Granville Morris was born near the village of Caldwell in Olive township, Noble County, Ohio. The second child of the family and first son, he was in his parents’ household in 1860, 1870, and 1880 (aged 5, 15, and 25 respectively) with a listed occupation in 1880 of “hardware”.
Marriage to Emma Jane Humphries
He married Emma Jane Humphreys, daughter of George Washington Humphreys and Ann Elizabeth Patton, on 31 August 1882 in nearby Oxford, Sumner County, Kansas.1 Granville opened a hardware business in Oxford, frequently advertising in the local weekly.
In July 1884 he sold his hardware business and his residence, with the newspaper reporting that “he will seek a new location before long”.2 However he remained in Oxford for another year, working as a stock dealer rounding up local livestock to deliver to Kansas City. The 1885 state census of Kansas shows him still living in Oxford, listed as a stock dealer, with Emma (age 28) and his 6-month old son Guy E. Morris.
The move to Medicine Lodge, Kansas
In July 1885 he bought a half interest in his brother’s satellite hardware store in Attica, Harper County, Kansas and moved his family there.3 The move reunited him with his father,who had previously managed the store, and his sister and brother-in-law, who was the publisher of the local newspaper. Four months later in November 1885 he moved both the store and family almost twenty miles west to Medicine Lodge, the seat of Barber County.4 This move may have anticipated the growth caused by the extension of tracks into Medicine Lodge by the Southern Kansas Railway, a predecessor of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway,
A fire on 6 December 1887 destroyed several buildings in Medicine Lodge, including a four-room cottage rented by Granville Morris and family. According to newspaper reports, most of their household goods were saved, though with some damage, as were a buggy and two horses in his barn. He lost only the window curtains, a few small articles, and a large quantity of feed in the barn. 5 A few months later the family rented a new house in Medicine Lodge and Granville was elected to the first of several terms as city councilman.6 His wife Emma became the president of the Baptist Ladies Society, a post she held until moving away in 1893.
In July 1888 Granville Morris bought out his brother’s remaining half interest in the Morris Brothers hardware store when MacDonald Morris moved to Oklahoma.7 Just a month later the store closed, overwhelmed by more than $10,000 of debt, and its stock was auctioned off to satisfy the creditors.8
A few years earlier he had bought nearby farmland, and apparently devoted himself to wheat and cattle.9 He again overextended, was hurt by a drought and defaulted on the mortgage. Lawsuits over his debts lingered for years after he left the area. The farm was seized by the Barber County Sheriff and eventually auctioned off.10
The move to Perry, Oklahoma
In the summer of 1893 he left Kansas and joined his brother McDonald Morris just over the border in Oklahoma, settling in Perry, Noble County about twenty miles north of his brother’s home in Guthrie.11 By early 1894 he was a partner in the Perry branch of his brother’s “New York Hardware” store and was a director of the local Board of Trade.12
Emma’s death in St. Louis
Both the Perry and Guthrie newspapers, along with the Oxford, Kansas paper, reported that his wife Emma J. Morris died on 30 May 1896 in St. Louis, where she had gone for some unspecified operation. The Oxford Register reported that she “went to St. Louis some time ago for treatment [and] died in that city following an important surgical operation.” 13 The Perry Daily Enterprise-Times reported that “she passed safely through the ordeal of the surgical operation and seemed on the way to recovery when the silent messenger came and her life went out.”14 Both Granville and her brother-in-law Dr. Smith were in attendance and brought Emma’s body back to Oxford, Kansas for burial.
Granville moves to Chandler, Oklahoma and remarries
Granville Morris continued to operate his hardware store for a time, partnering with with at least two other men, and was mentioned several times in local newspapers.15 He continued to be active in local affairs, notably as a county commissioner beginning in 1897.16 In February 1899 a farewell dinner was given to him by local society, as he “was soon to leave this city.” 17 He and his brother had bought a hardware store in Chandler, which they would briefly operate as the firm of Morris & Morris with Granville in charge of it.18 Chandler was about 40 miles southeast of Perry but only about twenty miles from Guthrie.
