Janie Lucille Morris
I would like to personally thank Geoff Pender of the Daily Herald for this article. My mother, Jane Morris Estrada was interviewed in the piece. I learned things about the neighborhood I grew up in that I’d not been aware of and I also was reminded of the unique and very precious experiences I had as a child in this Gulfport community. Since the time this article was published, much has changed for this neighborhood and many of the fears of the neighbors have continued, even worsened. I can tell you Gulf Gardens was an American dream that bore amazing fruit. The Gulf Coast was a much better place to have had such a place called Gulf Gardens. The heartbreaking truth is that very little is left of the neighborhood I grew up. When I was born, I came home from Memorial Hospital to that home the Morrises built in 1935. That house and yard will always be my home. I had hoped to return to Gulf Gardens to finish my days there as both my grandmother and mother did. This is not to be. Cherish the old neighborhoods. Remember the folks who lived and loved there. Our spirits will never leave there. Gulf Gardens was truly “Home Sweet Home”.
We take for granted, sometimes, that which is steady and true…
— Tenderly Rose
My maternal grandfather
John Harkness Morris was born on October 8, 1901, in Biloxi, Mississippi to Edna Irene Harkness and David Edmund “D.E.” Morris. My Aunt Rosie told me, and my mother confirmed it, their father weighed 14 pounds at birth. All his life he was called “Big John” for obvious reasons referring to his stature and presence.
The Morris family lived in Biloxi, Gulfport and Moss Point, Mississippi according to various newspaper clippings I’ve collected.
The U.S. Census for the year of 1910 shows Big John living with his parents Edna and D.E. in Beat 4, Gulfport, Mississippi. Hard to read the handwriting for the street they lived on.
I was told by my mother Big John attended Central High School in Gulfport which was just around the corner from his home. Later the school became Central Elementary School which I attended first through third grade back in the 1960’s. That was a source of pride for me to know that. The building was demolished for a courthouse later on, sad to say.
In 1920, the census finds Big John at the age of 18, living with his parents and sisters, Irene and Martha, and his brother, Edward, on what might appear to be 24th Street in Gulfport. Handwriting is hard to read for the address. No occupation listed, but, I note his father was working at the foundry at this time.
He married Rosa Ann Elizabeth “Rosie” Smith about 1923, in Kiln, Mississippi. They had six children in 10 years.
Hon. John “Johnny” Smith Morris 1925–1991
Mary Elizabeth “L’il Sissy” Morris 1927–1929
Tommye LaNelle Morris 1928–
David Harkness Morris 1930–1975
Rosie Ann Morris 1931–
Janie Lucille Morris 1935–2013
The 1930 census shows John Harkness Morris lived in Gulfport, Mississippi. The census lists John H Morris 28, Rose Ann Morris 34, John S. Morris 4, Tommie Linelle (wrong spelling) Morris 1 yr 11 mos, Bamma Smith – 626 Camp Ave., John’s job is listed as Automobile Salesman. Bama Smith was my grandmother’s sister.
In 1934, Big John’s father, D.E. Morris, was living with John and Rosie when he passed away at the age of 68. The obit for D.E. states he died in New Orleans, but, close family members recall John and Rosie were caring for D.E. at the time of his death. My aunt referred to D.E. as Grandpa Ed.
Gulfport City Directory for 1936 shows address for Big John’s business under “John H (Rosa) – “Morris-Webb Mtr Co 815 43rd Ave – Plymouth & DeSoto autos and International Trucks.” Lists Morris, John H.’s home as 815 43rd Ave.
John and Rosie Morris built a home at 1711 Wisteria Street in the new Gulf Gardens Subdivision back in 1935. They raised their children there and the dwelling provided a home to 4 generations of the family before the last Morris left just a couple of years back.
In 1939, a Gulfport City Directory lists “Morris Motor Company (John H. Morris) 1812 25th Ave.” Another listing for that year states, “John H (Rosa S)-Morris Motor Co. 1711 Wisteria”
When my mother, Janie, was a baby, a 1940 census shows John H, Rosie A., John Smith, Tommye L., Rosie Ann, David H. and Janie L residing on Wisteria Street, Beat 2, in Gulfport, Mississippi. I learned that at the age of 14, my Uncle Johnny sold the Daily Herald newspaper as shown on this census. My grandmother, Rosie’s occupation was listed as nurse, R.N. “special duty” and Big John’s occupation was listed as “operator” (owner) auto sales company.
A 1947 Gulfport City Directory lists “Morris, John H (Rosa) 1711 Wisteria St.”
In 1949, a Gulfport City Directory lists “Morris, John H (Rosie) & John Jr. 1711 Wisteria St. It lists “John H.” as “retired.” Big John was 48 years old at the time this directory was published.
