Buckner Stith Morris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Buckner Stith Morris
2nd Mayor of Chicago
In office
Preceded by William Butler Ogden
Succeeded by Benjamin Wright Raymond
Personal details
Born (1800-08-19)August 19, 1800
Augusta, Kentucky
Died December 16, 1879(1879-12-16) (aged 79)
Chicago, Illinois
Political party Whig, American
Spouse(s) Evelina Barker (1st wife)
Eliza Stephenson (2nd wife)
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Profession Lawyer

Buckner Stith Morris (August 19, 1800 – December 16, 1879) served as Mayor of Chicago, Illinois (1838–1839) for the Whig Party.

Morris married Evelina Barker in Kentucky in 1832 and the couple moved to Chicago in 1834 where Morris established a law practice with J. Young Scammon and created the Chicago Lyceum, the city's first literary society. By 1835, however, Morris had left Scammon and was practicing law with Edward Casey. He was elected mayor of Chicago in 1838 and went on to serve terms as a city alderman. He ran for the office of Illinois Secretary of State in 1852 under the Whig ticket and served as a Lake County Circuit Court Judge from 1853 to 1855.

Following Evelina's death in 1847, he married Eliza Stephenson in 1850. Eliza died in 1855.

The former mayor was outspoken in his opposition the American Civil War and was suspected to sympathise with the "Copperheads." In 1864, he was arrested for aiding in a Confederate attempt to free prisoners of war from Camp Douglas. He was held for 9 months, but was then exonerated by a military court.[1] Being unable, while so detained, to attend to his business affairs, he lost most of his assets through foreclosures. Incensed over the treatment of their ancestor, his heirs refused to permit the donation of his historical material, diaries, etc., to the Chicago Historical Society, despite urging to that end.

The first use recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary of the phrase, to hell in a hand basket, is in The Great North-Western Conspiracy in All Its Startling Details, by I. Windslow Ayer, in alleging that, at a meeting of the Order of the Sons of Liberty, Judge Morris of the Circuit Court of Illinois said: "Thousands of our best men were prisoners in Camp Douglas, and if once at liberty would 'send abolitionists to hell in a hand basket.'"[2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pucci, Kelly (2007). Camp Douglas: Chicago's Civil War Prison. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-7385-5175-3. 
  2. ^ Martin, Gary. "The meaning and origin of the expression: Going to hell in a handbasket". The Phrase Finder. Retrieved October 30, 2010. The first example of 'hell in a hand basket' that I have found in print comes in I. Winslow Ayer's account of events of the American Civil War The Great North-Western Conspiracy, 1865. A very similar but slightly fuller report of Morris's comments was printed in the House Documents of the U.S. Congress, in 1867 
  3. ^ Ayer, I. Windslow, The Great North-Western Conspiracy in All Its Startling Details. Chicago: Rounds and James, 1865. p.47. retrieved October 30, 2010

External links[edit]