Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
LEON MORICE. The close friendship which has existed between the United States and France since the infancy of the former has been mutually helpful and pleasant to both nations and it has been especially fortunate for America, the younger nation having received many valuable lessons in statesmanship, art, science and other things from the older republic across the sea. And these two peoples, though speaking a different language and having, in a large measure, different aims in life, have ever harmonized and fraternized. It has been principally our idle rich and our students who have taken up their abodes in France, but all classes have come to our country from there, and here the peasant, tradesman, in fact, most everyone of the middle, working classes have found good homes and remunerative businesses, by the thousands, in our different states. We have welcomed them, not alone on account of the friendship existing between our governments, but because her people are invariably industrious, courteous, agreeable to associate with, and, for the most part, honorable and trustworthy. One of the vast army of emigrants from that sunny clime to this country was the late Leon Morice who, for a period of twenty-nine years was a well known business man in Springfield and a good and useful citizen who deserved the high respect which was accorded him by all.
Mr. Morice was born in France, April 16, 1845. His parents were natives of that country where they spent their lives, and there our subject grew to manhood and received his education, and when a young man learned the lithographer's trade, also worked for some time as bookkeeper. When eighteen years of age he emigrated to the United States, first locating in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and from there came to St. Louis, where he engaged in his trade of lithographer, at which he was exceptionally skilled, consequently found ready employment wherever he desired to work. Remaining in St. Louis until in May, 1876, he came to Springfield and here established his permanent home. He engaged in the candy manufacturing business with his wife's brother, E. J. Bourquenot. They were successful from the first, their trade increasing with advancing years, and they became the best known and most extensive candy manufacturers in the city and continued in this business until the death of our subject. Everyone knows their neat, inviting and pleasant store on South street, and it is still maintained by Edmond L., son of our subject, who has added a bakery and does a large retail business.
Leon Morice was married while living in St. Louis, January 6, 1876, to Aurelia Bourquenot, who was born in Richmond, Virginia, January 1, 1851, and is a daughter of Xavier and Anna (Weinman) Bourquenot, both natives of France, the father born on June 17, 1815, died on September 13, 1885; the mother was born on February 28, 1819, and died in 1908. These parents grew up in their native land, were educated and married there, and emigrated to the United States in 1850, landing in New York City on September 13th of that year, but they went direct to Richmond, Virginia, where they established their home. The father of Mrs. Morice was a machinist by trade, was highly skilled, and he was also a locomotive engineer. His family consisted of four children, three of whom are living at this writing, namely: Eugene, Melanie, Aurelia, who became the wife of Mr. Morice of this memoir, and Victoria, who is deceased. Mrs. Morice received a good common school education, spending her girlhood in Richmond and St. Louis. She lives in her pleasant cottage on Dollison street, Springfield.
To Mr. and Mrs. Morice four children were born, all of whom survive, namely: Edmond L., born on January 21, 1879, married on January 8, 1902, Ann J. O'Byrne, a daughter of James and Margaret (Hayse) O'Byrne, and he is managing the candy store formerly owned by his father, which place he now owns and is running same successfully and up to his former high standard of excellence; he has two daughters, Josephine, born on November 1, 1908, and Margaret Aurelia, born on July 19, 1908; Eugenia, born April 4, 1881, married H. T. Ford, and they live in Springfield; Leonie, born on October 8, 1884, is single and living at home; Adele, born on December 4, 1886, married William O'Byrne, and they also live in this city.
Politically, Mr. Morice was a Democrat. He and his family were reared in the Catholic faith and have ever been faithful to the same.
The death of Leon Morice occurred on July 11, 1905, when nearly sixty years of age.
Springfield-Greene County Library