Within weeks of his arrival in Chandler he married again. One local paper reported that he “saw the storms of life drawing nigh and took refuge in a Cave. He was united in marriage to Miss (sic) Lillian Cave.” 19 Another paper reported that Granville Morris and Mrs. Lillian Cave were married at the Oklahoma City residence of her mother Mrs. Elizabeth A. Tomlin.20 Lilly Cave was the thirtyish widow of John B. Cave and another former resident of Perry. Her parents were Franklin M. Tomlin, who died sometime around 1890, and Elizabeth Rude. They had lived in various towns in Kansas, including Arkansas City in 1895, and her widowed mother and five of her ten grown children were living in Oklahoma City in 1900. 21 She had married in 1891 in Ft. Scott, Kansas to John B. Cave, who apparently died a few years later.22 Oddly, her family had been enumerated in Cowley County, Kansas in the 1895 state census within walking distance of the Morris family there.
The 1900 census found Granville and Lillian Morris in Chandler, his occupation listed as hardware merchant.23
About the time the census was taken Granville Morris and a man named John Raedeker partnered to buy a hardware store at Salpapa some distance from Chandler, and Raedeker was dispatched to run it.24 The venture was short-lived, as Raedeker was back in Chandler to stay within a few months. At the same time Granville was advertising in the weekly newspaper as the proprietor of New York Hardware, after apparently buying out his brother.
Barely a year later he sold New York Hardware to two investors and the local newspaper reported that he intended to “go to the ‘new country’ when it is opened.”25 This referred to the former Kiowa-Comanche and Apache reservations in southwestern Oklahoma that were to be opened for homesteading in August. He was a fortunate drawer in the El Reno land lottery that summer although there is no record of his actually claiming land.26 In fact he delayed his departure by a year; weekly newspaper advertisements continued to refer to him as the proprietor of the store and in September 1901 a charter was granted to the Chandler Ice, Light and Power Company, with Granville Morris one of its directors.27
In June 1902 the Chandler newspaper reported that “Granville Morris and family have gone to Hobart to reside.” 28 Hobart, initially called “Ragtown”, was a settlement in the former reservation lands. But two weeks after that announcement the newspaper noted that “Granville Morris returned last week from Hobart and other points in the new country.”29 That same month he bought a grocery store in Chandler and his wife arrived from Hobart a week later.30
He was out of the hardware business by then, and in early 1902 bought a grocery store in Chandler. That venture didn’t last long, as in June of 1902 he moved again, this time about eighty miles southwest to Hobart, Oklahoma.31
Family troubles? Mental issue?
Granville seems to disappear for the next ten years. Records of him in Hobart were not found, in fact no records of him were found for the next several years. He seems to have lost his second wife and he may have gone back to Winfield, Kansas
On 7 February 1903 a habeus corpus proceeding (usually meaning unlawful imprisonment) was brought against Granville Morris and a judge awarded custody of his 12-year old daughter Louanna to her aunt Carrie Graham in Kansas City. 32 That was the last record of Granville Morris or his family in Chandler. Indeed it was the last record of him anywhere for the next several years.
There are essentially no records of Granville or his wife thereafter. For a man who was perpetually involved in one retail business or another and advertising constantly in local newspapers, the absence of records is striking.
He may have gone back to Winfield to live with or near his parents, as there was mention of a Granville Morris in WInfield in 1908.33 Other records make it clear that his daughter Louanna grew up in Winfield, though exactly when she lived there is not clear.
He seems likely to have been living near his brother in Guthrie, Oklahoma in March 1909; there is a curious font-page story in the local newspaper: “A police alarm Sunday afternoon attracted a crowd to the home of O. H. Bender, corner 8th and C Streets, where his housekeeper Granville Morris while laboring under a nervous attack had made in the middle of the floor a big sandwich composed of alternate layers of clothing, pie, more clothing, and topped with a pudding. As a garnishment the cat was baptized with hot lard.” 34 Oscar H. Bender’s address in Guthrie was only about eight blocks from the home of McDonald Morris, and I note that there was no one named Granville Morris in other records in or around Logan County in that time period.
He moves to Sweetwater, Texas
I did not find him in the 1910 census, but his son’s obituary states that Granville and his son Guy established a hardware store in Sweetwater, Texas “in 1909 or 1910” so he may have been in transit when the census was taken in mid-1910. 35 When his mother died in 1911 he attended the funeral in Winfield as “Granville Morris of Texas” according to the funeral notice. In the 1920 census he was enumerated as a widower in Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas living near his son Guy.36 His occupation was a partner in a hardware store, although it was “real estate” in July 1920 when he endorsed his son’s passport application.
