Virginia native Ritson Morris (1798-1849) came to Texas about 1827. He settled first in Nacogdoches, where he married Minerva Edwards in 1829. One year later, following the birth of their first child, the Morrises moved to this area, where Minerva's father, Amos Edwards, had settled in Stephen F. Austin's colony.
Morris received a Mexican land grant and established a 3,000-acre plantation he named Elmwood. He raised livestock and crops, and the family lived in a modest log house. It was later replaced by a large two-story structure that remained on the site until about 1885. Minerva Morris' brother, Ashmore Edwards, built a home nearby.
In 1832 and 1835, Morris participated in skirmishes against the Mexican army at Anahuac, precedents to the Texas Revolution of 1836. Morris sent his family to New Orleans for safety during the revolution, but they later returned and continued to live on the plantation for many years.
Ritson Morris contracted tuberculosis and died on September 21, 1849. He was buried in the family cemetery on Elmwood Plantation. Many of his descendants continue to live in southeast Harris County.