Skip to main content

Arthur Gouverneur Morris issued to Diploma for New York State Society of the Cincinnati - Americana

Inv# AM2022
State(s): New York
Years: 1894

Issued to Arthur Gouverneur Morris; Descendant of Lewis Morris. Mentions "Eldest great grandson of Lieutenant William Walton Morris". Awesome Piece of History.

Lewis Morris (April 8, 1726 – January 22, 1798) was an American Founding Father, landowner, and developer from Morrisania, New York, presently part of Bronx County. He signed the U.S. Declaration of Independence as a delegate to the Continental Congress from New York.

Morris was born on April 8, 1726, at his family's estate, Morrisania, presently part of Bronx County, in what was then the Province of New York. He was the third Lewis Morris in the Morris family. He was the son of Lewis Morris (1698–1762) and Katrintje "Catherine" Staats (1697–1731). After his mother died, his father married Sarah Gouverneur (1714–1786). He graduated from Yale College in 1746, and upon his father's death in 1762, he inherited the bulk of the estate.

Morris' father had seven children, including his siblings, Staats Long Morris (1728–1800) and Richard Morris (1730–1810), and his half-siblings, Mary Lawrence, Gouverneur Morris (1752–1816), Isabella, and Catherine. His uncle was Robert Hunter Morris (1700–1764), the governor of Pennsylvania. His cousin by marriage was William Paterson (1745–1806), the governor of New Jersey and father-in-law of Stephen Van Rensselaer, the lieutenant governor of New York, who was the brother of Philip Schuyler Van Rensselaer, mayor of Albany, New York. Anthony Walton White (1750–1803), a Continental Army general, was his cousin through Morris' aunt, Elizabeth Morris (1712–c.1784).

His great-grandfather, Richard Morris (died 1672), immigrated to New York through Barbados after being part of Oliver Cromwell's army in the English Civil War of 1648. He purchased the first tract of land in the Bronx that became the basis for the Morrisania manor. Richard and his young wife died, leaving behind an infant son, Lewis Morris (1671–1746). Richard's brother, Colonel Lewis Morris, also of Barbados, came to Morrisania to help manage the estate owned by his infant nephew. Col. Morris and his wife were childless.

When he came of age, Lewis Morris expanded and patented the estate. He married Isabella and went on to serve as the 8th colonial governor of New Jersey. Morris was a popular governor who championed land owning rights for the colonists. Morristown, New Jersey, was named for him.

In 1769, he was elected to the New York General Assembly. In 1774, as the Revolution drew near, he resigned from the Admiralty Court.

When active revolution began, he was a member of the New York Provincial Congress, the revolutionary government, from 1775 until 1777. That body, in turn, sent Morris to the Continental Congress for those same years. While in Congress, he was an active supporter of independence and signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776. When warned by his brother Staats Morris, who was a general in the British army, of the consequences that would follow his signing of the rebellious document, Morris stated, "Damn the consequences. Give me the pen."

In 1777, Lewis returned to New York, became a county judge of Westchester County, and was appointed a member of the New York State Senate representing the Southern District, which consisted of Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Suffolk and Westchester counties. He served in the 1st New York State Legislature, which began on September 9, 1777, until the end of the 4th Legislature, on July 1, 1781.

His eldest three sons served during the Revolutionary War and had distinguished military careers.

Beginning on July 1, 1783, he returned to the New York State Senate and served in the 7th Legislature through to the end of the 13th Legislature, ending on June 30, 1790. In 1788, when the New York convention met to ratify the U.S. Constitution, he was one of the delegates. Morris was a Federalist presidential elector in the 1796 election and cast his votes for John Adams and Thomas Pinckney.

In 1784, Morris was elected an honorary member of the New York Society of the Cincinnati. On May 1 of the same year, he was appointed to the first Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and served until his death, when he was replaced by Simeon De Witt.

On September 24, 1749, Lewis married Mary Walton (1727–1794), a member of a well-known merchant family. Maria was the daughter of Jacob Walton and Maria (née Beekman) Walton. They had ten children:

  • Catherine Morris (1751–1835), who married Thomas Lawrence (1744–1823).
  • Mary Morris (1752–1776).
  • Col. Lewis V. Morris (1754–1824), who married Ann B. Elliott (1762–1848), sister-in-law of Congressman Daniel Huger.
  • Gen. Jacob Morris (1755–1844), who married Mary Cox (1758–1827) (Morris, New York is named after him).
  • Sarah Morris (born 1757), who died young.
  • Lt. William Walton Morris (1760–1832), aide-de-camp to General Anthony Wayne who married Sarah Carpender.
  • Helena Magdalena Morris (1762–1840), who married John Rutherfurd (1760–1840), a Senator from New Jersey
  • James Morris (1764–1827), who married Helen Van Cortlandt (1768–1812), granddaughter of Frederick Van Cortlandt.
  • Capt. Staats Morris (1765–1826), who married Everarda van Braam Houckgeest (1765–1816), the daughter of Andreas van Braam Houckgeest and Baroness Catharina C.G. van Reeds van Oudtshoorn.
  • Capt. Richard Valentine Morris (1768–1815), who married Anne Walton (1773–1858)

After the war, Morris had to rebuild the family estate, which had been looted and burned by the British when they occupied New York. In 1790, he offered the land, now part of the South Bronx neighborhood of Morrisania, as the site of the U.S. capital. He died on the estate and is buried in the family vault beneath St. Ann's Church in the Bronx.

