JOHN WAYNE (MARION MORRISON) a.k.a. the DUKE (1907-1979)
It’s been said that other clans might have an Earl or Duke, but we have THE Duke. Born Winterset Iowa, weighing 13 pounds, educated USC in Los Angeles. Got work as an extra in Hollywood when on the USC football team. Perhaps the most famous and most admired American film star, who epitomized the gritty, independent-minded, high-character tough guy in westerns and war films. Appeared in 170 films, winning the Oscar for Best Actor in 1970 over Richard Burton, Dustin Hoffman and Peter O’Toole. Proud member of CMSNA.
SIR VAN MORRISON, the Belfast Cowboy, bn. 1945
Van the Man was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, very conscious of his Scottish ancestry, and of the legends tracing the Morrisons’ descent from the Vikings. He named his band the Caledonia Soul Orchestra. Originally a sax player in a big band which toured Germany, he became a singer and leader of pop group Them, recording hard rocking bluesy hits like Gloria in his teens, before embarking on a solo career. His early albums Astral Weeks and Moondance are among the best and most innovative ever made. Knighted in 2016 for services to music.
JIM MORRISON, The Doors, 1943-1971
Son of Rear-Admiral George Morrison, who commanded US forces at the Gulf of Tonkin, which provided the pretext for the invasion of South Vietnam. Studied film at UCLA and there was always a theatricality and dark poetic element to his career. Founded The Doors in 1965 with keyboardist Ray Manzerek. With his extraordinary good looks, he remained a pop icon for years after his early death in Paris. At the time of his death he was supposedly planning to marry the journalist and novelist Patricia Kennealy in the Cathedral of Saint John in Manhattan, wearing his Morrison kilt. They had already gone through a Celtic hand-fasting ceremony.
DAVID GILMOUR, guitarist, leader of Pink Floyd, bn. 1946
Born in Cambridge, England, the son of a senior lecturer in zoology at the university. Joined Pink Floyd in 1967 to replace lead Syd Barrett, whom he had known from college. Under Gilmour’s lead Pink Floyd became one of the most innovative and successful bands in music history. Dark Side of the Moon (1973) is the second best selling album of all time. It was on the Billboard charts for 14 years and on the British charts for ten years. In all the band has sold over 250 million albums.
FRED MORRISON, PIPER, bn. 1963
And if piping is your thing…Fred is the most highly regarded piper of our time. He has won the Macallan trophy at the Lorient festival a record seven times, and been voted Instrumentalist of the Year in the Scots Trad Music awards. Born in Glasgow, but lives in Benbecula near where his family originated, in South Uist. Multi-instrumentalist, pioneering the revival of the uillean pipes and his own reelpipes.
RUAIDHRI MAC MHUIRICH/RODERICK MORRISON (AN CLARSAIR DALL, THE BLIND HARPER), poet (c.1665-c.1714)
Son of John Morrison of Bragar, Lewis, who was also a fine poet, and therefore uncle to the Petty Seer, he became court poet and harper to Iain Breac Macleod of Dunvegan. His poetry was collected into an edition by William Matheson in 1970, together with appendices on the music and on the family of the Morrisons of Bragar. Ruaidhri’s life and work represent the glorious but poignant end of an era of Gaelic culture.
JOHN MORISON (THE SMITH OF HARRIS), poet (1790-1852)
“According to tradition the Morrisons were said to be strong and valiantly brave people and this could also be said about him.” Self-taught blacksmith-poet and preacher (he had only one month of schooling at Rodel). Joined the Free Church during the Disruption of 1843, was ordained and raised the funds to build the church at Manish. Much admired both for his life and his Gaelic poetry, much of it on religious themes.
GRANT MORRISON MBE, Comics and Graphic Novels, bn. Glasgow 1960
One of the giants of the comic book industry, known for reviving famous characters and adding a dark, surreal edge to them. Also award-winning playwright, screen-writer and author of a non-fiction analysis of superheroes, Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero. Awarded the MBE in 2012 for services to film and literature.
REV. JOHN MORRISON (THE PETTY SEER), Minister of Petty near Inverness from 1759-1774.
Son of Rev. John Morrison of Urray in Ross, and grandson of the famous John Morrison, tacksman of Bragar in Lewis, who had “Ladies modesty, Bishop’s gravity, Lawyer’ eloquence, and Captain’s conduct, ” according to Martin Martin. John of Petty was a fine poet, known as “the bard,” and preacher, but is best remembered for his gift of prophecy, also known as Highland Second Sight. The only exponent of second sight more famous was the semi-legendary Brahan Seer, Kenneth Odhar, also from Lewis.
