Sunday, March 12, 2017

Morris Family Dwelled Along Johnson Avenue

Ernest and Grace Mitchell Morris had grown up together near New Salem in Rush County, Indiana. Deciding that the life of a farmer was not for him, Ernest moved to Indianapolis and in 1896 became one of the founders of the Indianapolis Engraving Company. In 1909, he married his childhood sweetheart, Grace Mitchell, and they lived in a variety of locations before moving into the Arts and Crafts residence at 20 Johnson Avenue in 1921.

While Mr. Morris went to work at his office in downtown Indianapolis, Mrs. Morris stayed home with their two sons, Edgar and Maynard.  Tragedy visited the family in October of 1925, when fourteen-year-old Edgar came down with the polio virus. He was attended to by Dr. Oliver C. Neier, but the virus was too aggressive. Edgar Morris died on October 12, 1925, two days before the couple's sixteenth wedding anniversary. The teen had been named for his grandfather in Rush County. The Rushville Republican reported that the family was in complete shock over the suddenness of his passing.

For unknown reasons, the Morris family decided to leave Irvington and move to the north side of Indianapolis in 1926. They sold their home to Dr. Oliver Neier, the very man who had attempted to aid their son during his illness.  Mr. Morris died in 1956 at the age of 71. He was still associated with the Indianapolis Engraving Company at the time. Mrs. Morris lived until 1967.  Their only surviving son, Maynard, died suddenly in 1970 at the age of 50.

Ernest Morris as pictured in Fellow Citizens of Indianapolis in 1926
20 Johnson Avenue in 2017

Sources:  "Engraving Official Dies," Rushville Republican, July 9, 1956; "Boy Dies Suddenly," Rushville Republican, October 12, 1925, 1; "Engravers Saw 500 Hundred Mile Race Paved Way for Color Work," Indianapolis Star, May 26, 1946, 40.