For more than twenty-five years this worthy and capable gentleman, whose record in the state of Idaho is set with many gems of courage, ability and genuine kindliness for his fellows, has labored in the medical profession with display of genius, adaptability and uprightness that have placed him in the lead as a pioneer, as a professional man of high repute and a staunch and true man of many virtues.
Dr. Morris was born in Knoxville, Ray County, Missouri, on October 1, 1850, being the son of Benjamin and Amanda (Hamilton) Morris, natives of Virginia. The father died in Missouri, in June, 185 1. The mother was born October 5, 1812, and died October 30. 1889. Our subject remained with his mother until he had reached his majority. In the meantime, he had gained a good education from the public schools and the academy. He assisted his older brothers to care for the family and also taught school for means to educate himself.
It was in 1872 that he matriculated at the St. Louis Medical College and thence he graduated in 1874. He had the distinction of paying the entire cost of his education from his own earnings. After graduating he determined to try the west, and accordingly came to Mount Idaho in 1875, where he settled to the practice of his profession, gaining good success from the start. When the terrible Indian war broke out in 1877 Dr. Morris chanced to be in Portland and he at once turned his face to the scene of trouble in the vicinity of Mount Idaho.
He was the first and only physician that came to the rescue of the poor wounded soldiers who had participated in the battle where, thirty had been killed. To get to these unfortunate men, Dr. Morris had to cross the reservation of a hostile tribe and in reality took his life in his hands to assist his fellows, and be’ it ever said to his credit that he made his way through,, using a gun that General Howard had loaned him; he cared for the suffering men, he nursed and doctored them back to life, and to his skill, his bravery, and his love for his fellows many a one owes his life. It is with a feeling of regret, however, that we are forced to chronicle that there was not another physician who would go with Dr. Morris. Following the war, which closed in 1878, Dr. Morris settled in Lewiston and there continued his practice even until the present time, having great success and being highly esteemed by his fellows wherever he is known. He has a large and lucrative practice and no man is really honored by his fellows more than the subject of this sketch, who risked his own life to assist others.
The marriage of Dr. Morris and Miss Laura, daughter of T. S. and Elizabeth (Hutchingson) Billings, was solemnized on September 24, 1879, and two children have been born to them, Cora E., graduated from the Lewiston high school at the age of seventeen, in June, 1902; Benjamin Ray, attending school. Mr. Billings is a native of New York and is now a harness dealer in Lewiston. His wife is a native of Canada, where also Mrs. Morris was born on March 11, 1859, in Toronto. She is an only child and came in an early day to California with her parents. Dr. Morris has the following named brothers and sisters: Levi, James W., Mrs. John Prichard, Mrs. J. R. Warder, Mrs. M. M. Sherlock, Benjamin F. and Hamilton.
Dr. Morris is a thirty-two degree Mason. His wife is a member of the Presbyterian Church. The Doctor is very popular in political matters and for four years he served the County as treasurer, being elected first in 1894, on the Democratic ticket. He has been alderman and school director for a number of terms. The Doctor is prosperous, having considerable property in Lewiston, and is president of the Lewis Mercantile Company, a wholesale grocery house of that city, which is doing a good business.
Back to: Nez Perce Biographies
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903