William A. Morton biography

WILLIAM A. MORTON, M.D. The medical profession is ably represented by a score of successful physicians in Wise county, among whom is widely known Dr. W. A. Morton, of Paradise, and the subject of this personal record. One-fourth of a century marks the epoch which his professional labors have spanned within the county’s limits and they have been years busy with the affairs and duties incumbent upon one so fitted to do honor to the noble calling of a physician. Entering the state and county in 1880, as he did, and passing four years in Garvin and nine years in the village of Cottondale, since 1893 Paradise has numbered Dr. Morton among her own and in this vicinity he has achieved most of his substantial success.

North Carolina was the mother state of the Mortons of this American branch. William Morton, an Irishman and the great-grandfather of the doctor, settled on the coast of the Tar Heel state early in the history of our republic and from there his son, William, emigrated to Tennessee, where, in Pulaski county, his son, William, father of our subject, was born. William the second left his North Carolina home at about fourteen years of age and no trace of his deserted relatives seems to have been kept. He married a Miss Brown in Tennessee, reared a large family and followed mill-wrighting and carpentry and finally removed to Fayette county, Alabama, where he died.

William Morton, father of the doctor, was born in 1812 and passed his active life in Fayette county, Alabama. Like his father, he was a mechanic, a success in his personal affairs, public-spirited and stood high. He was decidedly religious and held to the doctrines of Methodism. He married Nancy McCraw, a daughter of Thomas McCraw, who died in Perry county, Alabama, in 1847. Of their union, Thomas W. was a Confederate soldier and died during the war; Martha married A. J. Carroll and died in Alabama; Dr. William A.; and Amanda, who died unmarried. For his second wife the father took in matrimony Jane Reedus. The children of this union were: Alice, wife of Wesley Morris, of Portales, New Mexico, and Jeff W., of Jacksboro, Texas.

During our subject’s youth the Morton family was situated in the rural precincts of Fayette county and it was under such surroundings that Dr. William A. Morton was brought up. His educational opportunities had been confined to the proverbial country school when the war of the rebellion broke out and as he enlisted at once for the fray experience was his teacher for the next four years. He joined Company F, Twenty-six Alabama Infantry, Colonel O’Neal, later governor of the state, and the regiment became a part of the Army of Northern Virginia until toward the close of the war, when it was transferred to the Army of the Tennessee. In the first army the doctor fought at South Mountain, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg and in the second army, at New Hope Church on the Atlanta campaign and at the battles of Franklin and Nashville, after the fall of Atlanta. He was wounded in the left ankle in the latter battle, but returned to his command after his recovery and was in the field when the surrender of Lee terminated the war.

Further resistance being futile, our subject left Cuba Station, Alabama, where he was surrendered, returned home and resumed his acquaintance with the work of the farm. The next year he began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. W. L. Morton, of Vernon, and when he was prepared for lectures he entered Louisville Medical College and received his diploma in 1875. Being equipped for his life work, the doctor located at Fayette Courthouse, the capital of his county, and ministered to the needs of that community in a professional way until his departure for Texas five years later. In 1894 he formed a partnership with Dr. Floyd in Paradise, which professional relation existed for four years, and since then, as before, he has practiced medicine alone.

In October, 1867, Dr. Morton married Miss Jane Moore, a daughter of W. O. Moore, whose family was originally from Tennessee, but who was born in Fayette county, Alabama, January 19, 1837. Dr. and Mrs. Morton’s children are: William O., a lawyer of Los Angeles, California, married first Miss Agnes Taylor, of Fort Worth, Texas, and they had one son, William Taylor Morton, and afterward married Miss Maud Hunter; Eula, who married A. A. Edins and died January 10, 1904, the mother of eight children, whom she left in Sterling county, Texas; White, of Hall county, Texas, a farmer and teacher, married to Jessie Gear; Lillie, wife of G. W. Bass, of Hall county; J. Addison, who died at the age of sixteen years; Florence, who passed away at the same age, and Claud B., a law student in Los Angeles, California.

While putting into his profession all the knowledge and all the enthusiasm of his surcharged nature, Dr. Morton has ever found it convenient and a pleasure to participate in those other human affairs which go to make up a moral and upright community. No personal aspirations seem to consume him beyond his chosen field of endeavor and when he has taken any active hand in politics it was to help righteousness win in a contest with the forces of evil. He and his wife are communicants at the Methodist table and their offspring have been brought up to know the truth and fear God.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas, Vol. II (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), pp. 336-337.