HON. ISAAC L. MORRISON. This book contains portraits of many illustrious men, whose names are indelibly impressed upon the history of Morgan County. Among these valuable engravings, certainly an important place belongs to that of the Hon. Isaac L. Morrison, Attorney and Counselor at Law. He took up his residence in the city of Jacksonville (then an unimportant village), in 1851, almost forty years ago. He was born Jan. 20, 1826, in Barren County, Ky., and is the son of John O. and Elizabeth (Wilbourn) Morrison, who were natives, respectively, of Virginia and North Carolina. After their marriage they settled, about 1793, in Garrett County, Ky.
The paternal grandparents of Isaac L. Morrison, Andrew and Polly (Burdett) Morrison, were natives of the North of Ireland. Grandfather Morrison emigrated to America at an early day in time to do good service as a soldier in the Revolutionary War. He fought for his country's freedom but his earthly warfare ceased prior to the termination of the conflict. The patriots met with many disastrous defeats in 1777, one of the most serious being sustained in the battle of Brandywine. There the starving soldiers were cruelly slaughtered and left to die on the battle-field or linger in pain for days and weeks. Among the fatally injured in this battle was Andrew Morrison, who gave his life for the land of his adoption. On the mother's side the grandfather of our subject was James A. Wilbourn, a native of North Carolina, who removed to Kentucky in 1800. There he engaged in farming during the remainder of his life.
John O. Morrison, the father of our subject, departed this life in Barren County, Ky., in 1841. His wife, Elizabeth, survived him a period of twenty-two years, her death taking place in Barren County, in 1863. She was the second wife of Mr. Morrison, who, by his first marriage had become the father of six children. Of his union with Elizabeth Wilbourn there were born seven children, of whom Isaac L., our subject, was, with one exception, the youngest.
Young Morrison continued a resident of his native State until he reached his majority, acquiring his education in the Masonic Seminary at LaGrange, of which he was a student two years. He subsequently read law in the same town, and was admitted to practice in the courts of Kentucky, in September, 1849. Two years later, however, he came to Illinois, locating in Jacksonville, and was one of its pioneer attorneys. He formed a partnership, in 1861, with Cyrus Epler (now Judge of the Circuit Court), which continued until 1869. The firm then became Morrison, Whitlock & Gallagher, and was in operation until the death of Mr. Gallagher, in 1871. Since that time the firm has maintained an enviable reputation as Morrison & Whitlock.
The energy and intelligence of the young attorney were given ready recognition by the people of Morgan County, and it soon became evident that Mr. Morrison was destined for a prominent position among his fellow men. He was elected on the Republican ticket to the House of Representatives, in 1876, and served three terms thereafter, closing his services in 1883. He was one of the Republican delegates to the State Convention, which established the platform of that party in Illinois. Later, in 1864, he was a member of the Convention which nominated Abraham Lincoln for President. He has for a period of over thirty years taken on active interest in politics, and has done most excellent service in the upholding of party principles. His law practice has resulted in the accumulation of a good property, and he lives at his ease in one of the finest homes in Jacksonville.
The marriage of Isaac L. Morrison and Miss Anna R. Rappeljie, was celebrated July 27, 1853 in Jacksonville. Mrs. Morrison was born in New York City, and is a lady of fine literary attainments, and rare social qualities. The union of this gifted couple was blessed by the birth of two children, Miriam W., and Alfred T., both residents of Jacksonville. The family are connected with the Episcopal Church, which they regularly attend.
Mr. Morrison has been identified with the Jacksonville National Bank since the time of its organization. He is general solicitor for the Jacksonville & Southeastern Railroad, and rated as one of the ablest attorneys of the State of Illinois. As a citizen, he is public-spirited and liberal, progressive in his ideas, and highly esteemed among the people who have known him so long and so well.