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The Blue Book of Iowa Women A History of Contemporary Women

Compiled by Winona Evans Reeves, 1914.


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Mrs. J. B. Morrison

Toma Espy Morrison, the wife of Col. Joseph Morrison, was born in Ft. Madison, June 11, 1849, the daughter of Stephen Barlow Espy and Rebecca Cutler.  She received her education in Shelbyville, Ill., Seminary, Denmark Academy, Mt. Pleasant Seminary, and at Knox College.  On May 3, 1868, she was married to Joseph Blacker Morrison at Ft. Madison.  To them were born eleven children:  Vincent Espy Morrison of Minneapolis, Dr. William Iverson Morrison of Aurora, Il., Genevive Marie, now Mrs. Walter G. Smith, of Chicago, Mabel Josephine, now Mrs. Robert N. Johnson, of Ft. Madison, Maria, now Madame Morrison, nun of the Sacred Heart, Omaha, Helen Louise, Sinia Lucile, Joseph Barlow Morrison of Chicago, Denis August Morrison of Chicago, Loras who died in infancy, and Virginia.

Col. Joseph Morrison served with distinction through the Civil War, enlisting as a private at the age of nineteen in Co. D, 7th Ia. Vols.  At the siege of Atlanta he was serving on the staff of Gen. E. W. Rice, Commander of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Div., 15th Army Corps.  He was brevetted Lieut. Col. by a special act of Congress for gallant and meritorious service.  At the time of his death, in 1904, he was president of the Morrison Mfg. Co.  He was one of the most prominent citizens, and for many years was a leader in business, social and church life.  His paternal ancestor, William Morrison, came from Scotland to Orange county, N. Y. just before the Revolutionary War and served as a private soldier.  He married a daughter of Capt. Crane of New Jersey.  Samuel D. Morrison, his son, and the father of J. R. Morrison, came to Iowa from Ohio in 1848 and died in Ft. Madison in 1881, honored and respected by all who knew him.  The Morrisons are all devoted members of the Roman Catholic church.  Mrs. Morrison's father, Capt. Stephen Espy, was born at Espyville, Pa., June 8, 1827, and came to Ft. Madison September, 1846, when he entered into mercantile business and married Rebecca Cutler, Sept. 11, 1848.  In 1861 he entered the service of the Union as Captain of Co. G, 115 Ill. Vol. Infantry, at Shelbyville, Ill., where he was then in business.  He was killed Sept. 20, 1863, at the battle of Chickamauga.  Maj. Hicks said of him in a letter from the field to the N. Y. Tribune:  "Capt. Espy, of Gen. Whitaker's staff, was a very lion that day.  He was advised to remain with his trains but too noble spirited for that, he went on the field and fearless of danger did wonders in cheering and rallying the men under the destructive fire of the enemy.  He was one of Illinois' noble sons and his loss is severely felt."  He was the son of Patterson Espy, a man of education and a lawyer by profession, who married Mercy Freeman, a quaker.  Patterson was the son of George Espy who was a barefoot boy at Valley Forge and was captain of a company in the War of 1812.  George Espy was the son of Josiah Espy, a member of the committee of safety in the State of Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War.  His father, George Espy, came to Pennsylvania from Scotland and married Jean Taylor.  Jean Espy had nineteen descendants --- sons and grandsons, in the Revolutionary War, and for her the Jean Espy chapter, D. A. R. is named.  Mrs. Morrison's mother, Rebecca Cutler, was the daughter of Judge Jacob Cutler, who came to Ft. Madison April 7, 1836, and her mother was a lineal descendant of Abraham Clark, signer of the Declaration of Independence.



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