Richard Morris, third son of Hon. Lewis Morris, Jr., Judge of the New York Court of Vice-Admiralty, was born on August 15, 1730, at the family manor, Morrisania. He was the younger brother of Colonel Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, half-brother of statesman and diplomat, Gouverneur Morris, and grandson of former Chief Judge Lewis Morris.
Morris graduated from Yale College in 1748, and commenced his legal studies. Following his admission to the bar on April 29, 1752, he set up a law office and quickly became recognized as an outstanding lawyer. Upon his father's death in 1762, Morris was commissioned by Governor Monckton as Judge of the Court of Vice-Admiralty of New York, a co