Saturday, June 1, 2024

A face with a name

It is not often that we get to put a face with a name from the past, so imagine my excitement while researching Samuel Coleman Morris of Goochland and Henry counties, Virginia when I found portraits of two people that he undoubtedly knew. At the online Art Museum provided by Colonial Williamsburg are portraits of Daniel and Mary Garland Trueheart of Meadow Bridge, Hanover County, Virginia. The Trueheart portraits, painted 230 years ago by William Hodgson who was known as the Payne Limner due to the number of portraits he painted for the Payne family, are telling in that the Virginia Gazette Newspaper Daniel Trueheart is holding is dated 1794 and the timepiece Mary Garland Trueheart has tied to her side looks to show 11:55. So, Daniel is providing the date and Mary is providing the time.

It is truly a moment captured in time.

The label text provided along side the portraits by Colonial Williamsburg at the Museum site says:

Born in England in 1726, Daniel Trueheart and his father, Aaron Bartholomew Trueheart, immigrated to Virginia some time prior to 1740. He married Mary Garland in 1742 and together the couple raised 7 children at their home, Meadow Bridge in Hanover County. Throughout his life Daniel found work as a tavern keeper, plantation owner, and a hat maker.

The Trueheart portraits provide a valuable document of late 18th century life; depicting the sitters in the tavern that they operated surrounded by everyday objects such pipes, copper molds, and an issue of the Virginia Gazette. The inscription of 1794 on the newspaper helps to date the portrait to the year that their son, Bartholomew, married Mary Polly Seabrook.

For many years, the artist of the Truehearts' portraits was known simply as "the Payne Limner." The artist received this moniker based on a series of identified paintings worked in Goochland County, Virginia of the Payne family. More recent research has uncovered the artist to be William Hodgson, a British man of many artistic talents who was working in the Richmond area by the late 1780s.

You can visit Colonial Williamsburg Art Museum online to zoom in on the portraits to take it all in.

Daniel Trueheart and Mary Garland Trueheart 

From what I can reasonably piece together, after Daniel Trueheart and his father, Aaron Bartholomew Trueheart, migrated to Virginia, Aaron married Mary Shelton Raine, the widow of George Raine sometime after 1735. No children were born to Aaron Trueheart and Mary Shelton Raine. The couple made their home in Hanover County close to Meadow Bridge, near the home of Daniel and Mary Garland Trueheart.

Aaron Bartholomew Trueheart makes a power of attorney in Aug 1764 in York County, Virginia to Samuel Morris, Gent. (the religious dissenter of Hanover and Campbell, Virginia) before departing to Europe.


In Nov 1764, The London Chronicle reported "Last Saturday died, in Long's-court, St, Martin's Street, Leicester-Fields, Mr. Aaron Bartholomew Trueheart, of Virginia, who had the care of the Cherokee Indians now in town."

The memoirs of Lieut. Henry Timberlake details the trip taken to England. Read that here

Mary Shelton (sometimes seen as Sheldon and Skelton) Raine Trueheart was born about 1702 in Virginia to William Shelton of the “Rural Plains” Shelton family and Hannah Armistead of the “Armistead of Hesse” family of Gloucester County.

George and Mary Shelton Raine had at least one son, John Raine, and one daughter who married a man with the surname Venable as Mary names her granddaughter, Elizabeth Venable in her will.

Son, John Raine, married Keziah Anderson, daughter of Charles Anderson of Cumberland County, Virginia. Both Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart and Charles Anderson named grandchildren Charles, George, John, Joseph Shelton, Mary Ann, Nathaniel, Thomas, and William Raine in their wills. Charles Anderson names his daughter Keziah Raine as deceased in his 1783 will. 

Charles also mentions his daughter, Elizabeth Wade in his will and I thought this might be a connection that Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart had to Samuel Coleman Morris since Samuel married a woman named Susannah Wade, daughter of William Wade and Ann Cawthorne (Cawthon). However, I am not able to document a connection between Susannah Wade Morris and Elizabeth Anderson Wade and her husband Charles Wade, although I think one may exist and I will continue looking for it.

Marriage records for Cumberland County, Virginia show Elizabeth Anderson and Charles Wade married 27 Sep 1773. Searching deed and estate records I found them living in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Charles Wade wrote his will in 1781 and it was probated the same year. He names his father as James Wade and a deceased brother, Leonard Wade.

Thomas Morriss witnessed the will of Charles Wade. I do not know who Thomas is yet, but this certainly leads me to think that perhaps there is also a Morris connection between Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart and Samuel Coleman Morris. The other witnesses were Thomas Redd and his wife Francis Anderson Redd, who was the sister-in-law of Charles Wade. 

On 21 Jun 1773 Samuel Coleman Morris of Goochland County, Virginia sold to Mary Shelton Raine Truehart of Hanover County, Virginia a tract of land in Goochland County on the branches of Beaverdam Creek, 200 acres, it being the land and plantation devised to Richardson Roundtree by his father William Roundtree deceased as by his last will and testament will more fully appear by the records of Goochland County court which said land was conveyed from Richardson Roundtree to Randle Roundtree by deed of mortgage and by Richardson Roundtree and Randle Roundtree conveyed to Samuel Coleman Morris by deed recorded in the court of Goochland ... the land adjoins Dr. Ellis William French, Josias Payne Jun, John Bradshaw, and Col. John Syme [half-brother of Patrick Henry]. [Goochland County, Virginia: Deed Book 10 1769–1775, pages 362-363]

I have not researched John Bradshaw yet but suffice it to say that there is a Bradshaw YDNA match to my Morris line that may somehow fit in somewhere downstream to this John Bradshaw who was a neighbor of Samuel Coleman Morris. That is a story for another blog though.

Samuel Coleman Morris was born about 1740 probably in Virginia. Most family trees (and Find A Grave) list his parents as Edward and Elizabeth Hammond Morris of North Farnham Parish, Richmond, Virginia with no elaboration on how that conclusion was reached. Samuel lived in Goochland County, Virginia which formed in 1728 from Henrico Shire and I was not able to find him in Farnham Parish, Richmond, Virginia. He is also not listed in the 1751 will of Edward Morris of Richmond County, Virginia.

Edward Morris’s will only list children Dorcas Tune, Jesse, Winifred, Hammond, John, and Ann. I have not found any records that connect Samuel to any of the children mentioned in the will of Edward Morris.

What I have found are documents that show a connection between Samuel Coleman Morris and the religious dissenters of Hanover County, Virginia.

Research done decades ago and published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 66, No. 3 (Jul. 1958), pp. 351-355, ‘Some Problems in the Morriss-Wade Genealogy’ by Aubrey H. Starke questions if Samuel Coleman Morris could have been a son of Samuel Morris of Hanover County, the religious dissenter who built the Morris Reading Houses. I found this fascinating and decided to explore if there might be some connection. It certainly seems more plausible that this could be the case since Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter, was found in the neighboring counties of Hanover and Henrico, much closer than Richmond County, Virginia where Edward Morris lived.

The only proven children of Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter, that I have found, are John Morris who married Mary Jameson Elliot and lived in Campbell County, Virginia on Little Falling River in the Hat Creek community close to Entry Creek. 

As a note, many family trees connect John H. Morris (he also lived in Campbell County, Virginia, but on Cheese Creek) who married Lucretia Howell, stepdaughter of John Goodman, to Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter, but this is in error. I covered that here. John H. Morris male descendants are a YDNA match to my Morris line in Montgomery County, North Carolina.

Daughters of Samuel Morris, religious dissenter, are Susannah, who married Robert Armistead and Margaret, who married William Armistead. These men descend from the same Armistead family of Hesse that Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart descends from through her mother, Hannah Armistead, and could provide a connection between Morris and Trueheart families.

There is also an unnamed son of Samuel Morris, religious dissenter, who married Mary Ward Best and lived in Warren County, North Carolina. In Feb 1801, a month after Samuel, religious dissenter, died, his son, John, made a trip to Warren County, North Carolina where Mary Ward Best Morris, signed a relinquishment for value received from Samuel’s estate.

It seems logical to think that if Samuel Coleman Morris were a son of Samuel Morris, religious dissenter, that there might also be a similar deed found, but there is not.

The Aubrey H. Starke research also quotes the National Cyclopedia of American Biography that Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter, died in 1770, he died in 1801, Campbell County, Virginia where his will is recorded. 

I think most research was not able to make the connection of Samuel’s move from Hanover to Bedford (now Campbell) County about 1768. That connection can be found in the biography of Archibald Alexander who documents his stay with a nephew of Samuel while on a preaching engagement in Campbell and Bedford counties. 

Samuel’s move from Hanover to Bedford (now Campbell) is also documented in a 1771 court document found at Colonial Williamsburg in a statement of account owing for advertising houses and lots and other items in 1766-1767. The document states “Mr. Samuel Morris Hanover (crossed out) Bedford” showing that by 1771 Samuel Morris was living in Bedford (now Campbell) County, Virginia.

Read more about Samuel here.

The same research by Aubrey H. Starke suggests that Samuel Coleman Morris had a brother named Joseph and could have had other brothers among the Morris men found in Goochland County, Virginia. Joseph Morris, mentioned in the research can be found on many deed records along with Samuel Coleman Morris in Goochland, Henry, Patrick, and even Kanawha counties Virginia and now West Virginia. It is highly likely that the two men were brothers. Several other Morris men are noted as possible relatives. So far, I have found no connection between any of them and Samuel Coleman Morris.

In the records New Kent County and Hanover County are found records 1706-1743 Transcribed from the Vestry Book of St. Paul’s Parish by Ann Brush Miller that noted the area where Samuel Morris lived. In the same area is found Aaron Trueheart, the father of Daniel Trueheart (shown in the portrait above). Aaron Trueheart was the second husband of Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart.

So, Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter, and Aaron Trueheart were neighbors. Both men had their land processioned at the same time in 1763. Both men lived on or near the road crossing Chickahominy [River] at the three Runs Bridge, near Beaverdam swamp, close to Meadow Bridge where Daniel Trueheart lived.

In a 1753 deed in Henrico County, Virginia is found a deed between Edward Watkins of Cumberland County, Virginia and Edward Curd, William Smith, Samuel Morris, Turner Richardson, Joshua Morris, John White, Aaron Trueheart, Michel Jones, John Oakley, Alexander Robinson, Richard Williamson, Obadiah Smith, Jacob Smith, Henry Stoakes, Nathaniel Bacon, John Owen, Julius Allen, Martin Burton, John Warrinner, Richard Truman, John Rice, and Dudley Brooke of Henrico County paid to Edward Watkins twenty shillings for one acre of land in the county of Henrico being part of the tract “my son Thomas Watkins now lives on.” Witnesses were Matthew Taylor, Samuel Bellamy, Thomas Watkins, John Watkins, and Mark Taylor.

Edward Watkins who is noted in the deed has been identified as owning the land that a Morris Reading House was built on. I believe that this deed for one acre of land may be the same land that these men built that Morris Reading House on. Both Samuel Morris and Aaron Trueheart were joint owners of that land, along with other religious dissenters. Their relationship was close, and one of trust.

I have no doubt that Samuel Coleman Morris knew both Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter and Aaron Trueheart, the husband of Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart, whom he sold his land in Goochland County to. He also knew Aaron’s son, Daniel Trueheart, and his wife Mary Garland Trueheart. Samuel Coleman Morris may have been part of the religious dissent movement, at the very least a silent supporter of it.

Mary Garland Trueheart is thought to be the daughter of Edward Garland Jr. and Elizabeth Terrell. Edward's brother, John Garland, had a son named James Garland who married Mary Helen Rice, daughter of David Rice and Susannah Searcy. So, Mary Garland Trueheart and James Garland were first cousins, their father’s being brothers.

Mary Helen Rice’s brothers, James and Jesse Rice, married sisters Alice and Judith Hicks. These ladies were the sister of Sabra Hicks who married Joshua Morris, the nephew of Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter who built the Morris Reading Houses.

When Sabra Hicks Morris died, it must have taken several legal team’s months to figure out her will and even longer to find all the legatees. Not having any children of her own, she attempted to divide all her property between as many Hicks siblings, nieces, and nephews as she could remember. Some of them resided in Hanover County, like Jesse and Judith Hicks Rice, while others had moved to other Virginia counties, like Bedford, Campbell, and Charlotte, but most of them had left Virginia for Tennessee and Kentucky by the time of her death.

Her bequests resulted in legal action made by the Morris nieces and nephews for their share of the property of their uncle, Joshua Morris, the husband of Sabra Hicks who had predeceased her but his will had specifically left half of his property to be divided between the children of his deceased brother, Nathaniel.

For some not-so-light reading that is sure to make your head spin, see ‘A supplement to the Frosts and related families from Bedford County,Tennessee’ by Frost, Wright Wilson that works out all the relatives and property divisions.

The Virginia Chancery suit can be found here.

Incidentally, Kedar and Mary Ward Best Morris (she married the unnamed son of Samuel Morris who built the Reading Houses) in Warren County, North Carolina, named a son David Rice Best, probably after Mary Helen Rice’s father, David Rice, who, coincidentally lived next door to Samuel Morris in Bedford (Campbell) County, Virginia before migrating to Kentucky to start his own church.

