Among the early settlers of Jefferson County, whose descendants have formed the backbone of her agricultural interests for over a century, was James D. Morris Devere, who was born in Kent County, England, in 1813. His father, James M. Morris Devere, was a citizen of France and was appointed, much against his will, one of the judges of Louis XVI. His strong opposition to the terrible sentence passed upon that unfortunate monarch was the cause of James Morris' exile from his own country for nine years. He left for England, placing his children with his deceased wife's relatives. He married Elizabeth Cadmark in England and when he returned to France with two sons, some of his children by his former union were married and most of them settled in businesses of their own, having divided their father's estate among themselves, thinking he had passed away. He was possessed of a comfortable income and settled in Normandy, France, until 1830, when France was convulsed by another revolution. He was reduced to penury and decided to emigrate to America to redeem his fortune , if possible. A friend told him of General Lafayette's colony in Florida and he decided to take advantage of this offer, of title deeds to a tract of this gift of land. On account of illness, James and his family could not sail with his friends and it was several months before they reached Florida, to find that this friend had destroyed his deed and sold his land. Hard luck followed, as everyone contracted a fever and one son died a few days after their arrival. The mother, weakened by the long voyage, the terrible hardships of this new land, the death of her son and the noxious fever, died a few weeks after reaching their new home. Then the father , completely brokenhearted, cheated of his property, a stranger in a strange land, only lived three weeks after her death. The seven children, the oldest, James, only sixteen, were left to the mercy of strangers. Homes were found for them, some not happy ones, but in time they accumulated property, married and made homes of their own.
James D. Morris located in Jefferson County in 1836 and was married to Catharine Mathers in 1838. He opened a mercantile business in Monticello until his marriage, then bought a farm which he cultivated until his death in 1873. Eight children were born to them: Rosa Elizabeth, James Alfred, Benjamin Augustus, Walter Taylor, Mary Louise, Catharine Ann, William Michael, and Louis Napoleon. Rosa was the wife of James B. Edwards of Lloyd; Mary Louise is the wife of Chas. Sloan, both of whom are living and both in their 80's. Five sons settled in Jefferson county, where their sons and daughters have been reared and have gone forth into the outside world, following their varied vocations, doing their part in the building of character and in service to their fellow man.