Robert H. Morrison, Jr. (1868) 17 June 1868 Letter

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From: Morrison, Robert Hall, Jr. 1843-1922 (1868) Collection, 1861-1868 and Undated (View Finding Aid)


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June 17 1868 [1]
My dear Sister [2] ,
Alfred [3] received your last kind letter yesterday and he was very glad to hear from you again-your last letter home we learned that Hattie [4] had been quite sick and we were worried about her, I trust by this time that she is well and bright as ever. Alf and myself come over from home several days ago. We left Father and Sister a way well. Father’s health I think is improving [5] , he went to Charlotte in a buggy with Alfred and about several days without feeling any bad effects from the trip. I think it did he good, he seems to be as cheerful as I ever knew him. Sister Laura [6] is still in Charlotte and is having a gay time. There is to be a grand party tomorrow night given by the young
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men to the newly married folks, which of (illegible) will wind w/o the round of frolicking they have been having down there. Alf expects to go to Charlotte tomorrow to the party, he says, but I think there is some other attraction down there [7] . His trip to Morganlow last summer has somewhat disemfuddled him. He hardly ever speaks to a lady in the place now and was once such a favorite with them all. Our college is increasing some in numbers, we have 45 boys with a prospect of a good many more [8] , young Walton from Morgantown is here and getting on pretty well. He is rooming with Harvey Moore [9] and Robb McLean [10] . Mrs. McAuley has as many borders as she can well attend to. It was a fortunate move for her to come here. She is very fabulous with the boys and Laura Foster [11] seems to be a favorite with everybody here and her health has been bad since she got here.
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I never knew anyone to suffer with Neurolgia [12] as she does.
Sister Laura spoke about making you a visit before long when I was home. I suppose she has written to you about it though. Her difficulty was that she had nobody to go with her. [13] I wish very much I could make you a short visit. If she could come through her to Statesville I would do it, but I suppose she would go by Charlotte.
You must excuse my stopping here as my time is so limited. Remember me kindly, and don’t let Hattie forget her uncle Robbie.
With much love your affectionate brother
Robt. H. Morrison [14]

I sent you a photograph promised a long time ago. You must send yours and Hatties.

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[1] The President during 1868 was George Wilson McPhail ( The class of 1868 had to pay sixty-seven dollars for tuition and there were 54 students enrolled. There were only 5 faculty members at the time. The first term lasted from September 24th until December 22nd. The second term started on January 6th until April 1st. The third term lasted from April 6th until June 24th. Freshman year consisted of studying Bible history, Latin and English grammar, and geography. Sophomore year consisted mostly of Greek Testament. Junior year and senior year were highly focused on Greek Testament and philosophy (Davidson).

[2] Susan Washington was born in 1838 and lived until 1886. She was married to Alphonso Calhoun Avery. Susan was one of eight sisters of Robert (Shoop)

[3] Alfred James Morrison was one of three brothers that Robert Morrison had. Alfred was the youngest child of the Morrison family and graduated from Davidson in 1869 where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. After college he studied law and received his license for law at the age of 21. He then returned home and decided to run for State Legislature, which he eventually won and took his seat in 1872. However, Alfred was disgusted by the corrupted politics that he resigned and then enrolled at Union Theological Seminary, at Hampden-Sidney University located in Virginia. In 1875, Alfred contiously preached in Selma, Alabama at the First Presbyterian Church. Alfred died July 6th, 1876 at the age of 26 from Typhoid Fever, leaving behind his wife, Portia Lee Atkinson, and his son, Alfred James Morrison Jr (Morrison).

Photo of Alfred James Morrison taken in 1876.
Alfred James Morrison taken in 1876.

[4] Harriet Eloise Avery was Susan Washington Morrison’s second child who was born in 1864 and lived in 1886 (Shoop)

[5] President Robert Morrison resigned as Davidson College President in 1840 due to a severe throat illness. Robert returned to his home in Lincoln County where his health did increase for he lived for 49 more years.

[6] Laura Panthea Morrison was one of eight daughters and twelve children that Robert Hall Morrison and Mary Graham had together. Laura lived from 1840-1920 and was married to Colonel J. Edmunds Brown (Shoop).

Laura Morrison portrait
Laura Morrison

[7] Senior examinations took place on June 8th, 1868 (Davidson)

[8] Davidson College increased dramatically from 1868 and 1869 with enrollment increasing from 54 students to 121 students. Six of those students being prep school students, which were students who weren’t ready for college yet. (Davidson)

[9] Harvey Brevard Moore was a freshman from Beattie’s Ford, North Carolina. (Davidson)

[10] Robert Allison McLean was a freshman from Fayetteville, North Carolina. He later became a physician in Beattie’s Ford. (Davidson)

[11] Although there was a dining hall on campus built in 1837, boarding houses were buildings on or around campus where Davidson student’s would go to eat. Many women would be involved in these private boarding houses and Mrs. McAuley and Laura Foster were of these women. (Beaty)

[12] Neuralgia is pain in the distribution of a nerve or nerves and can cause numbness in the body.

[13] The home that the Morrison Children grew up in was called Cottage Home or the Morrison Home. The Morrison home has been refurnished and re-done by local architect and contractor, Lucia Shaw (Norwood)

[14] Son of Dr. Robert H. Morrison, Founder of Davidson College (
Robert Jr. was one of 12 children between Robert Morrison and Mary Graham. Robert was just finishing up his junior year when this letter was written. Robert was married to Lucy Andrews Reid and had one child in 1902, Rufus Reid. Robert Jr. was the second youngest child and son in the family (Shoop).

Works cited
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Beaty, Mary D. Davidson: A History of the Town from 1835 until 1937. Davidson, N.C. (Box 2482, Davidson, N.C. 28036): Briarpatch, 1979. Print.

Davidson College Catalog, 1861-1890. Davidson: Presbyterian job-office. [1861].

Herran, Kathy Neill. They Married Confederate Officers: The Intimate Story of Anna Morrison, Wife of Stonewall Jackson, and Her Five Sisters. Davidson, NC: Warren Pub., 1997. Print.

McMahan, Emma C. “Morrison Sisters Make History.” The Charlotte Observer 7 Sept. 1934: n. pag. Print.

Morrison, Robert Hall. Biography of Rev. Alfred James Morrison. RG 5/8.1 Alfred James Morrison Alumni file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.

Norwoord, Allen. “A Fine Old Place in 4th Ward.” The Charlotte Observer 2 Dec. 2000: 1E-3E. Print.

Shoop, Michael I. The Genealogies of the Jackson, Junkin & Morrison Families. Lexington, VA: Garland Gray Memorial Research Center, Stonewall Jackson House, Historic Lexington Foundation, 1981. Print.

Transcription and annotation author: Andrew McAuliffe.
Date: May 2014.
Cite as: McAuliffe, Andrew, annotator. 17 June 1868 Robert H. Morrison letter to sister. DC0127s.

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