This is a collection of short biographical sketches submitted by individuals with a link to the Researcher. You are invited to send appropriate sketches of early Atchison County residents for inclusion on this page
|Atchison County Kansas Bio Sketches|
JAMES GRANVILLE MORROW
We are taught that life is eternal; that when the course of man has been run upon this earth and his work is done, his spirit returns to his Maker and he is judged according to his deeds while a mortal among his fellow creatures. This thought and belief is comforting alike to the dying and the bereaved ones left behind to mourn their earthly loss for the time being. Longfellow has written: "Life is real, life is earnest and the grave is not its goal; dust thou art, to dust returneth, was not written of the soul." So thought and so lived the late Capt. JAMES GRANVILLE MORROW, who at the time of his demise was the oldest living pioneer resident of Atchison and a man famed for his upright life and beloved for his good and kindly deeds. Life was very "real and earnest" to Captain Morrow and he enjoyed his earthy existence to the fullest extent, the latter years of his residence in Atchison being the fullest and best of all, in the sense that he indulged his taste and talents to doing things which he loved, all the while being surrounded by a loving wife and children whose respect and love he had to comfort him through the greater part of his long and useful life. Captain Morrow lived in such a manner as to endear him to all of his associates and he will long be remembered as one of the noted figures of the pioneer and the present era of Kansas development. It is meet that the life story of his truly noble citizen be recorded in these annals of his county and city for the inspiration and encouragement of the present and coming posterity for all time to come.
James Granville Morrow was born on a farm in Wayne County, Kentucky, June 27, 1827, a son of Jeremiah and Lydia (HOLDER) Morrow, both of whom were born and reared in Kentucky. Jeremiah Morrow was the son of Matthew Morrow, a native of Virginia, who was one of the early pioneers of Kentucky and of Scotch descent, his ancestors having emigrated from Scotland to America in the early colonial period of American history. Jeremiah Morrow, father of James G., was born in 1802 and after his removal to Kentucky married Lydia HOLDER. Six sons and two daughters were born to Jeremiah Morrow and wife, only one of whom survives, Mrs. W. H. CRISP, residing in Kentucky. Their children were as follows: Mahala, wife of Rev. W. H. Crisp of Kentucky; Floyd, deceased; James Granville, the subject of this review' Nimrod, deceased; Riley, William, Nancy, deceased wife of John PENNINGTON; Percy, deceased. Granville Morrow spent his boyhood days on the family farm in Wayne County, Kentucky and at the age of sixteen years was sent to a select school. He made his home with his parents until he attained his majority and then set out to make his own way in the world. He dealt quite extensively in horses which he drove from Kentucky to Georgia. He was also associated with his brothers in raising, purchasing and selling hogs, which they drove 400 miles into Georgia, where they were sold to the Georgia planters. Sometimes a single planter would buy 500 head and the price ranged from eight to nine dollars per 100 pounds, live weight. The Morrow brothers frequently drove as high as 13,000 head, traveling only seven miles a day. There were no railroads in those days, but the country was dotted with stations. Hog cholera did not bother swine in those days and ti was Captain Morrow's frequent expression that hog cholera was a product of civilization and high breeding and although the hogs were driven as far as 400 miles they did not lose weight on the trip. The business of the Morrow brothers was not always profitable, however, and they lost money on some of the trips. Mr. Morrow abandoned the business in 1850, and in 1854 arrived in Atchison en route to California, but he did not go any farther. On April 5, 1854 he arrived at Rushville Landing, now East Atchison. This was shortly before Kansas was opened for settlement and the only man living at that time on the town site of Atchison was George MILLION, who operated a rope ferry across the Missouri River. Mr. Morrow found on landing at Atchison that the overland train which he expected to join en route to the far West had left and, as he was ill, he decided to wait for the next train. Captain Morrow ate his first dinner in Kansas with Samuel DIXON at Dixon Spring, now included in the city of Atchison. The food was ladled out of a common kettle to which all the diners had access without style of invitation other than "help yourself." A tree trunk sawed off smooth answered the purpose of a table on which the meal was served While waiting he found a job with Million and decided to remain in Kansas. In the fall of 1854, he, with John ALCORN, bought out Portumous LAMB's ferry boat which was operated by horse power and a tread-mill, and from that time on for seventeen consecutive years Mr. Morrow plied his ferry between Atchison and Winthrop. In the fall of 1855 he began operating a side-wheel steam ferry which had been brought here from Brownsville, PA. In 1857 he became captain of the steam ferry, "Ida," later running the steam ferry, "Pomeroy," after which he went to Brownsville, PA, where he built the transfer boat, "William Osborne," remaining there eight months while the work was in progress. When he brought the "William Osborne" to Atchison it was loaded with 300 tons of rails for the Central Branch of the Missouri Pacific Railroad, now the Northern Kansas Division. This boat also conveyed across the Missouri River the first locomotives used on the road after its construction.
