Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Daniel Johnson Morrell
August 8, 1821 – August 20, 1885

Daniel Johnson Morrell was born August 8, 1821 in North Berwick, Maine, the son of (and one of ten children of) Thaddeus Morrell and Susannah Ayres, a Quaker family. Morrell married Susan Stackhouse (January 5, 1821 - July 6, 1887), the daughter of Powell Stackhouse and Edith Dillworth, on February 11, 1845 in Philadelphia, PA.

Morrell was the long time general manager of the Cambria Iron Company (he had in fact been Carnegie’s employer for a time). He held the post from 1855 until ill health caused his retirement almost thirty years later. Morrell became a member of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club so as to have both a voice and influence upon its design and development. Much correspondence exists between Morrell and B F Ruff to show that Morrell had deep concerns about the Club's dam and its integrity (or lack thereof). Most of what Morrell tried to do was either igonred or scoffed at by Ruff.

One of Johnstown’s leading citizens (one could make the arguement that he was Johnstown's MOST influential citizen) Morrell was the president of the local gas and water company from 1860 to 1884 and president of the First National Bank of Johnstown from 1863 to 1884. He was also president of the city council.

Here is his Congressional Biography…

MORRELL, Daniel Johnson, a Representative from Pennsylvania; born in North Berwick, York County, Maine, August 8, 1821; attended the public schools; moved to Philadelphia, Pa., in 1836; entered a counting room as clerk and afterward engaged in mercantile pursuits; moved to Johnstown, Pa., in 1855 and became general manager of the Cambria Iron Co.; also served as president of the local gas and water company 1860-1884 and president of the First National Bank of Johnstown 1863-1884; president of the city council many years; elected as a Republican to the Fortieth and Forty-first Congresses (March 4, 1867-March 3, 1871); chairman, Committee on Manufactures (Fortieth and Forty-first Congresses); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1870 to the Forty-second Congress; commissioner to the Paris Exposition of 1878; again engaged in banking; died in Johnstown, Cambria County, Pa., August 20, 1885; interment in Grandview Cemetery, Johnstown.

Morrell died four years before the Johnstown Flood--a disaster which confirmed the fears he had often expressed and energetically worked to avoid. Subsequently, Morrell’s membership was purchased by the Cambria Iron Company’s chief legal counsel and Johnstown resident, Cyrus Elder.

A photograph of Morrell may be seen at the "Daniel Johnson Morrell" Wikipedia article.

A Great Lakes ship named the Daniel J Morrell was launched in 1906 and broke up and sank in a storm on November 29, 1966--much like the more famous Edmund Fitzgerald. 28 of her 29 man crew were lost. You can see a photo of the ship here:


Here follows a longer biography, with the source noted:


