Meyer Morton

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Meyer Morton
Meyer Morton.png
Morton from the 1912 Michiganensian
Myer Isakovitz

November 20, 1889
DiedFebruary 8, 1948
Chicago, Illinois
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Michigan

Meyer Morton, born Myer Isakovitz (November 20, 1889 – February 8, 1948) was an American football player and official and lawyer from Chicago, Illinois.

Early years[edit]

Morton was born in November 1889 in Chicago. His birth name was Myer Isakovitz.[1] His parents, Martin "Max" Morton and Elizabeth "Bessie" (Schreier) Morton, were Russian Jews, his parents immigrating between 1879 and 1882. They became naturalized U.S. citizens in 1890.[2]

At the time of the 1900 United States Census, the family's last name was recorded as "Isacovitz."[3] At the time of the 1910 United States Census, the family had changed its name to Morton and was living in Troy, New York. The father was employed as a salesman at a dry goods store.[4]

University of Michigan[edit]

Morton enrolled at the University of Michigan and received a law degree as part of the Class of 1912. While attending Michigan, he played on the freshman baseball and track teams. He was also a reserve player on the undefeated 1910 Michigan Wolverines football team as a sophomore and a member of the class football team as a junior.[5][6]

Legal and officiating career[edit]

After graduating from Michigan, Morton returned to Chicago and worked as a lawyer there from 1915 to 1948.[7] At the time of World War I, Morton was single, living in Chicago and working as a self-employed lawyer. He was serving as a private in the National Guard, Illinois - 1st Cavalry.[8]

Morton also worked on Saturdays as a game official for the Big Ten Conference for 23 years from the 1920s to the 1940s.[7] After serving as the head linesman a game between Notre Dame and Northwestern in October 1926, Morton was criticized by Knute Rockne who felt that Morton had over-penalized the Fighting Irish team. Rockne recalled it was "the only time in my life I ever got sore at an official" and felt it was unfair that Michigan coach Fielding H. Yost was picking game officials for Notre Dame. In his history of the Michigan - Notre Dame rivalry, John Kryk wrote:

Meyer Morton, as Rockne well knew, was a Conference man. Worse, a Michigan man. Still worse, a Yost man. Indeed, Morton was a prominent member of the University of Michigan Club of Chicago, and his correspondence with Yost and others dot the Michigan files of the 1920s and 1930s.[9]

Later years and death[edit]

At the time of World War II, Morton was living in Chicago and working for the Chicago Flexible Shaft Co., a manufacturer of electrical appliances that later became known as Sunbeam Products.[10]

Morton died in 1948 in Chicago.

Meyer Morton Award[edit]

During his lifetime, Morton was one of the leading members of the "M" Club of Chicago.[9] In 1925, the club began a tradition of giving an award each year to the Michigan football player who showed "the greatest development and most promise as a result of the annual spring practice."[7] For many years, Morton traveled from Chicago to present the award in Ann Arbor. Beginning in 1948, after Morton's death, the annual award was renamed the Meyer Morton Award.[7]

The award has been presented to many of the legends in Michigan football history, including Gerald R. Ford (1932), Ron Kramer (1954), Jim Harbaugh (1984), and Desmond Howard (1991). A complete list of the past winners is set forth below.[11]

