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John Albert Morris

John Albert Morris
Born July, 1836
New Jersey, United States
Died May 25, 1895
Kerrville, Texas, United States
Cause of death Stroke
Resting place Metairie Cemetery, New Olreans
Residence New Orleans, Louisiana,
Throggs Neck, New York,
Boston, Massachusetts,
Bar Harbor, Maine,
Gillespie County, Texas,
Hanover, Germany.
Occupation Businessman, Lottery operator, Racetrack owner, Racehorse owner/breeder
Board member of Louisiana State Lottery Company, Morris Park Racecourse
Spouse(s) Cora Hennen
Children 1) Francis
2) Alfred Hennen
3) David Hennen
4) Isabel Morris-Ledyard
Parents Francis Morris

Morris Park, Bronx
John A. Morris Handicap at Saratoga Race Course

John Albert Morris (July 1836 – May 25, 1895) was an American businessman widely known as the "Lottery King" and a prominent figure in the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing. A native of New Jersey, he benefited from a large inheritance and added substantially to his fortune through a majority interest in the Louisiana State Lottery Company.[1]

In 1857, John Morris married Cora Hennen, the daughter of Alfred Hennen, a wealthy and prominent judge in New Orleans. The couple had four children:

  • Francis Morris (c.1864–1880)
  • David Hennen Morris (1872–1944) — Lawyer, diplomat, United States Ambassador to Belgium (1933–1937), and co-founder of the International Auxiliary Language Association.
  • Isabel Morris — married Lewis Cass Ledyard, a grandson of the statesman and politician, Lewis Cass.

Thoroughbred racing

His father Francis Morris was also involved in horse racing and notably owned Ruthless who won the 1867 Belmont and Travers Stakes. John Morris inherited his father's 25,000 acre ranch in Gillespie County, Texas, fourteen miles from the town of Kerrville, where he established a horse breeding operation.[2]

John Morris owned a large racing stable in the United States and another in Europe. With Leonard W. Jerome as his minority partner, in 1889 he opened Morris Park Racecourse in Westchester County, New York.[3] The facility hosted the Belmont Stakes from 1890 through 1904 as well as the Preakness Stakes in 1890. A few days before he died in May 1895, John Morris leased the racecourse, with an option to purchase, to the Westchester Racing Association. The Morris heirs sold the property to real estate developers in 1905.

John Albert Morris suffered a stroke and died at age 59 in 1895 while at his Texas Ranch. His remains were sent by train to New Orleans where he was interred in the Metairie Cemetery.[4]

Morris Park in the Bronx, New York is named in his honor.



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