He died in Sweetwater on 6 April 1928, “run over by Orient Switch Engine” according to his death certificate. (Karl Morris reports he had too much to drink that night and was returning home through the rail yard when he was hit.) The death certificate gives his birth date as 14 December 1855, his occupation as “real estate”, and his parent’s names as Tom Morris and (blank) Thurlow.37 He is buried in the Sweetwater Cemetery, his stone reading “1856 – 1928.”
Guy Eugene Morris (28 September 1884 – 6 May 1954) I did not find him in the 1910 census but he was living in Sweetwater, Nolan County, Texas by 1917 when he filled out his World War I draft card. He is in the 1920 and 1930 censuses of Sweetwater living at 103 Beall St. in 1920 and at 907 E. N. 2nd Street in 1930. In both cases, his wife was listed as Mary (sic) and the only child was his son Carlos. In his 1930 household was Louise Overton, age 60, identified as his mother-in-law. His wife was May Louise Seifert (sometimes rendered as Mary.) 38 She was the daughter of an Austrian immigrant to Mexico named Karl Seifert and his wife Louise Palmer.39 As “May Seifert Morris” she applied for a passport for herself and her son Carlos in 1921 for the purpose of visiting her mother in Mexico.40 Her obituary in the Abilene Reporter News says “she was born May Seifert.”
Guy Morris applied for a passport in 1920, which both he and his father signed, stating that he was born in Oxford, Kansas.41 He was described as 5’8” tall, with a medium dark complexion, blue eyes and a “slightly high” forehead. His photo shows him wearing a fashionable straw boater. He and a partner had a number of businesses in Sweetwater, principally as agent for the Texas Company (Texaco) in Nolan County — the 1920 census identifies him as a “merchant partner.” An advertisement in a July 1925 Sweetwater Daily Reporter for The Texas Company proudly lists the addresses of its six filling stations, a plant with 18,000 gallons of gasoline, and a variety of petrochemical merchandise including tar paper, kerosene, paraffin, asphalt, and roofing cement. The office of agent Guy E. Morris was located at 207 Elm St. A newspaper report in 1938 calls him a “filling station operator at Sweetwater across the street from the Blue Bonnet hotel.”42 An internet post notes that in 1942 he turned over his partnership interest to his son Carlos who bought out the partner. His son was apparently named for his wife’s father. He was a national Republican convention delegate (a Taft supporter) in 1952, a board member of the Sweetwater hos[ital in in 1938, and active in a wide variety of community affairs. He died of a stroke while on a business trip to Guadalajara, Mexico, and is buried in the Sweetwater Cemetery. Obituaries appear in the 7 May 1954 and 8 May 1954 issues of the Abilene Reporter News. Guy and May had two children, one of whom was born 2 March 1911 but died in infancy.43
Carlos Seifert Morris (19 March 1912 – 21 September 2003) [Presumably, you know all about your granddad, Nate, so we’ll keep this short.] Texas birth records give his wife’s name as Ava Evangeline Sheridan and list two children: Karl Sheridan Morris (22 November 1839) and Rosemary Ann Morris (29 November 1938). Her birth certificate also gives her name as Ava Evangeline – named for her mother – the 1920 and 1930 censuses list her as Evangeline, but her death certificate lists it as Evangeline “Lethyann” Morris. The Abilene Daily Reporter put the marriage on its front page in 1936.44 He is buried in the Sweetwater Cemetery, his stone memorializing his World War II service as a Marine sergeant.
