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H. M. Morris has long been a resident of Rantoul and is proprietor of a beautiful home and a large greenhouse at the north end of the village. Mr. Morris has a creditable record as an old soldier of the Union, though he was a very young man when the war was in progress. His life has been a busy one and he and Mrs. Morris have well earned the esteem and the comforts which they now enjoy.
He was born in Ohio, a son of Edwin and Mary (Benson) Morris, both natives of Ohio. The Morris ancestors were pioneers in Ohio from the State of Connecticut. H. M. Morris was seven years of age when his mother died and his father afterwards married again and in 1864 brought his family to Illinois. H. M. Morris secured his early education in the public schools of Ohio and subsequently attended school in Champaign County.
While living in Ohio his ardent patriotism shone forth, and though he was much younger than the accepted age at which enlistments were taken he managed to get into the army and went to the front. He was finally taken prisoner and paroled. He was eighteen years of age when his father came to Illinois and located on a farm near Rantoul. Still the war was in progress and the nation’s trials and difficulties were not yet ended. Mr. Morris then accepted another call to service, this time in a three months’ regiment. He went out in February, 1865, for a second term of duty and marched away to the music of the fife and drum and was on duty in Tennessee and Kentucky until the war came to a close.
In 1868 Mr. Morris laid the foundation of his own home by his marriage to Miss Harriet Myers. Mrs. Morris was born at Dansville in Livingston County, New York, daughter of Peter and Theresa (Gardner) Myers. In 1856 the Myers family came to Illinois. The family consisted of two sons and two daughters, Horatio, Charles, Helen and Harriet. Horatio Myers was one of the ardent young patriotic citizens of Champaign County, and in the fall of 1860 he was employed in the Gazette office at Champaign and had enrolled as a member of the “Wide Awakes” organization for the defense of the Union and as factors in the campaign in which Mr. Lincoln was elected for the presidency. While attending a mass meeting at Middletown (now Mahomet) a great flag pole was raised and when it fell he was struck down and killed, and thus the candle of life of a brave and enthusiastic young citizen was extinguished. The other son of Mr. Myers, Charles, died of brain fever at the age of sixteen. Peter Myers was a prominent and influential man in Champaign County, especially before and during the war. He was a stanch abolitionist and used his influence to keep up and maintain Union sentiments. Mrs. Morris’ sister Helen married George Condit, and her death occurred about ten years ago.
After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Morris located at Rantoul, where be was employed by his father-in-law, Peter Myers, in the lumber and grain business. The young people had the qualities of thrift and enterprise and as rapidly as possible assembled about themselves the things which have given them independence, comfort and opportunity to serve others and the community as well as themselves. Mr. Morris was for seven years postmaster of Rantoul.
Some years ago he secured his present home’ on Ohio Street on the north side of the village, and there erected the commodious greenhouses by which his enterprise is chiefly known throughout his large community. He raises flowers and fruits and for twenty years has conducted a very successful business in that line. His home is a most attractive place, combining the facilities of country and town. In their dooryard stand some large shade trees, rare shrubs and flowers.
To Mr. and Mrs. Morris were born seven children, Charles, Roy, Mabel, Keith, Helen and two daughters, Fern and Rose, who died early. The children that grew up were educated in the Rantoul High School, Charles, Keith and Helen graduating. Charles, Mabel and Keith were successful teachers in Champaign County and Charles taught in several other counties of the state. Mabel became a student at Normal, Illinois, and Roy was for a time in Oberlin College in Ohio. Charles Morris married Mary Lindsey and now lives at Kilbourn, Wisconsin. Their three children are named Claud, Keith and Wendland. The son Claud is married and has three children, great-grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Morris, they are named Robert, Geraldine and Mary.
Roy Morris is an ice cream manufacturer at Havana, Illinois. He married Miss Eleanor Bay of Arcola.
Mabel Morris is the wife of Prof. H. P. Little, a graduate of the University of Illinois and former superintendent of schools at Momence. Professor Little died, leaving his widow and six children. These children are Elizabeth, Morris, Harriet, Harold, Edith and Florence. Harriet is deceased, dying before her father. The oldest, Elizabeth, is the wife of Samuel Yates and has a son, Philip.
Keith Morris is employed by the Short Line Railroad and lives at Banloul. He married Frances Lindsey and has two sons, Lindsey and Richard.
Helen Morris married Stafford Miller, a railway conductor living in Chicago. Their four children are Robert, Jeannette, Merritt and Stafford, Jr.
Mr. Morris has always been a member of the Congregational Church. Mrs. Morris is a very able and enthusiastic devotee of the Church of Christ Scientist of Boston, and has studied thoroughly and mastered the principles of that faith and practiced it most intelligently. She has won her children to the same views and her daughter and daughter-in-law are Science practitioners.
Politically Mr. and Mrs. Morris support the Republican party, but both have voted the Progressive ticket. Mrs. Morris believes in the progressiveness of the human family and it is her opinion that an age which has contributed so many splendid figures to science and industry should not be deficient in men of leadership in politics. Mr. and Mrs. Morris have always endeavored to fill their places as true and honorable citizens and their lives have consequently meant much in the community. Both now and in generations to come the descendants will always be proud of the record Mr. Morris made as a boy soldier of the Union. His subsequent life has been equally creditable and honorable and the record in detail of Mr. and Mrs. Morris would show countless duties well performed and responsibilities faithfully and unselfishly borne by each.