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Laird Monterey Morris


He was born on 9th October 1889 in California, USA the son of Henry Bishop Morris and Mary Kathryn (nee Baker). His father was a broker.

Above his parents Henry and Mary Morris


Above the family home Berkeley House

Above the All America side that toured New Zealand and Australia in 1910. 1 Phleager (University of California), 2 Dole (Stanford), 3 Horton (Stanford), 4 Minturn (Stanford), 5 Fitting (Stanford), 6 Erb (Stanford), 7 Roth (Stanford), 8 Watts (University of California), 9 Hardy (University of California), 10 Harris (University of California), 11 Kern (Stanford), 12 Swartz (University of California), 13 Prof. O’Neil (University of California), 14 Elliot (University of California), 15 D.Burbank (Manager), 16 j.Schaeffer (Coach), 17 Cheda (Stanford), 18 Brown (Stanford), 19 L.A.Wolff (A.G.Spalding & Bros.), 20 Pauley (University of California), 21 Morris (University of California), 22 Dwiggins (University of California), Sanborn (Stanford), Allen (University of California).



Above US squad to Australia and New Zealand 1910. Back Row (L-R): J.Schaeffer (Coach), T.Sanborn, M.Harris, B.Kern, D.Hardy, E.Bennett, J.Fitting, B.Schwartz, B.Erb, Howe (Coach). Middle Row: F.Brown, C.Allen, K.Dole (Vice Captain), C.Cerf (Captain), G.Cheda, C.Pauly, R.Horton. Front Row: J.Dwiggins, E.Roth, L.M.Morris, L.Leavitt, A.Elliot.


He was educated at the University of California and became the first captain of a USA rugby side when they played Australia in 1912.

Above the University of California side in 1911.J.Schaeffer (Coach), 2. Pauley, 3. Watts, 4. Hardy, 5. Jordan, 6. W.Christie (Trainer), 7. M.Farmer,(Manager), 8. C.Voltz (Assistant Trainer), 9. C.Phleger, 10. Schwartz, 11. Markwart, 12. King, 13. Evans, 14. Elliott, 15. Stroud, 16. Morris, 17. Allen, 18. Dwiggins, 19. Peart, 20. Dills, 21. H.Phleger, 22. Emerson, 24. Wheeler, 25. Hansen, 26. Brandt.

Above the University of California side in 1911. Back Row (L-R): David Brandt, Harold Ashley, Ray Jordan, William King, George Hansen, Myron Harris, David Hardy, Tio Emerson, Thomas Dills. Middle Row: Edward Watts, Carl Phleger, Irving Markwart, Burton Schwartz, Charles Pauly, Amos Elliott, Clinton Evans. Front Row: Herman Phleger, Charles Wheeler, Chester Allen, Jan Dwiggins, John Stroud, Stirling Peart, Laird Morris.

Above California Field, Berkeley, California a week before the USA played Australia during the University of California v Stanford University match. Torrential rain had made the pitch a quagmire.

Above the USA side that played Australia in 1912. Back Row (L-R) Guerin (Olympic RFC) (not used), Robert Howe Fletcher (University of California) (not used), William Norris King (University of California), Chris Martin Momson (Santa Clara University), Karl Ludwig Schaupp (Stanford University), Frank Jacob Gard (Stanford University), James Lee Arrell Olympic RFC), Warren L. Smith (Stanford University), Chester Arthur Allen (University of California), Eugene Francis Kern (Stanford University) (not used), Glasscock (Olympic RFC) (not used), Phillip Frederick Harrigan(Stanford University). Front Row: Charles Allphin Austin (Olympic RFC), Augustus Mudge Sanborn (Stanford University), Joseph Louis McKim (University of California), Stirling Benjamin Peart (University of California), Laird Monterey Morris (University of California) (Captain), Benjamin Edward Erb (Stanford University), Ralph Matthews Noble (Stanford University), Louis Cass (Stanford University) (not used) , Bertram Risling (Stanford University) (not used).


The account of the USA v Australia match played on 16th November 1912 in the University of California Yearbook says

Completing a tour of the Pacific Coast with a final contest against an All Star fifteen from Stanford, California, Santa Clara, and the Olympic Club, the Warratah Rugby team of Australia won the first international Rugby game to be played on American soil. The speedy Americans wound up a contest, that put them at the head of a 12 to 8 score. During the first half and up until the final stages of the latter period, the game had gone against the visitors, but then the tables turned, the All Star defense weakened, and Australia crossed the line for three successive tries.

