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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published by John M. Gresham & Co. in 1891.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN W. MORRIS, a representative of an old and highly respected family, was born in Crawford county, Pennsylvania, July 23, 1839, and is a son of Smith E. and Polly (Williams) Morris. John Morris (paternal grandfather) was born in eastern New York, county of Durham, of Puritan lineage, and migrated to Crawford county, Penna., in 1812. Upon his arrival in this county, he took up one hundred acres of land, improved it, built upon it, and there passed the remainder of his life. He was a whig in polities, and served in the war of 1812 with distinction and valor. His religious tenets were those of the Methodist Episcopal church. He united in the bonds of marriage with Ruhany Smith, who became the mother of five children, — one son and four daughters. Grandfather Josiah Williams was reared and educated in the State of Connecticut, from which he emigrated to Erie county, Pa., locating on a farm near Edinboro.’ Thence he removed, in the latter part of his life, to Quincy, Michigan, where his earthly career closed. In politics and religion he was respectively a whig and methodist. His life-long consort was formerly Miss Eunice Tryon, who gave birth to four sons and three daughters.

John Morris came to Crawford county, Pa., when his son, Smith E. Morris, was about four years of age. The farm upon which he located at that time has never since changed hands, nor has it ever been burdened with any incumbrances. The old homestead has been brought into a high state of cultivation, and is to-day one of the best in Crawford county, Mr. Morris cast his vote with the Whig and Republican parties, and, together with his family, worshipped at the Methodist church. Under the Republican party he was elected justice of the peace, and not only in office, but also independent from it, exercised a strong influence upon the character of his neighborhood. He was a zealous, devoted Christian worker, and in his life and character embodied forth those ethical principles and conceptions of duty which he felt to be the basis of all nobility and true manhood. He was united in marriage to Miss Polly Williams, who died in 1886 at the age of seventy-four years. They had nine children; Eunice, married first to Richard Nelson, then after his decease to Amos Sperry, of Conneautville, Pa., a farmer; Fannie (now dead), former wife of Daniel Bradley, by whom she had three children, — two sons and one daughter; John W., subject; Charles, living on the old homestead; Rosalia, wife of Jesse Sherod, a merchant and undertaker of Bangor, Michigan, by whom she has one son; Mary, died young; Alpheus, died young; Josiah (married to Miss Rogers), now living in Crawford county, Pa., on a farm contiguous to the old homestead; Mary, wife of Dennis Smith, of Crawford county, Pa.

John W. Morris, on August 31, 1865, was united in marriage to Sophia Palmer, daughter of Alfred Palmer (see sketch), and has one daughter, — Effie A.

John W. Morris owes his education to the common schools and to independent study. When he first stopped out upon the threshold of active life, it was as a teacher. From this he passed to farming, and at the outbreak of the civil war he enlisted with the ninety-day men, and went to the front. At the expiration of that time he re-enlisted in the Fifty-sixth regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, Company E, and served three months, when he was discharged, came home, purchased a farm in Crawford county, Pa., and there remained four years. Subsequently he removed to Ripley, Chautauqua county, New York, and engaged in the mercantile business, during the first fifteen years in partnership with his father-in-law, Mr. Palmer, but since that time independently. He at present has one of the leading stores in the village, and as a business man, as a wide-awake, intelligent citizen, enjoys the confidence and good-will of his fellow-townsmen.

Mr. Morris is a republican in politics and an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church, with which he is connected as trustee and Sunday-school superintendent for the past fifteen years. He is also a member of the A. O. U. W., and has filled all of its offices, together with many other positions of confidence and trust in the place where he lives.

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This family biography is one of 658 biographies included in Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chautauqua County, New York published in 1891. 

View additional Chautauqua County, New York family biographies here: Chautauqua County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Chautauqua County, New York here: Chautauqua County, New York Map

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