Dr. John E. Morris, M.D., widely known physician and surgeon was born near Sipe Springs, Texas on November 10, 1885, the son of Clarence Parker Morris, a confederate veteran, and Minnie Hallonquist Morris. His father who was a pioneer to that section was engaged in farming and as a trader.
When Dr. Morris was five years old, the family moved to Jones County, Texas, his elementary education was received there. He graduated from Stamford High School and then enrolled in the medical department of the Southwest Texas University, then located in Dallas. In 1905 he continued his medical studies at the University of Louisville he began the practice of medicine in Haskell, but he remained there only a few months before he selected the young city of Spur in Dickens County, Texas as a more useful field of service. He moved to Spur in the fall of 1909 and continued in active practice there until his death. When he first opened his office he was the only doctor in the locality, and during the twenty-two years of his residence he built an extensive practice, commanding the love and respect of all his patients. Apart from his private clientele he served as physician and surgeon for the Stamford and Northwestern Railroad for many years.
Although his own work was heavy, Dr. Morris never neglected an opportunity to be of service to his city. He served as city health officer of Spur for fifteen years, and as County health officer from 1925 to his death.
He was a member of the Rotary Club, a member of the Espuela Golf ad Country Club, the Masonic Lodge, and his professional affiliations were with the Dickens County Medical Society and the American Medical Association. Having united with the Methodist Church in 1895, he remained a devoted member of the board of Stewards for several years.
Dr. Morris' outstanding characteristics were his love for little children. He and his wife, the former Katie Bell Lemmon, the daughter of Thomas and Sadie Armstrong Lemmon, did not have any children born to them, but little Frances Audry Shepherd was taken into their home as a member of the family and no child ever received more love and affection in the home of real parents than this child received from Dr. and Mrs. Morris. Mrs. Morris continues to reside in the family home in Spur, where she is a member of the Friday afternoon club, and the Bluebonnet Club, and is active in the affairs of the Methodist Church.
The death of Dr. Morris on February 13, 1931 was a source of deep mourning to people throughout West Texas. In the course of his career he had made numerous friends, all of whom appreciated his excellent traits of character and his willingness to be of public service. Among those joining in paying tribute to his memory was Mr. George S. Link, Sr., of the Bryant-Link Company, with whose tribute we bring this biography of Dr. Morris to a close. It is as follows:
"Dr. J.E. Morris was my nearest neighbor for many years. I knew him well. His human imperfections were largely out weighed by his Christian virtues. His love for little children was so tender that they flocked about him and vied with each other for a place in his arms. His living sympathy was so touched by the fevered brow of a child, that he did much more than prescribe the needed medicine.
He gave words of cheer and caresses that helped to cool the fevered brow, calm the fluttering pulse and make the little one feel that all was well.
He loved to joke with his friends and his wit was keen and of times made merriment for the crowd at the expense of one of his close associates. He was true to his family and his home. He loved games, and played them well. His friends were all who knew him. As a neighbor you enjoyed asking favors of him because he so graciously granted it. The poor received the same care at his hands as the rich. His rewards for his unselfish service in this world should be many in his new home. His affection for children was like the Master's. Indeed God may say to him, well done, thou didst minister to my little children so tenderly in yonder world, I shall allow you the tenderest joys of my Heaven."
Source: History of Dickens County; Ranches and Rolling Plains, Fred Arrington, ©1971
Dr. J.E. Morris died sometime Friday afternoon in his car on the road returning from Dry Lake community where he had visited the Bill Ballard home. He had been suffering severe attacks of acute indigestion lately, and on this occasion members of his family became alarmed by his protracted absence from town. Mr. And Mrs. Birl Hight driving out the roadway and finding his dead body sitting in his car parked on the side of the road near the Hindman place just northwest of Spur. An unfinished note, evidently being written when death occurred, was in his hand, being addressed to "Mother and Francis", stating that he was sinking fast.
Funeral services were held on Sunday afternoon at three o'clock in the Methodist Church. Interment immediately following in the Spur Cemetery. Dr. Morris has been identified with the professional, business, social and civic life of Spur since the beginning of the town. In fact he was the first physician and surgeon to engage in active practice of the professions following the opening of Spur, having established an office and sanitarium in the early part of 1910. At the time he was a young man, single, and just beginning his professional practice. Later he married Miss Kate Lemmon, of Haskell, his former home. During the years he served the county and city as public health officer, was physician and surgeon for the Stamford and Northwest railway, and did general practice of medicine and surgery throughout the Spur country.
In those earlier years, before the settlement of the country, and agriculture came to mar the open spaces and hunting grounds, Dr. Morris and the writer were intimately and closely associated, and many times we have spent the days and nights together out in the open spaces, following the chase, communing with nature, and imparting to each our intimacies, desires and conquests. He has gone on to that "happy hunting ground", and there is the new environment, as in this life.
Dr. Morris will loyally "follow the chase" and be among those in the lead at the final end.
The Texas Spur, February 20, 1931From the records of Lillian Grace Nay, Spur Museum, transcribed by B. Hodges, August 2004
Funeral services were held October 3 in the First United Methodist Church for Kate Bell Morris, 84, a pioneer resident of Spur.
Rev. Howard Marcom, pastor of the First United Methodist Church officiated.
Mrs. Morris had been a resident of Spur since 1910. She was a member of the Methodist Church and the widow of Dr. J.E. Morris, who died in 1931.
Mrs. Morris was the daughter of the late Mr. And Mrs. T.L. Lemmon, early date settlers of Haskell. She was born in Jack County and came to Haskell County with her parents in 1888. She marred Dr. Earl Morris in Haskell and they later moved to Spur.
Survivors include one daughter, Mrs. Francis Walton, Grand Prairie; and a brother, R.L. Lemmon, Haskell.
Pallbearers included D.J. Dyess, Lawis Lee, W.F. Gilbert, John Quattlebaum, Weldon Grimes, and Bill Caraway.
Interment was in the Spur Cemetery.
©The Texas Spur, October 9, 1969From the records of Lillian Grace Nay, Spur Museum, transcribed by B. Hodges, August 2004
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