Select Morris Miscellany


Here are some Morris stories
accounts over the years:




The Welsh name Mawrrhys is composed of two elements, mawr
meaning “great” and rhys meaning “chief.”  Perhaps as a result, many of the early Kings of Wales had the Mawrrhys name.  Mawrrhys, the last so named to bear this title, died in the year 1200.

Morris at the Time of Shakespeare

Morris family was recorded as living at
Stratford-on-Avon or nearby Clifford Chance since the 1540’s.
During the reign
of Queen Elizabeth these Morrises included:

  • Richard
    Morris who had a son Ferdinand
  • John Morris who married Elinor Jones and had a
    son William
  • and Jasper Morris, the rector of the church at Clifford

Clifford Chance has in fact been
claimed by some as the
real birthplace of William Shakespeare as the bubonic plague was rife
in the
town of Stratford at that time.

The Morris estate was at
Shottery, a suburb of Stratford, and was where Shakespeare married Ann
Hathaway.  Kathryn Morris served in the
Shakespeare household when he was growing up, whether as governess,
nurse or
maid it is not possible to say.  She died
in 1587.

The later Morris line in Stratford took as its starting point George
Morris who was born in Clifford Chance around the year 1605.


The Morris Family of Galway

Morris family was one of the fourteen “Tribes of
Galway” who were leading merchants of the town.
Richard Morris was its first Bailiff in 1486, under a charter
the previous year by the English King empowering them to elect one
mayor and
two bailiffs.  The Morrises, sometimes
written Mares or Morech, had apparently first arrived in Galway at
about that

Various Morrises succeeded Richard Morris as Bailiffof Galway during
16th century.  Anthony Morris was the
town Mayor in 1588.  A later Anthony
Morris took part in the defense of the city against Cromwell’s forces
in 1651.  The Morrises, like the other
Galway merchants,
then lost their position.

They did manage to survive the changing political
fortunes of the later 17th century, establishing their home at Spiddal.  The family later became the Barons Killanon
of Galway.  In the 1970’s Lord Killanin
was the sixth President of the International Olympic Committee.  His sons were the filmmaker Redmond Morris
and the horse-trainer Mouse Morris.


The Morris
Brothers in Barbados and New York

Lewis Morris, said to have commanded a Troop of
Horse under Cromwell, may have visited the West Indies as early as 1633.  He served under Admiral Penn in 1655, taking
part in the attack on Jamaica and later acquiring an estate in Barbados.  He was described in 1670 as a “merchant of
Barbados.”  He died in 1691.

brother Captain Richard Morris had also served with the Parliamentary
Army.  After the Restoration in 1660, he
deemed it unwise to remain in England.
He went to Barbados disguised as a Quaker and married there.  His only son Lewis was born in
1671.  By that time, however, he had
himself as a merchant in what was then New Amsterdam (still in the
of the Dutch) and what was to become New York.

1668 Richard Morris purchased
land granted by the Dutch in 1639 to Jonas Broncks, the first white
settler of
county.  This was the basis to what became
Morrisania.  Richard himself died in 1672
and it was his
infant son Lewis who was later to inherit his estate

Morris and The Battle Hymn of the Republic

the 19th century, the Battle Hymn of the Republic was
adapted to fit prominent American surnames
of the time, including Morris.  The Morris
version had three stanzas of specific references.  They
ran as follows:

Nicholas were fathers of our clan;
Posterity of Anthony and Owen never ran.
was a hero, Roger was a famous man.
The clan goes marching on!

Martin was an
Irishman and statesman of renown;
And Anthony was mayor of a Pennsylvania
With great men of Jersey, Richard’s name is written down.
The clan goes
marching on!

was captain of the ship that sailed across the sea.
When Lafayette returned to
France, America was free.
Jacob was an aide-de-camp to General Robert Lee.

clan goes marching on!”

and Thomas Morris were early settlers in
Massachusetts, Nicholas Morris came to Virginia in 1640. Anthony Morris
was a
Quaker preacher in Pennsylvania, Owen Morris an early settler in
county, Pennsylvania.   Jacob’s
is uncertain.  Roger Morris was a colonel
who fought in the French and Indian War. 
Roger Morris was also a
successful suitor for the hand of Mary Philipse, a beauty of her day,
George Washington. 

Morris Jr was the second mayor of Philadelphia.
The Richard Morris name probably refers to the first of the line
Morrises, a leading New Jersey family in the 18th century.
Sir Martin’s renown escapes us.

Morris was in charge of the vessel named Brandywine
by which Lafayette, the French hero of the Revolutionary War, returned
France in 1825 after his tour of America.
was indeed an aide-de-camp to General Robert Lee at the time of the
Civil War


The Morris
Family Coming to South Carolina

verse poem written for a 1921 reunion celebrated
the Morris family that emigrated from Stratford-on Avon to South
Carolina in
1788.  The following are some stanzas
from this poem:

seventeen eighty
eight they came,
Samuel and wife Lucy by name
From Stratford-on-Avon
To this American haven
Father Morris,
Mother Morris, she
And the eight little Morrises
To grow the family tree.

son, Sarah daughter,
They brought across the water,

Lucy and Mary – too young for malice
Farmer Morris, he
Mistress Morris, she
the eight little Morrises
That came across the sea.

South Carolina —
What state
could be finer?
They built their family home
E’er their sons began to roam

Samuel Morris, he
Lucy Morris, she
And all the other Morrises
In glad felicity.”


Joseph Morris
of Brooklyn

is a common Jewish name, more popular as a first
name because of its similarity to or derivation from Moshe or, as it is
known, Moses.  Morris is less common as a
surname but does appear.

Morris was a prominent citizen of early
Brooklyn.  He owned and operated livery
stables to furnish horse-drawn hearses and carriages for the conduct of
funerals.  His firm was established in
1888 as I.J. Morris and incorporated in its present form in 1929.

Morris location was at Thatford and Sutter Avenues in the almost
Jewish community of Brownsville in Brooklyn.
Most of the prominent Jewish schools, yeshivas, rabbinical
and synagogues had their roots in the community serviced by I.J. Morris.



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