RICHARD B MORRIS
With the upbuilding and development of northeastern Kansas Mr. Morris was long prominently identified and is now living retired, enjoying a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves. He was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1833, and is a representative of two of the oldest families of America. His parents were Richard D. and Sybil (Bontecou) Morris. The father traced his ancestry back to Thomas Morris, of Waltham Abbey, county of Essex, England. He was the father of Edward Morris, the founder of the family in America. It was in 1635 that the last-named crossed the Atlantic and took up his abode in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Edward Morris, the grandfather of our subject, was one of the loyal soldiers of the Revolutionary war and valiantly aided in the struggle for independence. On the maternal side Mr. Morris is descended from the Huguenot refugees who sought freedom of conscience in America. Pierre Bontecou, the progenitor of the family in this country, emigrated from La Rochelle, France, in 1684, and reached New York city in 1689. The grandfather of our subject, named Daniel, was a native of Connecticut.
Richard Bontecou Morris, whose name introduces this record, acquired his education in the schools of Springfield, Massachusetts, and in an academy at that place, obtaining a good knowledge of civil engineering. In this capacity he became prominently connected with the building of railroads in various states of the Union. In 1859 he was appointed the first freight agent of the Hannibal & St. Joseph Road at St. Joseph. In 1866 he took up his residence in Atchison and did construction work on the central section of the Union Pacific. In 1869 he was made the general agent of the Missouri Pacific at Atchison, and subsequently he held a similar position in the service of the Kansas City & St. Joseph Railroad. During the only Democratic administration that Kansas has ever had, Mr. Morris filled the position of superintendent of insurance, being appointed by Governor Glick. In 1893 he was appointed internal revenue collector and held that position for a term of four years, during President Cleveland's administration. He filled both offices most acceptably, manifesting marked capability in the discharge of his duties as well as fidelity to the trust reposed in him.
In his political views Mr. Morris is a stalwart Democrat, earnest and unswerving in his support of the principles of the party, and for many years was a member of the Democratic state central committee. In 1872, 1876 and 1880 he served as a delegate to the Democratic national convention.
A valued representative of the Masonic fraternity, he holds membership in lodge, chapter and commandery, and is also a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
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