Nathaniel, Elizabeth Morris, Illinois
Mrs. Elizabeth Morris
widow of Nathaniel Morris
In Jo daviess County are to be found many of the original settlers of this section of Illinois, who, during the early days of it's settlement, underwent many hardships, endured untold privations, and were often in most straightened circumstances, all for the sake of building up comfortable homes for themselves and children. Among the number is the subject of this sketch, who is now living on her pleasant homestead on Section 10, Elizabeth township.
Mrs. Morris is a native of Tennessee, born May 26, 1812; being a daughter of Robert B. and Sarah (Flack) Johnson, natives respectively of Tennessee and Ireland. For some years after their marriage they lived in the former state, and then emigrated to Illinois, and resided in Randolph County for several years. In 1928 they came to Jo Daviess County, locating first in Elizabeth Township, thence removing to Guilford Township, where Mr. Johnson managed a saw mill for a number of years on Mill Creek.They subsequently moved to Missouri, where they passed their declining years. They were the parents of 12 children, of whom the following survive; Elizabeth; William, of Stockton Township; Sarah, widow of Tim O'Keefe, of Derinda Township; Albert, of Kansas; Amanda, wife of Edward Williams of Kansas.
Elizabeth, of whom we write, had meagre opportunity for obtaining an education; but assisted her parents in various home duties, being thus strenghtened for the position that she was afterword to occupy, as the wife and helpmate of a pioneer. She was endowed with a fine physique, which was developed by out-door exercise, she being an excellant equestrian, and an expert in the use of a rifle. July 4, 1830, she became the wife of Nathaniel Morris, a Kentuckian by birth, who first opened his eyes to earlhly scenes in Logan County, in 1806. His father was Richard Morris, who emigrated from Kentucky to Illinois, and died in this County in 1847. Nathaniel Morris was reared and educated in Kentucky, ramaining there until 19 years of age, when he crossed the border to that state and became a resident of Illinois. In the year 1827 he came to Jo daviess County and took up a claim of 320 acres of land in Elizabeth Township, and also entered a tract of mineral land near that place. After his marriage with our subject Mr. Morris settled on the homestead now owned and occupied by her. The country was then new, wild game was abundant, and he shot many a deer while standing on the doorstep of his house. His land was then in it's primative condition, and it required a man with a courageous heart, willing hands, and brawny muscles to undertake to bring it in to such a state that one could make a living from it. By dint of preserving imdustry, unswerving energy, and years of patient waiting, he was enabled to see his hopes realized; his wild, unbroken land gradually yielded to cultivation, and in time produced ample harvests. During these long years of toil mr. Morris endured many trials and passed through many dangers. The Indiand often threatened the lives of early settlers of this county, and at one time, during the Black Hawk War, mr. and Mrs Morris, with their eldest daughter, Serena, were obliged to flee to the block fort near Elizabeth, in which many of their neighbors, including the parents of our subject, had taken refuge, and were obliged to stay there several weeks. While they were there the fort was besieged by the famous Black Hawk himself and a number of his warriors, who finally abandoned the siege, although the settlers dared not return to their homes for some time. After the conquest of Black Hawk and his tribe the people of the frontier were no more molested by the savages, but passed the even tenor of their way in peace and quiet. The death of Mr. Morris occured Jan. 25, 1879, and was a serious loss to the county and township, with whose interest he had been so long and closely identified, and in whose advancement he had so materially assisted. He was widely and favorably known, and held in the highest respect for his probidy and sterling worth. In politics, he was a true Republican, and in 1840 cast his vote for William H. Harrison. He served for a number of years as Road Commissioner of the County, and did efficient service. In religion he was an esteemed Baptist and died in the blessed hope of the glorious resurrection. Mrs. Morris still occupies the homestead; and is now, in her advanced age, reaping the reward to which she is entitled after so many years of usefullness and well-doing. The house in which she lives was formerly used as a public house, and known to the old settlers as "Blue Ball Tavern". The honorable Elihu B. Washburne, who was a personal friend of Mr. and Mrs. Morris, and well known by many of the residents of Elizabeth, has been a guest of the house, and a recipient of it's generous hospitalities.
Our subject is a communicant of the church of which her husband was a member and is a firm believer in the doctrines of the Baptist denomination. To her and her husband were born eleven children, of whom five are living, as follows: Serena, widow of G.P. Battern, of Buena Vista, Iowa: Otho, of Galena, Ill.; Nathaniel of the state of Washington; Albert, living on the homestead; and Celista. Four of the sons of our subject did gallant service in the late war-Barzilla, Sylvanus, Otho and Nathaniel. The first mentioned died a few days after his return here from the seat of the war, from disease contracted in the army. Sylvanus died from sickness while standing guard at Young's Point.