Year Player Year Player Year Player Year Player
1925 Ray Baer 1950 Roger Zatkoff 1973 Paul Seal 1996 Damon Denson
1926 George Rich 1951 Merritt Green 1974 Dennis Franklin 1997 Clint Copenhaver
1927 LaVerne Taylor 1952 Gene Knutson 1975 Dan Jilek 1998 Tai Streets
1928 Danny Holmes 1953 Don Dugger
Tony Branoff
1976 Greg Morton 1999 Grady Brooks
1929 Roy Hudson 1954 Ron Kramer 1977 John Anderson 2000 Jeff Backus
1930 Estel Tessmer 1955 Jim Van Pelt 1978 Gene Johnson 2001 Bill Seymour
1931 Herman Everhardus 1956 John Herrnstein
Bob Ptacek
1979 Curtis Greer 2002 Victor Hobson
1932 Gerald R. Ford 1957 Charles Teusher 1980 George Lilja 2003 John Navarre
1933 Mike Savage 1958 Dick Syring 1981 Stan Edwards 2004 Braylon Edwards
1934 Matt Patanelli 1959 Willard Hildebrand 1982 Stefan Humphries 2005 Tim Massaquoi
1935 Bob Cooper 1960 Bill Freehan 1983 Steve Smith 2006 Steve Breaston
1936 John Jordan 1961 Dave Raimey 1984 Jim Harbaugh 2007 Chad Henne
1937 Fred Trosko 1962 John Minko 1985 Clay Miller 2008 Will Johnson
1938 Archie Kodros 1963 Tom Keating 1986 Doug Mallory 2009 Stevie Brown
1939 Ralph Fritz 1964 Tom Mack 1987 Jamie Morris 2010 Greg Banks
1940 George Ceithaml 1965 Bill Keating 1988 John Vitale 2011 John McColgan
1941 Merv Pregulman 1966 Don Bailey 1989 Chris Calloway 2012 Brennen Beyer
1942 Bob Wiese 1967 Dick Yanz 1990 Matt Elliott 2013 James Ross III
1943 Clem Bauman 1968 Bob Baumgartner 1991 Desmond Howard 2014 Joe Bolden
1946 Bob Ballou 1969 Don Moorhead 1992 Chris Hutchinson
1947 Alvin Wistert 1970 Jim Betts 1993 Todd Collins
1948 Leo Koceski 1971 Guy Murdock 1994 Jay Riemersma
1949 Don Dufek 1972 Randy Logan 1995 Jarrett Irons


  1. ^ Birth record for Myer Isakovitz, born November 20, 1889, Chicago, Illinois. Father Max Isakovitz, age 29. Mother Besy Shryer Isakovitz. Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index, 1871-1922 [database on-line].
  2. ^ Census entry for Max Morton (age 60, born Russia, immigrated to US in 1879, employed as manager at a ladies' clothing store), Bessie Morton (age 50, born Russia, immigrated to US in 1880), Myer Morton (age 30, born Illinois, employed as an attorney in private practice), and Bella Morton (age 22, born Illinois). 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Year: 1920;Census Place: Chicago Ward 7, Cook (Chicago), Illinois; Roll: T625_315; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 396; Image: 393.
  3. ^ Census entry for Max Isacovitz (head, born September 1860 in Russia, immigrated to US in 1882, employed as a receiving manager), Bessie Isacovitz (wife, born January 1866 in Russia, immigrated to US in 1882), Harry Isacovitz (son, born June 1887 in Illinois), Meyer Isacovitz (son, born November 1889 in Illinois), Isadore Isacovitz (son, born November 1893 in Illinois), Bella (daughter, born January 1897 in Illinois). 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Year: 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 27, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T623_278; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 832.
  4. ^ Census entry dated April 19, 1910, for Martin Morton (age 49, born in Russia), Bessie (age 42, born in Illinois [sic]), Myer (age 20, born in Illinois), Isadore (age 17, born in Illinois), Bella (age 13, born in Illinois). 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Year: 1910; Census Place: Troy Ward 8, Rensselaer, New York; Roll: T624_1070; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0057; Image: 328; FHL Number: 1375083.
  5. ^ Michiganensian, Vol 16. 1912. p. 137.
  6. ^ "1910 Michigan football roster". University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library. Archived from the original on 2011-09-30.
  7. ^ a b c d "The Meyer Morton Award". University of Michigan. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  8. ^ Draft registration card for Meyer Morton, born November 20, 1889. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Registration Location: Cook County, Illinois; Roll: 1503984; Draft Board: 81.
  9. ^ a b John Kryk (2004). Natural Enemies. Taylor Trade Publications. p. 103. ISBN 1-58979-090-1.
  10. ^ Draft registration card for Meyer Morton, born November 20, 1889, 5 feet, 11 inches, 175 pounds. U.S. World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; State Headquarters: Illinois; Microfilm Series: M2097; Microfilm Roll: 203.
  11. ^ "The Meyer Morton Award". University of Michigan. Retrieved March 23, 2015.