Robert F. Morrison

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Robert Francis Morrison
13th Chief Justice of California
In office
November 1879 – March 1887
Preceded by William T. Wallace
Succeeded by Niles Searls
Personal details
Born (1826-08-16)August 16, 1826
Kaskaskia, Illinois, U.S.
Died March 2, 1887(1887-03-02) (aged 60)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Spouse(s) Julia Stettinius (m. 1854)

Robert Francis Morrison (August 16, 1826 – March 2, 1887) was the 13th Chief Justice of California from November 1879 to March 2, 1889, when he died in office.[1]

Biography[edit]

Morrison was born on August 16, 1826, in Kaskaskia, Illinois.[2] He served in the regiment commanded by his elder brother, Colonel Don Morrison, in the Mexican-American War, and fought in the Battle of Buena Vista.[2] After the war, Morrison returned to St. Louis, Missouri, and read law in the office of his brother, who was a successful attorney. He attended legal lectures at Harvard Law School before returning West.[2]

Arriving in 1850 in Sacramento, California, Morrison practiced law in a firm with his brother, Murray Morrison, and J. Neely Johnson, later governor of California. Morrison was elected district attorney of Sacramento County, California.[3] In 1856, Morrison moved to San Francisco and practiced law with various attorneys, including Delos Lake, who was appointed United States Attorney for the Northern District of California on August 17, 1864. Morrison served as assistant U.S. Attorney with Lake.[4] In October 1869, Morrison was elected Judge of the Fourth Judicial District in California and was re-elected in 1875.[5][6][7]

In October 1879, when adoption of a new constitution required elections, Morrison successfully ran for Chief Justice under the Democratic Party and Workingmen's Party tickets, narrowly defeating Augustus Rhodes.[8][9][10] In August 1886, former Chief Justice David S. Terry petitioned the Legislature to remove the increasingly ill Morrison from the court.[11] In February 1887, Morrison suffered a stroke and died a week later at his rooms at the Occidental Hotel on March 2, 1887.[12] On April 19, 1887, Governor Washington Bartlett appointed Niles Searls as the next Chief Justice.[13][14]

Personal life[edit]

On November 6, 1854, he married Julia Stettinius (September 2, 1832 – December 18, 1895) in St. Louis, Missouri.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Past & Present Justices". California State Courts. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "In Memoriam: Robert Francis Morrison" (PDF). 68 Cal. Rpts. California Supreme Court Historical Society. March 3, 1887. pp. 649–654. Retrieved July 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ "News of the Morning". Sacramento Daily Union (13). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 7 July 1857. p. 2. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Appointment". Sacramento Daily Union (34 (5195)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 21 November 1867. p. 2. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ "The Lawyers' Primaries". Daily Alta California (21 (7055)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 14 July 1869. p. 1. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  6. ^ "The Supreme Court, From Chief Justice Hastings to Chief Justice Beatty". San Francisco Call (78 (22)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 22 June 1895. p. 5. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Litigant Law". Sacramento Daily Union (43 (7496)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 23 May 1872. p. 2. Retrieved July 16, 2017. The San Francisco Examiner announces that it will contest for its right to continue the publication of the advertisements required by the District Courts of the county of San Francisco for the whole term of office of Robert F. Morrison, Judge of the Fourth Judicial District, which lasts about four years longer. 
  8. ^ "Will Honor Judge Rhodes". San Francisco Call (96 (25)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 25 June 1904. p. 2. Retrieved July 16, 2017. In 1879, when the new constitution was adopted, he was a candidate for Chief Justice, but was defeated by Robert F. Morrison by a small majority. 
  9. ^ "Official Returns of the Election". Sacramento Daily Union (8 (191)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 20 October 1879. p. 2. Retrieved July 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ "The State Government, Associate Justices". Sacramento daily record-union. Library of Congress Historic Newspapers. January 10, 1880. p. 3. Retrieved July 25, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Hands Off! Leave the Supreme Court Alone". Sacramento Daily Union (55 (141)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 4 August 1886. p. 4. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Chief Justice Morrison Ill". Daily Alta California (42 (13693)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 26 February 1887. p. 8. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  13. ^ "The New Chief Justice, Niles Searls Appointed to Fill the Vacant Seat". Daily Alta California (42 (13746)). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 20 April 1887. p. 1. Retrieved July 16, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Judge Searls is Dead". Sacramento Union (67). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 30 April 1907. p. 8. Retrieved July 16, 2017. On April 19, 1887, (Searls) accepted from Governor Bartlett the appointment of chief justice of the supreme court, made vacant by the death of Hon. Robert F, Morrison. 
  15. ^ Johnson, J. Edward (1963). History of the California Supreme Court: The Justices 1850-1900, vol 1 (PDF). San Francisco, CA: Bender Moss Co. p. 128-130. Retrieved August 14, 2017. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
William T. Wallace
Chief Justice of California
1879–1887
Succeeded by
Niles Searls