Transcribed from 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


Joseph L. Morrison

HON. JOSEPH L. MORRISON. Few men are more prominent or more widely known in the northern part of Neosho County than is Hon. Joseph L. Morrison, mayor of the City of Chanute, who has been an important factor in business affairs and whose success in his undertaking has been so marked that his methods are of interest to the commercial world. He is energetic, prompt and notably reliable, and tireless energy, keen perception, honesty of purpose, and a genius for devising and executing the right thing at the right time are his chief characteristics. As the chief executive of Chanute he is giving the people a clean, progressive and business-like administration.

Mr. Morrison was born on a farm in Stark County, Illinois, July 11, 1867, and is a son of Jacob and Phoebe (Johnson) Morrison. The family originated in Scotland, and it is thought that Mr. Morrison's grandfather, Andrew Morrison, born in 1789, who died in Greene County, Ohio, in 1869, was the first American settler. He was a pioneer into Ohio and passed his long and useful life there engaged in agricultural pursuits. Jacob Morrison, the father of Joseph L., was born on the homestead place in Greene County, Ohio, February 8, 1833, received an ordinary public school education, and as a youth learned the trade of stone mason, which he followed in connection with farming all his life. He was still a young man when he went to Stark County, Illinois, and was there married and for a time carried on operations on a farm, but did not meet with a satisfying measure of success, and accordingly sought a new field of endeavor. Finally deciding on Johnson County, Missouri, as a locality in which to attain prosperity, he settled on a farm there in 1879, but soon moved to Henry County, in the same state, and there made his home for more than thirty years, his death occurring January 8, 1913, when he had nearly reached the age of eighty years. Mr. Morrison was a republican in his political views, but not an office seeker, although he took a lively interest in all that pertained to civic affairs and to the welfare of the locality and its people. His religious connection was with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Morrison married Miss Phoebe Johnson, who was born March 9, 1839, in Tennessee, a lovable Christian woman who proved a faithful helpmate and whose death occurred in Henry County, Missouri, in 1908. They became the parents of the following children: William, who died at the age of eleven years; Mary, who is the wife of J. E. Ellis, a farmer of North Dakota; Andrew, who died in 1912, in Montana, where he had been engaged in agricultural pursuits; James, of the Gallatin Valley of Montana, a successful farmer and stockman; Joseph L., of this notice; George, who is engaged in farming in Johnson County, Missouri; David, also a tiller of the soil of that county; Albert, who died at the age of one year; John D., who is engaged in farming in Johnson County, Missouri; Ollie, who likewise farms there; and Clarence, who resides on the home farm in Henry County, Missouri.

Joseph L. Morrison was educated in the district schools of Henry County, Missouri, and the high school at Nevada, that state, and grew to manhood in the clean atmosphere of the farm, residing on the home place until he was seventeen years of age. At that time he left the parental roof and embarked upon a career of his own, being engaged in farming in Missouri until his marriage. In 1892 Mr. Morrison came to Wilson County, Kansas, and for six years was engaged in farming, in addition to which for two years of this time he was connected with the creamery business, and in 1898, in the latter connection, came to Chanute. After three years spent in the same line, Mr. Morrison turned his attention to the livery business, and for four years conducted a boarding and sales stable, and in March, 1906, disposed of his interest therein and became the proprietor of his present store, where he handles dry goods and ladies' ready-to-wear garments. Mr. Morrison is one of the captains of success who have piloted their own ship into the harbor of success. Each step in his career has been a forward one, and in each community in which he has resided he has established a reputation for straightforward and honorable dealing and for success gained with honor and without animosity. In addition to his dry goods business, which is located at No. 30 West Main Street, Mr. Morrison has other interests, being a member of the directing board of the Peoples Home State Bank of Chanute, and president of the firm of Morrison, Martin & Baker Company, of Olathe, Kansas, a dry goods concern. Politically a republican, while in Wilson County Mr. Morrison served for a time as road supervisor. In 1916, the people of Chanute, recognizing the need of a sound business administration, and having had plentiful evidence as to Mr. Morrison's fitness for public office of this character, chose him as the city's executive head for three years, his term commencing in April. During the time that he has been in office he has fully lived up to his pre-election promises and has vindicated the faith reposed in him by the people. Fraternally, Mayor Morrison is identified with Cedar Lodge No. 103, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Chanute; Chanute Chapter No. 21, Royal Arch Masons; and Chanute Commandery No. 44, Knight Templars. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, an active worker therein, and for some time a trustee.

On September 6, 1891, at Vilas, Kansas, Mayor Morrison was united in marriage with Miss Mitta J. Alexander, daughter of B. F. and Almira (Sludder) Alexander, farming people of Wilson County, Kansas, both of whom are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Morrison have no children. Like her husband, Mrs. Morrison takes an active and helpful part in church work and her charities are many among the poor and unfortunate.


Transcribed from volume 4, page 2137 of 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; originally transcribed October 1997, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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