Morris Haskell

Name: Morris Haskell 1862-1954

Family: Wife, Jennie Haskell / Son, Julius / Daughter, Betty

Morris Haskell was a clothier on East Main Street. In a newspaper article dated June 3, 1907, Haskell's downtown store was singled out. "Among the stores in Durham where patrons are assured getting the best goods for the lowest prices, that conducted by M. Haskell is the most popular."

Haskell's two-story store at 191 E. Main, spanned 3,600 square feet. Though he sold much of everything, including hats and coats, he specialized in shoes and men's clothes.

Morris immigrated from Vilkaviskis, (near Marijampole) Russia/Lithuania. He came to Durham around 1887 and opened his store in 1892. Morris brought his brother Hirsz-Harris, wife and two children in 1904-1906. Very soon after, Morris’ brother Harris and his family left Durham and settled in New York (before 1910).

Jewish historian Leonard Rogoff said sections of East Main "had the flavor of Orchard Street on the Lower East Side," with Haskell's store contributing to that aura.

Haskell was a charter member of the Durham Hebrew Congregation and signed its incorporation papers in 1902. He was elected president of the congregation five years later, but resigned "in disgust" after two days. Rogoff said those were tough times for the congregation and it struggled to raise enough money among its members.

He was also a Mason.

Morris and Jennie are listed in the 1900,1910, 1920 and 1930 census in Durham. They had a son, Julius (1895- ), another son, Barny who passed away before 1910 (1897- ), and a daughter, Betty (1900-1977). Betty married Ferdinand Morris from Tennessee and they had 3 girls: Helen E (1923- ), Frances B (1924- ) and Ida Bell (1929- ). The three girls were born in North Carolina. The 1930 Durham census shows Morris and Jennie living with their daughter, son-in-law and 3 grandaughters in the same household.