May 26, 1818
Born in Maryland, Josiah Morris got his first job at a mercantile in Columbus, Georgia, at age 15. He worked his way up the ladder in cotton trading. After becoming financially successful, Morris founded a banking business in Montgomery in 1856.
At the urging of his friend John T. Milner, chief engineer for the South and North Railroad, Morris provided funds to develop a new industrial city in Jones Valley, which would become known as Birmingham. On Dec. 8, 1870, Morris purchased 4,150 acres, the land where the city would be built.
Morris helped organize the Elyton Land Company. Of the 2,130 shares of the new company, Morris owned 437, or a bit more than 20 percent, making him the largest shareholder. Morris or James Powell suggested the city be given the name Birmingham in honor of England’s industrial metropolis.
Read more at Bhamwiki.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.