Not long after his arrival in Atchison County Captain Morrow began to accumulate land and in 1860 turned his attention to farming, retiring from the steamboat business entirely in 1871. He accumulated 1,240 acres of rich bottom lands in the Missouri River bottoms near East Atchison which has never failed to produce a crop and is very valuable. He formerly owned a section of land in Osage County, Kansas, near Lebo. He also was the owner of two valuable farms on the Atchison side of the river, 320 acres near Jacksboro, Texas, and owned considerable real estate in the city, all of which has been left to his widow in trust for his children and heirs. He was very successful as a wheat grower, and in this way gained the greater part of his working capital. He erected a beautiful home called "Enidan Heights" at Eighth and U Streets on the south side of Atchison, where he spent his declining years in peace and comfort. About 1875 he opened a general store in East Atchison which he conduced until 1883. Those were still pioneer days, and the settlers in the vicinity were poor and sometimes were unable to pay for the good they needed. The captain's big heart and generous impulses frequently led him to extend credit to patrons whom he knew would not be able to pay for their purchases, and it was a favorite expression of his when his clerk would report to him that a poor man wished credit, "Gracious to goodness, if we don't let him have the stuff he'll starve to death." The captain sold hundreds of dollars' worth of goods which were probably never paid for, but his good heart would not permit him to see a fellow creature in want for the necessities of life. This trait of kindness was the predominating characteristic of his life and endeared him to hundreds of people. After quitting the mercantile business Captain Morrow devoted himself entirely to his family interests and his transfer business which he established in 1888, with his partners, later becoming the sole owner of the business. He retired entirely from active business pursuits and his farming in 1910 and spent the most of his time working around the gardens of his fine home in Atchison. For years it was his custom to drive back and forth to his big farm on the Missouri side and he was gradually persuaded to abandon this activity. His demise occurred December 2, 1915, after a brief illness, beginning with an attack of la grippe, his great age and depleted vitality, militating against his recovery.
James Granville Morrow was married November 26, 1974 to Miss Sarah J. GEORGE, and this happy marriage was blessed with the following children: Della, born November 11, 1875 and died in 1904 and who is buried in Orearville Cemetery, Saline County, Missouri; James Granville George, born September 16, 1878, married Ethel WORRELL and is the father of four children: James Granville, Jr., John Worrell, Francis and Robert George; Nadine, wife of John Raymond WOODHOUSE, who lives with Mrs. Morrow of Atchison and mother of John Granville, born December 16, 1914; James G. Morrow resides in Buchanan Co., MO and has charge of the immense Morrow farms in the Missouri bottoms. The children of Captain and Mrs. Morrow have all been well educated and afforded every facility for mind cultivation. Mrs. Nadine Woodhouse was educated in Mount St. Scholastica Academy and the College Preparatory School of Atchison after which she completed her studies at Central College of Missouri. Miss Della Morrow studied in Mount St. Scholastica Academy, Midland and Central colleges and Washington University at St. Louis and was a bright and talented young lady prior to her demise. James Morrow, the son, studied in the Atchison public school and Midland College. The mother of thee children, Mrs. Sarah J. (George) Morrow, was born March 30, 1853, near Orearville, Saline County, Missouri, a daughter of Dr. James Jameson George, a native of Prince William County, Virginia. Dr. George was born in Virginia November 25, 1810, a son of William Henry George, a soldier in the War of 1812, who moved from Virginia to Hardin Co., KY in 1816 with his brothers, Moses and Lindsey George, who settled at Shelbyville, KY. The mother of Dr. George was a member of the Jameson family, an old Virginia family. The ancestry of both the George and Jameson families goes back to the pre-Revolutionary days of the Virginia colony. Dr. J. J. George was a graduate of the Transylvania College at Bairdstown, KY and also studied at Lexington, KY. He was married in 1841 at Mt. Sterling, KY to Mary Catlett OREAR, a daughter of Robert Catlett Orear, who was born in Mt. Sterling, KY, January 30, 1814 and departed this life March 27, 1876 in Johnson County, MO. Dr. J. J. and Mary George were the parents of the following children: Robert died in June, 1905, on his ranch in Coffey Co., Kansas; Joel S. who resides at Peace River Crossing, Alberta, Canada; Mary E., wife of J. H. RUSSELL, died June 28, 1911; Mrs. Malinda MORRISON of Tecumseh, OK; Benjamin Franklin, born in Saline Co., settled in Coffey Co., KA and now resides in Denver, CO; Mrs. James Granville Morrow; two who died in infancy; James Nelson contracted fever at Central College and died Octobver 26, 1875, aged twenty-one years and twenty-nine days; Lee Davis, a ranchman of Coffey Co., KS. Four of these children were born in Kentucky and the last four were born in Missouri, where the family removed in 1850.