Louanna W. Morris (26 July 1890 – 19 January 1984) Her birth in Oxford (when her parents lived in Medicine Lodge) was announced in her mother’s hometown newspaper.45 She was in her father’s household in Chandler, Oklahoma in the 1900 census but in early 1903 for reasons I cannot determine, a judge awarded custody of her to her aunt Carrie Graham.46 This apparently occurred when Granville Morris was living back in Winfield, Kansas — when Louanna was maid of honor at a Winfield wedding in 1915 the newspaper described her as a “former Winfield girl” who had been best friends with the bride since childhood.47 The same newspaper had reported several occasions between 1907 and 1915 when Louanna Morris “of Kansas City” was visiting friends in Winfield and vicinity. In 1911 she was reported to have dmade a brief visit to Texas, presumably to see her father.48
She was enumerated in the 1910 census living with her aunt Carrie in Kansas City. In fact, she seems to have lived with her sister from the time she was twelve until she married. She applied for a passport in May 1916, stating that she was the daughter of Granville Morris and giving her occupation as a teacher.49 She stated that she planned a trip on a United Fruit boat to Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica in mid-June. New Orleans port records show that she returned on the ship Coppename with 17 other passengers on 24 July 1916, sailing from Tela, Honduras. The passport application gave her address was 3042 Flora Avenue in Kansas City, the home of her aunt Carrie Morris Graham. She was described as 5’7” tall, dark-complexioned, with blue eyes and brown hair. She taught at the Kansas City Manual Training High School, according to a 1915 newspaper article. ( Gazette Globe (Kansas City), issue of 3 March 1915.))
Louanna Morris and John Martin Schlagel, both of St. Louis (sic), married in Moniteau County, Missouri on 5 May 1917.50 A month later, John Martin Schlagel (29 August 1989 – 26 August 1960) filled out a draft card giving his address as Kansas City and mentioning an unnamed wife.51 The couple is enumerated in the 1920 and 1930 censuses across the river from Kansas City in Delaware Township, Wyandotte County, Kansas with his occupation given as salesman for an oil refinery. The couple was divorced in 1952, and neither remarried. John Martin Schlagel died in Wyandotte County, Kansas. Louanna died in Seattle, Washington, apparently while living with her son. (I did not request a death certificate. Death Certificate No. 006457 was not ordered.) The 1930 census showed two children: Joan Morris Schlagel (4 July 1920 – 10 December 2002), who eloped in 1940 to marry Charles Alfred Billington, and John G. Schlagel (c1925 – present) who was living in Seattle, Washington at this writing.
- Sumner County Marriage Book B, p158. Emma, age 23, is in the 1880 household (census page 90B) of George W. and Annie E. Humphreys. [↩]
- The Oxford Register issues of 4 and 12 July 1884. [↩]
- The Oxford Register issue of 4 July 1885. [↩]
- The Oxford Register issue of 14 November 1885. [↩]
- Barber County Index (Medicine Lodge, Kansas) issue of 7 December 1887, page 3 and issue of 8 December 1887, page 3. [↩]
- Barber County Index issue of 4 April 1886, both on page 3. [↩]
- Medicine Lodge Cresset, issue of 26 July 1888, page 3. [↩]
- Ibid, 15 August 1888, page 3. [↩]
- Issues of the local newspaper speak of his wheat crop and a purchase of steers. [↩]
- Barber County Index, issues up to and including 25 April 1900 advertise a Sheriff’s sale of the farm to be held on 30 April 1900. [↩]
- Barber County Index issue of 20 October 1893 reported on a letter he sent from Perry to the paper in Medicine Lodge announcing that he had settled in Perry. [↩]
- Perry Daily Times issues of 6 February1894, page 3, and 28 March 1894, page 3. [↩]
- Issue of 6 June 1896, page 1. [↩]
- Perry, Oklahoma Daily Enterprise-Times issue of 1 June 1896, page 4. [↩]
- The Guthrie Daily Leader issue of 9 August 1896, page 4, reports that the mother of a jail escapee delivered a gun her son stole to Granville Morris of the New York Hardware store. The same incident is related in “The Last Days of Bill Doolin” posted at www.ionet.net/~okhombre/days.htm [↩]
- Daily Oklahoma State Capital (Guthrie) issue of 7 January 1897, page 5. It calls him “Granville Morris brother of Mack Morris of the New York hardware store”. A follow-up story was published two days later. [↩]
- Oklahoma State Capital issue of 3 February 1899, page 4. [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 24 February 1899. [↩]
