacher just like Miss Simons. She loved to read.

After high school graduation with much scrimping, working and scholarships, she enrolled in college and became a teacher. Jobs were hard to come by and that is how she settled in Clyo. She also went on to further her education with a master’s degree.

Mrs. Edna retired from teaching in June 1975.

One of her adventures later in life was to go with two of her sisters to Washington, D.C., to do genealogical research and seek a book on her Quinby ancestry. The Quinby book offer had been sent to her father while rearing his children. Although he wanted it, he could not afford the $6 publication on his $15 a month salary but kept the flyer advertising the book, noting to his daughters, this is their family line.

During the adventure, they did find the book and lots of information that kept Mrs. Edna busy researching all branches of her family tree. She was able to purchase a reprinting of the Quinby book but was disappointed at the high price and poor quality. She had the paperback edition professionally bound and now cherishes her costly book she splurged to purchase.

She is quick to tell you she is American, but her genealogical findings lead to her English, Spanish, German, Dutch and Welsh lineage. From this colorful parentage, God blessed us with this petite little lady who had ancestors who fought in many wars from the beginning of America.

Retirement and the loss of her husband Hollis allowed Mrs. Edna much time to read and study genealogy and history. She has many unpublished written works (some just shared with her family) including: History of Mizpah School, My own Confederate soldier E. J. Quinby, History of the Clyo Homemakers Club 1966-2006, History of Clyo High School, History of Springfield Elementary School, The Burns family in Effingham County, Georgia, Growing up in Charleston in the early 20th Century, a UDC essay on how the chapter set its name and some incidents and activities of her adult life.

She was author of a published book about John Adam Treutlen by Historic Effingham Society and assisted with the History of Effingham County known as “River to River” and also the “History of Medicine in Effingham County,” both by Betty Renfro. Mrs. Edna helped do some research for the cemetery books by Historic Effingham and many other projects. She has also written the history of Wingard Memorial Lutheran Church.

Mrs. Edna has been faithful to her church, Wingard Memorial Lutheran, United Daughters of the Confederacy Hussars Chapter, the Clyo Homemakers and Historic Effingham Society. She assisted with family information for the Georgia Salzburger Society of which she is an associate member. Her family with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews all love her as we do in the community.

She has seen so many changes in education through the years and can relate experiences like lining up by height and sex to march inside, prayer and scripture in the classroom, integration and so much more. She has taught us all, whether in the classroom, through her writings, in conversation or consultation for a bit of old information.

I think a fitting scripture about her life is Proverbs 22:6: “Teach up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

We wish Mrs. Edna a very happy birthday. We thank you, Mrs. Edna, for enriching our lives during your century on this earth from your classroom, the church and in our community.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. Information came from Mrs. Edna’s family and her written works. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: