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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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OLIVER G. MORRIS, of Line Lexington, Hatfield township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, is one of the best known business men in that section. He has been for many years justice of the peace and general agent in the settlement of estates and all neighborhood business of the kind. He is of Welsh descent, his ancestor, Cadwallader Morris, having emigrated from Wales, and located in Pennsylvania, intermarrying with the Thomas family, also from Wales, who came to this country soon after 1700.

Morris Morris, son of the immigrant, inherited 267 acres of land lying in Hilltown township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania, which he held all his life, and bequeathed it in his turn to his son Cadwallader, he paying out certain sums to the other heirs of his father. Morris Morris married Gwently Thomas, and had seven children: Cadwallader, Abraham, William, Benjamin, Enoch, Joseph, and Morris, Jr.

Cadwallader Morris, son of Morris and Gwently Morris, born in 1737, became a teacher and surveyor, having an excellent education for those days, when the means of enlightenment were much less available than they have been to recent generations. He acquired a great reputation as a competent business man, and his advice was sought by many people who stood in need of it. He married Elizabeth Kastner, of Hilltown, their children being Alice, Abel, William, Rebecca and Hannah. He died August 23, 1812, aged seventy-five years, and his widow survived him a few years.

William Morris, third child of Morris and Gwently Morris, was the great-grandfather of Oliver G. Morris. He was born March 5, 1739. He married, in 1763, Ann, daughter of Nathaniel Griffith, belonging to another old Welsh family of that section. He lived where now stands the Leidytown hotel, which property William Morris subsequently purchased. Both died at the residence of their son Isaac, in Line Lexington, in the year 1821, he on April 22, aged eighty-two years, and she on July 17, at the age of seventy-seven years. Their children: Isaac, Benjamin, Morris, Eliam, William, Griffith, Ann, Elizabeth and Huldah.

Isaac Morris, grandfather of Oliver G. Morris, born May 5, 1764, was twice married. He purchased in 1789 the ancestral homestead of the Thomas family, where his grandmother, Gwently Thomas Morris, lived, adjoining the Lower Hilltown Baptist church, of which the Thomases were members. He held that property until 1805, when he removed to Line Lexington, where he resided the remainder of his life. His first wife was Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Mathias. They were married October 12, 1786. Mrs. Morris was born September 12, 1765, and died August 28, 1803. His second wife, whom he married April 6, 1806, was Rachel, daughter of Benjamin Mathews. She was born February 21, 1771, and died August 1, 1856, aged eighty- five years. Isaac died September 13, 1843. By his first wife Isaac Morris had three children, Mathias, Justus, and William. Mathias became a lawyer, and achieved quite a reputation as a politician. His brothers died young. He was born September 12, 1787, acquired a good education, and was admitted to the bar at Newtown, then the county-seat of Bucks, in 1809. He married Wilhelmina, sister of Judge Henry Chapman. In 1828 he was elected to the state senate, and was also re-elected for a second term. He served two terms in congress, from 1834 to 1838. He died November 9, 1839, leaving a widow who is long since deceased, and one daughter, Mrs. Mary Ann Lyman.

The children of Isaac Morris by his second wife were Oliver G. and Burgess Allison (twins) and John D. Oliver G. died in 1826, at the age of nineteen years. Burgess A. Morris was the father of Oliver Goldsmith Morris, the subject of this sketch. John D. Morris, his brother, born April 9, 1811, became a lawyer, and practiced his profession at Stroudsburg for many years, representing Monroe county in the legislature in 1851 and 1852. He subsequently held positions in the Philadelphia mint and custom house under the administrations of Presidents Pierce and Buchanan. He married Sallie, daughter of Stroud and Jeannette Hollinshead, of Stroudsburg. John D. Morris died at the residence of his nephew, Oliver G. Morris, in Line Lexington, January 5, 1868. In party predilections the Morris family were Democrats for many generations, and they were as a rule active in politics.

Burgess A. Morris (father), born December 23, 1806, married, January 28, 1836, Mary G., daughter of John Riale. She died June 27, 1837, and he died in 1847. They had but one child, Oliver G. Morris. Burgess A. Morris was a farmer all his life. He was educated in the schools of the vicinity, and took an active interest in all that concerned his community. The Riales, maternal ancestors of Oliver G. Morris, were prominent citizens of New Britain township, Bucks county, Pennsylvania. John Riale, his grandfather, was a justice of the peace of that township and stood high among his fellow citizens. He was the son of Richard Riale, and a grandson of John Riale, who emigrated from England about 1725. He was twice married, Elizabeth Griffith, the mother of Mary G. Morris, being his second wife. The second wife of Burgess A. Morris was Matilda Hoxworth.

