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Kim's Story - The Morrison Family

Submitted by Jari Lynn Oncken - May 15, 2010

Kim Sullivan is able to trace her maternal Morrison family's membership in the First Baptist Church back to her great, great grandparents Charles and Rachel Morrison. All totaled that is five generations of continuous church membership.

Kim is the daughter of Barbara Morrison Meyer who passed away on June 10, 1989 and Jim Meyer. Barbara and Jim met while they were attending Illinois Sate Normal University in Normal and were married on August 28, 1955. In 1956 Jim joined his father-in-law Bob Morrison's insurance and real estate agency.

When Kim was asked to describe her mother she said her mom had a sweet disposition and never knew a stranger. She was always willing to help out in any situation. Other family members include her husband Duane Sullivan, three brothers and sisters-in-law Jeff and Christi, Craig and Cindy and Eric and Julie, 9 nieces and nephews and Jim's wife Beverly Meyer.

In 1978 Kim started working for her dad at the Morrison Agency now known as the Meyer-Jochums Agency.

When Kim was young her life revolved around her family, school and church. In church she and her brothers sat with their grandma and grandpa Morrison while their dad directed the choir and their mom sang.

Foremost in Kim's thoughts are the pieces she said at the church Christmas programs. She remembered the one she memorized when she was six years old and quoted, "Cattle kept on lowing while Joseph gathered straw and Mary kept awaiting as the cattle mooed in awe". Other fond memories were learning the books of the Bible while singing the Bible song, Blackhawk Camp,

Christmas caroling at the nursing home, BYF and church potlucks. She recalls Sunday School teachers Eleanor Timmerman, Minnie Underwood and Grandma Reese and the pastor Harry Sanders.

For many years Kim has been a faithful member of the church choir and has sung many duets with her dad at weddings and funerals. She enjoys teaching the kindergarten and first grade Sunday School class just as her mom did years ago.

Since Kim's mom is deceased her Aunt Sue Morrison Burger was asked to share information about her family and memories of her younger years at the First Baptist Church.

Sue and her husband James Burger live in Rockford, Illinois where she is the principal of the preschool (3,4, and 5 year old students) at the Berean Baptist Christian School. She has been affiliated with this grade and high school for over 30 years. Teaching her students to memorize Bible verses is important to Sue who said, "If they learn it well as a child they will retain it all their lives". When Sue was a child attending the Minonk Baptist Church she helped Grandma Reese with the three-year-old class and at the age of 17 began teaching the four and five-year-old class. Minnie Underwood taught Sue and the other 7th and 8th grade girls how to pray by just talking to Jesus. Sue also remembers the fun activities in BYF including wiener roasts in the country, skating parties and decorating the Church's Christmas trees.

The generation before Barbara and Sue included Kim's grandparents Bob and Eilene Hawk Morrison. Bob was baptized on September 26, 1919 with his brother Winfield. After his graduation from Minonk Community High School Bob worked as a bookkeeper and salesman at the Goodwin Ford Garage in Minonk. In 1938 he bought Kerrigan's Confectionary at 506 Chestnut Street and renamed it the Chocolate Shop. He later purchased the Tri-County Insurance Agency on West Fifth Street.

Kim's great grandparents were Winfield and Edith Morrison. Winfield was baptized on February 2, 1892. He graduated from Minonk High School in 1898, taught in a country school five miles east of Minonk and later enrolled in Hadnemann Medical College in Chicago in 1901.

Dr. Morrison opened his office on East 6th Street in 1905 and later moved it to West 5th Street above the old Minonk News-Dispatch office. On July 4, 1955 he was honored for his 50 years of faithful medical service to the community. That day was designated as "Doctor Morrison Day" and all the people that he delivered as babies wore "I am a Dr. Morrison Baby" badges.

Dr. Morrison died of a heart attack on August 17, 1959 at the age of 79 while on his way to the Streator Hospital. Sue said, "He died with his boots on".

Kim's great-great grandpa Charles Morrison was born in Hancock County, Kentucky on September 17, 1839. In 1864 he married Rachel Barnett and in 1874 they moved to Minonk. They joined the First Baptist Church on January 14, 1876 when the first church building existed and Rev. C.D. Merit was the pastor. Charles was a trustee for 25 years and a member of the building committee when the present church was built. He was a professional carpenter and a charter member and director of the Minonk Building and Loan Company. His son and grandson were also members and directors of this organization.

How remarkable it is for Kim to be able to trace her family's church membership back 133 years. The members of Charles Morrison's family have been descending for a long time.