Dr. Rob Morris was born Robert Williams Peckham on August 31, 1818 near Boston, Massachusetts. When his father died in 1825 he was placed in a foster home and took the name of one of his foster parents, John Morris. His childhood and young manhood were spent in New York where he received many educational advantages including a splendid college training which qualified him as a successful lawyer, lecturer, educator and instructor in Masonry. He devoted many years in research and creative writing.
Dr. Morris became a Master Mason in Oxford, Mississippi, March 5, 1846. While President of Mt. Sylvan Academy, he met and later married Miss Charlotte Mendenhall. Several children were born of this union. Mrs. Morris was an inspiration to Dr. Morris and a real helpmate for nearly fifty years.
Dr. Morris travelled extensively in foreign countries. He spent nearly a year in the Holy Land. He organised the first Masonic Lodge in Jerusalem, Royal Solomon Number One, and became its first Worshipful Master.
He was an author of great ability and also a poet of unusual attainment, having written over four hundred poems. His best known poem is "The Level and the Square."
In 1858-1859 Dr. Morris served as Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Kentucky. The crowning event in the career of this remarkable man occurred in 1884 when over 500,000 Master Masons throughout the world expressed their desire that he be crowned with the laurel wreath, symbolising Poet Laureate of Masonry. One hundred years had elapsed since the first Poet Laureate, Robert Burns, had received this honour. Dr. Morris was the first poet thought capable of filling this place after Robert Burns. In the presence of more than seven hundred dignitaries this honour was conferred for the second time in the history of the craft.