Mr. Morrison is a large man that David Logan hires to help out on his farm while he is away working on the railroad. As David tells it, Mr. Morrison has lost his job on the railroad. But Mr. Morrison lets Mary Logan know right away in chapter 2 that he was fired for fighting. When she comes to understand that he was provoked by some white men who were not punished, she readily accepts him into their lives.
Mr. Morrison lives in a shack near the house that the children help him clean out. This gives him a bit of privacy, as well as protecting the family from any rumors regarding Mary’s honor while her husband is away. He comes to be their protector in physical form as well during several incidents in the story. The first is when he stops Hammer from doing violence to Charlie Simms. We never learn what he says to Hammer while they are riding in the car, but he clearly was very persuasive since he convinced the hot- headed Hammer to let the insult from Charlie pass.
We also see his physical presence the evening that the night men come riding, looking for someone to take revenge against. Cassie is very frightened but takes comfort when she realizes that Mr. Morrison is guarding the house in the dark, his large form unmistakable.
More dramatically, he fights with the Wallace brothers on the road back from Vicksburg when they try to kill David. The three of them are no match for Mr. Morrison, but this incident makes Mary even more worried for his safety, and she pleads with him to leave. But David reassures him that he is welcome to stay, and Mary relents, saying that Mr. Morrison is a part of their lives now.
Interestingly, we never learn Mr. Morrison’s first name. Although he becomes like a member of the family in many ways, there is still a bit of mystery about him. This mystery, combined with his tremendous physical strength, might give the reader the feeling that he is like a guardian angel to the Logan family.