Changing Landscapes People and Places in the Mill Creek Valley Lower Merion c.1870-c.1920


Effingham Buckley Morris


Effingham Morris.jpg

University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center

Effingham Buckley Morris was born on 23 August 1856 in Philadelphia at the Morris Mansion on South 8th Street.[1] He was the only child of Israel W. Morris and Annie M. Morris (nee Buckley).[2] He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania in law and graduated in 1875.[3] He married his wife, Ellen Douglas Burroughs, in 1879, and they had four children: Rhoda Fuller (1880), Eleanor Burroughs (1881), Caroline Mitchell (1886), and Effingham Buckley, Jr. (1891).[4] In 1886, he purchased 18 acres of property in Lower Merion from the estate of Joseph K. Eyre, and he christened the property “Tyn-Y-Coed.”[5]

Upon his graduation from the University of Pennsylvania, Morris began practicing law as a solicitor for the Girard Life Insurance, Annuity, and Trust Company.[6] In 1887, he became the president of the company.[7] The Philadelphia Inquirer ran many advertisements for the company, and Morris was always mentioned as the president of Girard Trust.[8] He also served as director of the Pennsylvania Railroad, having won the election for the position in 1896.[9] Prior to his work with the Pennsylvania Railroad, Morris also served as a director of the Lehigh Valley Railroad.[10] Morris was held active membership with elite clubs in Philadelphia, including the Union League and the University Club.[11] He served as director of the Union League for three years,[12] and he was on the board of trustees of the University Club.[13] He succeeded his uncle Wistar Morris as director of the Pennsylvania Hospital.[14] It is clear Morris held a great deal of prestige in the Philadelphia area and was well known among elite society.

Effingham and Ellen also had eight grandsons and three granddaughters at the time of Ellen’s death in 1925.[15] It is interesting to see she left five shares of Girard Trust stocks to her son Effingham Jr., $50 to each of her eight grandsons, and $1,000 to her brother Joseph Burroughs.[16] However, she left her three granddaughters life remembrances and nothing for her three daughters.[17] Perhaps this shows even in the 1920s women were not viewed as equal to men in the wealthy classes, but maybe Ellen is doting on her grandsons because they will carry on the family name. It is interesting to see that she did not leave her daughters anything, not even a piece of jewelry or other life remembrance. Maybe this is because the wealthy classes still held a tradition of once daughters were married they became part of the husband’s family since they no longer bore their parents’ surnames.

Now a widower, Effingham received an honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1928,[18] and he remained on the property until his death on 22 January 1937.[19] At the time of his death, he had $73,933.25 in cash, $407,066.25 in bonds, $871,072.19 in stocks, and $82,444 in miscellaneous funds, and this added up to a total of $1,434,515.47.[20] This was a lot of money considering this was the midst of the Great Depression, so he must not have been horribly affected by the Stock Market crash in 1929. His funeral was held at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, and he left behind a great legacy to keep the Morris family well known in the Philadelphia area.[21]

[1] Moon, Robert Charles. The Morris Family of Philadelphia. Vol. 3. Philadelphia: RC Moon. 1898

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Hotchkin, Samuel Fitch. Rural Pennsylvania in the Vicinity of Philadelphia. Philadelphia: G.W. Jacobs & Co. 1897. Web.  Tyn-Y-Coed translates to “Woods.”

[6] Moon 1898

[7] Ibid

[8] Philadelphia Inquirer. Page 6 Vol 122 Iss 2. 2 January 1890. Via America’s Historic Newspapers. Web.

[9] Moon 1898

[10] Ibid

[11] Ibid

[12] Ibid

[13] University Club 1903

[14] Hotchkin 1897

[15] Will of Ellen Douglas Morris, 1925. RW39625. Montgomery County Record Office, Norristown, PA.

[16] Ibid

[17] Ibid

[18] Penn Biographies. “Effingham B. Morris.” University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center. Web.

[19] Will and Testament of Effingham Buckley Morris, 1937. RW53699. Montgomery County Record Office, Norristown, PA.

[20] Ibid

[21] Ibid

Girard Trust.jpg

Philadelphia circa 1909. "Girard Trust Company." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. Submitted by Dave 15 February 2012 to Shorpy.