Pioneering Families
... with Roots in Madison County

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Hon. Lorenzo MorrIs, the only Democrat ever elected to the State Senate from the district in the southwestern corner of the State of New York, was born at Smithfield, Madison County, August 14, 1817. His parents removed to near Mayville, in Chautauqua County, in 1829, when he was only twelve years old. He received his education in the public schools, beginning in the log schoolhouse and finishing in the Academy at Mayville, from which he was graduated in 1836. He taught school while studying law, and practiced in the inferior courts for three years before his admission to the Bar, in 1844, by the Supreme Court. During this period he resided in Jamestown, but after his admission he returned to Mayville, where he practiced his profession until 1852. He then removed to Fredonia, which was his home during the remainder of his life.

His remarkable ability soon brought him to the front in his profession. He was a thorough lawyer, a master of his profession, a powerful advocate before judge or jury, and a gentleman of the most stainless honor and unquestioned integrity. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity.

He was always a Jeffersonian Democrat, and one of the ablest in the State. He served as Justice of the Peace and Justice of Sessions. In 1867 he accepted the Democratic nomination for State Senator, and was elected, being, as stated above, the only Democrat who ever represented Chautauqua County in that body. He made a splendid record in the Senate, and was one of the recognized leaders, being a veritable giant in debate. In 1856 he was appointed Postmaster at Fredonia by President Pierce, and served through President Buchanan's administration also. He was removed after the Republicans came into power, having held the office for six years. He was a member of the Board of Local Managers of the State Normal School from its establishment until his death, and was for several years its president. He was also for two years a trustee of the State Insane Hospital at Buffalo. He was a Democrat of State reputation, and served as delegate to Democratic State arid National conventions, and was for many years Chairman of the Democratic County Committee.

He was fond of telling his experiences, and abounded with interesting reminiscences of early days. On the 14th of August, 1903, Senator Morris celebrated the eighty-sixth anniversary of his birth, over forty of his relatives being present. On the 2d of October following he passed away through death into life everlasting.

   Judge Lambert, of the Supreme Court, said of him just after his death: "He was a big man. You cannot make your estimate of him too high. Not only in ability and honesty and integrity, but in every attribute which goes to make up real greatness. If Senator Morris had drifted to a city he would have shone equally as a leader there as he did here, for he had all the elements to make him a leader. He was a big man; you cannot make that statement too strong."

Source: The Democratic Party of the State of New York: A History of the ..., Volume III. United States History Company, 1905, pp. 456-457.



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