Hugh H. Morrison. The history of Salina from beginning to the present time was like an open book to Hugh H. Morrison, who went to that section of Kansas when it was far out on the frontier and before Kansas had become a state of the Union. For over fifty-five years he lived there, and the farm which he once cultivated had gradually been absorbed within the city limits of Salina. His was a prominent part in connection with the various movements and events of Salina’s early history.
Mr. Morrison was born August 8, 1836, in a log house on a farm in Ohio County, Indiana. His parents were Rev. A. A. and Nancy C. (Beaty) Morrison. His grandfather was Rev. I. S. Morrison, a native of Virginia. Rev. A. A. Morrison was born in North Carolina February 24, 1808. In 1830 the family moved out to Indiana. Rev. A. A. Morrison was a graduate of Knoxville College in Tennessee and spent his active career as a Presbyterian preacher. He did pastoral and missionary work in Indiana and Ohio, and in 1860 came to Kansas. He was the first Presbyterian minister to hold services in Salina. From pioneer times he did a splendid work in carrying on the cause of religion in that section of Kansas, and his death occurred at Salina October 20, 1884. In 1835 Rev. A. A. Morrison married Miss Nancy C. Beaty, who was born in Pennsylvania July 5, 1812, a daughter of Hugh and Margaret Beaty, both natives of Pennsylvania and of Irish descent. Mrs. Morrison died at Salina, Kansas, March 20, 1864. She was also a life-long member of the Presbyterian faith. They had six children, two sons and four daughters: Hugh H.; Joseph, who died when six years of age; Sarah Margaret, now deceased; Nancy E., widow of Robert Crawford; Marietta, who is unmarried and lives at Salina; Myra, widow of Perry Rittgers of Salina.
As a boy Hugh H. Morrison had the restricted advantages given to the American youth in the pioneer conditions prevailing in the middle states seventy or eighty years ago. In 1859 he came out to the Territory of Kansas, arriving at Salina on the 14th of October. He located on a Government homestead adjoining Salina, and he kept his residence in that one locality until his death, which occurred on the 28th of May, 1917. Mr. Morrison opened the first meat market at Salina. He furnished meat to the contractors who built the Union Pacific Railway through Northern Kansas. For a number of years he operated a dairy on his farm, and continued farming and dairying until the encroaching city spread over his land and made it too valuable for agricultural purposes.
Mr. Morrison was a charter member of the First Presbyterian Church, which was organized May 12, 1860, and of which his father was the first minister. Mr. Morrison was the first justice of the peace in Saline County. He was appointed to that office by the governor for the primary purpose of swearing in the first set of county officials. In 1861 he himself was elected county clerk of Saline County, but did not qualify for the office. Another distinction that gives him a place in the early annals of Salina is that he taught the first public school of the county. This was in 1863-64. He also did his part as an early settler along the frontier and was an honored veteran of the Civil war. He served as a private in Company G of the Kansas State Militia, Fifteenth Regiment, all his service being against the Indians along the frontier. He was an honored member of John A. Logan Post, No. 127, Grand Army of the Republic, at Salina, and for a number of years filled the place of chaplain.
Mr. Morrison was twice married. April 2, 1862, he married Miss Rebecca S. Elwell. She was born in Washington County, Illinois, July 28, 1840. To their union were born the following children: Nancy M., deceased; Nellie; Mary, deceased; Anna, deceased; John A.; Henry H., who was killed in battle in the Philippine Islands as a member of Company M, Twentieth Kansas Infantry, under Gen. Fred Funston; Fred E.; Myra; Bessie and George. On December 2, 1913, Mr. Morrison married Mrs. Abigail M. Muir, widow of James Muir, and daughter of Henry and Mary (Lyons) Wilcox. Mrs. Morrison was born on Broome Street in New York City, November 9, 1839, and is of English and Irish lineage.