Thomas Graham Morry IV
Thomas Graham Morry
Born: 30 June 1887
Married: 16 June 1924
Died: 31 July 1967
Medford, MA, USA
Esther Maud Mary Battcock
Born: 04 Apr 1890
Brigus South, Newfoundland
Died: 03 Apr 1995
Graham Morry, as he was known, at his home in Medford, Massachusetts, Summer 1950
Thomas Graham Morry, or Graham as he was known to distinguish him from his father of the same name, was the fourth person to bear that name, including in addition to his father, his grand uncle and great grand-uncle. The tradition of bearing this name was passed on to my father as T. G. Morry V and brother (now deceased) T. G. Morry VI, but has stopped there, at least for now. The Graham name harkens back to the maiden name of Mary Graham, who married Matthew Morry, the immigrant to Newfoundland. The family was always proud of this introduction of Scots blood into the gene pool, and the name Graham is found as the Christian name or second name of numerous Morrys in every generation.
Graham as a young lad, ca 1900
As a young lad, Graham was remembered as always being the adventuresome one. As he grew older, the little fishing village of Ferryland was not big enough for him and so he determined to set off and see the world. The easiest way for a young man from a Newfoundland fishing village to explore other places was to call upon his skills as a harvester of marine resources. It is doubtful if Graham actually had any experience in whaling. By the time he reached 24 in 1911, the whaling industry in Newfoundland was already in decline. Though there had been a thriving whale processing facility just a few kilometers away in Aquaforte, that was before his time and it was now shut down. Nevertheless when Job Bros. in St. John’s let it be known that they were on the lookout for some able-bodied young men to go to the Canadian province of British Columbia to carry out whaling there, he was off to St. John’s like a flash. Unfortunately, by the time he got there they had already filled their quota. More than a few Newfoundlanders with more experience than Graham had fallen on hard times when they lost their jobs as whalers. Even so, Graham determined to tag along in hopes of finding employment in the trade when he got to BC.
If it was adventure he was seeking, then he got more than he bargained for, as explained by Maura Hanrahan in her book entitled The Alphabet Fleet. This book concerns the Reid Newfoundland Company’s fleet of coastal vessels, so named because each ship was Christened in alphabetical order with the name of a place in Scotland. Several of these vessels also served to ferry passengers and cargo to and from the mainland. It was on one of these, the BRUCE, that Graham was to set out on his trip to BC, with a first stop in Nova Scotia. The story of that adventure makes for enjoyable and exciting reading. To read how Maura Hanrahan described this event click on the image of her book below.
There is no record of whether Graham did eventually get work in the whaling industry out west. But it is known, from his brother Howard Morry’s memoirs, that the two of them did travel to western Canada to work, first of all in the wheat fields of the Prairies, which was obviously unsuitable work for two young Newfoundland men, and later on in the salmon canneries of British Columbia.
Eventually Howard returned home to take a hand in operating the fish business passed down to him by his father, Thomas Graham Morry the elder. Graham remained in British Columbia, as did their brother Bert (Albert Graham Morry), who had preceded them to the west coast three years prior. When war broke out Graham was still in BC and both he and Bert joined the Canadian Army. Bert joined the home guard in BC. Being 5 years older than Graham, and married with a young family to raise, he therefore would not have wished to serve overseas. But one can imagine that this was not the choice of a single man and adventurer like Graham.
Gunner Thomas Graham Morry IV, ca 1918
In Canadian Army uniform, Regt. # 2138801
Thomas Graham Morry IV (Regt. # 2138801) joined the 2nd Depot Battalion, BC Regiment in Victoria BC on January 18, 1918. He did his basic training in Esquimalt, BC until April 4, 1918 and then was assigned on April 15, 1918 as a gunner in the No. 5 Company of the Royal Canadian Garrison Artillery of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, also stationed in Esquimalt at the time. On June 17, 1918 he was reassigned to the M.D. 6 (Military District 6) and remained there in Halifax until his demobilisation at the cessation of hostilities on December 18, 1918. This must have been a tremendous disappointment for a man who was obviously an adventurer and who joined up even at an advanced age (30) in hopes of going overseas and seeing action.
As the war was drawing to a close, Graham, still in Halifax, sent a post card to his older brother and traveling companion Howard, who was by then home in Ferryland recuperating from his illnesses endured as a result of the trench warfare in the Dardanelles and France. One can tell from the words on this brief message that Graham would have given his eye-teeth to have been over there with him, whatever the hazards.
Postcard from Graham to Howard Morry from Halifax, July 1918
Graham is third from left in the back row
Graham returned to BC for a while after his demobilisation but continued to be restless and eventually returned to Newfoundland. But it wasn’t long before the urge to strike out and explore took hold once again and he set off for the “Boston States” like so many Newfoundlanders before and since. He wound up literally in the “Boston States”, that is, in the area surrounding Boston itself, where there were many friends and relatives from the Southern Shore. There he met and married a fellow Newfoundlander, Esther Maude Mary Battcock. Maude, as she was known, was from Brigus South, not far from Ferryland and was a nurse, like many of the women in her family for several generations before and after her. After their marriage on June 16, 1924 they settled in the Fall River/Medford area and began to raise a family. Their first born were twin girls, whom they named Beatrice Mary and Mary Bernadette. Unfortunately, though they were born at full term, not prematurely, both died within a matter of weeks of birth. Their only other child was also a girl whom they chose to name Mary as well. One is tempted to wonder if the name Mary stuck with Graham after having met that brave and strong woman, Mary Uphill, on that fateful sailing of the BRUCE so many years before.
Graham was by inclination and later by trade a carpenter, rather than a fisherman. He spent most of his working life as the person responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the University club at Harvard University. He died at the age of 80 on July 31, 1967 and was survived by his wife of 43 years, Maude, who died in Winchester, MA on April 3rd 1995, one day short of her 105th birthday.
Children of Thomas Graham Morry IV and Esther Maude Mary Battcock
|Morry, Beatrice Mary||7 Feb. 1925||Fall River, MA||26 Feb. 1925|
|Morry, Mary Bernadette||7 Feb. 1925||Fall River, MA||7 Mar. 1925|
|Morry, Mary Rosella||12 Mar. 1927||Medford, MA||Aft. 1969||Crockett, Willard James||14 Apr. 1990|
Graham with my father Tom Morry and with Graham’s daughter Mary on the right, ca 1935
It is a sad fact that Graham’s bloodline died out with the passing of his daughter Mary. She was, like her mother, a nurse. She served in the US Armed Forces retiring with a rank of Lt. Cmdr. She married late in life to a merchant seaman named Willard James Crockett but they had no children. It is a great pity that there are therefore no descendants to whom the story of this interesting man can be passed down.