Robert Morris, born in Liverpool, England, 20 January 1734, emigrated to Maryland in 1747. The next year he moved to Philadelphia where, after brief schooling, he entered the service of the Willings, shipping merchants. Rising to partnership in 1754, Morris rapidly attained great power and influence in the commercial and political life of America. Appointed to the Pennsylvania Committee of Safety in June 1775, he was extremely active, arming both Pennsylvanian and Continental forces. Joining the Continental Congress in November 1776, he was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Morris’ key role in the financial affairs of the new nation led to his appointment as Superintendent of Finance in May 1781 and Agent of Marine that September. His extraordinary skill in both offices greatly contributed to American success in the Revolution. A delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Morris served in the U.S. Senate 1789‑1795, but declined to stand for reelection. He continued his leadership in business and banking until impoverished when values of his extensive land holdings collapsed. Morris died in Philadelphia 8 May 1806.
(DD‑271: dp. 1,190; l. 314'5"; b. 31'8"; dr. 9'3" (mean); s. 35 k.; cpl. 120; a. 4 4", 2 3", 12 21" tt.; cl. Clemson)
The sixth Morris (DD‑271) was laid down 20 July 1918 by the Fore River Plant, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corp., Squantum, Mass.; launched 12 April 1919; sponsored by Mrs. George E. Roosevelt, great‑granddaughter of Commodore Charles Morris; and commissioned 21 July 1919, Lt. Comdr. M. L. Deyo in command.
On 26 August 1919 Morris sailed for European waters. A month later she passed through the Strait of Gibraltar and continued on to Spalato (Split), Yugoslavia. There she joined the Adriatic Detachment which was then performing quasi‑political and diplomatic duties in the void caused by the breakup of the Austro‑Hungarian Empire. She returned to New York 21 May 1920 and operated briefly on the east coast before sailing for San Diego. Steaming via the Panama Canal she arrived at San Diego 7 September and for the next 9 months cruised south for brief patrols off the politically unstable countries of Nicaragua and Mexico. She decommissioned at San Diego 15 June 1922 and entered the Reserve Fleet. Struck from the Naval Register 19 May 1936, she was sold to the Schiavone‑Bonomo Corp. of New York City 29 September 1936.
A Coast Guard name retained.
(WSC‑147: dp. 295; l. 125'; b. 24'; dr. 9'; s. 11 k.; cpl. 38; a. 1 3"; cl. Active)
Morris (WSC‑147) was built in 1927 by American Brown Boveri Electrical Corp., Camden, N.J., and commissioned in the Coast Guard 19 April 1927.
She operated out of New London, Conn., as a patrol craft of the 125‑foot active class until 22 November 1928, and then assumed permanent station at Oakland, Calif., 13 January 1929. Five months later she was assigned patrol operations out of San Pedro, Calif. Until 1934 Morris operated intermittently against rumrunners.
Executive Order 8929 of 1 November 1941 transferred the entire Coast Guard to the Navy. Morris was assigned to patrol and rescue operations out of San Diego, Calif. She returned to the Treasury Department 1 January 1946 pursuant to Executive Order 9666 dated 28 January 1945. In 1966 she was redesignated WMEC‑147.
Morris is one of the few cutters of her class still in commissioned service. She assumed postwar patrol duties out of San Pedro, Calif., which has been her permanent station into 1969.