John D. Morris biography

JOHN D. MORRIS, interested in farming on Postoak Prairie in Montague county, was born in Polk county, Texas, January 6, 1839. He comes of good old revolutionary stock. His paternal grandfather was Demorris Morris, a native of Georgia, who espoused the cause of the colonies in the war for independence. He married a Miss Enlo, who belonged to a prominent family of Georgia. Among their children was Burl Morris, who was born at Atlanta, Georgia, and was reared in that state. He afterward went to Alabama and subsequently to Mississippi, where he was married to Miss Mary Gibbs, a native of Alabama and a daughter of John L. Gibbs, who came to Texas in 1851, settling in Trinity county, where he was successfully and extensively engaged in farming until his death. In politics he was a stanch Democrat, filled various county offices, including that of deputy sheriff. He was also justice of the peace for a number of years and constable for some time. He belonged to the Baptist church and his life was ever honorable and upright. He took great enjoyment in hunting in early days and was a crack shot. His children were: Mary, who became Mrs. Morris; Stephen, who served in the Confederate army; Thomas, who was killed in the war; Richard, who died of illness in the army; Daniel, who was also a Confederate soldier; Zelpha; Susan; Martha; and John, who likewise served with the Confederate troops.

Following his marriage Burl Morris began farming in Mississippi but in 1828 took up his abode as a pioneer settler in Polk county, Texas, and assisted materially in the early development and progress of that section of the state. He pre-empted land there and developed a good farm. In connection with its improvement he carried on stock raising and met with a fair measure of success. His house was situated on one of the old thoroughfares and mail routes and he kept a stage stand. He was a man of social nature, charitable and kindly and enjoyed having his friends around him. His many excellent traits of character made his example well worthy of emulation. He was a stanch Democrat and died at the old homestead in 1848 at the age of sixty-one years. His wife passed away in 1861. They had five children: William J., who served in the Civil war, was twice wounded and for nine months was a prisoner of war; John D.; Washington, who was also a member of the Confederate army; Mrs. Mary A. Robinet; and Matilda, the wife of R. J. Wilkinson. The three brothers served as soldiers of the south in the Civil war and the two sisters made clothing for the troops at the front, thus proving equally loyal to the Confederacy.

John D. Morris was reared to farm pursuits and acquired a common school education. He remained with his mother and assisted in keeping the family together until the opening of the Civil war, when he responded to the country’s call and enlisted in Company H, Tenth Texas Cavalry. The regiment was attached to the Trans-Mississippi department with Walter P. Lane in command and Mr. Morris took part in all of the important battles under General Price and other commanders. He was never wounded not taken prisoner and at the time of General Lee’s surrender was near Galveston, after which the regiment disbanded and returned home. His brother, W. J., however, was less fortunate. After being in a hospital at Atlanta, Georgia, for some months, from a bad wound, he hobbled on crutches from Atlanta to Kaufman county, Texas, that being his only means of getting home. He was often in the thickest of the fight and again was stationed on the lonely picket line but never faltered in the performance of any duty property. Mr. Morris recalls some of the hardships of the war and with the same fearlessness and courage has undergone the trials and deprivations of pioneer life. When the war ended he returned home and resumed farming and cattle raising. He was married in 1866 and continued business in Van Zandt county until he removed to Williamson county, where he spent ten years. He then sold out and came to Cooke county, where he lived for seven years. In 1882 he came to Montague county and is yet living on Postoak Prairie. Here he bought a farm which he has since conducted, giving his attention to general agricultural pursuits and has a well improved that was assigned him. He bravely met the hardships of pioneer days, saying that they made forks out of cane and used a hoe for a griddle on which to do their cooking.

On the 8th of February, 1866, Mr. Morris was married to Miss Mary J. McEntruff, who was born in Van Zandt county, Texas, September 16, 1845, a daughter of Abram B. and Mary (Parsons) McEnturff, the former a native of Kentucky and the latter of Missouri. They came to Texas in 1839 and was honored pioneer people of that state, settling in Van Zandt county before it was organized. In that work Mr. McEnturff aided. The first courthouse there was of logs and he was a member of the first jury of the first court which convened in the county. The McEnturff family has become very numerous and its representatives have been leading people in social and political circles and in the moral development of the state. The father gave his energies to agricultural pursuits and lived a life of honor and uprightness, passing away on the old homestead. His children were: Betsy A., George W., Mrs. Mary J. Morris, William and John.

Mr. and Mrs. Morris are the parents of eight children: George W., who is in the Indian Territory; Mrs. Mary R. A. Davenport, Barclay, who died at the age of twenty-seven years; Alabama; Maxie, a farmer; Lee, the wife of J. McCollum; Jolly, an agriculturist; and Jennie R., the wife of L. Henley. Both Mr. and Mrs. Morris are members of the Missionary Baptist church, and he votes with the Democracy. They occupy an enviable position in social circles and their own home is noted for its generous hospitality and pleasing entertainment. The circle of their friends is extensive and all who know them entertain for them warm regard.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 662-663.