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Thomas F. Morrison. One of the prominent members of the Neosho County bar is Thomas F. Morrison, who as a practitioner at Chanute since 1903 had been connected with much of the important litigation tried in the courts of this district. He is also a leading member of the democratic party of this portion of the state, where his influence had been widely felt in political as well as professional circles, and had represented his community in the Kansas Legislature, as a member of which body he was the author of some exceedingly beneficial legislation.
Mr. Morrison was born June 19, 1875, in Henry County, Missouri, and is a son of Samuel and Nancy (Phelps) Morrison, and a member of a family which came from Scotland to America during the latter part of the seventeenth century. From the original settlement in Virginia, the family moved to Tennessee, in which state, in 1789, was born the grandfather of Thomas F. Morrison, James Morrison. He passed his entire life in Tennessee, where he was a prominent planter and large slaveholder, and died in 1880 in Greene County. Samuel Morrison, father of Thomas F., was born in Greene County, Tennessee, in 1833, and was there reared, educated and married. He engaged in farming there until 1862, when he enlisted in the Sixth Tennessee Cavalry, for service during the Civil war, and served with that organization throughout the struggle, participating in a number of hardfought engagements, including the bloody battle of Nashville. On one occasion he was captured by the soldiers of General Forrest, but managed to make his escape. Immediately after the close of the war, he removed with his family to Kentucky, where he was engaged in farming for two years, and then went to Henry County, Missouri, where he continued his agricultural operations. In 1885 he came to Allen County, Kansas, settled on a farm, and devoted himself to the tilling of the soil until his death, which occurred in 1885. He was an industrious farmer, and so directed his affairs that he succeeded in the accumulation of a good property. In politics, Mr. Morrison was a republican, and his religious connection was with the Baptist Church, in the work of which he took an active part, holding a number of the lay offices. Mr. Morrison married Miss Nancy Phelps, who was born in 1833, in Greene County, Tennessee, and died in Woodson County, Kansas, in 1910.
Thomas F. Morrison attended the public schools of Woodson County, Kansas, whence he had been taken by his mother after the death of his father, and subsequently enrolled as a student at the State Normal School, Emporia, Kansas, where he finished the junior year’s course. Subsequently, he took a two-year course at the Kansas University, and following this entered the Nebraska State University, at Lincoln, where he was graduated in 1903 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In that same year he was admitted to the bar and came to Chanute, where he had since been engaged in a general practice, specializing to some extent in civil and corporation law. His offices are in the Peoples Home State Bank Building. Among others, Mr. Morrison is attorney for the Hydraulic Brick Company of Chanute. He had made a lasting impression upon the bar of the county, both for legal ability of a high order and for the individuality of character which impresses itself upon a community. He possesses broad legal learning, an analytical mind, and a readiness to grasp the points at issue. Earnest effort, close application and the exercise of his native talents have won him prestige as a lawyer in Neosho County. He is a member of the Neosho County Bar Association.
A democrat in politics, Mr. Morrison had long been an influential factor in his party. In 1908 he was elected to the Kansas Legislature, in which body he was an active member, serving on the Judiciary, Oil and Gas and other committees. He was the author of the bill providing that the candidates’ names in the primaries should be rotated instead of placed in alphabetical order upon the ballot, and in the session of 1909 introduced the first bank guarantee bill in the House. In 1910 Mr. Morrison was democratic candidate for attorney-general. Fraternally he belongs to Chanute Lodge No. 806, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; Chanute Lodge No. 96, Ancient Order of United Workmen; the Fraternal Aid Union, and the Protected Home Circle. In the management of his property, in the transaction of such matters as daily devolve upon a lawyer, and in the varied duties pertaining to his position as a citizen at large, he finds his time abundantly occupied.
Mr. Morrison was married in 1909, at Chanute, to Miss Suzanne McManus, a native of County Leitrim, Ireland. They have no children.