Woodruff A. Morey, president of the First National Bank of Marseilles, Illinois, was for many years the leading lawyer of the village. He was born in Manlius township, LaSalle county, July 24, 1840, being the only son in a family of five children whose parents were Vivaldia and Emily (Brown) Morey. The father was born in Orange county, New York, and was one of the family of twelve sons and four daughters of Hazard Morey, of Welsh descent. Vivaldia Morey grew to mature years in New York and about 1831 removed with his parents to Ashtabula county, Ohio, and after a few years' residence there moved to this county, in 1836. He purchased a farm of two hundred and forty acres in what is now Manlius township, upon which he resided many years, carrying on general farming until he had reached an advanced age. In 1881 he moved to Petoskey, Michigan, where he died in October, 1895, in the consciousness of a well spent life, at the advanced age of ninety-two years. His wife, Emily, died at the same place two years before, when eighty-four years of age. She was a daughter of Lysander Brown and Salley nee Everest, and was born and reared in Bethany, Genesee county, New York, where she was married October 17, 1831. One of the ancestors of Emily Brown was banished from the Massachusetts colony with Roger Williams. It was he for whom Brown University, at Providence, Rhode Island, was named.
W. A. Morey grew to manhood on the farm upon which he was born. There he attended the district school and obtained his preliminary education. Later he entered Knox college and afterward attended the public and private schools in Ottawa. He then took up the study of law under the instructions of Hon. Washington Bushnell, a leading attorney of Ottawa. He was admitted to the bar before the supreme court at Ottawa in 1861, and soon after began the practice of his profession. In a short time the firm of Rice & Morey was formed and a general law practice was carried on, the partners being J. B. Rice and W. A. Morey. This connection was dissolved by mutual consent, and our subject, on account of ill-health, retired to the country where with his father he carried on farming for two years. This work, however, did not afford sufficient scope to his abilities and he resumed his professional career in Marseilles, to which city he moved in 1868. He there held for many years the office of village treasurer and clerk. He has always taken an active interest in educational matters, having been a member of the board of directors and the board of education continuously for more than twenty-five years.
He was a successful practitioner and was in active practice until 1887, when he purchased of J. N. Chappel the latter's interest in the First National Bank of Marseilles, an institution that was organized in 1871 and of which Mr. Chappel was president. Since the purchase he has given his entire attention to banking and has held the office of president continuously since becoming identified with the institution.
Mr. Morey was united in marriage to Miss Helen Belknap, who died leaving two children, Harriet and Mabel; but the former died May 23, 1896. On June 13, 1872, he married Miss Addie Sherman, daughter of Orrin and Caroline (Lathrop) Sherman, of Batavia, New York, and a native of Genesee county, that state. To this union one son, W. A. Morey, Jr., was born, May 24, 1880, and at present he is a college student. Mr. Morey is and has always been a Republican in politics, conservative in his views and well posted on all topics of the day, and enjoys the confidence and respect of all who know him. He is a man of quiet and retiring disposition, always found at home after business hours in the society of his own family, surrounded by the best books and magazines of which he and his family are especially fond, counting among their possessions a library of rare value. Mabel Morey occupies at present a business position with a law firm in New York city, receiving from the Governor the appointment of notary for the firm. Mr. Morey will visit Europe the coming season on a combined business and pleasure trip.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 63-64.