Rev. Robert Desha Morris
This is a steel engraving of Rev. Robert Desha Morris. He was born in Washington, Mason County, Kentucky, August 22d, 1814. He is the eldest son of Colonel Joseph Morris, who removed from New Jersey to Kentucky in 1794. Having been prepared at Bracken Academy, Augusta, Kentucky, he entered Augusta College in the same place, and after a four-years' course graduated August 7th, 1834. He then went to the Theological Seminary, Princeton, New Jersey, where he completed another four-years' course, September 24th, 1838. During vacations he attended lectures at the theological department of Yale College, and traveled extensively over the country. He was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, in that city, April 18th, 1838. His first sermon was preached in the Presbyterian Church at Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, April 22d, 1838, and his second discourse was delivered on the afternoon of the same day in the old Ben Salem Presbyterian Church, near the Philadelphia line. Having been called to Newtown, in August following he was ordained and installed pastor of that church by the Second Presbytery of Philadelphia, October 23d, 1838, and sustained that relation for eighteen years. He removed thence to Oxford, Ohio, where he has been for over sixteen years President of Oxford Female College. He received the honorary degree of D. D. from Center College, Kentucky, June 1870. He was married, May 3d, 1842, to Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of Matthew L. Bevan, an eminent merchant and Christian gentleman of Philadelphia. Besides diligent attention to his pastoral duties, he was abundant in labors and in preaching and planting churches in other places. Several important churches in Bucks County owe their formation to his persistent efforts. He was uniformly prompt and active in his attendance upon the judicatories of his denomination, and was several times elected by his Presbytery to represent them in the highest court of the Presbyterian Church. He was a member of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church at Louisville, Kentucky, in 1844; at Cincinnati in 1850; at New Orleans in 1858, and at Philadelphia in 1870. In general improvement, in temperance and educational movements, he was very active, having been President of the Pennsylvania State Temperance Convention at Harrisburg in 1846. He served as Director in the common schools, and established a superior Parochial School and Classical Academy, now (1876) in successful operation at Newtown. He was for years an energetic and laborious Trustee for Lafayette College, helping to raise her endowment and sending her many promising young men. In Ohio his educational efforts have continued with unabated interest. The Oxford Female College, over which he presides, has the well-deserved honor of being one of the best educational establishments in the country.