One of the successful farmers of Wolf River township whose identification with Doniphan county dates from an early period in her history is Rodger Morley, and he belongs to the class of Irish-American citizens who sought homes in the new world and by determined purpose have gained prestige in business circles. He was born in county Mayo, of the Emerald Isle, in 1826, and is a son of James and Ann (Conner) Morley. Their children were: John, Mary, Michael, Bridget, Honore and Rodger. The last named received a very limited education in the schools of his native land, but much of his knowledge has been gained through practical experience in the affairs of life. In 1845 he left the land of his birth and went to England, where he worked as a farm hand for five years. Through his industry and economy he accumulated a small amount of money, which he determined to use in paying his passage to the United States. In company with eight others, among whom was Thomas Lyons, of Severance, he sailed from Liverpool on the Josie Bradey, bound for New Orleans, and after a voyage of forty-four days arrived in the Crescent city. There he accepted whatever he could get to do that would yield him an honest living. and for a time worked on the levee and later at ditch digging. When three months had passed he proceeded northward by way of a Mississippi boat to Cincinnati, Ohio, and upon reaching the latter place began work in a stone quarry. Subsequently he was employed in a brick yard and afterward was connected with the work of those who laid brick. However, he preferred farm work to these pursuits and thus sought a position as a farm hand in Warren county, Ohio. After a time he and his friend, Mr. Lyons, decided to make their way westward and by boat came from Cincinnati to St. Louis, Missouri, and thence to Doniphan county, where they arrived on the 4th of April, 1858.
Here Mr. Morley secured one hundred and sixty acres of land on section 32, Wolf River township, and erected a little log cabin, into which he moved his family. He had but little capital, but possessed unbounded energy and determination. He experienced all the hardships and difficulties of establishing a home on the frontier, but as the years passed he overcame all the obstacles in his path, and as his financial resources increased he made judicious investments in real estate until he is now regarded as one of the most substantial farmers in Doniphan county. His labors have been energetically prosecuted and his practical and progressive methods have secured to him good crops, from which he derives a desirable income.
On the 5th of January, 1852, was celebrated the marriage of Mr. Morley arid Miss Margaret Kilkenny. After residing for eight years in Ohio they came to Kansas, where Mrs. Morley died, in June, 1895. The children born to this union are: John M., of Wolf River township, Doniphan county; James, a trustee of Union township; Annie, the wife of Joseph Devereux; Catherine; Margaret, the wife of John Devereux; Nora, the wife of Martin Joye; Mary, the wife of John Gallagher; and Rodger. During the civil war Mr. Morley was a member of the state militia, and while stationed at Elwood was under the command of Patrick Kerwan, William Orem and Colonel Cyrus Leland. He has always been a Democrat in his political affiliations and in religious belief is a consistent Roman Catholic. His hope of bettering his financial condition in the new world has been more than realized, for here he has gained not only a handsome competence, but has also secured a very pleasant home, and won many warm friends who admire him for what he has accomplished in an active and honorable business career.
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