Marcus and Anna Levy Morris

St. Louis Post-Dispatch – January 13, 1907

WALKED ACROSS ILLINOIS

 Wealthy Rabbi-Business Man Dies at Louisiana.

Louisiana, MO. Jan 12 – Rabbi Marcus Morris, who is dead here at the age of 59, was one of the most successful business men in Eastern Missouri. He died at 6 p. m. Sunday of apoplexy, after having attended to duties the day before. The funeral was held Wednesday. Rabbi Sale of St. Louis is conducting the services in the Odd Fellows Hall.

 Rabbi Morris was born in Schneidemuhl, Germany in 1847. He came to America 1866 and settled in Chicago. When he When he went to Chicago he has $7.50.  He worked in a coal yard there for 25 cents a day and his board.  In the same year he walked from Chicago to Hannibal with a pack on his back and went to work in the clothing store of his uncle Edward Morris.  In 1872 Mr. Morris, came to Louisiana and conducted a rag shop until 1884.  Then he went into the dry goods business, which he maintained at the time of his death. He owned 127 Business houses and residences besides much farm land. Rabbi Morris first married Miss Hannah Schwimmer of Quincy. She died January 1889. Sixteen years ago he married Miss Anna Levy of St. Louis who survives him. He had been a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge for 25 years and also was a member of other lodges. He conducted services in the synagogue here.

Mexico Weekly Ledger – January 30, 1896

PICKED UP A SMALL FORTUNE. A Louisiana Merchant Finds a Pocketbook Containing Nearly $3,000.

From the Louisiana Press. Marcus Morris had quite an adventure at Bowling Green Monday afternoon. He was hurrying along the street to catch the ‘bus for the depot when he saw a pocketbook lying in front of him. He picked it up and after he got on the train be opened it and to his astonishment it was full of greenbacks, silver and certified checks. The total amount was $2,845. On the inside of the pocketbook was the name of Elisabeth Bates. When he got home Mr. Morris wrote at once to that address and put a special delivery stamp on the letter. The next day Mrs. Bates came down on the train, described her property and it was turned over to her by Mr. Morris. She offered him 25 as a reward, but be declined it, and she finally induced him to accept $5. Mrs. Bates lives at Dover, Kansas, but for several months has been visiting her kinsman, J. C. Tinker, at Bowling Green. To say that she was rejoiced at recovering her property is putting it very mildly.

Louisiana Press Journal – January 23, 1907

A TRIBUTE

To the Late Marcus Morris of This City.

The following tribute to Marcus Morris appeared in the last week’s Bowling Green Times and was written by a friend in this city:

In the death of Marcus Morris on the 7th, Louisiana loses a useful citizen and the most remarkable figure, in a business way, that has appeared since the foundations of the town. Starting thirty years ago, with but a few dollars capital, in the junk business, buying and selling rags and iron. by prudence and intelligent effort, in a few years he took his place among the successful men of the town, and during his business career amassed a fortune of between one hundred fifty thousand and two hundred thousand dollars. During late years his income was over twenty thousand a year.

A large part of his property consisted of small houses, rented by poor people. There is not an instance on record of his having turned any tenant out for non-payment of rent. He was noted as the most lenient and kindly of landlords. When a tenant, through sickness or lack of work fell behind in rent, he was never asked to pay, but was given rent free during the period of his misfortunes. Many such instances are known and he was always willing to assist the unfortunate.

He was a man eccentric and peculiar in his ways, but his life in the community has been one of industry and usefulness. The habit of business was strong upon him and became his ruling passion. He seldom took any recreation, caring for no pleasure so much as trade and business.

He was a man of very frugal habits, and while possessing wealth, lived plainly and simply, without display or useless style of any sort. He was liberal at all times with his family, but preferred that they avoid all display and live sensibly and economically at all times.

Since the dawn of history and for ages before no doubt, men have differed widely upon religion, and today are, perhaps, further apart than ever upon the subject purely as a supernatural institution or definite religious system. The common ground upon which all good men of all beliefs have met is mortality, embracing all the virtues- honesty, charity, kindness and a willingness to extend a helping hand at all times to the widow and orphan, the poor, the sick, and the unfortunate. Few men are perfect; those who pretend to be are usually less than those who do not. But it is true that “charity covers a multitude of sins,” and those who give to the suffering the sick and the need certainly stone for those faults and shortcomings that are common to all the human family.

No man in the community did more to help the poor, the sick and needy than Mr. Morris. He seldom gave anything to aid movements that would be of no benefit to poor people. Usually he was very gruff and short in refusing to subscribe to those institutions that take great pains to advertise those who donate.  He sought to establish a reputation as a man who would not give. And yet he did give more of his substance to the worthy and needy poor than any other individual in this community. He gave it in his own way, but he gave it in his own way, but he gave more than any other.

Upon the day of his funeral it was remarked by everyone that large numbers of the poor class of people lined the streets as the funeral passed. One man who associated with him in a business way made the statement that there was no doubt but what he gave more to the poor than all other people in the town combined.

A man who has such tributes as these paid him upon the day of his funeral, does not need any other.

He who has helped the poor largely from his means, who has fed the hungry, ministered to the sick and suffering, stayed the hand of want, protected the widow and orphan, the mother and the helpless child, has been a good man, no matter though his enemies deride and his foes condemn.

But Mr. Morris has few, if any, enemies, because he was always willing to give to every man that which was justly his due.

He was little understood except by those who came in contact with him in a business or social way. His manner was always bunt and short and he seemed to strive to create this impression,. But his sympathy with the poor was largely due, no doubt, to the fact that he started from poverty himself. His efforts were always directed to relieve actual suffering and want and he never or seldom concerned himself with any other form of charity. After all, this is the real charity. When the poor shiver with cold, when hunger is upon the sick mother and the babe, when the wolf of want howls at the door those who suffer, we know it is right to help, to divide our loaf, to give of our substances as long as we have to give. That we know is charity; but to build great public institutions where the giver’s name is carved in large letters in the granite over the door, or worked into memorial windows or marble monuments, where only the prosperous and well-dressed are welcome, and in time, only the rich, where the pews of the wealthy are under lock and key and the poor are relegated to the rear or entirely barred, is of doubtful good at best and but little benefit to the race. And while the pipe organ thunders forth its melody and lulls the ear and sense of a fashionable gathering, while the minister preaches to the pews of wealth upon the great benefit of riches when placed by a kind farseeing providence into the hands of those who build granite monuments and marble memorials, in the shadow of the lofty spire the baby starves upon its mother’s withered breast and its piteous dying childish wails drowned by the swelling song of “Praise God form whom all blessings flow.”

So, he who does the most good is the one who gives to the hungry and the needy. So long as there us hunger and distress in the world, libraries and colleges, built for the glorification and fame of some robber who has washed his gold from the blood of child labor and poor, should be turned into the hospitals and the rich endowments should be used to buy food and medicines for the hungry and the sick.

The really charitable man gives in secret, while he who gives to advertise his name is a quack, a charlatan and a mountebank.

The poor of this community will sadly miss Mr. Morris, who was heir great friend; and all those whose hearts are right, who sympathize with those who suffer with hunger, want and cold should now make unusual effort to care for those who will need assistance. The hard part of the winter is yet to come. There is plenty to eat, plenty of clothing plenty of medicine, plenty of fuel in Louisiana for everybody here and not one should know the touch of want. No matter who he may ne, no matter what his color, no matter whether he be deserving or unworthy, if a man is hungry he should be fed, if cold he should be warmed, if sick he should be doctored, and if he is not, every man who has a loaf, a bit of fuel or a dollar, becomes a criminal to the extent that he fails to do his part to relieve the suffering.

Mr. Morris’ sudden death was a blow to his family and to this community. As he saw his duty, he performed it. According to his light, his education and intelligence, he did the best he could and strove to be honest, merciful and just.  his life and example might form a lesson to be followed, more useful than the course of many whose names are praised in more sounding phrases.