Moses & David Morris: Early Jewish Pioneers and Civic Leaders of Helena, Montana

Moses & David Morris

Values Codes I – E – L

Helena Steam Power and Lighting Co., certificate, 1885, signed by Moses Morris. Image credit: Stuart Lutz Historic Documents, Inc. This item is for sale (visit:


Moses Morris was born in 1844 in Posen, a Polish Provence recently taken over by Prussia.

His brother, David Morris was born there in 1849.

Their parents were Joachim Morris and Esther Schlesinger Morris.


Along the way . . . .

Moses Morris journeyed to the United States in 1858.

He lived in St. Paul, Minnesota for two years.

In 1860, he traveled behind a wagon train from Leavenworth, Kansas to Denver, Colorado.


Around 1860, David Morris journeyed to the United States.

He headed West to Denver Colorado, where he joined his brother, Moses, in business.


In 1863, David Morris headed to Virginia City, Montana.

Moses also planned to head West, but was delayed due the unfortunate circumstances of his vehicle getting caught in a snowstorm.

In 1864, after his rescue, Moses Morris joined his brother, David, in Virginia City, Montana.


Helena, Montana

In 1865, the Morris brothers opened a crockery shop and a mercantile business in Helena, Montana.

Moses Morris invested in real estate, cattle, and banks.

In 1867, he built the first plaster home in Helena.

He also founded the electric light and street railway companies in Helena.

In 1888, David Morris left Helena.

Moses Morris retired from the businesses.



Moses Morris served on the Helena Chamber of Commerce for 9 years.

He served as Treasurer of the Republican State Central Committee and Corresponding Treasurer of the Union League.



Moses Morris was the first President of the United Hebrew Benevolent Association and an active member of Congregation Emanu-El.



Moses Morris was a lifelong member of the Masonic Lodge No. 3 and the King Solomon’s Lodge No. 9, where he was the Master of the Lodge for 13 years.



In 1878, Moses Morris married Emma Anson.

Together, they had 5 children.


David Morris died in 1905 and is buried at the Home of Peace Cemetery in Helena, Montana.

Moses Morris died in 1937 and is also buried at the Home of Peace Cemetery.



Samantha Silver is curator for this Moses & David Morris exhibit.