The 1958 research done by Aubrey H. Starke just may have asked the right question, prompting me to dig a little deeper. The answer to the genealogical question if Samuel Coleman Morris might be the son of Samuel Morris, who built the Morris Reading Houses, is a resounding probably not, but I do believe that there may be some degree of relatedness. It is highly likely that these men knew each other and they may be related.

While I will continue to dig into the records, YDNA testing on male descendants of Samuel Coleman Morris and Samuel Morris (of the Morris Reading Houses) is needed to show if these Morris lines are the same or did these men just share a common surname and have dealings with the same people?

Samuel Coleman Morris married Susannah Wade, daughter of William Wade and Ann Cawthon (also seen as Cawthorne). Susannah had several sisters and brothers all named in the will of their father, William Wade, and all, at some time or another, are found on deed records with Samuel Coleman Morris and his brother, Joseph Morris.

The children of William Wade are:

Dabney Wade, William Abinadab Wade, Jonadab Wade, Susanna Morris, Rosannah Wade, Joannah Wade, Hannah Wade, Anna Wade.

There are countless deed records as well as the estate file of William Wade showing that Samuel Coleman Morris lived in Goochland County, Virginia from at least 1770 when he bought the land on Beaverdam Creek from Richardson Rountree (also seen as Roundtree and Rowntree) of South Carolina and his brother Randal of Goochland, Virginia, the same land he sold to Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart in 1773.


In Jun 1773 Samuel Coleman Morris of Goochland County, Virginia sold to John Bradshaw six acres being part of the tract of land on which Sam’l Morris now lives, beginning at a corner pine near Bradshaw’s plantation thence running up the east side of Bradshaw’s cartway leading to the Three Chopt Road to a corner oak on Col. John Syme’s line.

Col. John Syme is the half-brother of Patrick Henry who married Sarah Shelton. She, like Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart, descends from the Shelton’s of Rural Plains. It is interesting to note that Patrick Henry’s home, Red Hill, was close to the homes of religious dissenters, Samuel Morris, who lived near Entry Creek in Campbell County, and his nephew Joshua Morris, who lived on Turnip Creek in Charlotte County.

About Three Chopt Road
Originally a Native American and game trail, it is believed Three Chopt Road (also seen as Three Notch'd Road) took its name from a distinctive marking of three notches cut into trees to blaze the trail. By the 1730s, the trail had been extended from the vicinity of the fall line of the James River at the future site of Richmond, westerly to the Shenandoah Valley, crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains at Jarmans Gap. Entering the limits of Albemarle County near Boyd Tavern, Three Notch'd Road served as the dividing line between the Anglican parishes of Fredericksville in the north and St. Anne's in the south as well as a crossing point for the Rivanna River.

This picture shows a tree with three notches etched in the bark, along Three Chopt Road. Current day Route 250 runs roughly the same route as Three Chopt Road.

In Sep 1778 Samuel C. Morris and Susannah his wife of Goochland County sold to Edmund Duke a tract of land containing 230 acres in Goochland County on the waters of Turkeycock Creek bounded by Bowles Cock (South) Thomas Randolph (East) Nathan and John Strong (North) and Strong and Cock (West). It being the land that Samuel C. Morris bought of Baines Carter. 

Witness: Robert Coleman (a hint as to how Samuel got his middle name?), Joseph Morris, Thomas Gresham

Clue: My Morris line has a Big Y 700 match to a Gresham line from Granville, North Carolina. Could Thomas Gresham be a clue? More research required.

By 1780, Samuel Coleman Morris had moved to Henry County, Virginia. His brother, Joseph following. Samuel’s neighbors were James Shelton and his sons, William Shelton, and Samuel Shelton. They lived on Horse pasture Creek in Henry County, Virginia. In a deed dated 24 Feb 1780, James Shelton deeds to his son William 200 acres on Horse pasture Creek joining the lands of Samuel Coleman Morris and Samuel Shelton.

I am still researching these Shelton men but feel that they probably have some connection to the same Shelton family as Mary Shelton Raine Trueheart, wife of Aaron Trueheart and Sarah Shelton, wife of Patrick Henry.

