My Contribution: I was among the first generation of African Americans to teach in the city school system when I began my career in 1877. I prepared William H. Marshall and John P. Scott to be the first two African Americans to graduate from the high school in Harrisburg in 1883. I worked to create quality educational opportunities for my students and established a school library at Lincoln School. I was also involved in church and political activities in Harrisburg. 

My Legacy: I taught and influenced two generations of students over the course of 50 years. My students became leaders in the Harrisburg community. I had four children, including Dr. Morris H. Layton, Jr., who worked for the betterment of their communities. 

About Me: “He was the ‘finest instructor in colored schools that Harrisburg ever had and his teachings exerted a lasting influence upon his scholars, many of whom are leading and respected Negro citizens of the community today” — Dr. Charles H. Crampton, The Evening News, December 12, 1938. 

Full Name: Morris Hallowell Layton, Sr.

Birth Date: September 2, 1856

Death Date: December 11, 1938

Place of Birth: Burlington County, New Jersey

Sex: Male 

Race: Black (1880 and 1900 Federal Census), “Mulatto” (1910 Federal Census) and “Negro” (1930 Federal Census)

Places of Residence: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Ward 8, District 22; 805 Locust St; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: 512 Briggs Street, 708 East Street, and 930 N. 6th Street.

Connection to the Old Eighth Ward: Lived just outside of the ward; teacher of children in ward; involved in Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church and other organizations within the ward.

Family Members: Father: Major Layton. Mother: Rebecca (Steven) Layton. Siblings: Mary E. Layton, Anna Layton, Mrs. Warren Jackson, Norbert P. Layton, William H. Layton, Leon Layton, Florence Layton. Wife: M1: Ella (Marshall) Layton, m. 1887, d. 1906. Wife: M2: Margaret (Matthews) Layton, m. 1911. Wife: M3: Letitia B. Layton, m. 1921, divorced 1927. Father-in-Law: Eby Marshall. Mother-in-Law: Harriet Marshall. Children: Morris H. Layton, Jr., Ira L. Layton, Marshall Layton, Harriet “Hattie” R. (Layton) McFadden. Daughter-in-Law: Olive N. Layton.

Education: Institute for the Colored Youth. Cheyney State Teachers College, 1876.

Occupations: Supervisory principal of Lincoln School. Teacher of night school, Lincoln building. Supervisory principal of the William Howard Day building. Teacher of sixth grade. Wickersham building Mail clerk. Grand Union hotel, Saratoga, New York (over 15 summers).

Church Membership: Wesley Union A.M.E. Zion Church.

Activism: Involved in Republican politics. Harrisburg Christian Endeavor Union.

Connections: Rev. W. H. Marshall (brother-in-law), Dr. A. Leslie Marshall (nephew), Dr. William E. Marshall (nephew), Joseph Popel, John W. Simpson, John P. Scott.