Press Release from Helen McKinney, Oldham County History Center
Dr. Rob Morris was an important figure in Masonic history, organizing the first international organization for women, the Order of the Eastern Star, and earning the title of Poet Laureate for Freemasonry during the nineteenth century. Though his accomplishments extended worldwide, he was very dedicated to La Grange, the town he called home when he died in 1888. A large monument was built to honor him in the Valley of Rest Cemetery.
Morris had become a Master Mason in 1846 in Oxford, Mississippi, while President of Mt. Sylvan Academy. He also met his future wife, Charlotte Mendenhall, during his time there. Their union produced nine children, seven of whom lived to adulthood. Morris moved to La Grange in 1860 to serve on the faculty of the Masonic University. He had previously served as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky from 1858 to 1859. His first home in La Grange burned in 1861 due to his pro-Union stance. The following year he bought the circa 1840 house at the corner of Washington and Cedar Streets. Morris traveled extensively in foreign countries, and visited the Holy Land. He wrote religious songs and over 400 poems, many devoted to the Eastern Star and Masonry. His most famous poem was "The Level and the Square."
The Oldham County History Center is launching a new series of tours dedicated to Morris and his life. Rob Morris Walking Tours will be held on June 10, July 8 and August 12 from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. and include lunch. Participants will able to explore the town where Morris lived and died.
All tours will be led by Dr. Nancy Stearns Theiss, Executive Director of the Oldham County History Center in La Grange, Ky. The History Center campus includes The Peyton Samuel Head Family Museum, J. Chilton Barnett Library & Archives and the Rob Morris Educational Center. The latter facility is the circa 1880 Presbyterian Church Morris attended in La Grange and is where lunch will be served after the tour. Theiss will give a brief talk about Morris and have available for sale copies of her book about Morris, A Place in the Lodge (Dog Ear Pub., 2015).
Tickets are $30 per person, lunch included. A portion of ticket sales will benefit The Rob Morris Home. Contact the Oldham County History Center to make reservations or for more information at (502) 222-0826.
Oldham County History Center
106 North Second Ave.
La Grange, Ky 40031
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