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Below is a family biography included in the book, Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published by Chapman Publishing Company in 1895.  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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C. L. MORRIS. It is the privilege of comparatively few who begin in business without capital or friends to attain a success so notable as that which has rewarded the efforts of Mr. Morris. He is one of the retired farmers and stock-raisers of Pettis County, and is passing his declining days quietly and happily at his old homestead on section 6, township 44, range 22, where he has resided since 1866. His first purchase in Washington Township consisted of three hundred and sixty acres, but he afterward added other property, until his landed possessions aggregated about six hundred acres.

A native of east Tennessee, our subject was born in Grainger County, February 24, 1818, being the only child of C. L. and Lucy Morris. His father died when he was an infant, and he was reared by his mother, whom he began to support as soon as old enough to work. Educational opportunities were very meager in those days, and his attendance at school was for a short time only. He operated a rented farm in Tennessee, but believing that he could gain a competence more easily in another place, he left the state at the age of twenty -two and came on horseback to Missouri, the trip lasting twenty-six days. He arrived at his uncle’s house in Henry County on New Year’s Day of 1842, and from that place went to Vernon County in March. Securing one hundred and sixty acres, he began the improvement of a farm and erected a log cabin for his home. In order to earn money, he hired out to neighboring farmers, and during the intervals of other work cultivated his land.

As soon as able Mr. Morris sent for his mother, who journeyed by boat from Tennessee a short distance up the Arkansas River and was then joined by her son, with whom she drove overland to Vernon County. They began to keep house in a log cabin, but later removed to a good hewed-log house, which our subject erected. July 29, 1851, he married Miss Jane Sommers, who was born in Vernon County, Mo., February 1, 1833. Her parents, Jesse and Lottie (McDermott) Sommers, were born, reared and married in Kentucky, whence they came to Missouri in 1830, being among the very earliest settlers of Bates (now Vernon) County.

Believing that no better investment could be made with his money than in the purchase of land, Mr. Morris, whenever he could get $50 ahead, went to the land office and entered forty acres. In this way he continued until he had entered a large tract. He then sold his farm and bought other land, which he brought under cultivation. At the time of the outbreak of the Civil War he was residing there. Though he took no part in the conflict, he was so situated that his farm was raided by both Federal and Confederate troops, who burned his fences, killed his cattle, hogs and chickens, and hauled off his fruit by the wagon load. Through their depredations he suffered heavy losses, and life itself was at times endangered.

In 1865 Mr. Morris sold his Vernon County farm and moved to Pettis County, where he rented land for a year. He then moved to Washington Township and purchased property, to which he has since added from time to time and upon which he now resides. Some years ago he purchased five sections of land in Crosby County, Tex., which he afterward sold at a handsome increase on the purchase price. Politically he is a Democrat and a firm advocate of the original Jeffersonian principles, though by no means in sympathy with the policy of President Cleveland’s administration. Upon the organization of Washington Township he was elected its Clerk, and afterward served as School Director. Before the war, in Vernon County, he served as Justice of the Peace. His first Presidential ballot was cast for Martin Van Buren, in 1840. While a resident of Tennessee, at one election his was the only Democratic ticket cast in his precinct. With his wife and children, he is connected with the Southern Methodist Episcopal Church and has served the congregation as Class-Leader.

The family of Mr. and Mrs. Morris consists of four sons and three daughters. Helen, who was born January 8, 1853, married Arthur Harriman, and died June 2, 1890, leaving two children. William Wallace, who was born in Vernon County, August 16, 1855, is a resident of Washington Township; he is married and has two children. Jasper and Newton (twins) were born in Vernon County November 2, 1860. Jasper, who is married and has three children, makes his home in Ft. Worth, Tex.; and Newton, a widower with one child, makes his home with our subject. C. L. and Lucy (twins) were born in Vernon County, May 21, 1863. The former is a resident of Green Ridge, Pettis County. Lucy, wife of John Logan, of Sedalia, has three children. Jennie, the youngest of the family, who was born in Pettis County October 5, 1867, is an accomplished young lady, who for a time engaged in teaching, but is at present a clerk in Mr. Crawford’s dry-goods store in Green Ridge.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Pettis County, Missouri portion of the book,  Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis County Missouri published in 1895 by Chapman Publishing Co.  For the complete description, click here: Pettis County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Pettis County, Missouri family biographies here: Pettis County, Missouri Biographies

View a map of 1904 Pettis County, Missouri here: Pettis County, Missouri Map

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