- Oklahoma State Capital issue of 26 April 1899, page 4 reprinted from the Ponca City Courier. [↩]
- Oklahoma City Times Journal article reprinted in The Chandler News issue of 21 April 1899., page 1. [↩]
- Two of her brothers ran the Oklahoma City orchestra. [↩]
- The marriage took place on 24 July 1891 in Bourbon County, Kansas. [↩]
- 1900 census, Lincoln County, Oklahoma, District 116, p18B and Indexed as “Monsir”: Granvil Morris (45) Dec 1854, OH-OH-OH, Lillian J wife (29) Dec 1870 KS-AR-AR, Guy E. son (15) Sept 1844, KS-OH-MS, Louanna (9) July 1890, KS-OH-MS. They had been married one year, she had borne no children. I’d note that Lilly’s age was understated by at least four years — she was 13 in 1880 and 19 in 1885. [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 30 August 1900. [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 20 June 1901. [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 1 August 1901. [↩]
- Guthrie Daily Leader, issue of 13 September 1901, page 5. [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 19 June 1902. [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 3 July 1902., page 5 [↩]
- The Chandler News issues of 24 and 31 July 1902, both page 5.. [↩]
- The Chandler Publicist, issue of 20 June 1902, pages 3 and 4. [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 12 February 1903, page 10. [↩]
- The Winfield Tribune issue of 4 December 1908 mentions that “Granville Morris of Winfield” took Thanksgiving dinner. [↩]
- Orlando (Logan County) Clipper issue of 26 March 1909, page 1. [↩]
- It is possible to be missed if one moves from place A before the census was taken there and arrives at place B after the census was taken at that location. These censuses were taken door-to-door over a period of weeks. [↩]
- 1920 Census, Nolan County, Texas; Sweetwater page 24A: Granville Morris 64 OH WV OH, widower, lodging at e. N. 2nd St.; occupation hardware store partner. [↩]
- Certificate 18141, informant Guy E. Morris. It gives his birth on 14 December 1855 (surely a year off), his birthplace as Ohio. It lists West Virginia as the birthplace of both his mother and his father. [↩]
- In the 1910 census Louise P. Overton is shown as the wife of John W. Overton, with four Seifert children named Mary Louise, 18, Fred F., 20, Oscar, 15, and Charles or Carlos, 12 in the household listed as his stepchildren. The census indicates that this was her second marriage and his first, and that they had married 10 years earlier. Also in the household was George Buck Overton, 8, listed as a son. [↩]
- This according to his obituary, although it identifies his wife’s father as “Frederick” Seifert. [Also see the Appendix.] According to their World War I draft cards, the son Fred Frank Seifert was born in15 November 1888 in Zacatecas, Mexico and Oscar Seifert was born 12 April 1894 in Parral, Chihuahua, Mexico. All the children give their father’s birthplace as Austria in later censuses. Fred Frank Seifert’s death certificate gives his parents’ names as “Carlos” Seifert and Louise Palmer. Oscar B. Seifert apparently returned to Mexico, where he was enumerated in 1930 in Santa Barbara, Chihuahua. [↩]
- She gave her birth date and place as 14 March 1892 in Parral, Chihuahua. She stated that she had emigrated through El Paso to Sweetwater in 1909. She signed as “May” Seifert Morris. Guy Eugene Morris enclosed a note explaining the reason for the trip. She was described as 5’5” with brown eyes, brown hair, and a dark complexion. [↩]
- The stated purpose was a trip to Mexico City to close a mining deal. Granville Morris was said to have been born in Marietta, Ohio. [↩]
- Abilene Reporter-News issue of 17 July 1938. [↩]
- Certificate 13129 according to the Texas Birth Index, an “infant of Guy E. Morris” was born on that date in Nolan County. [↩]
- Abilene Daily Reporter issue of 17 February 1936, page 1. The wedding took place in the Sweetwater Episcopal Church but was officiated by the minister of the Abilene Heavenly Rest Episcopal Church. It says that the couple were to live in San Antonio. [↩]
- Barber County Index issue of 30 July 1890, page 3 [↩]
- The Chandler News issue of 12 February 1903, page 12. [↩]
- Winfield Daily Free Press issue of 26 April 1915. [↩]
- Ibid., issue of 20 July 1911. [↩]
- Ancestry.com database, US Passport Application images. [↩]
- Online marriage license images at ancestry.com. Page 518 of Moniteau County book. [↩]
- He also gave his employer as The Barrett Co., occupation as office manager for coal tar products, and birth place as Lenexa, Kansas. [↩]