|Birth: ||May 16, 1847, England|
|Death: ||Mar. 20, 1895|
Mary Burrows Morris
By: Alice Graves
William Morris was the fifth child in a family of nine children. His parents were Matthew and Sarah Sheldon Morris, who were converted and baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when William was a baby. The other children were: Ann, 1838; George, 1840: Luke, 1843: Adam, 1845: Joseph Charles, 1850; Heber Charles K., 1853; Adam, all born in New Brinsley, Nottinghamshire, England. Willard, 1855, at Portland Row, Kirkby-in-Ashfiled, Derbyshire, England, and Orson 1855, at Kirkstead, Derbyshire, England. Adam Joseph Charles and Willard died in early childhood.
Matthew Morris was a coal miner, and, as was the custom in those days in England, his sons also entered the mines at an early age. It is not known how young the Morris boys, George, Luke and William were when they started to work in the mines, but it was a common thing for a boy of nine or ten to go into the mines.
William was born in New Brinsley, Nottinghamshire, England, on 16 May 1847, the year the Mormon pioneers began their trek across the plains.
Like all converts, the Morris family knew ridicule and persecution because of their belief. They were striving as all members were, to gather with the Saints in the far away Rocky Mountains. William was baptized on 17 October 1858. By 1862, enough money had been saved to send one member of the family to America, and Ann was chosen to go. By 1864, George, William and Heber prepared to leave.
George, the older brother, was married to Martha Stringfellow, daughter of Joseph and Lucy Tagg Stringfellow on 29 March 1864. On 20 May, found George, Martha, William, Heber, and Martha's mother and brother, George enrolled in a company of Saints ready to leave for the United States on the ship, "General McClellan."
They set sail from Liverpool on 21 May, with 892 Saints aboard. During the voyage there was one birth, one death and one marriage.
One night, in a dense fog, the ship struck a huge iceberg and was nearly wrecked. It was a very frightening experience. Everything that was not lashed down tight was thrown from side to side…people, utensils and luggage in one great pile.
They arrived in New York, 23 June 1864. From there they took a steamer and traveled up the Hudson River into Canada to avoid the effects of the Civil War which was raging in the States between the North and South. The company reached the place designated as the meeting place for the Saints on 3 July. It was called "Wyoming" and was near Omaha, Nebraska. After leaving the Hudson River steamer, they traveled by rail and then took another steamer up the Missouri River.
Here at Wyoming, emigrants were met by team of oxen and teamster from Utah, preparatory to making the 1,100 mile trip to Salt Lake Valley.
William and his little group crossed the plains with the Captain Joseph S. Rawlins Co. They arrived in Salt Lake City on 20 September. They had known suffering and privation, and William and Heber pushed and pulled a handcart all the way across the plains. At one time they became so hungry that they took the cowhide that had been wrapped around the wheels of their handcart to keep the wheels from drying out; boiled it and drank the water it had been cooked in, to get a little nourishment.
One of William's early winters was so hard for him that he lived with the Indians to keep from starving to death. When the call came from Brigham Young for men to work on the Echo Canyon Railroad, William responded.
The Morris brothers had been known in their community in England as singers. It was in 1868 that the Echo Canyon Railroad song was written and became very popular with the workers and among church members.
I shall relate the story here, as told to my by my uncle, George Morris, nephew of William and youngest son of Luke.
Uncle William wrote the song and one other man, whose name I do not remember, sang it with him. When Mr. Reed and other railroad official would visit the job, the foreman would send for William and his singing companion to sing the song for the visitors.
The Morris brothers were known wherever they were fore their integrity, and their word was as good as a bond. My own grandfather, Luke, taught the railroad song and its story to his children, and they in turn taught it to their children. We grew up singing this song; it was so part of our lives, we have two choruses to the song, whereas but one chorus is given in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers' song book.
In September, 1869, William's father, mother, brother Orson and nephew Edwin arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. They had been delayed because of a terrible accident that had befallen the son Luke who was still in England. He later married Mary Ann Limb, daughter of Joseph and Emma Bronson Limb. The marriage took place 2 June 1870, in Nottingham, England. Late in 1870, Luke joined the rest of the family in the United States.
William met Mary Burrows, who was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Holmes Burrows of Salt Lake. They were married on 22 January 1872, in the old Endowment House. William had a team of horses and hauled coal for his livelihood, as did his brother George.
When his first child, Elizabeth, was still a small child, someone stole William's team of Horses. This worked a great hardship on the little family. As soon as he could get another team he decided to move to Almy, Wyoming, to be near his brother, Heber, who had married Ann Edwards, a daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Thomas Edwards.
Heber lived on the west side of Bear River which ran through Almy. The river was very high at this time, and in trying to ford, William's team was drowned and swept away. With the help of Heber, they were able to save the wagon and get William's wife and baby safely out of the river.
At this point I pause in William's story to give a brief account of happening in the lives of his brother George and his wife Martha, as all the relatives were so grief-stricken at what transpired.
George and Martha had nine children. Their first one was born in 1865 and their last in 1881. By 1885, they had buried all nine children. In 1869, two of them died the same day. In 1885, four of them died within a period of six days. These four were victims of the terrible diphtheria epidemic that swept the Salt Lake Valley at the time.
William was a hard worker, a good planner and a good provider. He and Mary were the parents of 11 children. He was a kind and considerate husband, and a gentle and loving father. His children were: Sarah Elizabeth, 1872; Mary, 1974; John Luke and William Matthew, 1876; Susanna Penelope, 1877, Matthew Josiah, 1885; Franklin, 1881; James Willard, 1883; Joseph Burrows, 1885; Moroni, 1887 and Eunice, 1889. Sarah Elizabeth, Mary and Franklin were born in Salt Lake City. The other children were born in Almy, Uinta County, Wyoming.
William and his family were highly respected in their community, and were active in civic and religious affairs. His great love and devotion he showered upon his family.
They were happy and becoming prosperous. The ranch was their pride and joy and they were working toward a successful and independent future. Then tragedy struck. William and his son John, a young man of 19, were two of the 62 men who lost their lives in Almy's no. 5 mine explosion which occurred on 20 March 1895.
After their deaths, Mary moved to Salt Lake where her people lived. No doubt their summers were spent on the ranch, which was kept up and run by the boys. Their son, Joseph, lived there and took care of the ranch as long as he lived.
Matthew Morris (1814 - 1878)
Sarah Sheldon Morris (1815 - 1891)
Mary Burrows Morris (1849 - 1934)*
Sarah Elizabeth Morris Harris (1872 - 1962)*
John Luke Morris (1876 - 1895)*
William Morris (1847 - 1895)
Heber Charles K Morris (1853 - 1917)*
Orson Morris (1859 - 1935)*
Created by: mickyo
Record added: Jun 02, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27283889
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