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How Morris Rotary Started

Morris Daily Herald, April 22, 1915



Adopt Constitution and Elect First Officers.

Mayor T. H. Hall is Endorsed by Club Which Proposes to Support Him in
All Things for Advancement of City — Club Undertakes to get Liberty Bell Here.

      Rotary Club men of Morris, both former members of such clubs in other cities and members of the proposed Rotary Club of Morris, last evening adopted a constitution and elected a full set of officers to serve until the regular annual election in June.  This was done on the suggestion of the secretary of the International Association of Rotary Clubs, the plan being to have all clubs elect their officers on the same date that the new directories may be kept up to date through but one publication a year.

On the suggestion of the same man the Morris club adopted the name of “The Grundy Efficiency Club” which will be used until such a time as the club has proved its right to affiliation in the International organization.  The present policy is to let down the bars on the population requirement of the city.  Up until a year ago no cities of under 25,000 population was given charters.  Ottawa, with not quite 10,000 people, this last year won it’s way into a place with the International A very few other places of from 10,000 to 15,000 have since been admitted.

Splendid Work Before Morris.

      S. D. Bradford of Ottawa, one of the out-of-town speakers present last night frankly stated that, if Morris could prove her right to a place among the affiliated clubs she would be doing a true Rotarian “Stunt” in pointing the way to the admission of enterprising cities of the 5,000 class.

      Sentiment of the 48 members present last evening favored the taking of the chance.  It will be worked out along the lines of whatever seems to be the most needed by the town.  At present, since Morris is in reality as much of a farming town as a manufacturing center, one of the first aims will be to push back the corporate limits of the town to the extremes of territory from which trade comes to the city.  It will be a farm and town betterment proposition.

      If Morris can win membership in the affiliated clubs it will mean that hundreds of like towns in the United States will immediately point to its record in pressing their right to affiliation.  There are at the present time 28 clubs in cities of from 10,000 to 20,000 population that are under probation with a view of being granted charters as soon as they have measured up to the standards.

Club Takes Active Steps.

Anxious to be up and doing something for Morris — a true Rotarian spirit — the local club as soon as it had accepted its constitution, and elected its officers, went on record by giving a rising vote of thanks to the outgoing city administration for the efforts made in the improvement of Morris, and then turned to the governing body.  T. H. Hall and the officers of his administration were given a rising vote of efficiency blast on whether he has promised to run the city and promising to support him in all things for the best interest of the city.  To the testimonial of good will and cooperation, the new mayor responded first with a short speech of gratitude and then later on with one announcement of more than passing importance.  He said:

      “On my recent auto trip through the states of Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota, I noticed first of all that Morris is very lax in her auto traffic.  We have got to take care of our people, especially on Saturday nights.  It will be my policy to have traffic policemen on at least the three principal corners in the down town business section whenever there is any possible need for them.  All other policemen will be instructed to act at all other times.”

After Liberty Bell.

      The club voted to direct the new board of directors to take steps at once to get out petitions to communicate with other Rotary clubs down the Illinois Valley and to take such other steps that are needful to get the famous Liberty bell routed over the Rock Island on its westward trip from Philadelphia to the Panama Pacific exposition at San Francisco.  This bell when taken from Philadelphia is sent heavily guarded in a special exhibition car.  The train carrying it stops at the principal centers long enough to let school children and others view the historic relic of Revolutionary days.

Club Starts Out Well

      The meeting last evening was the second one held in the interest of the club.  Twenty-eight men were in attendance at the first.  Last evening there were 48 exclusive of the visitors and guests.  Forty-five have signed membership cards, these representing ......

( a portion of the article is missing)


............$10.  The officers elected until the annual June meeting are:

      James Mack — President

      Walter S. Wagner — Secretary.

      D. J. Braun — Treasurer.

      Harry E. Brown — Sargent -at-Arms.

      Directors — James Mack, Walter S. Wagner, Frank H. Hayes, M. H. Wilcox, R. M. McClure, William Campbell and W. R. Allan, Jr.

Ottawa Men Talk

      Two Ottawa men were guests of the club.  They were sent tot he city by the International secretary who was interviewed by E. D. Martin, temporary President who retired last evening, the recipient of a vote of thanks and many individual compliments for the able  manner in s\which he guided the club through the formative period.

      S. B. Bradford, who spoke first, said in part:

      “I expected to see only a handful of men out here tonight.  That is all we had when the Joliet Rotarians came down to Ottawa two years ago to tell us something about the Rotary spirit.  At that time we were the smallest city in the United States that had attempted to swing a Rotary Club — and we probably would not have s\done so then had we know more about it.  We are glad now however that we did not know more.  The International policy has changed and Ottawa, instead of being frowned upon now is referred to with a smile.  Morris has an opportunity of accomplishing as much.

      We now have a membership of 71 men.  Our organization, like all Rotary clubs is an unselfish undertaking.  Being purely unselfish it has succeeded where the Business men’s association failed.

      The Club so far has done two things for Ottawa.  It has succeeded in giving the business part of the town a beautiful system of electrolier street lights and it has improved Dimmick hill, the only outlet from the city to the State Park at Starved Rock.  It was necessary to get the convicts from the state penitentiary at Joliet to come for one summer to prepare the road for paving and now to put the paving proposition over at a cost of $44,000.

      You must be careful in your membership and careful in things that are put up to you.  Guard against the things that will boost some individual or corporation rather than those that will boost the city.  Look out for the man who has an ax to grind.”

Keep Public Informed.

      J. F. Richardson, Jr., the second speaker, told of the many little “stunts” that can be put on to keep the interest in the meetings going.  He then said:

      “You will be called everything from an A. P.A. Organization to a bunch of politicians.  As you have already heard your constitution forbids your dabbling in any such petty things, all that I can say to  you on these points is, to take the public into your confidence.  Your are an efficiency and a service organization.

      It is a wonderful movement.  There is nothing like putting your feet under the same table with another man to get acquainted with him.  Ours are brotherhood meetings.  We are not jealous of the successes of others for we realize that if another is successful and we are associated with him, we are bound to get a piece of his success.

      If you have a business men’s organization in your town, get behind them.  If they are doing everything apparently possible for the city help them to do even more.  Don’t take too many things on at once.

      In Ottawa at the present time we are interested in two propositions.  We accrued the services of two federal waterway engineers to check over the plan put forth by Governor Dnne and as a result of it, we already have obtained a reduction of the proposed dam at Starved Rock from 32 to 26 feet.  That is not entirely satisfactory and we still are busy and planning on doing more.

      Then we are backing the club women of the city in a ‘clean-up day.

                You will find plenty of things to  do.”