CLARENCE O. MORRIS, present district attorney at Kittanning, was born near Punxsutawney, Jefferson Co., Pa., June 15, 1873, son of Joseph B. Morris, grandson of Obed Morris and great-grandson of Thomas Morris. The interesting family record follows.

Thomas Morris was born in Wales Nov. 8, 1745, and his wife Ann Butler, in the same country, July 5, 1750. They came to the American Colonies prior to the Revolutionary War and settled first in Bucks County, Pa. Some years afterward they moved to Martins Creek, in Lower M. Bethel township, Northumberland Co., Pa., and their farm was land upon which the present busy city of Easton stands. Here they lived out their worthy and useful lives. Many of their descendants still live in Pennsylvania and others may be found in almost every other section of the Union. Thomas Morris was married in 1766 and died April 14, 1814, survived for many years by his wife, whose death occurred June 26, 1834. The following is a record of their seventeen children: Benjamin, born Feb. 18, 1767; Elizabeth, Dec. 24, 1767;John Sept. 3, 1769; Phebe, March 31, 1771; Isaac, March 13, 1773; Rachel, March 30, 1776; Mary, March 6, 1778; Margaret, Feb. 7, 1780; Ann, Dec. 2, 1781; Susanna, Oct. 18, 1783; Thomas, March 30, 1785; Morris, April 9, 1787; Benjamin (2), Feb. 18, 1789; Butler, April 19, 1791; Obed, Dec. 8, 1792; Lacy, May 1, 1795; and Moses, Aug. 7, 1799, the first and last named dying in infancy. Of the above family Thomas married and removed to Beaver County, Pa. Morris married and lived in Northampton County. Benjamin (2) married and lived in Beaver County. Butler settled in Northampton County after marriage and Obed in Jefferson County. Lacy married a Mr. Benward and they lived in Beaver County.

Obed Morris, son of Thomas and Ann Morris, was born in Northampton County, Pa., and from there moved to Indiana County, Pa., but only for a short time, settling permanently in Jefferson County, where he was a pioneer. He engaged in farming was a substantial and respected citizen. On Feb. 11, 1814, he married Mary Bowman, who was born Sept. 25, 1791, and died Feb. 2, 1859, survived many years by her husband who died Sept. 14, 1882. They had seven children born to them, as follows: James Madison, born Feb. 14, 1815, married Phebe Jane Williams; Elizabeth, born Jan. 16, 1817, married Hiram P. Williams and died Oct. 19, 1841; Theodore, born March 30, 1819, married Matilda Gibson and (second) Nancy Reed; Mary B., born June 2, 1824, died in infancy; Joseph B. is mentioned below; Moses A., born Jan. 28, 1830, married Jane Means.

Joseph B. Morris, sixth child of Obed and Marry Morris and father of Clarence O. Morris, born Aug. 11, 1827, died at Punxsutawney, Jefferson Co., Pa. July 17, 1909. He followed farming and also lumbering and was a well-known businessman and much respected citizen. For thirty-five years continuously he served in the office of justice of the peace, and many other local offices were tendered him by the Republican Party, with which he was associated. He was thrice married. His first wife, Julia L. Murray, left no issue. His second marriage was to Catherine Crissman, daughter of Enoch Crissman, and nine children were born to them, five of whom reached maturity, namely: Malvern H., Ida L. (now deceased), Joseph L., Clarence O. and Lucy. To the third marriage, with Margaret Brewer, no children were born. The old Morris farm in Jefferson county was richly underlaid with coal and the Walston Coal company operated there when there had, as yet been little coal development in that district.

Clarence O. Morris attended the local schools through boyhood and gave his father assistance on the farm, after which he entered Waynesburg College, where he was graduated in 1892. For some four years afterward he taught school, for two years in the country and two more at Punxsutawney, and during this time devoted as much attention as possible to his law studies, first under the supervision of the firm of Wylie, Buchanan & Walton of Waynesburg, Pa., and later with W.M. Gillispie, of Punxsutawney, Pa. He was admitted to the bar of Jefferson County in 1897 and continued his association with Mr. Gillispie for four years. In 1901 he was admitted to the bar of Armstrong County and subsequently was admitted to practice in the Supreme and Superior courts and in the U.S. District courts. In 1901 he moved to Leechburg and established his office in the Farmers' National Bank building. While there he acted as solicitor for the boroughs of Leechburg, Apollo and Vandergrift, and continues in such position for Leechburg borough. He was appointed district attorney April 17, 1913 to fill a vacancy, and was elected for the full term of four years at the November (1913) elections. He moved to Kittanning Jan. 20, 1914.

Mr. Morris married Deborah Gump, daughter of Abraham Gump of Waynesburg, Pa., and they have one son, Edward Eugene. They attend the Presbyterian Church. He is associated with the Elks and is Past Exalted Ruler of Leechburg Lodge, No. 377.

Source: Pages 369-370, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed March 2002 by Helen B. Miller for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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