In 1953, a Gulfport City Directory entry lists “John H (Rosie S-nurse), Janie L.-Student, David H-USA military, and John S.
I only have one picture of my grandfather. It is a photo I took of a photograph my mother showed me once when I was visiting Hungry Hill in the 90’s and my mother was the sole occupant of the house. She told me this was my grandfather’s baby picture. She said it was taken in Biloxi. She did not elaborate on it at all. It was rare that my mother spoke to me about Big John, so, I consider myself very fortunate to have this to share. It is not a very good reproduction, but, it is special to me.
When I think about it, I find it strange there are no photographs I’m aware of that were taken of me and him. There are so many photographs taken of me and my grandmother, my mother, other relatives, but, not one of me and my grandfather. I helped my grandmother put together her photo albums, it was my job to help her and we loved working on this project together. She’d tell me what to write on the backs of the photos, or in the albums. I don’t recall any candid photos shots of Big John. Were they just not taken, or kept somewhere else?
Celia Mary (Sears) Hoagland 1825–1889
When Celia Mary Sears was born on March 31, 1825, in Dryden, New York, her father, William, was 28 and her mother, Susan, was 25. She married Zephaniah Campbell Hoagland on January 18, 1844, in Steuben County, New York. They had nine children in 20 years. She died on November 4, 1889, in Elgin, Illinois, at the age of 64, and was buried there.
She was my great great grandmother.
Celia M. Sears-Daughter of William Richard Sears and Susan Gilbert: Celia M. Sears was the daughter of William Richard Sears and Susan Gilbert born 31 Mar 1825 in Howard, Steuben, New York, USA and died 4 Nov 1889 in Elgin, Kane, Illinois. She married Zephaniah C. Hoagland. Susan Gilbert was buried in Elgin in the Hoagland family plot. I have been working with other researchers of the Sears family and feel Celia is a sister to James, Charity, Bradford, Serena and John. She was somehow inadvertently missed in some genealogical information that is available on the internet.
Celia is the aunt of Richard Warren Sears 1863–1914, my 1st cousin 4x removed. He was a founder of Sears Roebuck and Company.
son of Celia Mary SEARS
son of Samuel Campbell HOAGLAND
daughter of Frederick Judson “Fred” HOAGLAND
son of Helen Marie HOAGLAND
the daughter of Capt. Frank Hunt BOSWORTH II
Note: On Ancestry.com – Someone has added Zeph to their family tree for the husband of Clarinda Griffith. This is absolutely not accurate. He was married once, and it was not to Clarinda Griffith. All the documentation and sources I have found through extensive research evidences the fact that Zephaniah Hoagland was married only once in his life and that is to Celia, whom he is buried next to.
Public and Private School Teacher, Principal of Coast Episcopal School
Jane “Janie” Morris Estrada
November 27, 1935-March 9, 2013
Jane “Janie” Morris Estrada, a descendant of the pioneer Morris and Harkness families of the Gulf Coast, led her last parade through downtown Gulfport this week. She called the band to attention and quietly passed on March 9, 2013, in Gulfport. She will be forever missed by family and loved ones. She was born on November 27, 1935 at the Kings Daughters Hospital in Gulfport, and was a resident of Gulfport for most of her life. Jane was a 1953 graduate of Gulfport High School and was one of three Morris sisters to be head drum majorette of the Gulfport High School band. She was a champion baton twirler, and she and her sisters introduced fire baton twirling to the state of Mississippi. In national competition, she was the Midwest Fire Baton champion.
At Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jane was the first to serve as the head Perkette for two terms, and was Miss Perkinston Jr. College and the Annual Ball Duchess. She was also an editor of the Bull Dog Barks newspaper. Jane graduated in 1955 from Perk and received Elementary and Secondary Degrees in Education in 1958 from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she was a columnist for the USM student newspaper. After the death of her husband, Jim, she moved to Hattiesburg with her four children and received a Masters of Education from USM.
Jane was the widow of USAF Captain James Peter Estrada, who was killed at the age of 28 in a B-58 Hustler supersonic jet, which was the first bomber to reach Mach Two. She was President and a lifetime member of the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Gold Star Wives, an organization chartered by the U.S. Congress for those whose husbands died on active duty in the U.S. armed services.
Mrs. Estrada was preceded in death by her parents John Harkness Morris and Rosie Smith Morris and her brothers Chancery Judge John S. Morris and U.S. Staff Sgt. David Harkness Morris, USAF, her great aunts Stella and Mae Harkness, an uncle, Gaston Robertson, Jr. and a sister Mary Elizabeth Morris, mother-in-law Angela Franquet Estrada and two beloved brother-in-laws, Dr. David Kelly and Shannon Slyfield. She is survived by her children Tenderly (Tom) Reininger, Angela Estrada (Ed Moleski), Alison Estrada and James Powell (Jan) Estrada.