REV. ROBERT MORRISON, MISSIONARY to China (1782-1834)
Born in Northumberland, the son of James, a Scottish farm laborer. Spent 27 years in China, the first Protestant missionary to that country, where he produced the first printed translation of the Bible into Chinese and the first English-Chinese dictionary. Founded the first hospital/dispensary along western lines in Macao and the Anglo-Chinese College in Hong Kong. Mount Morrison (now renamed Yushan), the highest mountain in Taiwan, was named in his honor.
Dr. G.E. MORRISON (CHINESE MORRISON, MORRISON OF PEKING) (1862-1920)
Grandfather was farmer in Aberdeenshire. Uncle came to Australia to be Head of Scotch College in Melbourne for 47 years and father was Head of Geelong, where George was educated. Tall, fearless adventurer. Studied medicine at Edinburgh. Times Correspondent in China for years. His collection of Chinese books became the Oriental Library in Tokyo. Helped in Chinese revolution of 1911, resigning from the Times to become political advisor to the new Chinese Republic, which he represented at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
THOMAS MORRISON, d.1829. Builder, Educator
Born in Muthill, Perthshire. Built much of Edinburgh’s beautiful Georgian New Town, making a fortune in the process. Left an endowment to build a school. Morrison’s Academy opened in Crieff in 1860.
W.S. MORRISON, 1ST VISCOUNT DUNROSSIL, 1893-1961
Born near Oban in Argyll, the younger brother of future chief, Dr. John Morrison. Educated Edinburgh University, where he was elected the University Bard because of his Gaelic poetry and acquired the nickname Shakespeare or Shakes. Interrupted his studies to serve four years in WW1, winning MC and being mentioned in dispatches. MP for Cirencester and Tewksbury 1929-59, the last eight as Speaker. Created Viscount Dunrossil 1959 and appointed Governor-General of Australia. The leafy avenue leading to Government House in Canberra is named after him.
JOHN MORRISON, 2ND VISCOUNT DUNROSSIL, 1926-2000.
Left Oxford to join RAF in 1944. Flew Spitfires and later some of the first jets in the Air Force. As British Diplomat in South Africa arranged for law books to be smuggled into Robben Island for Nelson Mandela. Later Governor of Bermuda and Lord Lieutenant of the Western Isles of Scotland. Retired to North Uist and is buried there.
SCOTT MORRISON, PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA born 1968
Became PM and Leader of Liberal Party in August 2018. Born Sydney, educated U. of NSW. Entered Parliament in 2007. Former Minister for Immigration and Border Protection.
JIM GILMORE, born 1949, Governor of Virginia
BA and JD from University of Virginia. US Army Intelligence and Counter-intelligence. Elected Attorney General of Virginia in 1993 and Governor in 1997. Wore his Morrison tartan kilt to his inauguration. Chairman of Republican National Committee 2001. Explored running for President in 2008 and 2016, but found limited support.
BARON MARGADALE OF ISLAY IN THE COUNTY OF ARGYLL
Title created in 1965 for John Granville Morrison, a Conservative MP, descendant of James Morrison, the early 19th century businessman and Liberal MP. John’s mother, Lady Mary, was the daughter of the Liberal statesman Granville Leveson-Gower, 2ndEarl Granville. Today the Granvilles own the island of North Uist. John was MP for Salisbury in Wiltshire from 1941-65. The current Lord, Alastair the 3rd Baron, was born in 1958.
MORISON OF BOGNIE, Baron of Bognie / Baron of Mountblairy / Laird of Frendraught
The Morisons of Bognie rose to eminence in the north of Scotland in the aftermath of the infamous Fire of Frendraught of 1630. Alexander Morison (c. 1590-1660) acquired the lands of Bognie from Sir James Crichton of Frendraught in 1635, becoming the 1st Baron of Bognie. Alexander's son, George Morison (1640-1699), married Christian Urquhart, the widow of James Crichton, 2nd Viscount Frendraught. George was granted Arms in 1663. Bognie Castle, also known as Conzie and found adjacent to Bognie House (which became Mains of Bognie, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire), is thought to have been built by the Morisons during the 1660s. However, there is no evidence of the Morisons ever inhabiting it, most likely because Frendraught had been incorporated into Bognie Estate around 1676 (following George Morison's marriage to Christian, Viscountess Frendraught). During the centuries that have elapsed, the descendants of the Morisons of Bognie even include the British royal family - given Alexander Morison, 4th of Bognie (1724-1801), is a 6-x great-grandfather of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. In relatively recent times, Alexander Morison (1920-2013), born in Kelowna (Canada), and his parents cultivated an orchard near the shores of Okanagan Lake during the Great Depression. Following the death of his uncle (the 11th of Bognie) in 1932, it was identified that Alexander would become the 13th Baron. After serving in the Second World War, Alexander and his family emigrated from Canada to Scotland in 1947, where they settled on Mountblairy Estate (acquired by the Morisons in 1812). His son, Gordon Morison is now the 14th Baron whilst his grandson, Conner Morison, holds the Arms of the Younger of Bognie
ALEXANDER MORISON OF PRESTONGRANGE
Alexander Morison, Advocate, acquired the Barony of Prestongrange, formerly part of the lands of Newbattle Abbey, from the second Earl of Lothian in 1622. The Morisons sold the Barony on to William Grant, another Advocate, who took the title Lord Prestongrange, in 1746. The 124 year ownership of this Barony is significant only because it caused a rare grant of arms to a Morrison.
WILLIAM MURDOCH MORRISON (1875-1956), GROCER
Brought up in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, he opened an egg and butter stall in 1899, gradually building the business into what became the fourth largest supermarket chain in the UK, Morrisons. Today Morrisons has 11% of the grocery market in the UK, with revenue of over 16 billion pounds.
JAMES MORRISON, BUSINESSMAN (1789-1857)
The son of an inn-keeper in Hampshire, England, he moved to London and married the daughter of a successful draper. He amassed an enormous fortune as a trader, with the motto, small profits and quick returns. A Liberal MP, whose descendants generally became Conservative MPs. Great collector of art and landed estates. He bought the Hebridean island of Islay for 500,000 pounds in 1854, as well as country homes in Fonthill (Wiltshire) and Basildon Park (Berkshire).
MARGARET MORRISON d. 1886/ANDREW CARNEGIE (1835-1919)
Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Fife, to poor parents, who moved with him to Pennsylvania when he was 13. His mother, Margaret Morrison, was the primary bread-winner when he was young. Such was his devotion to her that he refused to marry until after she died, when he was 51, and he later named his only child after her. Carnegie sold his steel business into what became US Steel in 1901. His share of the proceeds was $225 million, or around $6.5 bn in today’s money. He had given away all but $30mn by the time he died, and that was then divided among other charities. He was a passionate supporter of libraries and educational causes, including African American education; an anti-monarchist and anti-imperialist, who tried to buy back the Philippines for the native population after it was annexed by the US.
J.A. MORRISON, founder of Morrison’s Cafeterias
Opened his first cafeteria in Mobile, AL, in 1920. At its peak the company had 151 Morrison’s in 13 states, and had expanded into catering for schools and hospitals. In 1998 the company was sold to Piccadilly Cafeterias, which later went bankrupt, as Southern dining tastes changed. Morrison was a restauranteur but not a businessman. By 1980 the company, which liked to call itself a family business, was 100% owned by descendants of Morrison’s friendly local banker, the aptly named Mr. Outlaw. Morrison did the food, while the Outlaws took care of the money.
SIR FRASER MORRISON, Morrison Construction, RMJM
Built a major worldwide construction firm, Morrison Construction, and later bought the Edinburgh architecture and design firm, RMJM Architecture, which had built the Falkirk Wheel, and advised on projects all over the world. The construction firm was sold to Anglian Water in 2000, and his oil business to Lloyds Bank. Sir Fraser was chairman of the Highlands and Islands Development Board from 1992-8 and the first chairman of the University of the Highlands and Islands project. He was knighted in 1993.
WALTER FREDERICK MORRISON, inventor of the Frisbee, bn. Utah 1920, d. 2010
In 1937 he started selling “flyin’ Cake Pans” on the beaches of Santa Monica. Having learned more about aerodynamics while flying a P-47 Thunderbolt in WW2, he came out with a plastic version, the Flyin’ Saucer, in 1948. In 1955 he designed the Pluto Platter, which he sold to the Wham-O toy company in 1957. Wham-O changed the name that same year to Frisbee, after finding that college students had started calling it that.
DANNY MORRISON, New Zealand Cricketer, bn. 1966
Danny was one of the most successful fast bowlers in NZ history, taking 286 wickets in 48 Tests and 96 ODIs. He was an almost equally unsuccessful batsman, at one time holding the record for ducks in Test cricket. Since retirement he has become a leading commentator on the game all over the world, where his larger than life personality translates so well to the small screen. His autobiography, Mad as I Wanna Be, was described by one commentator as “mental.”
JAMES MORRISON, WBA and Scotland football player, bn. 1986
James was born in County Durham, in England, and came through the Middlesborough youth system, before being transferred to West Bromwich Albion in 2007. He had appeared for England in Youth football, but in 2008 agreed to represent Scotland’s full international team, for which he qualified through his grandparents. He played 46 times for Scotland as a midfielder, several as captain, being one of the most dependable players during what was a depressing era in Scottish football.