Biography of Charles A. Morris

Charles A. Morris, editor of the Paw Paw Herald, has crafted a distinguished career in journalism in Lee County, born in 1863 into a lineage marked by valiant contributions to American history. His ancestry spans from Revolutionary War heroes to Civil War soldiers, imbuing his work with a rich heritage of patriotism and dedication. This introduction traces Morris’s journey from his education at East Paw Paw Seminary to becoming a pivotal figure in local media by 1866, highlighting the intersection of his family’s military legacy and his own professional achievements. Through Morris’s story, we explore the enduring impact of familial history on individual pursuits and community service.

Charles A. Morris, editor and proprietor of the Paw Paw Herald, a bright and well-conducted paper, has already won an honorable position in his profession, although one of its younger members. He comes of good old Revolutionary ancestry on one side, and on the other of a family that was well represented in the late Civil War, both his father and father’s father, and others of his kin, doing gallant service in the Union ranks.

Our subject is a representative native citizen of the county, born in Wyoming Township, April 10, 1863. He is a son of Stephen J. Morris, a well-to-do farmer of Lee County, residing on his farm in Wyoming Township. He was born near Lock Haven, Pa., August 29, 1834, and is a son of William A. Morris, who was a native of Greene County, N. Y. The father of the latter, whose given name was Stephen, was born in that same county and removed from there to Allegany County in 1834. He bought a tract of timber land in West Almond and dwelt there upon the fine farm that he cleared from the wilderness until old age compelled him to retire, and he then lived with his son, Josiah, in the same county, and died at his home at the age of ninety-three years. The maiden name of his wife was Phebe Utter. She was born near Boston, Mass., and died at the home of her son Josiah at the advanced age of ninety years. She was a daughter of Josiah Utter, who was a patriotic soldier in the Continental Army, fought in the battle of Bunker Hill, and served with fidelity throughout the entire struggle of the colonists for freedom until the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown brought the long conflict to an end.

The grandfather of our subject passed his early life in his native State, but when he became a young man he crossed the border into Pennsylvania, and in Clinton County found himself a wife in the person of Elizabeth Quay, a native of that county, and a daughter of John Quay. William Morris continued to live in Clinton County until 1842 when he returned to New York, and renting land in Allegany County, resided there until 1866. In the meantime, the rebellion broke out, and not only did the brave old man go to the front to help fight his country’s battles, as a member of the 85th New York Infantry, but four of his sons showed that they inherited the patriotism of their sire by enlisting in the Union Army. He served faithfully for two years and was honorably discharged with a good military record. In 1866 he removed to Kansas with his wife, and they spent their remaining days in Pawnee County, that State.

The father of our subject was a small boy when his father returned to New York, and he grew to a vigorous manhood in Allegany County. He remained with his parents until he attained his majority, and in that year, 1855, came to Illinois. He resided in McHenry County until 1861, and then coming to Lee County, took up his residence here permanently, buying the farm on which he makes his home two years later. He is a good farmer, having a sound knowledge of agriculture, and has done well in the pursuit of his occupation, becoming one of the substantial men of his neighborhood. He took part in the war, enlisting in March 1865, in Company G, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry. He joined his regiment in North Carolina, marched with it from Richmond to Washington, participated in the Grand Review, and was honorably discharged with his regiment in September 1865, at Fort Leavenworth, having shown himself to be an efficient soldier during the term of his service. Mr. Morris was married in August 1861, to Mrs. Rachel (Clark) Hawley, a native of Ohio, daughter of Alexander Clark, and widow of Adolphus Hawley. Their pleasant wedded life has been blessed to them by these three children-Charles A.; Rachel Emma, wife of Harry Strader; and Ida, wife of Elmer D. Holton.

Charles A. Morris, the subject of this brief biography, began his education in the district school and subsequently pursued a good course of study in the East Paw Paw Seminary, where he ranked well for scholarship. At the age of eighteen, he commenced to learn the art preservative in the office of the Lee County Times. Having become quite an expert typesetter, he entered the office of the Paw Paw Herald a year later as a compositor. In 1866 he bought the office, its appurtenances, and the goodwill of the former proprietor, and has since conducted a good business as a job printer, as well as an editor and publisher. The Herald is doing well under his management, is a neatly gotten-up, well-printed sheet, in which the local news is set forth in an interesting manner, the editorials on topics of common interest sensible and sound, and the general tenor of the paper shows that the editor is desirous of pushing forward whatever will be of benefit to his native county.


Biographical Publishing Company, Portrait and biographical record of Lee County, Illinois, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892.

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