Saturday, March 30, 2013

Men of the Same Name - William Morton

I have thought for awhile about doing a few blogs concerning men of the same name - some ladies may be included as well.  We all run across these in our research and it seems that much of the older research we find has confused men of the same name and certainly with the proliferation of online trees, many men of the same name are more or less welded together even when their records suggest otherwise.

My research in the records of Logan County, Kentucky, were particularly fraught with men of the same or very similar name - some were kin of my husband's family, some were neighbors.  At some point it became necessary to be sure I knew exactly which person was which.

There were two William Mortons living in Logan Co in the early 1800's - both with large families and somewhat of comparable age.  Both had sons named William, as well.  Hadens married into both families and at least one history of the family totally confused the Morton families. The two Morton families also intermarried with each other.  One William had a middle name and most often used a middle initial but even that is confusing because Samuel Curd, the Logan County court clerk for many years, made his I's and J's identical.  Only if you can find a supporting record that gives the full name can you be sure of the intent.  William who used the middle initial was William J. (for Jordan) Morton although it's often transcribed as William I. Morton by the unwary.

The two Williams apparently have different lines of descent from different families, although I would not be surprised if somewhere in colonial Virginia they were one family.  Daniel Morton, M.D., self-published a small book, Morton Data, in 1901, that explains the lineage of the two William Mortons.  The deed records of Logan County, made very clear the distinctions between the offspring of these families.

The first William Morton was the third child of Elijah and Elizabeth (Hawkins) Morton, who had married 3 Jul 1745 in Spotsylvania County VA.  In 1760, Elijah was a justice of the peace for Orange County which had been formed from Spotsylvania.  William was born say 1750 or so; his wife was Elizabeth Hite Smith, daughter of Maj. Charles Smith and Rebecca Hite, a granddaughter of Jost Hite.  No marriage record has been found by me but they were likely married by 1775.

William Morton can be found on a tax list in Fayette County, KY, 1787 and 1788.  Believe it or not, there was a second William Morton whose wife was Sally that lived in Fayette County at the same time as shown in deed records there - however, he was still living in Lexington, in Fayette, in 1830, many years after the William under discussion had left that place and was deceased.  In 1800, both William Mortons were still on the tax list in Fayette County.  In 1804, Thomas Respass & Ann his wife, sold a tract of land on the Gasper River, Logan County, to William Morton, (Fayette Deed Book A, p.293) and William's records appear thereafter in Logan County.  The tract was half of 1200 acres patented to Thomas Carneal & Thomas Hopkins.  Several of William's adult children remained in Fayette County.  Unfortunately he did not live long in Logan County, as the first record of the sale of the estate of William Morton, deceased, is dated 1 Jan 1808, as found in Will Book 1 of Logan County.  His wife Elizabeth H. Morton was dead by March of 1811, when her estate was appraised (Will Book 1, p.186)

Not until 14 May 1823 were the deeds recorded that divided the considerable land holdings of William Morton among his heirs.  He left no will so this would be a complete listing of his children in Logan Deed Book M., p.2-17.  I will annotate somewhat with data from other sources - please contact if you desire the details as listing them here would make this post incredibly lengthy.  They are listed by the parcel assigned, not order of their births, which in the majority of cases is unknown.

