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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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Roger Morris

MORRIS, Roger, soldier, born in England, 28 January, 1717; died in York, England, 13 September, 1794. He obtained a captaincy in the 48th foot, and, accompanying General Edward Braddock to Canada, served as his aide-de-camp, and was wounded at his defeat. He was with Lord Loudoun in 1757, exchanged to the 35th regiment in 1758-'9, was stationed at Fort Frederick, and occasionally engaged with the Indians that harassed the settlements in Nova Scotia. He was attached to the Louisburg grenadiers in Wolfe's expedition against Quebec, participated in the battle of the Plains of Abraham, and did good service at Sillery, 28 April, 1760. He became lieutenant-colonel of the 47th regiment in May of that year, and commanded the 3d battery in the expedition under General James Murray (q. v.) against Montreal. He retired from the army in 1764, settled in New York city, and in December of that year was appointed one of the executive council. During the Revolution he adhered to the crown, and in 17'76 his estate was confiscated. His plate and furniture were sold at auction a few years later. He returned to England and (tied there.--His wife, Mary Philipse, born !n the Philipse Manor House, on Hudson river, in 1730; died in York, England, in 1825, was the daughter of Frederick Philipse, the second lord of the Manor.

She was carefully educated and enjoyed all the advantages of the society that frequented her father's home. She is described as of great personal beauty, with dark eyes and hair, and as full of imperious yet kindly impulses. In the winter of 1756 she visited in New York her brother-in-law, Beverly Robinson, and met there George Washington, who was also a guest of Mr. Robinson. Her charms made a deep impression on the heart of the Virginia colonel, whose suit she is said to have declined, but his papers disprove the assertion. She married Roger Morris in 1758, and they erected on the outskirts of New York the mansion that was subsequently, after the confiscation act, the headquarters of Washington, and for many years the residence of Madame Jumel (q.v.). In a conversation with one of the descendants of Mrs. Morris, a contemporaneous writer remarked how different would have been her fate had she married Washington. " You mistake, sir," was the reply; "she had immense influence over everybody, and had she become the wife of the leader of the rebellion he would not have been a traitor; she would have prevented it." Mrs. Morris inherited a large estate, part of which was a tract of land in Putnam county, New York, including Lake Mahopac, and she was in the habit of visiting her tenants semi-annually till the Revolution, occupying a log-house, which Washington also at a later period appropriated for his headquarters, as he had done the family mansion near New York. In this retreat she was much beloved by the settlers, whom she instructed in household and religious duties. Although she was revered she was also somewhat feared by them, and the upper story of the mill that adjoined her residence was crowded with worshippers on Sundays when "Madam "was likely to be present. At the beginning of the Revolution she fell under suspicion as a loyalist, and in the autumn of 1776 her property was confiscated, and she was forced to fly with her family to Beverly, on the Hudson, the country-seat of Beverly Robinson. It is believed that Mrs. Morris, her sister, Mrs. Robinson, and the wife of the Reverend Charles Inglis, were the only women that were attainted of treason during the Revolution. But the attorney-general of England having decided that the property of the children, at the decease of the parents, was not included in their attainder, and recoverable under the principles of law and right, in 1809 the children of Roger Morris and his wife sold their reversionary interest to John Jacob Astor, of New York, for £20,000, and the British government made them an additional compensation of £17,000. Mrs. Morris went to England with her husband. A monument is erected over their remains in St. Saviour-gate church, York. Of their children, Henry Gage and Amherst were captains in the royal navy.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia, Copyright © 2001 VirtualologyTM

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