Also surviving her are her grandchildren Evan Moleski, James Estrada, Jacob Estrada, Justin Dougherty and Kate Dougherty, and sisters Tommye LaNell Kelly of Austin, Texas and Rosie Slyfield of Mary Esther, Florida.
Mrs. Estrada served over 35 years as a teacher and a principal in Mississippi, Oklahoma and Indiana. She completed her teaching career from the Biloxi Public Schools in 1995. In 1985-86, she was selected as Teacher of the Year for the state of Mississippi by MPSEA private schools. In 1990, she was selected by former students for the initial edition of Who’s Who Among American Teachers.
As a college student, Jane worked in Washington D.C. for Meyers & Batzell, Attorneys and the AAA D.C. district. Her first job upon graduation from college was with Sam Owen at his realty office in Gulfport. She worked also in the law office of her brother John S. Morris.
She was a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority at USM and a member of Kappa Delta Phi Educational Sorority. Her professional memberships included Past President, Harrison County Association of Educators, District 6, Mississippi Association of Educators, former Board member of MAE, seven year elected delegate to the National Education Association, President and Woman of the Year for the American Business Women’s Association, a 50 year member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Past Royal Matron and Deputy Supreme Royal Matron of the Masonic Organization Order of the Amaranth, Past President of the Biloxi Education Association, appointed officer of the Coast Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. While serving as a leader of both Junior and Cadette troops of the Girl Scouts of America, Mrs. Estrada integrated the first Girl Scout troop in Gulfport.
She served on the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee with Lucimarian Roberts, which was one of her greatest honors. She was a speaker on behalf of the mentor programs for disadvantaged children. In addition, at night she taught adults to read,after having taught school during the day.
Jane was a wonderful mother, daughter and teacher. After the death of her husband, she raised four children on her own, and sent them all to college. She was actively involved in the lives of her children, and took care of her mother in later years.
Mrs. Estrada lived her bucket list. After traveling extensively in the United States and Canada as a teacher, her sister Rosie took her on trip to Europe. She leaned on the Tower of Pisa, prayed at the Vatican, saw the blue birds over the White Cliffs of Dover, threw three coins in the Trevi Fountain in Rome, touched the feet of “The David” in Florence and smiled at the Mona Lisa. She rode the lifts in Switzerland and turned the windmills in Amsterdam.
A member of First Baptist Church of Gulfport for 70 years, she was converted and joined St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach after a close relationship with the Holy Mother Mary. As a Baptist, she went to Satillo Mission in Mexico when Father Quin was there, and he is now being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church. Father Quin named Jane “The Babolic”, a Baptist who travels with Catholics.
Friends and relatives will be received from 9-11:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 16th at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach. A graveside service will follow at 11:30 a.m. officiated by Father Louis Lohan at Southern Memorial Park, where Jane will be laid to rest by her beloved husband, Jim.
The family wishes to thank the many wonderful doctors who helped Jane through her illness, especially Dr. David LaRosa, Dr. Edwin Davidson and Dr. Fred Pakron. They also wish to give thanks for the prayers of Father Louis Lohan, Father Pete Mockler and others, the many friends who gave of themselves, Deaconess Home Care and Cannon Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, people wishing to donate may contribute to St. Thomas Catholic Church, Saltillo Mission, c/o St. Thomas Catholic Church, 712 E. Beach Blvd. Long Beach, MS 39560 or The Gold Star Wives of America, 200 N. Glebe Road Suite 425, Arlington, VA 22203.
For the sake of genealogy the following information is provided.
Janie’s first husband was Capt. Frank Hunt Bosworth. Tenderly was her child with Frank.
Later, she married Capt. James Peter Estrada with whom she had three other children. Tenderly was adopted by Jim Estrada and she lovingly called him “Daddy Jim” and grew up as his child.
Tenderly’s name was legally changed to Robin Melissa Bosworth at the age of 19 years old.
Justin James Dougherty (Danielle Gilberg) was Janie’s first grandchild and Kathleen Margaret “Kate” Dougherty was her second grandchild. “Kate” is Janie’s only grandaughter. They are the children of Melissa and her first husband.They reside in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
Janie also had two great grandchildren not mentioned in her obituary: Mackenzie Diane Dougherty and Brett James Dougherty, children of Justin and Danielle who reside in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.
Voice recordings of Janie on “Chirbit”: Christmas Letter by Jane Morris Estrada for Tenderly – You can listen to the files on “Chirbit” and they are downloadable. Much of the family history regarding Tenderly Rose and Janie before she married Jim Estrada are in these files: