l to r front
Mary Belle Ingram, Donna Johnson, Jackie Jecmenek, Ethel Gusman
l to r back
Greg Westmoreland, Eddie Jecmenek, Freda Daniel, Percy Carroll

Morton House
Bay City, Texas

Historical Marker Dedication
May 7, 2000

Photos courtesy of
Matagorda County Museum

Morton House

Designed by San Antonio architect Addis Noonan and built by local contractor O. E. Hatchett in 1927-1928, the Morton house is an unusual brick house with mission and Spanish influences. The structure's distinctive features include a brick parapet, tile awnings, classical columns at the main entry door with sidelights, a flat roof and a second floor covered porch. This was the home of Dr. Albert S. Morton and his wife, Genevieve (Sharpless), a nurse. The family owned the house until 1982. In 1989 it was purchased by the Methodist Church, in which the Mortons were active.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark                           1999




 Researched and written by Freda Daniel

The Morton house, as it is known in Bay City, stands on the corner of Avenue G and Fourth Street. It is built of orange brick, has a red tiled roof, and is of Spanish design. There is a covered balcony on the west side and an open balcony on the south. Both are decorated with ornamental iron work. Addis Noonan, of San Antonio, was the architect. It is of interest that he designed five other structures in the city: Colonial Theatre, City Hall, Bay Tex Hotel, Matagorda County Court House, and Travel World.

In 1901, Dr. A. S. Morton purchased lots one through five in block 108 to build his home.

Chief of internal medicine and anesthesiology in the local hospital, Dr. Morton was a well respected physician of the city. In 1913, through his profession, he met the new surgical nurse in town. Miss Genevieve Sharpless, of Melville, New Jersey, came to Bay City to assist Dr. Claude B. Jones. A romance blossomed between Dr. Morton and “Geneva” and they were married on July 12, 1917.

Their union was blessed with the birth of one child, Mary Anna. The couple decided it was time to build their home on the lots Dr. Morton had purchased earlier. Construction was begun in December, 1927, and completed in 1928.

The Morton family were faithful Methodists and worked diligently in the church that is situated on the corner of Fourth Street and Avenue H adjacent to the Morton home.

Dr. Morton died October 18, 1944, leaving his property to Genevieve Morton and Mary Anna Hudson. Mrs. Morton survived her husband by many years. After her death on December 3, 1971, her home was rented to Billy and Curby Humphrey.

In 1982, the Morton home was purchased from Mary Anna Hudson by Judge Jack Salyer. His wife, Linda Salyer, was granted the property in a divorce settlement. She sold the home to The First United Methodist Church in 1989. The church restored the building and it is used today as the Ministry Center (1999).

[The Morton House has since been demolished and the Historical Marker is now in the Matagorda County Museum.]

Biography of Mrs. Genevieve Sharpless Morton
October 23, 1892 – December 8, 1971

Fondly called Geneva by her family and close friends, Genevieve Sharpless was born in Leesburg, New Jersey, in 1892. Her father, John, was descended from John Sharpless of Cheshire, England, who came to Pennsylvania in 1682, while her mother, Mary, was descended from the Chase Lee family of Virginia.

Geneva attended college in Philadelphia where she received her degree in nursing. It was not long afterwards that she received a letter from Dr. Claude B. Jones asking her to come to Bay City, Texas, to assist him as his surgical nurse and to also assist him in establishing a hospital in Matagorda County. Though she was engaged to a prominent banker from Philadelphia, she made the decision to come to Texas. So it was, that in the year of 1913, and in a true pioneer spirit, she arrived in this community.

Dr. Jones and Miss Sharpless “worked their fingers to the bone” to convert a wooden frame house that Dr. Jones had purchased into an acceptable hospital. In addition to her surgical nursing duties, she also was in charge of training the nursing staff. It was through her profession that she met the head of Internal Medicine and anesthesiologist who always wore monogrammed shirts bearing the letters A.S.M. which she interpreted as “A Smart Man.”

She subsequently broke off her engagement with the banker in Philadelphia, and on July 12, 1917, in Melville, New Jersey, married Dr. Albert Searce Morton, son of William Harrison and Sally Melinda Smith Morton of Shelbyville, Kentucky. Later, their marriage was blessed with the birth of their only child, Mary Anna, who became the delight of their lives. The Morton’s lifelong home was adjacent to this church which became an integral part of their lives.

Mrs. Morton’s contributions over the years to the then First Methodist Church were vast and innumerable. She headed the Children’s Division for over twenty-five years with the able assistance of her dear friends, Mrs. V. C. Glenn and Mrs. T. A. Walker, whom she often fondly referred to as “jewels.” When she was elected to the Board of Stewards of this church, she became the first woman in the Texas Conference to be so honored. She loved flowers and flower arranging, and for many years, she and her beloved friend, Neppie Savage, provided and placed the flowers in the Church every Saturday morning in preparation for the Sunday worship service. She started the first Junior Choir, served on the By-Laws committee for the Gleaners Class in 1920, was on the building committee to enlarge the LeTulle Building, and was a charter member of the Altar Guild and designed the first Altar Guild emblem.

Mrs. Morton’s energies extended beyond the church. She had a love and concern for her community as a whole. She helped to organize several committees including establishing the Bay City Library Association, she helped to organize the first Book Review Club and served on the Matagorda County General Hospital Board.

At her death in 1971, she was survived by her daughter, Mary Anna, and son-in-law William S. Hudson, and two grandchildren, Dianna and Richard Hudson. She was buried beside her husband in Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City, Texas.

Morton House Historical Marker Dedication Program, May 7, 2000

Invitation courtesy of Deean Griffith and Louis Kopnicky

Dr. A. S. Morton, Pioneer Settler, Dies Wednesday Eve
Had Practiced In Community 43 Years

Dr. Albert Searce Morton, 71, died at his residence here in the city at 2317 Avenue G., Wednesday evening [October 18, 1944] about 7 o'clock. Death came following a stroke while he was discussing matters in his yard with a business friend, Mr. Armstrong, a few hours before.

His health had been failing for the past three years, but his death was a distinct shock to the multitude of friends of this section. He had continued his practice and business until the final day of his life.

Dr. Morton came to Bay City in 1901 when the town was but six years old. Here he gained a practice in the horse and buggy days and often he discussed the difficulty and time it took to call on his scattered patients. When it was impossible to go to his patients in a buggy he went horse back. He married here in July, 1917 and to that union one daughter, Mary Anna, was born.

He was born in Anderson County, Kentucky, November 4, 1873. He attended Winchester College, in Kentucky and received his medical degree from the University of Louisville. He was a member of the El Mina Shrine of Galveston.

Besides his wife and daughter, Mary Anna, he is survived by one sister, Miss Pearl Morton of this city, one brother, Stanley of Con Can, Texas and a nephew, Morton McMahon of Shreveport.

Funeral services, under the direction of Taylor Bros., will be held from the Funeral home, Friday afternoon at 3 o'clock. Reverend Marvin Vance will officiate and Reverend Paul [Engle] will deliver the prayer at the Funeral Home. Interment will be in Cedarvale.

Messrs. Hugh Strickland, George Posey, E. W. Willenberg, J. O. Sisk, W. F. Tetts, and Dr. S. R. Sholars are pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers are Drs. H. H. Loos, Bryan Simons, Chas. Shoultz, C. T. Dye, B. L. Livengood, Ralph Byars, E. D. Lunn, Messrs. P. G. Huston, J. M. Corbett, Carey Smith, J. C. Lewis, P. R. Hamill, A. H. Wadsworth, O. J. Doubek, V. H. Doubek, E. H. Highley, J. R. Cookenboo, D. B. Oliphant, John R. Reynolds, Harry Hawkins, Earl Vaughn, L. B. Luder, Jack Erwin, Pat Thompson, S. R. Harrington, Paris Smith, Sims Doughtie, C. A. Erickson, E. O. Taulbee, S. J. Styles, Henry LeTulle, Morris Savage, L. D. Clements, Spence Clements, R. Q. Pegram, Frank Hurley, Joe Milner, Sam Selkirk, Jack Spurgeon, James Gartrell, J. J. Frick, Arthur Harris, Jr., E. Wilson, Thos. H. Lewis, C. C. Barnett, D. E. Keller, Norman Barkley, Weldon Smith, Walcott Rugeley, Henry Rugeley, Frank Carr, Eddie Badouh, Jack Boring, W. T. Cox, Jack Hinton, Wallace Butler, James Scott, Herman Scott, R. O. Kiser, F. G. Cobb, Arthur Collins, Victor Collins, W. W. Wilkinson, F. S. Taylor, W. C. Lloyd, Johnnie Blinsky, Geo. Serrill, H. E. Treichler, W. R. Swartz, Harry Swem, Linden Barrett, Wm. Cash, Fred Fields, Herschel Gilmore, Fred Mielsch, Esker McDonald, Fort Verser, Geo. Keene, D. M. Curtis, Arthur Harris, Jr., Jimmie Scholttman, Alex Rugeley, Arthur Holloway.

Matagorda County Tribune, October 19, 1944


Genevieve Sharpless Morton

MORTON, Mrs. Genevieve Sharpless, a long-time resident of Bay City passed away after a brief illness early this morning in Matagorda General Hospital. She was 79 years of age. Services will be held Thursday, December 9 at 2:00 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church. The reverends Wayland Elmore and Leslie LeGrande will officiate. Interment will be in Cedarvale Cemetery. Mrs. Morton is survived by one daughter, Mrs. Mary Anna Hudson of Houston; two sisters, Mrs. Iva Beck and Mrs. Evelyn Barber of Millville, New Jersey; a brother, Byron Sharpless, also of Millville and two grandchildren. Taylor Brothers Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. 

The Daily Tribune, December 8, 1971

marker photo courtesy of Susie Adkins

County's First Nurse Honored

To celebrate National Professional Nurses Week, the nurses at Matagorda General Hospital Tuesday reverently hung a photograph of Genevieve Sharpless Morton, the first nurse in Matagorda County, on the walls of the hospital alongside those of doctors who have played a significant role in county medical history.

The deceased Morton became the first nurse to receive this honor.

In addition to being the first professional nurse in the county, when she came to the county in 1914 she was the only nurse in the county's first hospital.

She came with Dr. Claude P. Jones with the idea that she would remain for three months and would assist Dr. Jones in establishing a hospital.

She remained for the rest of her life as she married Dr. A. S. Morton of Bay City.

Dedicated to her profession, she worked 18 to 21 hours a day in the hospital at 2400 Avenue F in what was known as the Rugeley building. That facility is an apartment unit today.

Her photograph was hung with much pride Tuesday afternoon by Abbie Taylor, director of nursing services at Matagorda General Hospital, and Jan Johnson, critical care coordinator.

The Daily Tribune, Wednesday, November 10, 1982



Miss Pearl Morton Suffers Broken Hip

Miss Pearl Morton who has been in Del Rio for the past several days visiting, suffered a painful injury last Wednesday when she fell and broke a hip. She was removed to the Del Rio hospital, where she will be confined for some time.

Daily Tribune, June 3, 1946

Miss Pearl Morton Dies At Del Rio Hospital Thursday

Miss Pearl Morton, resident of Bay City for many years, died Thursday evening at 10 o'clock of pneumonia. Miss Morton suffered a broken hip about ten days ago in Del Rio but her recovery was reported excellent until complications arose Wednesday night and Mrs. A. S. Morton of Bay City was called to her bedside then.

Miss Morton had gone to Con-can to visit her brother, Stanley Morton and on her return home had stopped in Del Rio for a visit with Mrs. Essie LeTulle. It was while visiting Mrs. LeTulle in Del Rio that she suffered a broken hip in stepping into an automobile.

A faithful and life long worker in the Baptist Church, Miss Morton was active in civic and religious affairs and for many years very active in business. Since 1925 and until her retirement last October, Miss Morton had been connected with the Serrill Insurance Agency. Prior to that she was with the agency when Mr. A. Harris was in charge of it.

Mrs. A. S. Morton will arrive in tonight from Del Rio with the body and funeral arrangements will be under the direction of Taylor Brothers. The services have been set for Sunday at the First Baptist Church but an exact time has not been announced.

She is survived by one brother, Stanley, one niece, Miss Mary Anna Morton of Bay City and two nephews, Bill Morton and Morton McMahon.

The Daily Tribune, June 14, 1946







Copyright 2010 - Present by Matagorda County Museum
All rights reserved

Jun. 20, 2010
13 Jan 2013