Parcel #1 - Keterah (sic) Morton - 300 acres in Union Co on the Tradewater, next to Elijah Morton.  This is Kitturah "Kitty" Morton who married Benjamin Vance, 26 Jul 1820, Logan County.
Parcel #2 - Elijah Morton - 200 acres in Union Co on Tradewater. Elijah married Nancy Stewart 28 Jun 1812, Logan Co.  He died before 1834, when his wife, remarried as Nancy Dulaney, former widow of Elijah, released dower rights to a former sale. Logan County Deed Book M, p.46, describes the sale of land he owned in Arkansas Territory in 1823.
Parcel #3 - Abraham B. Morton - 78 1/2 acres adj Saml McCutcheon & Wm Marshall.  Abraham Bowman Morton's wife was Martha as revealed when he sold his property in Logan County, 1827, and he was then of Jessamine County, KY.
Parcel #4 - Charles S. Morton - 130 1/2 acres; adj A. B. Morton.  Charles Smith Morton's wife was Hannah - they apparently remained in Fayette Co as that was his residence when this land was sold.
Parcel #5 - Elizabeth H. Morton - 119 1/2 acres adj Saml McCutcheon.  Elizabeth Hite Morton never married and lived out her life in Lexington, Fayette County.  She died 31 March 1862.
Parcel #6 - Rebeckah Haden formerly Rebeckah Morton - 140 1/2 acres adj Saml McCutcheon & Wm Marshall.  Rebecca S. [probably Smith] Morton was born 3 Jul 1781 and was married to James H. Haden by 1800 - they likely married in Fayette County where the marriage records were lost in a fire.  They had eight children, all born in Logan County.  Estate records indicated James had died by December of 1822, Rebecca by November of 1842.  James H. Haden was the son of William Haden & Ann "Nancy" Johnson who had married in Goochland County, VA, 31 Oct 1775.  William Haden lived near William Morton in both Fayette and Logan Counties.
Parcel #7 - Sally Morton - 200 acres; adj Saml McCutcheon, James Elder.  Sarah Morton never married and the sale of her inheritance in 1835, suggests she still lived in Fayette County, quite possibly with her sister Elizabeth.
Parcel #8 - Polly Morton - 200 acres; adj Robert Bell & Wm Marshall, Wm Moody's line; survey made in name of Christopher Elms.  Mary "Polly" Morton married John Barner, 22 Sep 1835, Logan County, as his second wife.  She died 20 Apr 1878 and is believed buried in what is now called the Perry Cemetery in Logan County.
Parcel #9 - George W. Morton - 111 acres.  Harveys military survey; division line of Morton & Hopkins. George Washington Morton remained in Fayette Co where he married Elizabeth Scott, 3 Jan 1828. However, he must have often been in Logan County as he assisted his sister Rebecca Morton Haden with the settlement of her husband's estate.  James H. Haden had been administrator of several other estates when he died intestate, making Rebecca's situation extremely complicated.
Parcel #10 - Gabriel J. Morton - 111 acres.  Harveys military survey; division line of Morton & Hopkins. Gabriel married Winnifred B. Taylor, 21 Jan 1822, Logan County.  She was the daughter of Thomas W. Taylor.
Parcel #11 - John H. Morton - 111 acres.  Harveys military survey; division line of Morton & Hopkins. John Hite Morton married Sarah Price, 2 May 1802.  They remained in Fayette County.  He died 15 Aug 1830.
Parcel #12 - Andrew & Fanny Caldwell - 111 acres.  Harveys military survey.  Frances Terrill "Fanny" Morton married Andrew Caldwell, 2 Apr 1808, Logan County.  Frances was born 29 Feb 1788; she died in Logan County, 23 Oct 1862 and is buried Maple Grove Cemetery.
Parcel #13 - William R. Morton - 153 acres.  Harveys military survey.  William married Elizabeth J. Bradford, 7 Mar 1830.  They lived in Lexington.
There is also believed to have been a son Joseph who died as a child, making a total of 14 children.

Now William Jordan Morton, was born 15 Nov 1754, Westmoreland County, VA, son of Joseph Morton and his second wife, Margaret (or Elizabeth) Beckwith.  His wife was Martha Pryor and they married 16 Mar 1779.  Martha died in Louisa County VA, 15 Mar 1800, apparently in childbirth with their 12th child. William died in Logan County, KY, 3 Jan 1825 - he had moved there about 1811.

