Morris Menkus

Birth: January 6, 1871 in Little Rock, Arkansas

Death: May 14, 1937 (age 65-66)

Gravesite Details: Row C – Plot 24

In Loving Memory of
Elizabeth E
1869 – 1937
1871 – 1937

Morris Menkus was a lawyer and involved in the Democratic Party both in Arkansas and Tacoma, Washington. He married the eldest child of Victoria pioneers Frank and Cecelia Sylvester. While in Victoria he worked as an insurance agent, contractor, and barrister.

Morris was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was heavily involved the Democratic Party and his presence was noted at high-profile social events by the Arkansas Democrat newspaper.

Morris passed his bar exam in 1892 and began working as an attorney. From 1894-1900 he lived in Tacoma, Washington, where he was an attorney with the firm O’Brien & Robertson and Morris Menkus.

Although Morris continued to be a dedicated member and supporter of the Democratic party, the Tacoma Daily News reported on October 13, 1894 that E.E. Chamberlin of the Republican Party made a personal request to Morris to speak throughout the county on behalf of the Republican ticket. Morris declined, stating that he was a Democrat and believed in Democratic principles. E.E. refused to accept his answer and asked Morris to reconsider. Morris responded by saying that he would accept the invitation, but as he had been a lifelong Democrat, his speeches would be “Democratic from the shoulder.” Morris added that he would also continue to be a delegate to the county Democratic convention and a candidate for the Legislature. E.E. responded by saying, “I’m sorry that you cannot see the error of your way and change your faith from that party with no future to the Republican cause.”

Morris spoke at a number of Democratic rallies. On October 26, 1894, The Tacoma Daily News noted that Morris would be a speaker at an upcoming Democratic rally and that “speakers will intelligently discuss county issues.” On October 28, 1894 that paper reported that there had been a contentious nomination convention held by the Democratic county convention, and that Morris had been elected secretary. The Tacoma Daily Ledger reported on August 23, 1898 that Morris had been elected a delegate at a poorly attended meeting of the Second Ward, third precinct.

Morris first appeared in the Victoria’s City Directory in 1903. He was listed as a district manager for New York Life and living at 149 View Street. The same information is recorded for 1904.

On April 4, 1902 Morris married Elizabeth Sylvester. Elizabeth’s sister Louise Sylvester attended the bride, and her brother, Clarence “Toots” Sylvester attended the groom. One hundred fifty people were present at their reception in the Hebrew Ladies Hall. The paper reported that the couple received “numerous and costly gifts before leaving for Seattle.”

The couple’s daughter Elise Dorothy was born in Victoria on March 5, 1903. The couple moved to Seattle, where on July 4, 1904 their son Julian Alfred was born. While the family lived in Seattle, Morris sold life insurance. The Menkus’ returned to Victoria in 1908.

Elise became a stenographer. On April 19, 1924 she married Elmer Edwin Reed of Seattle in a Civil ceremony at the Court House in Victoria. A sumptuous lunch at the Menkus family home at 1105 Princess Street followed. The Times Colonist reported that the bride was beautiful in a delphinium blue courgette and that there were “numerous” presents which included a “number of substantial checks”. The couple left for Vancouver en route to their honeymoon in Portland. The Reeds planned to live in the Westport Apartments, Queen Anne Hill, Seattle. By 1935 Elise and Elmer were living in Beverly Hills, California with their two children, Dorothy and Richard.

Elise’s brother Julian worked in the circulation department of The Daily Times before moving to Seattle. On July 4, 1930 he married Ida Dunievitz of Denver in Sacramento, California.

There is no listing for Morris in the 1909 Victoria City Directory, but Elizabeth was listed as a teacher and living with her parents, sister Louise, and two of her brothers at “Firleigh,” 1246 Fisgard. There is no listing for New York Life in the 1910 City Directory, however in 1912 both Elizabeth and Morris were listed as living at 1105 Princess Street. Elizabeth was listed as a teacher at George Jay Elementary School. Morris was listed as working with the building contractors, Murry & Aves Ltd. In 1914, Morris was listed as an accountant. While Morris’ name appeared in the 1917 City Directory, no occupation is listed. From 1918-1921 Morris was listed as a barrister. No profession was listed for Morris from 1923-1925. Beginning in 1926 he is listed as retired. He died suddenly while at home on May 18, 1937.

Elise Volmer Menkus (1836–1892)
Jacob Menkus (1830–1908)

Elizabeth Eula Sylvester Menkus (1869-1937)

Elise Dorothy Menkus Reed
Julian Alfred Menkus

David L. Menkus (1870–1938)
Sidney Menkus (1873–1928)
Leon Menkus (1880–1885)
Gertrude Menkus Pfeifer (1883–1936)

%d bloggers like this: