The area was originally named in 1852 after Jeremiah Morris.
Morris donated land to the North Carolina Railroad for a depot, water tower, and other buildings. The town continued to grow as a result of the rail line and its location at the intersection of roads leading to Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Hillsborough. On April 13, 1865, in the Battle of Morrisville, Federal cavalry under the command of Gen. Judson Kilpatrick skirmished with the retreating Confederate armies at Morrisville Station. The Confederate troops were successful in evacuating their remaining supplies and wounded to the west toward Greensboro, but Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s cavalry forced the Confederates to leave the train behind and retreat toward Durham and the eventual surrender of the largest Confederate force of the war at Bennett Place.
The town was officially chartered in 1875 but was disincorporated in 1933. Eventually the town charter was restored in 1947.
Morrisville’s location adjacent to the Research Triangle Park, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and Interstate 40 makes it an attractive location for offices, light industry and hotels. Companies based in Morrisville include Lenovo (U.S.A. headquarters), Lulu, Tekelec and QBE First. Prior to its disestablishment, Midway Airlines had its headquarters in Morrisville. The Morrisville Chamber of Commerce serves as the economic development arm for the town.