The following is the deed that named the children of William J. Morton, some of whom have the same given names as children of the other William Morton.  This William's entire family settled in Logan County.
Logan Co Deed Book Q, p.205    3 Feb 1830   Decree of chancery court ordered sale of tract of land where Peter Morton was living that had been sold to William J. Morton Sr. by William Haden on 12 Jul 1819 [DB G, p.259].  Peter Morton was highest bidder.  Deed from the heirs of William J. Morton Sr., named the twelve children as shown here as well as the children of daughters, Sarah and Martha, who had died.  Jefferson Haden and his wife Betsy, formerly Betsy Morton, were included.  The book Morton Data, mentioned earlier, had exact birth dates for the same list of children - all of whom were said born in Lousia County, VA
1.  Peter Morton, b. 16 Dec 1779, married Sarah Maxwell, 22 Feb 1844, Logan County, d. Dec 1854, Logan County.
2.  Sarah Morton, b. 10 Nov 1781, d. 5 Mar 1824.  Married Martin Robertson and her thirteen children are named in the deed.
3.  Rebecca Morton, b. 21 May 1783, d. May 1838, Logan County.  Never married.
4.  Frances Hubbard "Fannie" Morton, b. 9 Mar 1785, d. 21 Jul 1834, Logan County.  Never married.  Buried Maple Grove Cemetery, Russellville KY.
5.  William Jordan Morton, Jr., b. 9 Sep 1786, d. 16 Mar 1860, Logan County.  Married three times and had at least one child by each wife.  His first wife was Rebecca, or Rhoda Haden - they married 2 Dec 1805.  She was the daughter of Joseph Haden and Mary Peatross - the Rev. Douglas in Goochland recorded her baptism. 8 Jul 1787, as Rhoda.  The settlement of Joseph Haden's estate lists her as Rebecca Morton, as does the Morton family history.  The second and third wives were likely sisters, Louisa McCormick and Clarissa McCormick McClelland, widow of John McClelland - daughters of John McCormick.
6.  Margaret Beckwith Morton, b. 31 Mar 1788, d. 20 Aug 1875, Logan County.  Never married.  Buried Maple Grove Cemetery.
7.  Joseph Morton, b. 28 Feb 1790, d. 27 Aug 1846.  Married 1 Sep 1817, Logan County, to Lousia A. Davidson.
8.  John Morton, b. 21 Jan 1792, d. about 1835, Logan County.  Married Catherine Miller Spencer, 5 Apr 1830, daughter of David Spencer and Elizabeth Epperson.
9.  Elizabeth "Betsy" Morton, b. 2 Sep 1794, d. 9 Feb 1876, Logan County.  Married 21 Oct 1824, Logan County, to Jefferson Haden, son of James H. Haden and Rebecca S. Morton [daughter of the "other" William - see above].  They had six children, including a son named William Jordan Haden.
10.  Marmaduke Beckwith Morton, b. 13 Sep 1796, d. 11 Mar 1887, Logan County.  Married twice to sisters, Nancy and Elizabeth Caldwell, daughters of Andrew Caldwell and Frances Terrill Morton, [daughter of the "other" William Morton]
11.  Henry Pryor Morton, b. 13 Sep 1798, d. 15 Oct 1870, Logan County.  In 1850 and 1860, Henry lived with his widowed sister-in-law, Louisa Davidson Morton, and described as the overseer.  In 1870, just prior to his death, he was head of the household.  I have found no marriage record.
12.  Martha Morton, b. 15 Mar 1800, d. before 1830.  Martha married James McCarley, 28 Sep 1826, Logan County.  Two daughters, Martha & Sarah McCarly, were her heirs.

There are records of still another William Morton living in Logan County, but I believe he was William Norton, not Morton.  With so many Mortons living in the county, it's easy to see how such an error could occur and I'm including this for the benefit of others who might find these records.  The first William Morton discussed was dead when this deed was made and his son of the same name lived in Fayette County. William Jordan Morton Senior,and his son of the same name are not known to have been married to a Mary "Polly", and  it is unusual to find their names without the middle initial.  It would also be unusual to find his son in a record without both the middle initial and followed by the "Jr" while his father was living. They seemed to be quite careful with the distinction.

Here is the deed that I have not been able to assign to any of the above William Mortons.  None are recorded as having married a Mary "Polly" Hise.  I believe there was an error in the first letter of the surname.

Logan Co DB O, p.62
8 Sep 1823  
William Morton & Polly his wife of Russellville to Richard Bibb Sr. for $1000.  Tract of land conveyed to sd Polly Morton as one of the heirs of Frederick Hise Dec'd.  7 apr 1823.  adj.  James Wilson, Samuel Gray. 196 A, Lot #3 of the Division of Hise.  Acknowledged & dower released, 11 Sep 1823.

A Frederick Hise's estate was appraised in Logan Co, 30 Dec 1816.  A settlement was recorded 18 Dec 1820 and Mrs. Nancy Hise was executor.  Her dower was laid off Oct 1822.  Abstracts of Wills and Settlements, Logan County, KY  1795-1838, compiled by the Logan Co Genealogical Society, p.55, lists heirs of Frederick Hise as wife, Elijah, Joseph, Lorinda Stockdale, and America.  Then, p.58, from Will Book B, p.493-4 is the abstract of the division of the real estate of Frederick Hise, 10-11 Mar 1823.  Elijah Hise - 100 acres.  Joseph Hise - 122 acres.  William Morton and wife Polly - 196 acres.  The division doesn't agree with the list of heirs, but I find these abstracts to often be incomplete and to contain errors.

Then there are records indicating this was indeed William Norton:
Logan County Kentucky Marriages: 1790-1865, Logan Co Genealogical Society, p. 69, lists a marriage from Polly Hise to William Norton, 10 April 1813.  There is also a book listed in the LDS Family History library, and available in digital form, titled The Nortons of Russellville, KY, by David Norton, with the description,  "William Norton was born 2 September 1781 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He married Mary Hise, daughter of Frederick Hise and Nancy, 11 April 1813 in Russelville, Kentucky. They had nine children. Descendants and relatives lived mainly in Kentucky and Missouri." 

I hope this helps someone else sort out the Mortons of Logan County, Kentucky.  My email address can be found under my profile on the right hand side, or from my "Leaves of the Tree" webpage.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the assistance of the Morton lines. Very helpful!