HON. DANIEL J. MORRELL died at his home in Johnstown on Thursday morning, August 20, 1885, at the age of 64 years and twelve days. Daniel Johnson Morrell was a descendant of one of three brothers who in early colonial days emigrated from Old England to New England. From these three brothers there probably descended all the Morrells and Morrills in the United States today. David Morrell, grandfather of Daniel J. Morrell, made his home in Maine considerably over a century ago, and here, in a settlement of Friends, or Quakers, in the town, or township, of Berwick and county of York, was born, one hundred and two years ago, on the farm on which he died eleven years ago, Thaddeus Morrell. When about twenty-three years old he married a neighbor's daughter, Susannah Ayres. They were married on February 17, 1806, and were buried on the same day, June 10, 1874. Ten children were given to this Quaker couple, of whom eight grew to manhood and womanhood. Daniel was the seventh child. He was born on the farm on August 8, 1821. The childhood and youth of Mr. Morrell were attended by such vicissitudes as are experienced by most boys whose lot has been cast in pioneer homes. His immediate ancestors were true pioneers, whose scanty fortunes had been carved from primeval forests and gleaned from the virgin soil amid many hardships and at the risk of life itself. His father's family wore homespun, woven from threads of flax and wool which had made acquaintance with the family spinning-wheel. When old enough Daniel was taught to assist in the labors of the farm, and when the winter school was in session he was a regular attendant. But the entire time spent by him in the school-room did not exceed two years. The education thus acquired was, of course, limited to the most elementary studies. The only additional schooling he ever received was obtained in a course of study at a commercial college after his entrance upon a business life. His religious training was such as prevails among the Friends. Those citizens of York county who were not engaged in farming sixty-odd years ago found profitable and needed employment in some form of manufacturing industry. If they did not make iron the first settlers of York county did make it. During the Revolution the colonists had great difficulty in procuring iron, and extraordinary efforts were made to supply the want. Many Catalan forges were erected, by means of which malleable iron was obtained directly from the ore by a single fusion. One of these forges stood two miles from the farm of David Morrell, and from the farm itself was taken the ore from which the iron was made. The grandmother of the boy Daniel used to delight to tell him how the iron was made by the Catalan process in the forge that had long been abandoned. Years afterwards, in a distant State, he successfully embarked in the manufacture of iron and steel on the largest scale and by the most improved modern processes. In 1837, when in his sixteenth year, Mr. Morrell left home and went to Philadelphia, to which city his older brother David had preceded him. David was engaged in the wholesale dry-goods trade as a member of the firm of Trotter, Morrell & Co., which occupied the building now designated as No. 32 North Fourth street. With this firm Mr. Morrell was employed as a clerk for five years, until 1842, when the firm was dissolved and he embarked in the same business for himself, in the same building, his brother David being associated with him. The business of this firm was conducted with energy, but with some eccentricity on the part of David, the older brother, which finally led to its dissolution. In 1845 Mr. Morrell joined Oliver Martin, a dealer in fancy dry goods, at No. 28 North Fourth street, first as a clerk and afterwards as a partner, the firm name being Martin, Morrell & Co. In 1854 Mr. Martin died and Mr. Morrell became executor of his estate.

