William MORRIS

Name of Patriot: William Morris, Sr. NSSAR Patriot # P-252563

Submitted by: Harrison M. Schramm, Jr.

William Morris, Sr., when a boy of about 12, was at the Scotland Yards at London and, out of curiosity, boarded a vessel. Engrossed in the proceedings, he was still on board when the ship sailed for America. He arrived at Philadelphia a somewhat bewildered boy of 12 with no family and no possessions. When he found that the ship would not return to England for some months, a merchant aboard the ship who, it is said, felt sorry for the youth as he was crying; and, took him into his home. This un-named merchant was so pleased with the spirit of William that he wrote to the boy's father for permission to keep him. William remained until age 22. He then settled in Virginia and married Elizabeth Stipps and raised a family.

When William Morris came to the Kanawha Valley in 1774, he settled at the mouth of Kelly's Creek purchasing the homestead Kelley started from his widow, Mr. Kelley having been killed in an Indian attack. William Morris's was so big, with eight boys and two girls; and of such strength that no ordinary Indian party dared attack them. They had to depend upon themselves for everything as there were no stores, mills or factories. Their homes were built as forts, out of logs with a high log fence around the perimeter.

When Dunmore's War broke out in 1774, six of William Morris' sons, William, Jr., Henry, Leonard, Joshua, Levi, and John joined the army of General Andrew Lewis and took part in the Battle of Point Pleasant. William, Jr. was wounded. This same year, William, Sr. built his fort which was named either Fort Morris or Kelly Station, according to differing sources. It is mentioned in the writings of Daniel Boone as being "Kelly Station". Early settlers would come running here looking for refuge from Indian attacks. He later built a boat yard which supplied flat boats to the westward traveling settlers.

He also built the first church, of the Baptist faith, in the area; and, he built the first school as well.

William Morris, Sr. and Daniel Boone were the first two representatives to represent Kanawha County in the Virginia Legislature at Richmond. Old Billy Morris, though of superior intelligence could not even write his name, and was frequently placed in embarrassing positions. Because of this he sent his son William to Washington College at Lexington, Virginia where he graduated. His son returned home and was likewise elected to the Legislature. Major Billy Morris (William Jr.) was the first and only classically educated man among the early settlers of Kanawha County.

William Morris, Sr. is buried at the mouth of Morris (now Hughes) Creek in Kanawha County, West Virginia.