Lasker, Morris (1840–1916)

By: Natalie Ornish

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: November 2, 2019

Morris Lasker, investor and banker, son of Daniel and Rebecca Lasker, was born in 1840 in Lask, then Polish Prussia, where his brother Eduard became a celebrated politician and author. Morris immigrated to the United States at age sixteen. He arrived by boat in Norfolk, Virginia, and took a job as a store clerk in Portsmouth, hoping to save enough money to start his own business. After several unproductive ventures in New York, Georgia, and Florida, he bought a horse, became a peddler, and worked his way to Texas. He first settled in Weatherford, where he got a job as a store clerk in early 1860. He subsequently joined Col. George W. Baylor to fight the Apache Indians and fought for the Confederate Army under Col. John S. (Rip) Ford. After the war he returned to Texas to work as a peddler again. He joined Sanger Brothers and in 1867 operated his own store, before he became associated with M. Schram in the jobbing business in Galveston. Lasker sold his interest in Schram and Lasker to start his own business in Bryan, where he stayed for two years before returning to Galveston in 1872. He became a partner in Marx and Kempner before joining the LeGierse Company, wholesale grocers. He sold his interest in that business in 1890. Lasker married Nettie Davis of New York in 1876, and they had eight children.

Lasker established the Lasker Real Estate Company in 1890 but lost everything in the 1893 depression. He sent his family to Germany and began rebuilding his assets. He acquired interests in different banking firms; he founded the Citizens Loan Company and the Island City Savings Bank and served as president of both. For eighteen years he was vice president and chairman of the finance committee of the First National Bank. When Miles Crowley resigned, Lasker was elected to the Texas Senate in 1895 to serve the remainder of his term. Around 1906 he purchased the Texas Star Flour Mill, which he expanded to include properties in Wichita Falls and Waco. He also had interests in the cotton business and served as president of the Galveston Cotton Exchange. He served as a member of Galveston's Board of School Trustees and contributed heavily to Jewish and other charities. He died in Galveston in 1916.

John Gunther, Taken at the Flood: The Story of Albert D. Lasker (New York: Harper, 1960). Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). Thomas Clarence Richardson, East Texas: Its History and Its Makers (4 vols., New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1940).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Business
  • Military
  • Soldiers
  • Jews
  • Poles
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Natalie Ornish, “Lasker, Morris,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022,

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November 2, 2019