Robert Dale Morgan

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Robert Dale Morgan. Judge. Peoria Ill.jpg

Robert Dale Morgan (May 27, 1912 – May 29, 2002) was mayor of Peoria, Illinois in the 1950s and a United States federal judge in Illinois from 1967 to 2002.[1]

Born in Peoria, Illinois, Morgan received a B.A. from Bradley University in 1934 and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1937. He was a U.S. Commissioner, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois from 1938 to 1946.[1]

He married Betty Harbers Morgan of Peoria on October 14, 1939; she died in September 2010.[2] They had two sons: Thomas D. Morgan[2] (born 1940)[citation needed] and James R. Morgan[2] (born 1946).[citation needed]

He was in the United States Army during World War II, from 1942 to 1946.[1] He was a major in the U.S. Army JAG Corps stationed in Chicago.[citation needed]

He was in private practice in Peoria, Illinois from 1937 to 1942 and 1946 to 1967,[1] and was a law partner of Everett Dirksen, Republican minority leader of the United States Senate from 1951 to 1969.[citation needed]

Morgan was elected the 49th Mayor of Peoria, Illinois and served from 1953 to 1957.[1] Peoria at the time was known as a city of ill-repute, full of gambling and prostitution. Morgan campaigned on a pledge to oust those elements, and under his administration, police began rapidly enforcing laws against these vice crimes. Authorities believed that these efforts led to the numerous attempts on his life including a dynamite blast on May 20, 1954, which severely damaged his home. Under his tenure, Peoria was named by Look magazine as one of the nation's 11 All-America cities. For accomplishing this and getting the city out of debt, Morgan received the Good Government Award in 1954. He was long active in Republican politics in Illinois, but he discontinued all political activity when he was appointed the position of federal judge.[citation needed]

Morgan was nominated by President Lyndon B. Johnson on May 24, 1967, to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois vacated by Frederick O. Mercer. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 12, 1967, and received his commission the same day. He was chief judge from 1972 to 1979. On March 31, 1979, he was reassigned to the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, and was chief judge there from 1979 to 1982. He assumed senior status on May 28, 1982 and remained until his death on May 29, 2002 in Peoria.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Robert Dale Morgan at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.. Retrieved 2011-10-20.
  2. ^ a b c "Betty Morgan". Peoria Journal Star. Peoria, Illinois: GateHouse Media. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2011-10-20.