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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  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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EFFINGHAM B. MORRIS, a prominent lawyer of Philadelphia, and who has long held official position with various important transportation and financial corporations, and whose residence is near Ardmore, Montgomery county, is a representative of a family which has been conspicuous in the history of the commonwealth from the time of its earliest colonial existence.

He was born August 23, 1856, in the city of Philadelphia, in the famous old Morris Mansion on Eighth street below Walnut, which at intervals of a generation has three times been occupied by four generations of the family at the same time. His father was Israel W. Morris, one of the most accomplished of the early mining engineers in the anthracite region, and who was president of the Locust Mountain Coal Company and other coal mining corporations connected with the Lehigh Valley Railroad. His lineal ancestor in direct line was Anthony Morris, who was a justice of the supreme court under William Penn in 1696, first proprietary of the province of Pennsylvania, and who was also the second mayor of the then little city of Philadelphia. Captain Samuel Morris, great-great-grandfather of Effingham B. Morris, was commander of the First City Troop during the Revolutionary war, and was a trusted friend of Washington and of others of the leaders in the scenes attending the inauguration of the new government. From the day of the first Anthony Morris in 1696 to the present, the members of the Morris family have been men of standing in the state and community.

Mr. Morris received his early education in the classical school of Dr. J. W. Faires, in Philadelphia, and then entered the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1875 at the early age of under nineteen years. He then became a student in the law department of the same institution, graduating in 1878, when he was at once admitted to the bar of Philadelphia. He practiced his profession in association with his kinsman, P. Pemberton Morris, LL. D., and, during the later years of the life of that eminent lawyer, succeeded to his practice. Mr. Morris was early in his career called to important positions requiring industry and tact. He was for some years general attorney for the Lehigh Valley Railroad. He served as receiver with Hon. Frederick Fraley, of the Schuylkill Navigation Company, and arranged the settlement of its affairs in the reorganization of the Reading Railway Company in 1888. He was solicitor for the Girard Trust Company of Philadelphia until 1887, when he was elected to the presidency of that corporation. In 1893 the Pennsylvania Steel Company, with its immense properties, gigantic manufacturing contracts and army of eight thousand operatives, became embarrassed, and the Girard Trust Company was appointed its receiver, with Major Bent. Mr. Morris was called to the chairmanship of the reorganization committee and was primarily instrumental in restoring the Pennsylvania Steel Company to efficiency and solvency. For the first year of the period of rehabilitation he was president, and when the reorganization had been made permanent he remained upon the directorate and is now chairman of the executive committee. He is also chairman of the executive committee of the Cambria Steel Company, also employing about 8,000 men, and is therefore the chief advisory officer of the two largest independent steel companies outside the United States Steel Company in this country. Since his election to the presidency of the Girard Trust Company in 1887, the corporation has prospered beyond comparison with its former self. The company erected its fine office building at Broad and Chestnut streets in 1889, and results have abundantly vindicated the wisdom of his choice of its site, which was not at the time generally considered available for purposes of such an institution. When he became connected with the company its deposits amounted to one million dollars, and during his administration these have been increased to thirty million dollars, while the value of its trust estates has expanded to seventy million dollars, not including many million dollars of corporation mortgages under which it is trustee. Its capital has increased from five hundred thousand dollars to ten million dollars. Mr. Morris, in addition to his connection with the Girard Trust Company, is a director in the following named corporations: Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and its allied lines; Pennsylvania Company, Philadelphia Saving Fund Company, Franklin National Bank, Fourth Street National Bank, Commercial Trust Company, Pennsylvania Fire Insurance Company, Mutual Life Insurance Company of Philadelphia, and Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. In his personal capacity he is trustee for many important estates, among others William Bingham and A. J. Drexel estates.

Mr. Morris has for many years been a prominent figure in various political and social bodies. For two years (in 1880 and 1881) he represented the eighth ward of the city of Philadelphia in the common council, to which he was elected as the candidate of the “committee of one hundred.” In 1883 he was elected to the Gas Trust, then the most powerful political organization in the city. His conduct in the last named body during his four years of service was characterized by entire independence, but through his personal tact he was enabled to accomplish several practical and salutary changes in the methods of that body, at the same time retaining the good will of those who were opposed to him politically. The voucher system of payment of bills and contracts was devised and introduced by him into this department of the city business, and is yet in use. Mr. Morris was a director of the Union League for three years, retiring from that position under the rule which limited length of service to that period. He is also a member of the Philadelphia Club, the Rittenhouse Club, the University Club, the Merion Cricket Club and others. He was a manager for some years of the Pennsylvania Hospital. Whether in business or social circles, Mr. Morris is held in high regard for his ability and equable disposition and absolute fidelity to his friends. He possesses exceptional capacity for work, as well as versatility, making thorough disposition of whatever is in hand at the time, and then at once concentrating all his powers upon what may be next requiring attention. Contact with men of large concerns and immersion in the rush of modern business have worked no impairment of his heart qualities, and his sympathy for the suffering keeps him generously responsive to the many calls of charity which are made in a great city. No man is blessed with a greater number of warm personal friends than he. He is a reticent, quiet man and rarely talks of his business. He prefers to do things rather than talk about them.

Mr. Morris married in 1879 Miss Ellen Douglas Burroughs, daughter of Nelson Burroughs of Philadelphia. Of this marriage were born three daughters and a son, Mrs. G. Clymer Brooke, Mrs. Stacy E. Lloyd, Caroline M. Morris, and Effingham B. Morris, Jr.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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