Dr. George was a minister of the Gospel and a member of the Methodist Episcopal conference in Kentucky from 1838 to 1839. He came to Missouri to farm and preach the Gospel, but was impressed very early in his western career with the woeful dearth of skilled medical care for the sick and ailing of the backwoods country and was frequently called to the bedside of people who were supposed to be dying and whom he realized could be easily saved with some medical attention. Fired with zeal to assist an unfortunate and suffering people, he conceived the worthy idea of studying medicine, so that he could be of material assistance to his people other than in a religious sense. He returned to Kentucky and entered the Medican College at Lexington. After completing his course he returned to Saline Co., MO and engaged in the practice of his profession until old age came upon him. He then removed to Cass Co., MO and became a local minister. His was a long and useful life, every matured year of which was given in behalf of his fellow men, unselfishly and devotedly. He was one of the noted missionaries of the early days in Missouri and extended the word of the Gospel to the remotest settlements. He organized churches and Sunday schools where they seemed needed most and his work called him to preach the Word in log houses and the most primitive habitations of man. Dr. George was deeply in love with his great work and loved the people and worked tirelessly for their well-being in a religious and practical way. He departed this life August 4, 1875. The last public utterance which he made was when he spoke to a Sunday school assemblage in Coffey Co., KS in the village of Key West. His end was peaceful and tranquil and the departure of this good man's soul to the realms beyond mortal kin marked the passage of one of the truly great men of the western country whose work will go on and on forever. Dr. George and Captain Morrow became great friends in the early sixties.
On Thanksgiving day of 1913, just the day before Mr. and Mrs. Morrow's forty-first wedding anniversary, the captain's last illness began which resulted in his passing away. His burial occurred on December 4 from Trinity Episcopal Church, Rev. Otis E. GRAY officiating, with the Masonic Lodge of Atchison conducting burial service at the grave. He was for many years a Mason and was greatly interested in the Masonic fraternity, rarely being absent from the lodge meetings, his last spoken regret having been that he would be unable to attend the ceremonies held at the laying of the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple in Atchison. The last five years of Captain Morrow's life were perhaps the most satisfactory and the happiest of his existence. His years of retirement, although few as compared with that of most men, were spent almost entirely at his beautiful home, with occasional visits to his farm lands. He was loath to retire and did so only at the urgent insistence of his devoted wife and for quite a long time after he was eighty years of age he would insist on driving across the river to his farm. He took the greatest pleasure with his grandchildren and especially with his namesake. In his later years he became a specialist in gardening and fruit growing merely for his own satisfaction and would frequently surprise his family with some very choice and rare fruits grown in his gardens and orchards. From his orchard of peach trees he gathered over 400 bushels of peaches in one season and also set out an apple orchard which he attended assiduously. He became a disciple of the famous Luther Burbank and was a member of the Luther Burbank corporation. Through the exercise of his skill as a fruit grower he produced several kinds of rare berries and was continually experimenting in small fruits and vegetable growing. It was fitting that the life of Captain Morrow should close in such a manner and that during his last years he was permitted to indulge himself in his favorite pursuits, surrounded with the loving and watchful career of his devoted wife, who was always his confidant and adviser, and to whom he went in time of stress or trouble for comfort and advice. His was a life well spent and his memory will live long in the hearts and minds of those who knew him best.
History of Atchison County, Kansas
by Sheffield Ingalls - 1916
Clemi Higley Blackburn, July 2001
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