HOME

JOHNSON COUNTY IAGenWeb Project  

 

MOSES JENRY MORSMAN, M.D.

Moses Jenry Morsman, M.D., numbered among the able and successful pioneer physicians of Iowa City, Iowa, but now retired from the active duties of the medical profession,has been a constant resident of his present locality for about forty-seven years, and a man of enterprise and sterling integrity of character, has been prominently connected with various important city and county offices, and while occupying the mayoral chair as Chief Executive, and as a valued member of the Commons Council, has with earnest effort advanced the growing interests of Iowa City and won the esteem of his fellow-citizens.  Dr.. Morsman was born May 20, 1812, near Sackett's Harbor, N. Y.  His father, Martin Morsman, was a native of New Hampshire, but was of Scotch descent and an excellent farmer, carefully tilling the rugged soil of New England.  The paternal grandfather, Oliver Morsman, was a courageous soldier of the Revolutionary War and drew a pension, having served faithfully during the entire seven years of the struggle for independence.  The mother of our subject was Mrs. Abagail (Phillips) Morsman, daughter of Parley Phillips, an American by birth, but of Irish descent, and a man of ability and integrity.  Mrs. Morsman was born in Oneida County, N. Y., and was a most estimable woman, devoted wife and loving mother.

Dr. Morsman spent his youth in his native county, and there attended the schools of the district, later teaching for a time, but soon began studying medicine under Dr. Amos M. Dunten, of Plessis, N. Y., afterward reading with Dr. Davidson, in Theresa, also in Jefferson County.  Finally he entered Herkimer Medical College and after a time, took out a county license and began practice in Castalia, Ohio, about six miles from Sandusky City, and entered upon a successful practice, remaining there for eleven years.  In 1846 the attractions of the West drew our subject to Iowa, where he resumed his professional duties and in Iowa City he established a fine practice extending out into the surrounding country.  At the expiration of twelve years of hard work and incessant demands of professional duty, Dr. Morsman retired from the wearing rounds of the general medical practitioner, and has since variously employed  himself, ever taking a deep and abiding interest in local enterprise and improvements.

He was married May 22, 1836 to Miss Mary Margaret Hubbard, of Castalia, Ohio.  She was a native of Fulton, Oneida County, N.Y., and a daughter of Elisha A. and Amanda (Falley) Hubbard, old time residents of the Empire State.  The wife of Dr. Morsman was a cousin of President Cleveland. 

The hearts and home of our subject and his estimable wife were brightened by the birth of eight intelligent children, six manly sons and two daughters.  Melvina A. married the Hon. William P. Hepburn, the Member of Congress from the Eighth Iowa District.  Edgar M. is now the President, Treasurer and General Manager of the Pacific Express Company, with headquarters at Omaha, also President of the General Traffic Association of the Express Companies.  Louisa A. is the widow of John W. Porter, a prominent lumberman, who died eight years ago. Westel W. is a successful attorney of Omaha.  Harley E. is the Pacific Express Agent at Sedalia, Mo.  Dr. Albert Morsman is a successful business man and has charge of the purchasing department of the Pacific Express Company.  Herman A. resides in St. Louis, and is agent for the Pacific and United States Express Companies joint offices and Manager for the St. Louis Division of the United States Express Company; he is a graduate of the law department of the Iowa State University.  Dorman J. was the agent of the Pacific and Wells-Fargo Express Companies at Denison, Tex, until recently, when these companies were superseded by the American Express Company, and is now the agent of that company.  The beloved mother of these sons and daughters passed away in 1880, mourned by all who knew her.  She was a woman of high principle, and ever ready to befriend the poor and suffering, found many who needed her kindly care.  Dr. Morsman is the oldest man living who ever practiced medicine in Iowa City, having begun in 1846.

Politically, Dr. Morsman is a Jacksonian Democrat and a firm advocate of the principles of his party.  He made one of the best Mayors Iowa City has ever had, and in the Common Council his wise suggestions and excellent judgment were thoroughly appreciated and acted upon.  As President of the Bord of Supervisors for three years, he promoted and aided in the completion of needed improvements, and worked for the public interests.  A friend of educational advancement, he was Vice-president of the Board of Trustees of the State University, and for five years was present at and for most of the time presiding officer of, the various meetings of the Board, encouraging and stimulating his co-workers in a cause dear to the heart of every true American, who cannot fail to realize that education is the lever with which to elevate the masses.  Our subject was the Appraiser of all the lands in the State University, seventy two sections, and in this capacity settled with the sixty squatters scattered over the seventy-two sections of land.  He was the first man in Iowa City to be made President of a School Board and is now the oldest man who was ever elected president of a bank in Iowa City and the oldest man to hold that position in the State Historical Society.   The ability of Dr. Morsman as a promoter of financial enterprises was recognized when he was unanimously selected by the Board of Directors as the President of the First National Bank of Iowa City.  Our subject owns a handsome residence in Iowa City and has an extensive farm which he now rents.  Blessed with prosperity he enjoys in the approaching evening of his age the consciousness of a well-spent life, whose useful efforts have not been in vain.  For forty years, Dr. Morsman has affiliated with the Ancient Free & Accepted Masons, having attained the Royal Arch degree and both within and without his honored order has a host of old-time friends, who with him have borne the heat and burden of the day and in the successful termination of their early struggles find a rich reward.

Source: Portrait And Biographical Record of Johnson, Poweshiek and Iowa Counties;
Chicago Chapman Bros 1893