John Morrow, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John Morrow

JOHN MORROW. There are many salient points which render specially interesting the consideration of the career of this well known and distinctively popular citizen of Porter county, and it is a pleasure to offer even so brief an outline of his life history as can be incorporated in a publication of this order. He is a scion of the staunchest of Scottish stock, is himself a native of Scotland and has an ancestral history of which he may well be proud. In his own career he has honored the name which he bears and has proved himself a loyal and valuable citizen of the country which has been his home from his boyhood days. The insistent quality of this loyalty was most significantly shown by his long and gallant service as a soldier of the Union in the Civil war, and it has also been his to win the gracious victories which peace ever has in store for such valiant souls. He has been the architect of his own fortunes and has won independence and prosperity through earnest and well directed endeavors. Mr. Morrow is now living virtually retired in his attractive home in the village of Hebron, where, surounded by friends who are tried and true, he is enjoying the rewards of former years of zealous application along productive lines.

John Morrow was born in the picturesque and historic old city of Dundee, Scotland, and the date of his nativity was June 6, 1842. He is a son of John and Betsey (Milne) Morrow and was but three months old at the time of his father's death. His mother subsequently contracted a second marriage and she continued her residence in Scotland until her death, the closing years of her life having been passed in Aberdeen. He whose name initiates this review was reared in the home of his maternal grandparents, David and Isabel Milne, and he was but four years of age at the time of their immigration to America, in 1846. Mr. Morrow recalls as an incident of his childhood days that on the occasion of one of the visits of Queen Victoria to her Scottish domain his loved grandmother carried him forth in her arms and held him up so that he might see the gracious sovereign and have the privilege of remembering this in after years. David Milne made the city of Chicago his American destination and there he engaged as sailmaker in the employ of the old-time ship-chandlery firm of Gilbert Hubbard & Company, on South Water street. He continued to be thus employed for forty years and both he and his wife were residents of Chicago at the time of their death, their memory being revered by their grandson, who reverts with pleasure to the associations and incidents of his youthful days in their home. Their son David now resides in the city of Los Angeles, California, and is venerable in years, he having been a foreman in the employ of the same firm with which his father was so long identified in the western metropolis of Chicago. David Milne, Sr., was a man who showed forth the invincible courage and other sterling traits of the sturdy race of which he was a worthy scion. For twenty-one years prior to coming to the United States he had been engaged in the hazardous enterprise of whale fishing in the Arctic regions, to which he made seven voyages, on each of which he was absent from home for three years. He became specially familiar with the people, customs and associations of Greenland and Iceland and had many thrilling experiences in the far northern seas. He saw thousands of mastodons which have been preserved in the glacial drift and upon the remains of which wolves and dogs fed for years. He often related graphic tales concerning this great natural "cold-storage plant," from the resources of which he had frequently cut food for his sledge dogs. On one occasion he also saw the ten-year-old son of the captain of his party save his boyish life by thrusting a lance into the vital organs of a Polar bear which was about to attack him.

John Morrow was reared to maturity in Chicago and received a common-school education, the while he early learned the lessons of practical industry. He was but a few months from the nineteenth anniversary of his birth at the time when the dark cloud of civil war spread its pall over the national horizon, and his intrinsic loyalty to the land in which he had been reared prompted him to immediate and decisive action when the war was thus precipitated. At La Porte, Indiana, in 1861, he enlisted in Company H, Ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel I. C. B. Suman and he was mustered in as sergeant of his company. Few of the young men who thus entered service at the inception of hostilities between the north and south more fully lived up to the full tension of the great conflict and to few was the honor of longer or more gallant service, as he remained a soldier of the Union for a period of four years and four months. He proceeded with his command to Cheat Mountain, West Virginia, and before final victory had crowned the Union arms and peace had been declared he had participated in twenty-nine battles, besides innumerable minor engagements. During the earlier period of his service Sergeant Morrow took part in the following named engagements: Green Brier, Shiloh, Perryville, Stone's River, Danville, Woodbury and Chickamauga. At Shiloh he received a wound but was not seriously incapacitated. In the two days fight at Chickamauga Mr. Morrow's division held position in a cornfield, and when Colonel Suman rode out and asked for two volunteers to reconnoiter and report concerning the strength of the enemy, Mr. Morrow and James Bullis promptly stepped forward and were accepted for this hazardous detail. The two brave young fellows soon encountered the advancing forces of General Longstreet and Mr. Bullis fell dead from a shot on the part of the enemy. In the midst of a veritable shower of bullets, and unheeding the call to surrender, Mr. Morrow finally reached his regiment, where his comrades greeted his escape as miraculous, as his hat, clothing and other appurtenances all showed marks of Confederate bullets.

