Published On: Wed, Aug 27th, 2008

Folks Travel Across Ocean for Reunion

Family Members Celebrate One of County’s Oldest Homsteads

HARTINGTON — Monte and Diane Morten opened their home to 158 relatives for a Morten 150th anniversary this month.
Relatives traveled from across the U.S. as well as from Scotland and England to gather at the family farm, which is the site of the original homestead site.
The descendants of Henry Morten were honoring his pioneering efforts when he came to America from England over 150 years ago.
They also had a chance to visit and share stories with relatives – some of whom they had never met before.
Dave and Rachel Martin came over from Scotland – Dave wore a kilt to the reunion.
His mother was a Morten before her marriage.
This was the second trip to the U.S. for Dave and Rachel although this was their first time to the Morten homestead.
“This is absolutely wonderful,” said Rachel.
Some of the U.S. relatives had visited Dave and Rachel in Edinburgh, Scotland a year ago and they had met Diane through e-mails.
After traveling to the U.S. for the Morten reunion, Dave and Rachel also met some distant cousins who live in England.

Steve and Patricia (Morten) Winterbottom and their two sons will be in the U.S. three weeks before returning to their home in Cowdale, England.
“This is the highlight of the whole trip,” said Patricia. “This has been very emotional – I spent most of yesterday crying. I am really over-whelmed by it all. Everyone is so friendly.”
Steve was a little over-whelmed himself.
“I have never met so many Mortens in my whole live,” he said.
Lois (Morten) McIntyre did not travel quite as far, but at 93 she was the oldest person to attend the event.
McIntyre, who now lives in Mason City, Iowa, is a 1931 graduate of Hartington Public.
McIntyre said there were relatives at the reunion that she hadn’t seen for years and some she had never met before but there was something familiar about them.
“When I saw them I knew which family they were from – there were certain familiarities,” said McIntyre.
McIntyre knew a few things about the history from the time Henry Morten homesteaded in Cedar County 150 years ago.
McIntyre said Sioux City was the closest place to get supplies when Henry first moved to Cedar County.
“The reason they passed the Homestead Act was to lead people west,” McIntyre said.
Bruce and Mary Ann (Morten) Reason traveled from Washington for the celebration.
“I love it,” said Bruce. “It is very unique to have a homestead like this.”
The Morten ancestors came over from an area in England which is close to Hartington, England, Monte said.