416 Morton-Hill

The lot where the Morton-Hill home stood at 416 is now an empty lot.

The lot where the Morton-Hill home stood at 416 is now (2013) an empty lot.

Richard Morton (no known relation to Robert Morton of 320 South Adams) claims to have been born in Canada in 1864 to a father from Kentucky and a mother from North Carolina (in the 1920 Census he says his mother is from Indiana). No records have been found matching Richard in Canada or the United States before he first shows up in Ypsilanti, in 1900.

A carpenter living in a rented home across from the First Ward School, Morton married Ida Hill in 1900. Ida is the daughter of James Hill and Amelia Bow of 305 South Adams. She was born in 1869 in Michigan. In 1904, Ida and Richard moved to South Hamilton, where they lived until past 1920.

The Ypsilanti Archives has an interview historian AP Marshall did with a relative of the Mortons in 1981 which includes some memories of them. They can be found at the Dusty Diary site. One section, from an interview with Samuel Richardson, has these memories of Richard Morton:

My father built a house on Monroe Street. I heard him tell about how much it cost him to dig his basement. he paid a fellow $5 to dig it and he and his brother-in-law did it in one day. The fellow’s name was Dick Morton. The Mortons were related to the Kerseys. Mr. Morton was the finest carpenter you could ever find. He taught his sons the trade, but they weren’t as good as him. He was known for building beautiful stairways. He and my father were quite good friends. my father was a plasterer and he would plaster the houses after Mr. Morton was finished. He plastered almost all of the houses in Ypsilanti. Jerry Mahaley and my father used to help each other. If one of them didn’t have a job, they would switch back and forth. That’s how people lived in those days.

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