Samuel Coleman Morris and Susannah Wade had the following children:


Samuel Jr b. 1770 m. Maria

Lucinda b. 1775 m. Joseph Hardy

William Wade b. 1776 m. Tabitha Cheatham, daughter of Leonard and Mary Booker Cheatham

Nancy b. 1780 m. William Brewer (thought to be the son of Sackville Brewer 1737-1795)

John b. 1781 m. Nancy Faris

Mary b. 1789

Rebecca b. 1792 m. Caleb Bradley

Benjamin b. 1795 m. Nancy Hagood/Haywood

The Wade family in Richmond and Montgomery counties, North Carolina

Susannah Wade Morris, wife of Samuel Coleman Morris, is the daughter of William Wade (1725-1771) who is believed to have had a brother named Robert Wade (1700-1770) who married Elizabeth Hampton (1700-1700). The Robert Wade family looks to have resided in Halifax County, Virginia. A son of Robert named Hampton Wade (1729-1764) married Jane Ellis (1725-1786). Her second husband was Samuel Perrin (1729-1784).

Horatio Wade (1763-1816) is the son of Hampton Wade and Jane Ellis, and it was Horatio who, with his brother-in-law James Legrand (1734-1800) who migrated to Richmond and Montgomery counties, North Carolina.

Susannah Wade Morris, wife of Samuel Coleman Morris, and Horatio Wade were second cousins, their fathers first cousins whose fathers, Richard Wade and Robert Wade, were brothers.

James Legrand died in Montgomery County, North Carolina in 1800, his estate notice published in the Weekly Raleigh Register Newspaper on 26 Aug 1800 by Hampton Wade Legrand and John Legrand, his sons. 

An interesting deed found in Halifax County, Virginia shows that on 27 May 1799 James Legrand of Montgomery, North Carolina executed a deed to Thomas Watkins Jr of Halifax, Virginia. 

In part, the deed says:

…the said James Legrand for 325 pounds paid by William Watkins Dec'd for which the said James Legrand executed a deed to the said William Watkins bearing date 1 Jan 1767. But in consequence of the deed from the said Legrand to said Watkins not naming the bounds and courses of said land the above-mentioned Thomas Watkins Jr heir to William Watkins by virtue of the said Watkins last will and testament has petitioned Legrand for a new deed for said land…one certain tract of land containing 325 acres in Halifax County, Virginia on the south side of the Dan River bounded beginning at or near the Reedy (?) bottom (?) then south ... joining the land of Thomas Watkins Jr

Witness Joseph McDaniel, William Parker, Jesse Murphy

I think this Watkins family may be related to Thomas Watkins who wrote his will in Nov 1769 in Bedford (now Campbell) County, Virginia, the same place where Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter, lived. In his will, Thomas Watkins who lived on Little Falling River, in Bedford (now Campbell) County, after making the customary requests that his just debts and funeral expenses be paid, names his brother as George Watkins who he hopes will pay off the debt he is named as security for. If George pays the debt, then Thomas gives the slaves mentioned in the bill of sale in Halifax County, Virginia to his brother but if not, then the slaves to be sold to discharge the debt.

The executor of Thomas Watkins’ will was Joshua Morris, the nephew of Samuel Morris, the religious dissenter.

Horatio Wade married Sarah Wyatt, daughter of William Wyatt (1713-1772) and Elizabeth Eggleston (1723-1787).

Horatio’s son, William (1794-1880) had a son named William (1834-1880) who married Mary Ann Liles (1840-1910). I do not know the name of Mary Ann’s father, but her mother was named Mary, and she had a sister named Jane.

William Wade and Mary Ann Liles had a daughter named Ella Wade (1862-1900) who was the first wife of my great grandfather, John Coon Morris.

Another daughter of William Wade and Mary Ann Liles, Julia Wade (1834-1895) may have married a man named Reuben Smith. Their daughter, Louisa Smith, married George Washington “Watty” Morris (1817-1902), the uncle of John Coon Morris, my great grandfather. Louisa was the second wife of George Morris, and they had no children. George Morris married first Elizabeth (her maiden name may have been Dennis) and their daughter, Milly Frances Morris (1856-1922) married Edward Cannon Brewer (1820-1911) who descends from Oliver Brewer (1708-1792) and Rebecca Smith (1717-1823) who migrated from Sury County, Virginia to Chatham County, North Carolina.

Milly Frances Morris Brewer (1856-1922) married second, John Boyd (1856-1938) who looks to descend from a Boyd family from Halifax County, Virginia, the same place the Wade and Legrand families came from.

My research in Virginia is beginning to pay off. Even though it is a tedious task to research every Morris family that I can find, it allows me to put together Morris families of Virginia and find connections along the way to those allied family lines who migrated to Montgomery County, North Carolina and intermarried with my family.

My hope is to eventually make a connection to John Jacky Morris, my third great grandfather, and break through the brick wall to find his parents.