Cass County – Anderson Grave Yard
Decatur, Mi 49045
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County: Van Buren
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formerly listed under Van Buren County this is where the Morris Family is buried at, who were murdered in there own home on Sept 29th 1879.it is said that if u go to the grave yard on this date the 29th of Sept, you can see Ester and Charles Morris, by there tombstone which is the only pillar stone under the only ever green trees in the center of the grave yard.
March 2004 Update/Correction: Henry and Esther Morris did have a child, but he/she died in infancy several years before the murders. At the time she died Esther Morris was pregnant. And the maid was not killed: she was in the house asleep at the time.
The Morrises lived in a house considered by the people of the time to be a mansion, and were considerably wealthy. Additionally the murderer didn`t arrive on horseback as far as can be discerned, but he did steal the Morris` buggy pulling horse. The murders took place September 28, 1879.
And Anderson cemetery is considered a part of Decatur since it is in Van Buren, not a part of Marcellus, which is in Cass County.
This story written from info contained in "A Scrap Book History of Decatur, MI and Vicinity 1829-1976 Volume I"
The story goes that the night of September 28th, 1879. Mr. and Mrs. Morris went to bed at about 8:30. The only other person in the house was a woman who worked for them by the name of Jennie Bull. In addition the house itself was situated back from the rooad with no other houses close by. According to Bull`s testimony, she went to bed at around 8:00, the Morris` soon after. This is where the story gets strange. The time of the murder was determined to be around 9:30 P.M. Mr. Morris usually kept a revolver by his bedside, but when a knock on the door aroused them, and for reasons unknown he left it behind. Upon opening the door and stepping out on the porch he was shot in the chest. The unknown assasin fired a second shot as he fell which struck him in the neck. Mrs. Morris, it is assumed heard the shots. She grabbed her husband`s revolver and ran out into the kitchen where she encountered the killer. However, she was apparently so frightened she dropped the revolver without firing a shot or even cocking the hammer. She retreated to her bedroom, but the killer followed and fired two more shots missing her before he cornered her in the closet where the murderer shot her twice in the chest. She passed away quickly. This is where things get interesting, in spite of all the shots being fired, Jennie Bull, who said herself that she was not a sound sleeper was not awakened by the killing! She would be the one to discover the Morris` the next morning. It is unclear if the killer even knew Jennie Bull was in the house. (Jennie`s bedroom was directly above the part of the house where the killing took place, and her window was open that night!) Seeing his deed was done, the killer went out to the barn on the Morris property and selected the best horse in the stable. Then, he placed a saddle and bridle on the horse that he had evidently brought with him. (None of the saddles or bridles in the Morris barn were disturbed) It was clear from this that this crime had been well-thought out and the killer had a knowledge of his surroundings. The killer saddled the horse and rode off, never to be caught. There was one witness to the horse thief however. Charles Rosewarne later testified that he was on his way home between 9 and 10 P.M. and encountered a man on horseback. Rosewarne could make tell little about the suspect except that he wore a "funny hat and a had a mask covering his face" He recognized the horse he was riding as the one belonging to the deceased.
Examinations of the crime scene the next day made it clear that this was not a robbery, as $130 and two gold watches lay in plain sight in the bedroom. The only thing taken was the horse. Thus the only conclusion that one can come to is that the killer was there to murder Mr. and Mrs. Morris and nothing else. The horse, which was found a few days later in South Bend, was just a getaway. The Morris` had been married about 10 years at the time of their death and they were well-liked and respected in their community. So the question that was on all the locals mind was of course, Why? Despite an investigation by detectives from as far away as Chicago, and an insistance by law enforcement officals at the time that the killer would be captured, he was not. It is a mystery that is unsolved to this day. It is unlikely that it will ever be solved either. Today, Mr. and Mrs. Morris are buried in Anderson cemetery, more commonly reffered to as Morris cemetery. A double headstone was erected that stands under a tree in the middle of the cemetery. The house were the murders took place burned down years ago. So the headstone is the only landmark left that tells anything of the event.
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