Sunday, December 30, 2018

Camilla Morgan, wife of Nazry Byrd

Camilla Morgan is the second to the youngest child of Hardy and Nancy (Hearn) Morgan. According to her gravestone, she was born 3 May 1829. However, the 1830 Census does not support this date as Hardy Morgan is showing with no children under the age of ten on that Census, leading us to believe that Camilla was not yet born when the 1830 Census enumerated. However, the 1840 Census does list two females between the ages of 10 and 14 in the Hardy Morgan household.

Camilla was born born in Montgomery County, North Carolina where Hardy Morgan and family lived at the time of her birth. Based on postal and land records Hardy lived on Barnes Creek, East of Pee Dee and Yadkin River, very near the Uwharrie River, now known as Uwharrie Township in the Uwharrie National Forest, from as early as 1807 until 1844 when he removed with most of his family to Pontotoc, Mississippi. The map, below right, shows a current day aerial view of the possible location of where Hardy lived in Montgomery County, North Carolina.

Based on the War of 1812 pension file for Camilla’s mother, Nancy Morgan, I learned that through the affidavit of Moses Collins, an early landowner in Mississippi, the Hardy Morgan family left Montgomery County, North Carolina in 1846 and immigrated to Pontotoc County, Mississippi. While I do believe that Moses Collins befriended and lived close to Hardy Morgan from the year 1846, based on documented evidence of a court case back in Montgomery County, North Carolina, I believe that Hardy Morgan and family left Montgomery County probably in 1843-1844 shortly after learning of the death of Camilla’s sister, Caroline Morgan Beckerdite.

In 1844, Ebenezer F. Morgan, in Montgomery County, is handling a court case on behalf of Hardy Morgan. This is the same court case from 1842 that I mentioned in my post, “Exploring the Morgan's of Montgomery County, North Carolina part two.” If Hardy Morgan was in Montgomery County in 1844, why was Ebenezer handling the court case on behalf of Hardy?

Whether Caroline’s death triggered the move or not, I cannot say. Hardy Morgan had filed for bankruptcy and in 1842 was declared bankrupt, so I imagine that he could have been planning the move west as early as 1840 to 1842. Colin and Caroline Beckerdite were in McNairy County, Tennessee on the 1840 Census. Perhaps Caroline’s death only moved the plans forward much faster.

Camilla was about 14 years of age when she left with her family for Mississippi. During the period of the late 1830s to the late 1840s, many families began the migration west. Traveling in covered wagon, on horseback and some on foot, Montgomery County, North Carolina began to empty itself of citizens. Most especially those young families who were looking to make their own way in the world and they wanted good bottom land for farming. Reading the 1850 Census for Pontotoc County, Mississippi is like a mirror copy of the Montgomery and Stanly County, North Carolina Census.

By 1850, the Morgan family was in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. Hardy and Nancy’s three younger children, Whitfield, Camilla and Nancy are living with their parents and granddaughter, Caroline Beckerdite, was living with them too. Caroline is the daughter of Colin and Caroline (Morgan) Beckerdite. I know Caroline died in childbirth, as her death date is the same as her daughter’s birth date. Granddaughter, Caroline, was named after her mother.

On 15 Dec 1847, the Pontotoc Land office grants Camilla's brother, Alexander Morgan 160 acres of land in the North West quarter of Section 16 Township Seven of Range Five. I believe Alexander to be the first-born child of Hardy and Nancy Hearne Morgan. For more information on Alexander, read the post Born at Old Henderson.

On 17 Aug 1851, Camilla married Nazrea Byrd, born 1809, North Carolina and the couple settled down to farm and raise their family. Nazrea Byrd is the son of Jethro Byrd and an unknown first wife, possibly named Alsey. Jethro was married a second time to Elizabeth as she is mentioned in his will probated 1858, Wake County, North Carolina.

I am not sure that Nazrea Byrd even knew of his father’s death as records indicate he was already in Mississippi as early as 1840. He also looks to be married, if so, he would be a widower by the time he marries Camilla Morgan in 1851.

On 16 Nov 1840, the Pontotoc Land Office grants Nazrea Byrd and Iredell Byrd, his brother, 321.2 acres of land in South half of Section 30 in Township Seven of Range Two. On 9 Apr 1842, the Pontotoc Land Office grants Nazrea Byrd 160 acres of land in the North West quarter of Section 30 in Township Seven of Range Two.

The 1870 Census shows Nazrea and Camilla Morgan Byrd in Township 7, Pontotoc, Mississippi listed as farmers, most likely of cotton crops, as Mississippi was the epicenter of the cotton production phenomenon during the first half of the 19th century. The state was swept along by the global economic force created by its cotton production, the demand by cotton textile manufacturing in Europe, and New York’s financial and commercial dealings.

By 1860, Great Britain, the world’s most powerful country, had become the birthplace of the industrial revolution, and a significant part of that nation’s industry was cotton textiles. Nearly 4,000,000 of Britain’s total population of 21,000,000 were dependent on cotton textile manufacturing. Nearly forty percent of Britain’s exports were cotton textiles. Seventy-five percent of the cotton that supplied Britain’s cotton mills came from the American South, and the labor that produced that cotton came from slaves. (

In Jan 1879, Nazrea Byrd died in Union County, Mississippi of Bronchitis. He was 77 years old.

I pick up the trail of Camilla again on the 1900 Census. She is living in Union County, Mississippi and is earning a living as a hotel-keeper. Her daughter, Mary and two granddaughters, Olive and Rossie, are living with her.

Camilla Morgan Byrd died 29 Sep 1909 and is buried alongside her husband at Union Hill Cemetery in Myrtle, Union County, Mississippi.


  1. This is AMAZING!!!! I'm blown away. The amount of work you have doen and the treasure you have found is mind-boggling!!!!! I bow at your feet oh Genealogy Goddess cousin of mine.

    1. Thank you cousin! That is quite a compliment coming from the Queen of Genealogy! I can only hope to be as good as you are!