Robert Morrisson was one of Richmond’s early citizens, and he had a hand in many aspects of the area’s early history. He was one of the Quakers who emigrated to this area from North Carolina, and he arrived in 1810 when the village was still a cluster of log cabins.
Morrisson was involved in nearly every aspect of Richmond’s early growth. Soon after the town was incorporated in 1818, he was elected one of the Trustees, and he also received the commission as the first Postmaster. He operated one of the earliest stores in town at the corner of Main and 4th Streets, and in 1825 opened a drug store with Dr. Ithamer Warner. He served on boards and commissions too numerous to detail, and his name appears very often relating the progress of his adopted home, including turnpikes, the Brookville to Richmond canal, and the railroad.
Later in life he was one of the founders of the Citizens Bank, and in the mid-1850s that company built a new building on the northeast corner of 5th and Main Streets, and that building remained a cornerstone of downtown, until it was torn down in the aftermath of the 1968 explosion.
In 1863, he purchased the lot at the southwest corner of what was then called Broadway and Marion, now called North A and Sixth. On this lot he built the Morrisson Library as a gift to the residents of Wayne Township. The original library was housed entirely in one room of the building, which opened to the public on July 30, 1864.
Robert Morrisson died just over a year later, but he was able to see his library open up a world of reading to the citizens of Richmond. In the century and half since, it has been expanded many times over, but the original gift was the idea of this man who gave so much of his life to Richmond.