Morris, Daniel (1841-1898)
Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by T.W.
MR. DANIEL MORRIS entered upon eternal rest on January 20th, 1898. His decease came as a great shock to his family and friends, being altogether unexpected. Strong and stalwart of frame, and following his daily calling only twelve days previous, no one thought that the sickness that came to him would be unto death, but so it proved to be.
He was a member of Higher Bridge Street Society, Bolton, for twenty-eight years, a local preacher for nearly the same length of time, and a class-leader for seventeen years. The very spot on which Higher Bridge Street Chapel stands had a special interest for him, for, as he was heard often to say, “On that plot of ground he had been born twice.” In connection with the old Chapel there were several houses built, and in one of them, on April 7th, 1841, he began his natural life, and twenty-eight years after, in the old chapel, within a few yards of the home of his birth and his boyhood, in a stirring Sunday evening prayer meeting, he was “born again of the Spirit,” and began his spiritual life.
He was the son of earnest Christian parents, his father being a noted pioneer preacher and worker in early Primitive Methodist days at Bolton, and his mother a woman of much prayer and strong faith, who, when her son was careless and indifferent to God’s claims upon him, still clung to the belief that he would be converted, and that if she knew not of it on earth she would know in heaven. Her faith was honoured, as such faith must always be, for, though when she died her son was not conscious of the “liberty of God’s dear children,” she had not been laid low many days when the great deliverance came to him, when his “chains fell off and his heart was free,” and she would be able among those who rejoiced in heaven over a “soul rescued from his sinful way,” to join the glad song, and her notes would be loudest of all because that soul was her son. The death of his mother, and the loss of a dear little child about the same time, had much to do with the great change of his life coming to him.
Attending the chapel on the Sunday after the Saturday on which his mother was buried, full of serious thoughts, his heart softened by sorrow, the Word of God came home with power to him in the services. In the evening Mr. Joseph Bradshaw, a much respected, and in past days, greatly successful preacher, who is still spared to us, and is calmly and trustfully awaiting the Master’s summons, was preaching. His sympathetic and loving presentation of the soul-healing and comforting Gospel of Christ found a way to the heart of Daniel Morris. He stayed to the prayer meeting, which many now remember with a vividness that makes it all live again before them oftentimes. The power of God was mightily present, and our brother, under its influence, was urged to surrender himself fully to God. Possessed of a strong will, and never easily led to deviate from any course he was in, it was long before he yielded to “love’s resistless power,” but the prayers of good men and women, and his own strugglings, at last prevailed to break down all opposition to the blessed assaults of the King of heaven, and “Bozrah’s Conqueror” had another victory that Sabbath evening, and the strong man, strong in muscle and strong in will, was subdued, and “became as a little child,” and “entered into the Kingdom of heaven,” completely captured for the service of the King.
From then, heaven’s Kingdom had in him a loyal subject, anxious to obey its laws, and, above all, to extend its borders and to bring others under its sway and influence. The Rev. James Travis was minister at Bolton when Brother Morris became a member, and in some little time after put him on the plan as a preacher. His early efforts at preaching much discouraged him, but he was urged by friends to continue in the good work, and as a result he became a most successful ambassador of the Cross. Earnest in delivery, enforcing the truth by reference to personal experience, appealing direct to heart and conscience; when at his best he was powerful in winning souls for the Master. He was especially fond of open-air services, and at camp meetings, in the streets, on open square, he has delivered the message of salvation to thousands, and not a few have heard and believed. It has been made known long afterwards that many an arrow shot at a venture has found a lodgement in hardened hearts, and has wounded only to send to the Healing Physician. He was much sought after to preach for other Churches besides his own, and from many of these Churches, tributes of the esteem in which he was held by them were sent on the occasion of his decease.
It will be many years before he will be forgotten by the members of the class of which he was leader. This was the means of grace in which he most delighted, and his warm-hearted counsels and prayers brought cheer and inspiration to many a feeble, faltering member of the flock of Gold over whom he was shepherd.
How much he will be missed at home, his wife and son and three daughters will discover more and more as the years go by. Loving and faithful, fond of home, with its rest and quiet joys, ever caring for the temporal and spiritual interests of all the family, his loss as husband and father will be great indeed.
As a workman it falls to the lot of few to win the respect and admiration of their employers as he did. His masters had learned to have confidence in his ability, and leaned upon his advice and counsel, and the relations between them were of the friendliest character. And how good an influence he exerted on the wild and wicked workmen he had to do with is well known, his presence keeping back many a foul oath and vile word from being spoken. The reality of his religion was so felt by them, although he never talked so much to them about it, that no other but he must visit them in dying hours, and more than one he has led to the Saviour of the penitent, who come to Him, even at the last hour!
It needed no special testimony of word from our brother in his last days to lead us to feel sure he has gone to the Everlasting Home. In life there was always the feeling of assurance with him that he was at peace with God. He had the happy boldness that could always claim clear acceptance with the Heavenly Father. And this confidence did not forsake him at the last. To one of his friends the day before he died he could say, “He was on the Rock, the Rock Christ Jesus, and that was a foundation safe upon, one that would never give way.” For many years he had been “laying up in store a good foundation against the time to come,” and so his end was calm and peace and safety.
I have not been able to identify Daniel in census records before 1871.
He married Mary Howarth (abt 1834-1911) in late 1865 at Bolton, Lancashire. Mary was a bread baker and Daniel was a coal miner. Census returns identify four children.
- Sarah (1868-1943) – married Joseph William Wilkinson, a cotton spinner, in 1890
- David (1870-1936) – a cotton piecer (1891); a coal miner (1911)
- Charlotte (1872-1941) – a cotton weaver (1891); married James Taylor, a printer compositor, in 1899
- Mary (1875-1952) – a dress maker
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/391
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers