John M. Morley

JOHN M. MORLEY has devoted practically his entire career to the business of banking, is one of the largest private bankers in Northeastern Kansas, is sole owner of the Bank of Severance and is also president of the State Bank of Purcell.

Born at Mason in Warren County, Ohio, November 23, 1852, he is of Catholic parentage and ancestry. His grandfather, John Morley, was born in County Mayo, Ireland, and spent his life there as a farmer. Roger Morley, father of John M., was a territorial pioneer in Kansas. Born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1829, he came to this country in 1850 and lived at Mason, Ohio, until March, 1858, when he arrived in the territory of Kansas and located a tract of land which he developed as a high class farm near Severance in Doniphan County. With the management and cultivation of that farm he was busied until the close of his life on January 20, 1912. Politically he acted as a democrat and was a loyal member of the Catholic Church. During the Civil war he was enrolled in the State Militia and was called out several times to protect the border and also during Price's raid in Kansas. Roger Morley married Margaret Kilkenney, who was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1830 and died in Doniphan County in 1897. They were married in Cincinnati, Ohio. Their children were: John M.; James, who lives on his farm three miles south of Severance; Anna M., wife of Joseph Devereux, a farmer three miles south of Severance; Catherine, wife of Phillip Bower, a farmer near Troy in Doniphan County; Margaret, who lives at Troy, widow of John Devreux, who was a farmer; Nora, wife of J. M. Joyce, a farmer three miles south of Severance; Mary, who married John Gallagher, a farmer three and a half miles southeast of Severance; and R. W. Morley, who is assisting his brother in the Morley Bank of Severance.

John M. Morley was about six years of age when brought to Kansas. He grew up on his father's farm, and knew much of the early frontier conditions. He attended the rural schools of Doniphan County, and at the age of eighteen left his father's home and had a year of experience as clerk in a general store at Severance. He then entered St. Benedict's College at Atchison, where he was graduated in June, 1875. At the conclusion of his studies he returned to Severance, and was connected with a general store there until 1883. In 1883 Mr. Morley became cashier in the bank of the late John T. Kirwin at Severance. Mr. Kirwin died,in 1891 and it was left to Mr. Morley to wind up the affairs of the institution. On August 5, 1892, he established the present Bank of Severance, which is a private institution, with himself as sole owner. The bank has a capital stock of $15,000, surplus and profits of $28,000 and is one of the strongest country banks in Doniphan County.

Besides his interests as a banker Mr. Morley is owner of four fine farms in Doniphan County and another in Atchison County. These farms comprise altogether 740 acres. Mr. Morley is now serving as city treasurer and has served six terms as treasurer of the Severance School Board. Politically he is a republican, is a member of the Catholic Church and belongs to Severance Council No. 675, Knights of Columbus. Mr. Morley is unmarried.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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