Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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1883 History of
Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa


Among the few settlers who located in the township in 1854 was Richard MORRIS. Upon his arrival, he had but $1.60 left in his pocket and no funds from which to draw. He at once sought employment by which to drive the "wolf from his door," and he got work on a saw mill, which was going up at Nora Springs. He sowed some buckwheat and planted a small patch of corn, near Nora Springs, which provided something upon which to subsist during the following winter. In October of that year he came to Falls township, and bought a claim on section 22. There was a small cabin on the land, but it had no roof, so he at once covered it with shakes. He was forced to sell one of his horses to raise money with which to enter his land, and then had to borrow, paying 40 per cent. in order to make out enough. His family lived the first winter on buckwheat cakes and corn meal ground in a coffee mill. The following spring he went to the Turkey river for some flour, and paid $6 per hundred after going that long journey of sixty miles and return. This family contented themselves in this cabin until 1879, at which time they built a comfortable house.

Mr. MORRIS is a Green Mountain boy by birth, having first seen the sunlight in Bennington Co., Vt., Nov. 28, 1812. During the first year of his life his parents removed to Washington Co., N. Y. In 1824 they became residents of Cattaraugus county, in the same State, where they were settlers. There his father bought government land and cleared a farm.

Mr. MORRIS remained at home until twenty-one years of age when he was married to Fannie STODDARD, a native of Vermont, born Dec. 1, 1811. He purchased forty acres of land in Erie Co., N. Y., built a log house, cleared most of his tract of land and held it as a homestead four years, when he moved to LaGrange, Wyoming county. Five years later he changed his residence to Roscoe, Ohio, and worked three years as a carpenter, when he again made a transfer to Dresden, sixteen miles from Roscoe. Here he bought a team and engaged in the transfer of supplies and manufactures for a distillery, operating between Dresden and Zanesville. After three years he purchased a lot in Uhrichsville, Tuscarawas Co., Ohio, built a house and worked as a carpenter until 1853, when he set forth to seek a spot for a home in the west.

He spent a winter in McHenry Co., Ill., and the following spring came to Iowa. The next fall he settled in township 97 north, range 19 west of the fifth principal meridian, buying a claim on section 22.

The record of Mr. MORRIS is eminently creditable to him. Coming to the State with nothing but his team, he has pushed his way with energy and economy, until he owns 420 acres of land, well equipped with good buildings.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. MORRIS, ten in number, were born in the following order - Edwin F., Florilla, Charles S., Mary J., Ellen, Rebecca, Joseph, Matilda, Olive A. and Alice. Ellen died when six-years-old. Mary became the wife of Minor WRIGHT, settled in Kansas, and died in 1877, leaving four children.

NOTE: Richard died on November 3, 1883. Fanny died on April 6, 1895. They were interred at Rock Falls Cemetery, Rock Falls Iowa.

SOURCE: History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Pp. 808-09. Union Publishing Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, February of 2011


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