Oliver Goldsmith Morris, the subject of this sketch, is thus descended from a long line of honored ancestors on both sides. His qualities of mind can be traced to progenitors near and remote. When his line of descent is considered, it would appear remarkable were he very different from what he is. He was born March 26, 1837, on the homestead at Line Lexington. He was reared to farm life, attending the neighborhood schools until the death of his father. He then became a student at the boarding school of Rev. John C. Hyde, New Britain, remaining there for three years. He then attended Treemount Seminary, Norristown, taught by Rev. Samuel Aaron, for two years. He then returned to the homestead, on which he still resides. He was elected a school director on reaching the age of twenty-one years, and has held the position the greater part of the time since. He has also been secretary of the board, and district superintendent for many years. Among other positions which he has held are the following: Member of the board of managers of the Springhouse and Hilltown Turnpike Company; manager of the Line Lexington Fire Insurance Company; director of the Stony Creek Railroad Company, and secretary of the Line Lexington Horse Company for many years. He was a trustee of the Hilltown Baptist church for many years. In politics, Mr. Morris is a Democrat. He was a member of the state legislature for the sessions of 1871, 1872 and 1873. He was assistant assessor of internal revenue under President Andrew Johnson. In every position which he has been called upon to fill he has made himself a reputation for the most reliable business qualities, and has won the respect and esteem of the whole community without reference to party affiliations, because he has deserved them. He has not been an office seeker, preferring to keep close to business interests of himself and those who depend upon him.

Mr. Morris married, October 11, 1858, Miss Susanna, daughter of Michael and Mary Snyder, farmers, of Hatfield township. She was born January 12, 1840. Their children: John D., born April 17, 1861, died June 23, 1864; Charles E., born September 14, 1863; Allison M., born March 29, 1866, died July 28, 1866; W. Norman, born September 28, 1867; Mary, born May 17, 1870; Arthur S., born January 4, 1877. Charles E. married Clara D. Ebo; W. Norman married Rebecca McDowell; Mary married Richard Hamilton. Arthur is deceased. Mrs. Morris’ father was a son of Jacob and Elizabeth Snyder, natives of Bucks county, Pennsylvania. The mother of Mrs. Morris, Mary Snyder, was a daughter of Isaac and Susanna Rosenberger, of Hatfield township. Mr. Morris is treasurer of the Line Lexington Fire Insurance Company, one of the oldest and most reliable of the mutual companies of the state of Pennsylvania.

The Morrises are descended from Evan Morris, a Welsh Friend who came to America in the time of William Penn and settled at Abington after a temporary sojourn elsewhere. The Morrises went early into Bucks county, Thomas Morris being in Hilltown prior to 1722, and some of the family being in New Britain as early as 1735, and probably before that time, Morris Morris, son of Cadwallader, and grandson of the immigrant, has been mentioned as having married Gwently, daughter of Rev. William Thomas, the founder of the Hilltown Baptist church. Benjamin, their third son, became quite famous as a maker of clocks of that day, and they are occasionally met with at the present day, having been handed down from father to son for nearly a century and a half. One of them, inherited from his great-grandfather, Amos Roberts, married also to a Thomas at Richland in 1775, is owned by Ellwood Roberts, the editor of this work, residing at Main and George streets, in Norristown. It is a high clock, with the letters “B. M.” engraved on a brass plate, on its face. These clocks are highly prized by all who possess them. Benjamin Morris was the father of Enos Morris, who learned his father’s trade of clockmaker, but afterwards studied law with Judge Ross at Easton, Pennsylvania, and was admitted to the bar about the year 1800. He was a leading member of the Baptist church, and a man of great integrity. Benjamin Morris, who was sheriff of Bucks county, was a son of Benjamin the clockmaker. Enoch Morris, brother of the sheriff, had a son James, who fell into the hands of the Algerines, and was one of those liberated by Commodore Decatur. He married a Miss Hobson, of Philadelphia, and settled at Cincinnati. One of their sons became a West Point graduate.

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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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