James Francis "Jamesy" Morrison was born on Thursday, March 4, 1852, in Westport, North Crosby, Leeds County, Ontario, Canada, the son of James and Bridget (Carbin) Morrison.
On Thursday, February 8, 1877, James married Maggie Murphy in St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Melrose, Monroe County, IA.
In 1853, at the age of one, James emigrated with his family from Canada to Iowa.
James spent most of his life in Monroe County as a farmer and teamster. He was a farmer in Melrose according to censuses in 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, and 1920. In 1914 he earned $600, and there was no lien on his $1,000 farm.
James lived with Al and Lu Bergquist, his son-in-law and daughter, in Melrose when Al owned the grocery store there in the late 1920s and early 1930s; when the store closed during the Depression and the Bergquists moved to Spokane, James went to live with Oscar and Nell Olson, another son-in-law and daughter, in Ottumwa, Wapello County, IA.
James was adept at watching the sky and making accurate weather forecasts. One of his sayings was "A patch of blue sky as big as a Dutchman's pants means that the day will be clear."
James was a Roman Catholic. Late in his life he was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Ottumwa.
James and Maggie had 4 sons and 7 daughters: James Patrick (1878-1961), Maggie (1880-1927), Moll (1882-1964), Kit (1883-1972), Nonie (1886-1946), Martin (1889-1918), Nell (1892-1977), Sue (1894-1950), John (1896-1964), Lu (1898-1989), and Ted (1900-1978).
James' wife Maggie died on Thursday, December 17, 1903. James lived as a widower for the next 35+ years.
James, 87, died at 8:25 a.m. on Thursday, March 9, 1939, in Center Township, Ottumwa, at the home of his daughter Nell at 214 North Market St., after being in poor health for several years and bedridden for the last year of his life. The immediate cause of death was apoplexy, compounded by 10 years of acute myocarditis and chronic nephritis. At 9:00 a.m. on March 11, Father J. J. Welsh said the funeral Mass at Melrose (IA) St. Patrick's Catholic Church. James was buried beside his wife and parents-in-law at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Melrose on March 11. The services were arranged by the Humeston Funeral Home in Albia, Monroe County, IA.