Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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MORRIS, Thomas Asbury, M. E. bishop, born near Charlestown, Virginia, 28 April, 1794 ; died in Springfield, Ohio, 2 September, 1874. His parents, John and Margaret Morris, settled on Kanawha river about 1785. His early education was obtained in the common schools, and later he pursued special studies in a school that was taught by William Paine, an Englishman. Before reaching manhood he served three years as an assistant in the office of his brother Edmund, who was clerk of the county. At the age of eighteen he was drafted to serve six months in the war of 1812, but, owing to his youth, his family procured a substitute, by whom he was overtaken and released before the company reached the scene of conflict. For some years he was a skeptic, but in 1813 was converted, and. though his parents were Baptists, he united with the Methodist Episcopal church, and in 1814 entered its ministry, connecting himself with the Ohio conference. In two years he travelled 5,500 miles on horseback, preaching 500 times, and during the first twelve years of his ministry he received but $2,000. In 1826 he suffered an attack of paralysis, but, in spite of impaired health, he was always a hard student and wide reader. As a preacher he was concise, clear, instructive, and sometimes eloquent, hi 1834 he was made editor of the "Western Christian Advocate" in Cincinnati. In 1836 he was elected bishop. As early as 1835 he was known as an advocate of total abstinence. In 1844, when the church was divided, he remained in connection with the Methodist Episcopal church, though he was a native of Virginia and regretted the separation deeply. For sixteen years of his thirty-six years' service in the episcopate he was the senior bishop of his church. He was practical, witty, and blunt, but kind. His spirit was indomitable, and he possessed charming simplicity, both of taste and manner. McKendree college gave him the degree of D.D. in 1841. Bishop Morris published a work on " Church Polity"; a volume of sermons; one entitled " Essays, Biographical Sketches, and Notes of Travel" (1851); and "Sketches of Western Methodism" (Cincinnati, 1852).
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