Collection Summary

Creator: Morison, Henry S. K.
Title: The Papers of Henry S. K. Morison
Accession: MSS 78-8
Description: 1 folder
Location: Special Collections
Photograph Collection: View 0 digitized photographs
Digitized Content: 3 objects

Collection Description & Arrangement

The Henry S.K. Morison Papers contain three documents: a handwritten letter signed by Dean S. Maupin, dated April 26, 1864 addressed to Henry A. Morison; and two handwritten letters to Henry S.K. Morison from John B. Minor, dated April 8, 1967 and February 11, 1874. 

 

Biographical & Historical Information

Henry A. Morison was a trial lawyer in Southwest Virginia.  His son, Henry S.K. Morison graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1865.  H.S.K. Morison was active in service in the Confederate Army with the Corps of Cadets in the defense of Richmond and Petersburg.  After the war, H.S.K. Morison read law in the offices of his uncle, Henry S. Kane in Estelville, Virginia ((now Gate City, the County Seat of Scott County,VA).  H.S.K. entered the University of Virginia Law School in 1866 where he studied under both Dean Socrates Maupin and Professor John B. Minor.  It is evident from the tone of these letters that a warm relationship developed between Professor Minor and H.S.K. Morison.  H.S.K. began the practice of law in Estelville, Virginia in 1867 and rode the Southwest Virginia circuit.  In 1870, he was elected Commonwealth Attorney for Scott County and served until 1874 when he was elected Judge of the County Court.  In 1885, H.S.K. was elected Judge of the Seventeenth (17th) Judicial Circuit which then embraced the geographically large Southwest Virginia Circuit.  H.S.K. Morison presided and wrote the famous opinion in Commonwealth vs. Dean, 32 Gratt 912.  The case resulted in two mistrials and over one hundred witnesses testified.  The Supreme Court of Appeals confirmed Judge Morison’s opinion.  This was the first case in which a first degree murder indictment was sustained where the entire evidence of the accused’s guilt was based solely on circumstantial evidence.  The common law rule required the testimony of two witnesses to the crime.  These biographical and historical details were provided by H. Graham Morison, the great, grandson of Henry A. Morison, and the grandson of H.S.K. Morison.

Acquisition Information

Date Received 1964
Donor Information This collection was a gift from H. Graham Morison, great grandson of Henry A Morison and grandson of Henry S. K. Morrison.

Content List

  • Dean S. Maupin to Henry A. Morison, Esq., Estelville, Virginia (now Gate City, the County Seat of Scott County,Virginia), April 26, 1864.
  • John B. Minor to Henry S.K. Morison, Esq., Estelville, Virginia (now Gate City, the County Seat of Scott County, Virginia), dated April 8, 1867.
  • John B. Minor to Henry S.K. Morison, Esq., Estelville, Virginia (now Gate City, the County Seat of Scott County, Virginia), February 11, 1874.

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