Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MORRISON, James Frank, electrician, born in St. John's, New Brunswick, 18 April, 1841. After being educated by a private tutor he left his home in 1855 and went to Boston, the former abode of his family, where he obtained employment in a commercial house. He there studied telegraphy, went to Baltimore in 1862, and shortly thereafter entered the telegraph service of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad company, in which he remained until 1868. During these years he kept his mind constantly on electrical matters, and soon became a recognized expert in all branches of the art, accumulating a complete library on the subject, he then entered the service of the Western Union telegraph company, where he was night manager for two years, he was then appointed superintend-cut of the fire-alarm system of Baltimore, which "he entirely reorganized. In 1878 Mr. Morrison constructed for the Chesapeake and Ohio canal company the first long line telephone in the world, the length being 210 miles from Georgetown, D. C., to Cumberland, Maryland. In 1876 he was elected clerk of the Maryland state senate. He was appointed a fire commissioner for Baltimore, and in 1879, while serving in that capacity, was appointed to the wardenship of the city jail, which, under his administration, was entirely reorganized. An English inspector of prisons, who in the course of his professional duty visited this country, pronounced this institution the model jail in the United States. In 1880 Mr. Morrison connected himself with the Brush electric company, and through his exertions its method of lighting the city was adopted and is now in successful use: He then erected the Morrison electrical works, and formed the Southern electrical company. In 1887 he resigned the wardenship of the city jail. The National electric light association of the United States, at their first convention in Chicago in February, 1885, elected him its president, which office he has since held. In 1886 he was elected managing director of the Baxter electric motor company, and he is also manager of the Electric storage company and of the United States light and power company. Mr. Morrison has been active in politics as a Democrat.
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