The day was a marked contrast to that of a week before when Stanford and California met in a sea of mud. The son shone bright and clear, and the ground had dried to such an extent that both teams were able to use their full quota of speed and accuracy. The crowd on the bleachers was in fine fettle, although there was no organised rooting. The thousands that thronged the field to see the international game witnessed some of the best Rugby ever played on this coast.

California was represented on the team by five players, one of whom, “Mote” Morris, the veteran half-back, was captain. Two of California, McKim and King, were in the forward division, and the other two, Allen and Peart, were on the three-quarter line. Throughout the game these men were important factors, and together with Erb of Stanford and one or two of the Cardinal forwards, constituted the strongest aggressive players on the field. As premier full-back, Erb has no equal. His long, accurate boots, though not quite up to the form of a week previous, saved his team mates from several dangerous situations.

From the start to the finish, the game was one of fast concerted action. Back and forth across the field the ball travelled in a series of quick rushes that threatened first one goal-line and then the other. The contest lacked the unpleasing exhibition of constant dribbling that so marred the preliminary games, and gave full opportunity for each team to use its representative three-quarters with effect. In what dribbling there was, Australia was at an advantage, as the Warratahs seemed to possess that art to a somewhat higher degree than their opponents. Long runs of Peart, Allen, Dwyer and Noble, and the kicking and dodging of Erb were the main features of the play.

America was first to score. Noble intercepted a pass on the Australian Three-quarter line, ran forty yards and passed to Sanborn, who tackled on the three-quarter line. From the scrum the ball passed from Morris to Harrigan and on to Austin, Allen, Noble, back to Harrigan, who crossed over for the first score. Erb converted from a difficult angle. The next American score came in the middle of the second half, when Erb converted a penalty kick from the forty-yard line.

From this point on, the Australian goal seemed invincible, and the foreigners began their march to victory. Score followed score with lightning rapidity so that when the pistol shot announced the end the visitors stood 4 points to the advantage. Something seemed to snap in the American line-up, the defense weakened and the speedy backfield action of the previous half died away. Rush after rush swept the All-Stars from their feet and four tries were piled up against them.


Above action from the USA v Australia match in 1912. Scrum-half Laird Morris passes back after a scrum with Frank Gard and Chris Momson holding back the Australians.


Above action from the USA v Australia match in 1912. Note the crowd, at 10,000, appears sparse compared to the crowd at the match between the University of California and Stanford University the previous week.


Above the 1913 University of California rugby squad. Back Row (L-R): Cerf, Fleming, King, Fletcher, Dills, Voltz (Trainer), Schaeffer (Coach). Second Row: Peart, Saunders, Miller, Hoskins, Douglas, McKim, Donald (Manager. Third Row: Allen, Carpenter, Stroud (Captain), Morris, Evans, Brant. On Ground: Hazeltine, Fish.

Above Laird in 1913

Above Laird at the University of California in 1913

Above Laird at the University of California in 1914

Above Laird at the University of California in 1916

He married Irene Wood French

Above the first reunion on the 25th anniversary of its big game victory over Stanford of  the University of California rugby team on 19th November 1937. Morris is front extreme right. Back Row (L-R): David Brandt, Harold Ashley, Ray Jordan, Myron Harris, David Hardy, Thomas Dills. Middle Row: Edward Watts, Carl Phleger, Milton Farmer, Cedric Serf, James Schaeffer, Clinton Evans, Walter Christie. Front Row: Herman Phleger, Charles Wheeler, Chester Allen, Jan Dwiggins, John Stroud, Stirling Peart, Laid Morris. (note the caption has Chester Allen labelled twice)

Above the second reunion of the University of California rugby team on 21st November 1947. Morris is front extreme right. Back Row (L-R): David Brandt, Harold Ashley, Ray Jordan, Milton Farmer, Myron Harris, Walter Christie, Thomas Dills. Middle Row: Cedric Serf, Carl Phleger, Irving Marwart, Burton Schwartz, James Schaeffer, John Stroud, Chester Allen, David Hardy. Front Row: Edward Watts, Herman Phleger, Charles Wheeler, Chester Allen Amos Elliot, Stirling Peart, Laird Morris.


He became a doctor in San Francisco.

He died on 19th August 1954 in San Francisco, USA


© Patrick Casey, 2011
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