Notwithstanding the death of Mr. Martin the business of the firm continued, and Mr. Morrell's duties kept him constantly engaged until 1855, when his mercantile career ended. He retired with a small capital to assume the management of the Cambria Iron Works, at Johnstown, which had been established in 1853 for the manufacture of iron rails, and which in 1855 passed into the hands of Wood, Morrell & Co. as lessees. This position he retained for nearly twenty-nine years, until January, 1884, when failing health obliged him to retire from all active business. Down to 1871 the product of the Cambria Iron Works was iron rails solely, in the manufacture of which they had acquired an excellent reputation, but long prior to this year the time had arrived when it became apparent that rails rolled from steel made by the Bessemer process must ultimately displace those made of iron, on account of their greater durability. Mr. Morrell early perceived the coming revolution, and it was largely through his efforts and persistence that the directors of his company were among the first in this country to enter upon the business of manufacturing Bessemer rails. The company commenced their manufacture on July 12, 1871. During the early part of his mercantile career Mr. Morrell frequently visited the Western and Southern States as a collector, and in this way he obtained a knowledge of the extent and resources of the country which he could not otherwise have acquired. He was a regular attendant for several years upon the lectures of the Franklin Institute, and the time thus spent in a scientific atmosphere was most profitably employed. Attaching himself to the Whig party he became an ardent admirer of its great leader, Henry Clay, and from his speeches he obtained a knowledge of the policy of governmental protection to American industries, of which policy he subsequently became one of the most prominent exponents in the country. Since 1855 Mr. Morrell had resided continuously in Johnstown and taken an active interest in its growth and prosperity. He might have kept himself aloof from its people and manifested no interest in their welfare, but he chose to regard himself as one of their number and to throw his influence in the scale in behalf of local improvements and an enlarged public spirit. During the Rebellion he greatly aided the cause of the country by encouraging the enlistment of volunteers. Almost every able-bodied employe at the Cambria Iron Works was at some period of the war an enlisted Union soldier. When the war closed his great ability, his patriotism, his intelligent and influential advocacy of the protective policy, and his many sterling qualities of head and heart were recognized by the people of the Congressional district in which he resided, who twice elected him their Representative in Congress - first in 1866 by a majority of 1,219 and again in 1868 - by a majority of 1,094. In 1870 he was a candidate for re-election, but was beaten by 11 votes through the defection of a faction of the Republican party in Huntingdon county. In his first speech in Congress Mr. Morrell uttered the following plea for labor: "The American workingman must live in a house, not a hut; he must wear decent clothes and eat wholesome and nourishing food. He is an integral part of the municipality, the State, and the Nation; subject to no fetters of class or caste; neither pauper, nor peasant, nor serf, but a free American citizen. He has the ballot, and if it were possible it would be dangerous to degrade him. The country stands pledged to give him education, political power, and a higher form of life than foreign nations accord their laborers, and he must be sustained by higher rates of wages than those of Europe. Our industries operated by American citizens must be freed from foreign interference and organized into a distinct American system, which will exact some temporary sacrifices but result in general prosperity and true national independence. In maintaining diversified industries we utilize every talent, provide a field for every capacity, and bind together the whole people in mutual dependence and support, assuring the strength and security of our Republic." No better definition of the protective policy of this country was ever written. Upon the organization of the first Congress to which, Mr. Morrell was elected, the Fortieth, he was made chairman of the standing committee on manufactures and a member of the standing committee on freedmen's affairs. He retained his chairmanship of the committee on manufactures during the Forty-first Congress, and was also a member of the standing committee on the Pacific Railroad and of the select committee on the decline of American commerce. The feature, however, of his Congressional career with which his name will longest be associated is his introduction on the 9th of March, 1870, of a bill to provide for the celebration at Philadelphia of the hundredth anniversary of American Independence. This bill became a law largely through his persistent advocacy of its propriety and justice, and through the happy effect produced on Congress and the country by his admirably conceived speech of the 14th of December, 1870, in favor of its passage. Upon the organization of the Centennial Commission provided for in the act of Congress the services of Mr. Morrell in securing its creation, and his superior business and executive qualifications, were recognized by his selection as chairman of the executive committee of the commission. In January, 1878, Mr. Morrell was appointed by President Hayes a commissioner to the Paris Exposition. On Tuesday evening, May 7, 1878, he was tendered a farewell dinner at the Continental Hotel in Philadelphia by leading citizens of the State, including Governor John F. Hartranft, Mayor William S. Stokley, Hon. Morton McMichael, General Robert Patterson, Thomas A. Scott, Henry C. Carey, A. J. Drexel, A. E. Borie, and many others almost equally distinguished. Over one hundred gentlemen sat down to the dinner, which was tendered him "as a complimentary testimonial on the eve of his departure to Europe as a Commissioner from the United States to the International Industrial Exposition at Paris, and in recognition of the services rendered by him to the Centennial Exhibition while he was a member of Congress, and afterwards while filling the arduous and responsible position of chairman of the executive committee of the Centennial Commission during the whole period of its existence." Governor Hartranft presided at the dinner. On May 9, 1878, Mr. Morrell sailed for Europe, returning on the 14th of October, 1878. On the 6th of March, 1879, Mr. Morrell was elected president of the American Iron and Steel Association. He resigned this office on December 15, 1884, his resignation being accepted and his successor chosen on January 6, 1885. His official retirement from the management of the Cambria Iron Works took place on January 15, 1884, owing to ill-health, as we have already stated.

In 1845 Mr. Morrell married Susan Lower, daughter of Powell Stackhouse, a member of the Society of Friends. His wife and a daughter survive him.* The latter is the wife of Captain Philip E. Chapin, the general manager of the Cambria Iron Works. Mr. Morrell was never blessed with any other children. The funeral of Mr. Morrell took place on Monday, August 24, and was attended by an immense concourse of his old neighbors and employes. Many friends from a distance were also present. He was buried at Johnstown, amid the scenes of his industrial triumphs and among a people who loved him and will miss him.

*Mrs. Morrell died at her home in Johnstown on June 7, 1887. Her daughter, Mrs. Chapin, died in Paris, France, on March 2, 1909.

More on their daughter:

Anna Stackhouse Morrell
14 JAN 1850
1 December 1880 to Philip Eugene Chapin. Philip Eugene Chapin was b. in New Hartford, Conn., 1 December 1838. Philip Eugene Chapin was from Cleveland OH and the author of a pamphlet about wood planes. Mrs. Chapin was a guest at a soiree in DC in 1896.

Anna Morrell's first husband George A. Bates, was Mr. Morrell's assistant for a few years prior to his death, which occurred in September, 1877.

Henry Wilson Storey has an equally excellent article about Morrell in his "History of Cambria County" which can be read on line.

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