James Q. Morrison biography

JAMES Q. MORRISON, late of Wichita Falls, who occupied the responsible position of traveling freight agent for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, at Wichita Falls, where he resided since 1884, was a much-esteemed citizen and made himself a factor of much influence and worth in the city and surrounding country. He was in different capacities identified with railroad business during the last forty years of his life, and his executive abilities enabled him to give a good account of himself under all circumstances and advanced him to a place of much importance in that department of enterprise. He likewise proved his worth in civic affairs, and as a loyal son of the south gave four years and twenty days of service in the Confederate cause, much of the time as a commissioned officer leading his company in battle.

Mr. Morris was born near Selma, in Dallas county, Alabama, in August, 1835, being a son of William Allison and Mary Eliza (Gilmer) Morrison, the family on both sides being southern. His father was born in North Carolina in 1813, was reared in Alabama, and in the latter part of 1835, when his son James Q. was in infancy, moved to Mississippi, being a farmer near Water Valley until his death, which occurred in 1880. His wife was born in South Carolina, also in 1813, and she died in Mississippi.

Mr. Morrison was reared on his father’s farm near Water Valley, acquiring his education at home and n the schools of that neighborhood. As soon as she was old enough he went to farming on his own account, and for some years before the war was successfully engaged in this occupation. Previous to the outbreak of the rebellion he was lieutenant colonel of the militia of the county. He was a Whig in political sentiment and favored Stephen A. Douglas for president, but when secession and war became inevitable he declared for his home and the sunny south. He enlisted at Water Valley, April 23, 1861, in Company F, Fifteenth Mississippi Infantry. He was first orderly sergeant, was later promoted to the command of his company, and in one battle, when all his superiors had been killed or disabled, he was in command of the regiment. His first service was in Kentucky, and he saw some rough warfare at Barboursville and other places in the state, receiving some bullet wounds at Fishing Creek, January 10, 1862. He was also seriously wounded at Shiloh. His service extended down into the states of Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama; he was in the battle of Resaca and at the siege and fall of Atlanta; he was then in Hood’s army on the movement back west, participating at Franklin and Nashville; after the latter battle his regiment went to North Carolina, and the final surrender occurred at Greensboro of that state.

Following the conclusion of peace, he was for a time successfully engaged in the mercantile business at Water Valley. For the next seventeen years he was in the railroad business with headquarters at Water Valley. His first connection with railroading was with the old Mississippi Central before it became a part of the Illinois Central, which undertaking was accomplished throughout in the phenomenal short space of seven hours, and with very little interruption to traffic.

Mr. Morrison and his family started west to California in 1884 in order to find a climate more favorable to his health. He stopped off at Wichita Falls, was pleased with the country from every point of view, and lived here to his death. During the first year he was occupied for six years. With Wichita Falls as his headquarters, he was then traveling freight and passenger agent for the same road, and for several years before his death traveling freight and commercial agent for the M. K. & T. road, retaining his residence and headquarters in Wichita Falls.

Mr. Morrison’s first wife, to whom he was married in Mississippi, was Miss Eliza A. Matthews, a native of that state. She died in Water Valley in 1874, and he was married there to his present wife, formerly Mrs. Mary J. (Goodwin) Reese, in 1876. There are three children: Thurston A. Morrison, of Dallas, Texas; Samuel Elbert Morrison, who is in business at Fort Worth; and Mrs. Lola Kelly.

Mr. Morrison was a Knight Templar Mason. He was elected mayor of Wichita Falls in 1892, and had also served as mayor of Water Valley. He made the interests of his city his own, and through his business connections and by personal effort often enhanced the welfare of Wichita Falls. He died August 31, 1905, respected by all who knew him. Mrs. Susan Morrison by her first husband had six children: Susan, now Mrs. McFarland of Pauls Valley, Indian Territory; Emma, Mrs. Bland of Bevier, Missouri; Dixie Reese, of Birmingham, Alabama; Ephraim Reese, of Bridgeport, Texas; Thomas Reese, of Wichita Falls, assistant cashier of the City National Bank.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 87.