Through his eldest son, Lewis V. Morris, he was grandfather to Lewis Morris (1785–1863) and Sabina Elliott Morris (1789–1857). Lewis Morris (b. 1785) was the father of Charles Manigault Morris (1820–1895), a Confederate officer. Sabina married her first cousin, Robert Walter Rutherfurd (1788–1852), the son of John Rutherfurd and Helena Morris, and was the mother of Lewis Morris Rutherfurd (1816–1892), a pioneering astrophotographer who took the first telescopic photographs of the moon and sun, as well as many stars and planets.

Through his son, Staats Morris, his great-grandson was Daniel François van Braam Morris (b. 1840), a Dutchman and governor of Celebes in the Dutch East Indies. A great-granddaughter of his grandfather, Lewis Morris, named Mary Antill was married to Gerritt G. Lansing, himself a brother of Congressman John Lansing. John Lansing's daughter, Sarah, was married to Edward Livingston, a great-grandson of Philip Livingston.

Lewis Morris is portrayed by Ronald Kross in the 1969 Broadway musical 1776 and by Howard Caine in the 1972 film. Although Morris was chairman of the New York delegation to the Second Continental Congress, he abstained ("courteously") on every vote, claiming that the New York Provincial Congress never gave Morris explicit instructions on anything. However, when George Washington noted in a dispatch that Morris's estates were destroyed by the British, but his family was taken to safety in Connecticut, Morris abandons his lack of instructions and moves to sign the Declaration anyway.

William Walton Morris Jr. (August 31, 1801 – December 11, 1865) was an American soldier and a career officer in the United States Army. He served as a colonel and brevet brigadier general in the Regular Army (United States), with Union Army service during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Morris served as a brigade commander primarily in charge of the defense of Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor. He had several brief periods in command of VIII Corps and of the Middle Department, which almost completely overlapped with each other.

Morris was born in 1801 at Ballston Springs, New York. Morris was the second son of Sarah (née Carpenter) Morris and Lt. William Walton Morris Sr. (1760–1832), who served as aide-de-camp to Gen. Anthony Wayne. Among his siblings was Lewis Morris (who married Julia Hayes), Gouverneur Morris (who married Anna Maria de Camp), James Morris, Frances Morris (who married David Brooks), Anne Morris (who married Aquila G. Stout), and Arthur Breese Morris (who married Mary Bard).

His paternal grandparents were Lewis Morris, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, and Mary (née Walton) Morris, herself a granddaughter of prominent merchant William Walton. Among his large extended family was paternal uncle Richard Valentine Morris, aunt Helena Magdalena Morris (wife of U.S. Senator John Rutherfurd).

He was appointed as a cadet in the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York on March 17, 1815 at age fourteen. Morris graduated last out of 30 cadets in the class of 1820.

After graduation, Morris was promoted to second lieutenant, 6th United States Infantry Regiment, July 1, 1820. He initially served on the frontier in Iowa. Promoted to first lieutenant in 1823, Morris commanded the artillery in the Arickaree Expedition. Returning from the frontier, Morris attended the artillery school at Fort Monroe, Virginia from 1823-1824 and transferred to the 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment in 1824. Morris served in various garrison positions until 1836, when he was promoted to captain, 4th Artillery.

He fought in the Second Seminole War, including the Battle of Wahoo Swamp, receiving a brevet major appointment for gallant conduct. During the Mexican–American War, Morris served as Major of the Artillery Battalion of the "Army of Occupation" and fought at the Battle of Palo Alto and Battle of Resaca de la Palma. Returning to the United States in 1848, Morris was promoted to major, 4th Artillery and served in various garrison and frontier positions. In early 1861, he was stationed at Fort Ridgely, Minnesota.

On April 25, 1861, Morris was transferred to Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland. On May 14, 1861, Morris was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the 4th Artillery Regiment in the Regular United States Army, followed by a promotion to colonel of the 2nd U.S. Artillery Regiment on November 1, 1861. On April 30, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln nominated Morris for appointment to the grade of brevet brigadier general, Regular United States Army, for "meritorious services", to rank from June 9, 1862 and the United States Senate confirmed the appointment on June 9, 1862.

Morris served as a brigade commander primarily in charge of the defense of Baltimore Harbor from July 22, 1862, and served both in the Middle Department and its military organization, the VIII Corps, under Maj. Gen. Robert C. Schenck, Brig. Gen. Henry H. Lockwood, and Maj. Gen. Lew Wallace. Morris temporarily commanded the VIII Corps and, for the most part simultaneously, the Middle Department (with the date of assumption or relinquishment of command of the department, if different, shown as the date assumed or relinquished in parentheses following the corps command dates): March 12, 1863 to March 22, 1863 (relinquished department command March 20, 1863); August 7, 1863 to August 31, 1863 (assumed department command August 10, 1863); September 22, 1863 to September 28, 1863; and, February 1, 1865 to April 19, 1865 (assumed department command January 30, 1865).

In January 1833, Morris was married to Mary Alexander Ritchie (1815–1880), the daughter of Hugh Williamson Ritchie and Esther (née Alexander) Ritchie. Her maternal grandfather was Major Archibald Alexander, who was a prisoner on the prison ship HMS Jersey during the Revolutionary War. Together, they were the parents of:

Morris died on December 11, 1865, at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland at age 64. He was buried at St. Ann's Episcopal Church graveyard in the Bronx.

On April 16, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Morris for posthumous appointment as a brevet major general, for "Faithful and meritorious Services during the Rebellion", in the Regular United States Army to rank from December 10, 1865 and the United States Senate confirmed the appointment on May 4, 1866.

Read More

Read Less

Condition: Excellent
Item ordered may not be exact piece shown. All original and authentic.