THOMAS F. MORRIS. - One of the leading citizens and successful agriculturists of Cooper township is Thomas F. Morris, who is the owner of a fine farm of two hundred acres on section 4, where he makes his home. He is a native of Ohio, born in Springfield, Clark county, November 12, 1832, and is a son of Nathaniel C. Morris, whose birth occurred in the same county about 1804, the family being among the first to locate in that region. Our subject's paternal grandfather was William Morris, a native of Pennsylvania. In the county of his nativity Nathaniel C. Morris grew to manhood and married Miss Eliza Jane Fisher, of Springfield, Ohio. In 1854 he came to Sangamon County, Illinois, and settled in Cooper township, where he spent his remaining years, dying here about 1891. His wife passed away some years previous. Thomas F. is the oldest of their nine children, of whom three sons and three daughters are still living.
Upon the home farm in Clark county, Ohio, Thomas F. Morris passed the days of his boyhood and youth and was given good common school advantages. Deciding to try his fortune in the west he came to Illinois in 1853 and first located in Logan county, where he worked on a farm by the month until the fall of 1854, when he joined his father and the other members of the family in Sangamon county. For several years he was in the employ of others and on starting out in life for himself engaged in farming on rented land in Christian county for a few years.
During his residence in that county Mr. Morris was married to Miss Catherine Hill, who, like himself, was born, reared and educated in Ohio, and prior to her marriage was engaged in teaching school in Christian county, Illinois. Mr. Morris continued to operate rented land for a few years and then purchased one hundred and thirty-four acres, only a few acres of which had been cleared, the remainder being covered with timber and brush, while a log house constituted the only improvement. To the original purchase he added until he now has two hundred and eight acres, which he has converted into one of the best farms of Cooper township. He has erected thereon a large and tasteful residence, two good barns and other outbuildings, has set out three orchards and made many other improvements which add greatly to the value and attractive appearance of the place. In connection with general farming he is engaged in stock raising and has met with well merited success in his business affairs.
Mr. Morris' first wife died near Mount Auburn, Christian county, and he was again married in Sangamon county, December 24, 1863, his second union being with Miss Helen Crowl, a native of this county, and a daughter of Joseph and Mary Crowl, who were from Virginia, and came to Sangamon county in the fall of 1834. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Morris were born two children, but Mary Elida died after reaching womanhood. Isaac C. is mention below. The family is one of prominence in the community where they reside. By his ballot Mr. Morris supports the men and measures of the Republican party and has filled the offices of school director and commissioner of highways in the most acceptable manner. Fifty years have passed since he first came to the county, and in its upbuilding and development he has always borne his part, doing everything in his power to promote the public welfare while advancing his own individual interest.