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MORRIS, JOHN DABNEY (1816–1896). John Dabney Morris, jurist, was born in Hanover County, Virginia, on January 18, 1816, and received training as a lawyer. He immigrated to Texas in April 1837 and settled in San Antonio. Morris first became district attorney of the Fourth Judicial District (the Bexar District) in 1837 and was reappointed by his friend Mirabeau B. Lamar on January 8, 1839, and again on February 4, 1840. In 1840 he was the owner of a gold watch and one slave. At the Council House Fight on March 19, 1840, he saved the life of Mathew Caldwell by shooting a Comanche who was taking aim at the unarmed man. Morris was elected to represent Bexar County in the House of Representatives of the Sixth Congress of the Republic of Texas, 1841–42, and in the spring of 1842 took part as a lieutenant colonel of the Texas militia in the repulse of the Mexican invasion led by Gen. Rafael Vásquez. He served as one of Capt. John Coffee Hays's envoys to Vásquez while the Mexicans were occupying San Antonio and as one of Hays's scouts during Vásquez's retreat to the Rio Grande. Morris is said to have been a colonel during the Mexican War. He died at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, on July 30, 1896. One J. D. Morris, age forty-two, was an unmarried farmer when he immigrated to the Stephen F. Austin colony from Missouri in 1828. This is apparently the Morris who was detailed from Capt. Jesse Billingsley's company on April 20 to attend the wounded Col. James C. Neill and was therefore absent from the battle of San Jacinto.

Dallas Morning News, July 31, 1896. Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Muster Rolls of the Texas Revolution (Austin, 1986). Michael R. Green, comp. and ed., Calendar of the Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (Austin: Texas State Library, 1982). Telegraph and Texas Register, March 16, 1842. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Gifford E. White, 1830 Citizens of Texas (Austin: Eakin, 1983). Amelia W. Williams and Eugene C. Barker, eds., The Writings of Sam Houston, 1813–1863 (8 vols., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1938–43; rpt., Austin and New York: Pemberton Press, 1970).
Thomas W. Cutrer

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, "Morris, John Dabney," accessed November 22, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.