One of the successful teachers of West Virginia is Professor Edward Leroy Morton, principal of the "Stratton School," at Beckley. He was born and reared at Pomeroy, Ohio. His father, Calvin M. Morton, who owned and managed a copper shop, was a native of Smythe County, Va. He went to Ohio in 1853. In 1856 he returned to Virginia and bought his mother, sister and brother, and later on, his father. Professor Morton treasures as heirlooms the freedom papers of his grandparents. The mother of our subject, before her marriage, was Miss Harriet Scott, born at Walden, W. Va.
Young Morton was one of a family of seven children. His parents and his oldest sister encouraged him in every way possible. He went first to the public school, and later to the High School at Pomeroy, graduating from the latter in 1895. The following year, 1896, he began teaching at Buchannan, West Virginia, where he remained for eight years and was the first teacher to celebrate a colored commencement there. From there he went to Fairmont, where he taught for seven years. It was while at Fairmont, that he organized and became the first president of the Teachers' Association of Northern West Virginia. His next work was at Point Pleasant, where he was principal of the Langston School for two years, after which he was out of the school room for two years.
In 1916 he came to the growing town of Beckley, where the work has prospered under his hand. At that time there were two teachers, with an enrollment of 57. Now there are seven teachers, and an enrollment of 262. Building and equipment are worth $40,000.00.
Prof. Morton is a Republican in politics, and has been active in the councils of his party. He is a member of Advisory Council to the State Board of Education, having been appointed in 1921 for a term of four years. Since coming to Raleigh County he became the moving spirit in the organization of the Raleigh County Civic League.
On August 22, 1906, Prof. Morton and Miss Mary E. Jordan were united in matrimony. She is the daughter of George and Ellen Jordan of Point Pleasant. They have three children; Bessie D., George E. and Frances H. Morton.
Prof. Morton is a member of the Baptist Church. He belongs to the Masons and the Pythians. For fifteen years he has been active in the work of the Pythians. He is at this time Supreme Representative and for several years has been chairman of the Finance Committee.
He believes that the progress of the race is a matter of clear thinking and wise economy, which will find expression in intelligent action such as the purchase of homes and cooperation along commercial and industrial lines.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center