On the 24th of November, 1863, Sergeant Morrow took part in the memorable battle of Lookout Mountain, where he received a wound in the right hip. He still has in his possession, as a memento of this wound, the bullet that was finally extracted therefrom and which weighs one and one-fourth ounces. He was taken back a short distance by his comrades and finally became so weak from the loss of blood that he could crawl no further along the bridle path which he had followed. He lay in the freezing cold all that night, with nothing to eat or drink, and in the morning had the satisfaction of seeing the stars and stripes unfurled over the former stronghold of the enemy. He finally managed to make his way down the mountain side to the boat landing and was taken down the to Bridgeport, Alabama, where he entered the general hospital and whence he was eventually shipped with other wounded comrades to Nashville, Tennessee, where he found place in an improvised hospital. His wound had not been dressed in a period of seven days and to make the proper ministration his clothing had to be cut off from the injured hip. After sufficiently recuperating to make the journey possible, Mr. Morrow came home on furlough, and he was compelled to use crutches for some time thereafter. At Hebron, his present home, in 1863, he re-enlisted, as a member of Company H, Ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, his company being in command of Captain Dewitt C. Hodson. Under re-enlistment he participated in the battles of Tunnel Hill, Buzzard's Roost, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, Adairsville, Cassville, New Hope Church, Pickett's Mill, Marietta, Samaria' Campground, Chattahoochie River, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station, Columbia and Franklin, from which list it will be seen that he was with Sherman on the ever memorable march from Atlanta to the sea. He fired his last shot at Nashville, Tennessee, but later continued in service in Texas. At the close of the war he was honorably discharged, by general order, at Camp Stanley, Texas, and the date of his discharge was in 1865. Incidents touching his army career could be indefinitely multiplied but the limitations of a sketch of this order render it impossible to enter into further details, which must be left for a more specific publication.

In February, 1866, Mr. Morrow married and laid the foundation for a domestic life that has been one of ideal order, though not denied its full quota of vicissitudes and sorrows. Like the average soldier boy he found his financial resources at low ebb, but after his marriage he rented a farm of one hundred and sixty acres in Lake county, Indiana, not far distant from his present home village of Hebron, in the adjoining county of Porter. He relates as an evidence of the monetary stringency which was his at this period in his career that on one occasion he came to Hebron and applied to a firm of local merchants for fifty pounds of flour on credit. The members of the firm were brothers and one of them refused to supply him, but the other showed his confidence and kindly spirit by loading the sack of flour on to the wagon of the young farmer, who was doing his best to win success under somewhat trying circumstances. Many years later, when this more considerate member of the old mercantile firm had himself come to a condition of minimum prosperity, when of venerable age, Mr. Morrow had the pleasure of extending to him a courtesy which showed his enduring appreciation of the favor granted him so long before. Gratitude was not lacking on the part of the aged citizen, and it would be inconsistent to mention names in the connection, though the incident may be worthy of note.

Energy, well ordered industry and careful management brought prosperity to Mr. Morrow with the passing of the years, and he eventually accumulated a fine landed estate of two hundred acres, in Boone township, Porter county, a property which he still owns and which is now managed by his eldest son. He remained on the farm and improved the same according to progressive ideas, and after years of earnest and fruitful application he finally removed, in 1895, to the village of Hebron, where he and his wife have an attractive home and delight to extend hospitality to their wide circle of friends in this section of the state. For some time Mr. Morrow was engaged in the real-estate business and his operations were of somewhat extensive scope, with office headquarters in Hebron. In 1901 Mr. and Mrs. Morrow showed their ambitious spirit and love of out-door life by making the long journey from their home to the state of Oklahoma, with team and wagon, the trip having been primarily projected on acount of the impaired health of Mrs. Morrow, who fully recuperated her energies during their journeying, which covered a period of one hundred and two days, the return trip having been made in the same manner. They camped out among the Indians of the west as well as at various points on their westward journey and enjoyed to the full the untrammeled and care-free existence, their enthusiasm being as alert as that of youth.

Mr. Morrow has been broad-minded and public-spirited as a citizen and, as may well be supposed in the case of one who went forth to do service in behalf of a cause of which the Republican party stood sponsor when the integrity of the nation was jeopardized by armed rebellion, he has been a steward in the camp of this "Grand Old Party," of whose principles and policies he is an uncompromising advocate. He has ever retained a deep interest in his old comrades in arms and is one of the most zealous and popular members of Post No. 229, Grand Army of the Republic, in his home village. He is chaplain of the post at the present time and has held other official chairs in the same, the while his reminiscences concerning the war are most graphic and are ever listened to with appreciation by his comrades, whose ranks are rapidly being diminished by the one invincible foe of humanity, death. Both Mr. Morrow and his wife are devout members of the Methodist Episcopal church in Hebron and are instant in kindly words and generous deeds, so that they naturally have the affectionate regard of those with whom they have come in contact during the course of their worthy and useful lives.

On the 22d of February, 1866, was solemnized the marriage of John Morrow to Miss Amy Green, who has proved his loyal companion and helpmeet during the long intervening years. Mrs. Morrow was born in Athens county, Ohio, on the 22d of September, 1845, and is a daughter of Benjamin and Hepsy Ann (Pratt) Green, who came to Lake county, Indiana, in 1847, when Mrs. Morrow was a child of about two years, the father having devoted practically his entire active career to the great basic industry of agriculture. Mrs. Morrow was the seventh in order of birth of a family of eleven children, and the names of the others are here noted: Hannah, Rufus, Cynthia, Betsy, Maria, Uriah, Lydia, Martha, Anna and Marietta. The Green and Pratt families were founded in America in the colonial days and both found valiant representatives in the patriot service in the War of the Revolution. Major Nathaniel Merritt, a great-grandfather of Mrs. Morrow, served seven years in the great struggle for independence, in which he attained to the rank of major. Ephraim Pratt, another great-grandfather, was likewise a soldier in the same prolonged conflict, and Joshua Green, another ancestor, was a valiant soldier in the War of 1812, so that Mrs. Morrow has reason to be proud of the record of the family in connection with patriotic service as well as usefulness in various fields of endeavor in the "piping times of peace." She well remembers the tales handed down in the family, especially those relating to incidents of the Revolution. Major Nathaniel Merritt, her great-grandfather, was surprised at his little Vermont home when the British soldiers marched through that state and fully realized that his life was in imminent danger. Hastily gathering some food, he provided a temporary refuge for his wife and their infant daughter, Betsey, nine months of age, by secreting them under a pile of brush, and then seized his musket and joined the gallant band of "Green Mountain Boys" whose record in the Revolution shall not be forgotten in the nation which they aided in establishing. The brave wife and mother remained secreted for two days, and Providence must have watched over them in their hour of peril, for the little child never made an outcry during this entire period. After the enemy had passed on the mother found her cabin home burned, but she was thankful for the sparing of her life and that of her child, as well as reconciled to the sacrifice in behalf of a righteous cause.

In conclusion is given brief record concerning the four children of Mr. and Mrs. Morrow. Uri Hodson Morrow, the eldest, is commonly known by his second name and is one of the representative farmers and stock-growers of Lake county, where he resides upon the old family homestead and where he has well upheld the civic and industrial honors of the name which he bears. He has purchased a farm of eighty acres adjoining the place and he has shown his progressive spirit by making a specialty of raising fine draft horses. He married Miss Julia Bryant and they have four children, -- Merritt Blake, Wendell, John Neil and Carroll Louise. John Melvin Morrow, the second son, was for ten years a successful and popular teacher in the public schools of Porter county and he was one of the Columbian guards at the World's Fair held in Chicago in 1893. At that time he narrowly escaped death in the fire which destroyed the extensive cold-storage building on the fair grounds and which caused the death of a number of persons. He was on top of the building and saved himself by jumping to and catching a line of fire hose, on which he slid to the ground, with his clothing badly burned. He is now a resident of Hebron, where he is successfully engaged in agriculture. He married Miss Emma Bryant and they have two children, Helen and Ruth. Orpha is deceased. The youngest of the children, Leon Marvin, makes his headquarters at the parental home, though for the past several years he has been actively identified with important dredging operations, -- in Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Mississippi.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 664-669

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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