Morrison is situated in the western part of Mount Pleasant Township on the Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30). It is located near the geographical center of Whiteside County. The town was surveyed and laid out in 1855 by W.S. Wilkinson. In 1851, the line of C & N.W. Railroad planned to run through northern Illinois, north of the town of Morrison. Citizens of Morrison realized the railroad needed to pass through Morrison for economic growth and development. Then land values reached extravagant numbers, forcing the developers into bringing the railroad into town. The first train passed through Morrison in 1855.
The town of Morrison was named in honor of Charles Morrison, a wealthy merchant living in New York City, who had promised financial backing for the development of the new town. Unfortunately, Mr. Morrison suffered severe financial losses and was never able to participate in the development, yet, his name remained affixed to the community.
In 1857, Morrison was realized for its great advantages of rich farmland and trading. On November 3, 1857, the citizens of the county voted to remove the county seat from Sterling, IL and relocate it to Morrison. The records were moved on May 3, 1858 and the town continued to flourish.
Morrison was a commerical town, surrounded on all sides by rich farm and range land. Early Morrison merchants supplied and serviced just about every basic need. Local industry produced everything from refrigerators and furniture to toys. Local agribusiness has consistently been a major supplier of crops and livestock to local and regional markets.
Morrison was incorporated in 1857 and in 1869 the state legislature passed a bill incorporating the city of Morrison.