Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


James W. Morphy

JAMES W. MORPHY is proprietor and editor of the Smith County Journal. He was connected with this paper a number of years ago, and recently returned and bought the plant and has made of it one of the liveliest and most progressive democratic papers in Northern Kansas. Mr. Morphy is a Kansan of wide and varied experience, and is known in many counties, and has had the pleasure of an acquaintance with practically all the newspaper men and public men of the state, for twenty years or more.

He took up the business at the printing end, having served his apprenticeship with a country paper in Iowa. Iowa is his native state. He was born at Atlantic, May 20, 1871. Mr. Morphy traces his ancestry back to the ancient Palatinate of Central Europe. The Morphys were exiled from there and were found in Ireland as early as 1600. From Ireland they became colonial settlers in Canada. Mr. Morphy's grandfather, James Morphy, spent all his life in Canada.

William Morphy, father of the Kansas editor, was born at Carleton Place, Canada, in 1838. He was reared in Canada, and took up and followed the greater part of his active life the trades of frescoer and decorator. In 1860 he located at Massena Springs, New York, afterwards lived in Iowa, at Atlantic and Lewis, and finally at Des Moines, where he settled in 1886. He died at Des Moines in 1910. In Iowa he was one of the most prominent followers of Henry George and did much to exemplify and promote the doctrines of that great economist. He wrote many articles for the local press on single tax subjects. Religiously he was a member of the Adventist Church, which is not to be confused with the Seventh Day Adventist. William Morphy married Agnes Cunningham. She was born at Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1837 and died at Lewis, Iowa, in 1882. Her children were: Grace, wife of G. C. Halsey, a contractor living at Dinuba, California; Louise, who lives at Ames, Iowa, widow of J. S. Crawford, an eduator[sic] and newspaper man and a former member of the Iowa State Legislature, who died in 1912; William, a painting contractor who lives at San Francisco, California; Arthur, manager of the sundries department in a wholesale drug house at Omaha, Nebraska; Kathleen and George, both of whom died young; James W., the seventh of the children; Alvina, wife of E. G. Tilden, a dry goods merchant at Ames, Iowa; Harry, manager of a department in a wholesale drug house at Omaha. William Morphy married for his second wife Miss Alice Battersdy, of Lewis, Iowa, and by that union had one son, Herbert, a printer living at Des Moines.

James W. Morphy received his education in Iowa at Lewis and Des Moines, and left school at the age of eighteen to learn the printing trade at Lewis. December 28, 1889, he arrived in Kansas and followed his trade at Blakeman for a time. During 1891-92 he published the Atwood Times at Atwood, Kansas; in 1893-94 was record clerk in the secretary of state's office at Topeka; during 1895 was employed as a writer on the old Advocate at Topeka, and in 1896 became editor, then business manager until 1898 of the Topeka Advocate. During 1898 Mr. Morphy also had charge of the Speakers' Bureau for the populist, and democratic state committees, and was employed in a similar capacity in 1906 by the democratic committee. Thus for over twenty years he has done much work both as a newspaper man and in other capacities for the democratic party of Kansas. During 1899 he was secretary of the State Senate during the regular session. From the summer of 1899 until 1902 Mr. Morphy was associate editor of the Smith County Journal, his present paper. The Journal was established in 1899 by Mr. Lockwood, and is a democratic paper published weekly, and with a large circulation and influence all over Smith and adjoining counties.

From 1903 until April, 1915, Mr. Morphy was publisher of the Russell Reformer at Russell, Kansas. In July, 1914, he was appointed postmaster of that town and held the office until he resigned June 20, 1918. He then returned to Smith Center, having bought the Smith County Journal, of which he is now editor and publisher. Among other political activities Mr. Morphy in 1906 was candidate for state superintendent of insurance. He is a member of the Congregational Church and is active in fraternities, being affiliated with Western Star Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Lebanon Chapter Royal Arch Masons, Ellsworth Council Royal and Select Masters, and the Smith Center lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is also a member of the State Editorial Association.

December 28, 1891, Mr. Morphy married Miss Sophia Cochran, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John W. Cochran, of Atwood, Kansas. He has three children by this marriage: Louina, born December 8, 1892; Louella, born June 4, 1895; and Louis, born August 27, 1901. On May 21, 1910, at Russell, Mr. Morphy married Miss Goldie Fulton. Her mother is Mrs. Ella Fulton of Russell. To this marriage were born two children. Marvin, who died in infancy; and Merlin, born June 29, 1915.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

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