William Case Morris

William Case MorrisPerhaps the most famous son of Soham was The Reverend William Case Morris who made his mark many miles away in South America. He was so horrified by the terrible poverty of the street children whilst living in Buenos Aires in the Republic of Argentina, that he dedicated the rest of his life to helping them. He went on to found a network of children's homes across Argentina saving thousands of youngsters from abject poverty and a life on the streets and became known as "Dr Barnardo of Argentina"

William Case Morris was born in Soham on the 16th February 1864, the only son of William Morris and Sarah Case. After the death of his mother in 1868, when he was just four year old, his father decided to leave Soham in search of a new life in South America.

They initially emigrated to Paraguay in 1872, when he was just 8 years old, but after living there for two years decided to move to the Republic of Argentina, to the County of Santa Fe near Rosario in a rural area where William took care of sheep.

As a young man, he set about conducting a business career. In 1886 he settled in Buenos Aires and worked as a painter and decorator, where he rented a house in Admiral Brown Street. In his spare time he worked among the very lowest classes in a district renowned for its evil and squalor and began to teach the street children of the neighbourhood. Here, in a religiously apathetic atmosphere, he formed many social religious gatherings and paid a man a salary to educate them, so that in a short time he became established as a friend of the lower classes. He then made a sacrifice which must have been very great to him: he gave up all thoughts of his business career and in 1889 founded the 'Boca Mission', which continued and extended religious work among the Spanish-speaking lower classes, acting in close co-operation with the American Methodist Episcopal Church. After working in Buenos Aires for four years he had earned enough money to purchase the house he was renting in Admiral Brown Street.

In 1892 he returned to England and made a solemn vow over his mother's grave that he would dedicate his whole life to the bettering of the conditions of the poor children of South America. He never once wavered from this noble determination. After temporarily returning to England in 1895 to raise funds for a Mission Hall, he was ordained by the first Bishop of the Falkland Isles, and he subsequently founded and acted as Chaplain at the Church of St. Paul in the suburbs of Palermo.

A first-rate Spanish scholar and an unflagging worker, he translated into Spanish many religious books, which became known throughout Latin America. He originated and organised schools for the ragged and homeless, and developed them until the accommodation was 7,000; nearly a quarter of a million pupils received the impress of his teaching, his biblical exposition, his rare personality and daily example.

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