David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS 1866-1934

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I’m still working on my great grandfather, D.E. Morris’, life-story today. My aunt told me she remembered that after D.E. died, my grandmother, whom he had been staying with in Gulfport, had found a trunk full of expired patents he’d filed. I’ll add this entry to D.E.’s post on the blog today. I call D.E. (David Edmund) “Ed” as apparently relatives referred to him by Ed. However, all the newspaper articles call him D.E. I was sad to learn Ed had battled alcoholism and in the end that is what caused his passing. His third wife, Miss Elizabeth they called her, was still living at their home in New Orleans when Ed came to live with my grandmother and grandfather in Gulfport on Wisteria St. where he actually died. His obituary in the Times-Picayune read that he died in New Orleans. It has been a bit of a mystery to unravel Ed’s life events as he accomplished much in his days despite his illness. Through his work with It would be so much easier for me to learn about him if I lived in Gulfport or Biloxi. Seems he haunts me… and I like that. He somehow became one of my favorite ancestors because I’ve spent so much time “with him”.

Ed Morris was a 33rd degree Mason – Gulfport, Mississippi, Masonic Lodge.


David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS


 my great grandfather
John Harkness MORRIS (1901 – 1965)
son of David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS
Janie Lucille MORRIS (1935 – 2013)
daughter of John Harkness MORRIS
the daughter of Janie Lucille MORRIS

David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS was born in 1866 in Moss Point, Mississippi to Frances M. “Fanny” WRIGHT, age 21, and John Wesley MORRIS, age 27. He was married three times and had two sons and two daughters. He died on December 24, 1934, in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the age of 68, and was buried in Gulfport, Mississippi.

David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS married Virginia Watkins on May 9, 1890, when he was 24 years old. My aunt says she has a record of them marrying in the Presbyterian Church in Moss Point, Mississippi on March 11, 1898. I have not found that record. I found a record that stated they were married in Scranton, Jackson, Mississippi.

David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS married Edna Irene HARKNESS on December 25, 1900, in Biloxi, Mississippi, when he was 34 years old.

His son John Harkness was born on October 8, 1901, in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Tenderly and Kevin Cooper in Great Grandpa Ed Morris's Fishing Boat
cir 1957 Playing in an old fishing boat that belonged to Ed Morris, Kevin Cooper and Tenderly Rose enjoy the sand in the re-purposed john boat. The boat’s final resting place was in the backyard of Rosie and John Morris’s home at 1711 Wisteria Street in Gulfport, Mississippi (Gulf Gardens).

U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 for Edmund Morris


Data from the above U.S. General Land Office Records:

Name: Edmund Morris
Issue Date: 27 Aug 1898
Acres: 39.48
Meridian: St Stephens
State: Mississippi
County: Marion
Township: 5-N
Range: 17-W
Section: 22
Accession Number: MS2610__.159
Metes and Bounds: No
Land Office: Jackson
Canceled: No
US Reservations: No
Mineral Reservations: No
Authority: May 20, 1862: Homestead EntryOriginal (12 Stat. 392)
Document Number: 13288


1629 24th Ave, Gulfport, Harrison, Mississippi, USA. This house was once the two-story home of D.E. and Edna Irene (Harkness) Morris. this has been confirmed by their grandaughter and great grandaughter. A large sycamore tree was once in front of the home and in recent years, it was removed.


David Edmund “DE” Morris, 1902 – Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Photo from Daily Herald Biographical Sketch
1902 David Edmund “DE” Morris Biloxi, Harrison, Mississippi, USA Biographical Sketch cont.-From the Daily Herald Book

Occupation 1910

He was an Engineer by trade and a Master Machinist at the Dantzler Foundry & Machine Works-Foundry G.  Gulfport, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

David Edmund Morris, Designs Tractor Disc Plow – 7 Oct 1912 Gulfport, Harrison, Mississippi, USA – D.E. Morris designed a “Disc Plow Drawn by Motor Tractor Product” Dantzler Foundry and Machine Shop – Daily Herald
D.E. and J.L. Morris US Patent
D.E. and J.L. Morris of the Mississippi Gulf Coast – US Patent 1916 “Two Cousins and a Stump Puller”
D.E. Morris: 1920 Engineer in Chief – United States Coast Guard. As Chief Engineer, Ed may have worn a hat like one of these.

D. E. Morris, member of Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association


“The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.)
“The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) is the oldest maritime trade union in the United States still currently in existence, established in 1875. M.E.B.A. primarily represents licensed mariners, especially deck and engine officers working in the United States Merchant Marine aboard U.S.-flagged vessels. It is a member union of the AFL–CIO.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Engineers’_Beneficial_Association

David Edmund Morris 1920’s Puerto Rico Photo of D.E. Morris on a ship while he was a Chief Engineer on the USS Ranger


David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS served in the military on December 27, 1920, in Gulfport, Mississippi, when he was 54 years old. Chief Engineer of the USS Ranger – “the Ranger” performed hydro geographic charting along the Mississippi Gulf Coast under the Dept. of Commerce.

Divorce: David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS and Edna Irene HARKNESS were divorced about 1920, when he was 54 years old. I know Edna and Ed were divorced according to a family source. He moved to New Orleans and started a new life. This was when my grandfather, John Harkness Morris was in high school.

David Edmund Morris, Chief Engineer, USS Ranger – David Edmund Morris is the officer on the left of the photo.
cir 1920 – David Edmund Morris, Chief Engineer, USS Ranger. David Edmund Morris is the officer on the right of the photo.
cir 1920 – David Edmund Morris, Chief Engineer, USS Ranger. David Edmund Morris is the officer in the middle of the photo.
U.S. Coast Guard Emblem 1920 – David Edmund “DE” Morris was in the U.S. Coast Guard.

David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS was listed as married to Elizabeth Finger in 1934 in Louisiana, when he was 68 years old in the Times-Picayune obituary. I have no record of their marriage other than that. There is a census with her name as Elizabeth Morris. Relatives in my family called her “Miss Elizabeth”. My Aunt Rosie spent time with them in their home in New Orleans when she was growing up and has shared stories of the two.


Photo credit: Cynthia Fore Miller – David Edmund “D.E.” MORRIS lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, about 1931. 4230 Laurel Street. Ed Morris was living at 1711 Wisteria Street with my grandparents when he passed away according family sources. He is buried in Guflport with his son, John Harkness Morris in Evergreen Cemetery.

David E. Morris Death Notice – Times Picayune – 25, Dec 1934 New Orleans, Louisiana – Times Picayune, Page 2, Column 6 A family source states DE Morris passed in Gulfport, MS, at the home of his son. “David Edwin Morris” is given as his name in this article, however, no other records of this version of his name has been found. With the exceptions of his name and address, all other information in the announcement is correct to my knowledge.
David Edmund Morris: This grave is located in the Morris Family Plot with John Harkness Morris, Rosie S. Morris and Mary Elizabeth Morris. His grave received this marker when son, John, died. Rosie Smith Morris provided it for him at the same time she placed John Harkness’s gravestone. It is believed by two close family members, and his death certificate indicates, that the year on this marker is in error. It should be 1934.


Moss Point, Mississippi
Biloxi, Mississippi
New Orleans, Louisiana
Pass Christian, Mississippi
St. Stephens, Mississippi
Vancleave, Mississippi
Grand Bay, Alabama
Gulfport, Mississippi

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