Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Crump v. Morgan

“Supreme Court of North Carolina case 38 N.C. 91 (N.C. 1843) was a suit of nullity of marriage, instituted in August, 1841, by Letitia M. A. Crump, acting by her committee, [William] R. D. Lindsay, against the pretended husband, Henry Morgan, and praying that a marriage de facto, celebrated between those parties in October, 1839, may be pronounced null and void, by reason of the said Letitia being, at the time, of unsound mind, and not capable of assenting to the same.” (

Court documents state that Letitia Crump “was of most respectable parentage in Guilford County, and that she was there well bred and educated, and formed a part of the best society…”

Indeed, Letitia M. A. Crump, born about 1802, is the daughter of Samuel Lindsay (1774 – 1813) and Henrietta Causey (1783 – 1850) from Guilford County, North Carolina. According to an Oct 2006 newspaper article in the Greensboro News & Record, the Lindsay’s are a distinguished family who “led in the founding of Guilford County in 1771 and the town of Greensboro in 1808.” Again, the newspaper states, “The Lindsay’s lived on what is now Sandy Ridge Road in a house on a hill near a fork in the Deep River. The Great Hall in the spacious home served as the first courthouse of Guilford County from 1771 to 1774.”

18 Dec 1826, Letitia wed Col. John Bushrod Crump, who “resided in Montgomery County, and was a gentleman of fortune and character.” John Crump is from a distinguished family that hails from Virginia. Most research suggests that John’s father is James Bushrod Crump, married Isabelle Monroe, said to be a relative of President Monroe, and being active in the state government, served as one of five representatives from Montgomery County to the State Convention, which met in Hillsborough, Chatham County, in July 1788. The delegation voted overwhelmingly not to accept the United States Constitution without a Bill of Rights. James again served as a representative when North Carolina ratified the Constitution, as well as headed the North Carolina Militia until his death about 1805. Like his father, Col. John Crump also commanded the NC Militia and was a prominent planter.

Between 1779 and 1850, a John Crump had many Land Grants issued in Montgomery County, North Carolina. Dates for John Crump’s birth are varied, but most researchers believe Col. John Crump, husband of Letitia Lindsay, was born about 1790 – 1794. Certainly more research is required to sort out who the John Crump is who obtained Land Grants in Montgomery County, but it is most likely the brother of James Crump, father to Col. John Crump.

File #
Images ...
John Crump
Beg. at a poplar
John Crump
On the waters of Cedar Creek
John Crump
E. side of Yadkin River
John Crump
N. E. side of the yadkin River
John Crump and James Crump
On the Yadkin River
John Crump, Jr.
On N. E. side of the Yadkin River
John Crump, Jr.

On N. E. side of the Yadkin River
John Crump, Sr.
Beg. at a post oak
John Crump, Sr.

On waters of Garr Creek

“she [Letitia] arrived to about the age of thirty and had five children; that, at the birth of the last of these children, she was attacked with puerperal fever attended by mania; and that she was then partially restored to her reason, but subject to occasional alienations of it; that while in that unsettled state of mind, her husband died in 1836 [1835], and that by that event she became entitled to an independent property.”

On 18 Jan 1835, Col. John Crump died in Montgomery County leaving Letitia a widow with five minor children, James, John, Thomas, Laura and Henrietta. John Crump wrote his will on 15 Jan 1835 in what seems to be in haste, leaving much to be decided by his Executor, Thomas Steele Esq. in the County of Richmond. Ultimately, Thomas Steel Esq. renounced his right to execute the will, probably due to health issues, as he died two years after Col. Crump; the court appointed Littleton Harris and Lockey Simmons instead. A copy of the full will can be found at

When James M. Crump, the eldest son of Col. John Crump and Letitia Lindsay, came of age 12 Dec 1848, he sought, through the courts, a division of his father’s property amongst his siblings. His mother, Letitia, having already acquired her dower rights and, in his will, Col. Crump left the plantation where he lived to his wife, Letitia, along with all household and kitchen furniture, tools, stock, crop and other items needed for the family. Col. Crump made no other division of his lands in Montgomery and Davidson Counties in his will. 

An article dated 12 Aug 1851 from the Fayetteville Weekly Observer, shows that the land owned by Col. John Crump, several tracts containing about 1500 acres and included the Narrows of the Yadkin and the dower lands of Letitia Lindsay Crump were listed for sale.

“The bill then states, that soon afterwards she [Letitia] became a confirmed lunatic, having no intervals perfectly lucid, and generally with but little glimmering of reason; that in July, 1838, she was duly found to be a lunatic and incapable of managing her affairs, and that she had so been continually from April, 1837; and that the Court of Montgomery then appointed her brother, William R. D. Lindsay, the guardian and committee of her person and property.”

In James Crump’s court petition, he makes note that his mother, Letitia, is a lunatic and had so been found by a jury of the county.

The case file goes on to say:
“He [Letitia’s brother, William Lindsay, after taking Letitia to Guilford County for several months in hopes of renewing her mind and memory] took her again to Montgomery [because being in Guilford County only seemed to make her condition worse] and placed her in the family and under the care of Mr. Littleton Harris, a respectable person, and the friend and executor of her late husband.”

Littleton Harris and Lockey Simmons were appointed, by the court of Montgomery, executors after Thomas Steel Esq. of Richmond County renounced his right to execute the will of Col. John Crump.

“that in October, 1839, Mr. Harris, expecting a large company for some days at his house upon the occasion of the marriage of one of his children, placed Mrs. Crump under the care of a family in his neighborhood, named Palmer, of good reputation, that she might be duly attended to during the festivities in his own family; that on the succeeding Sunday Mrs. Palmer, having occasion to leave home for the day, took Mrs. Crump and her servant to the house of Charles Morgan, the father of the present defendant, who resided near, and requested that she might be received and kept out of harm; and she was accordingly so received by Mrs. Morgan and the family;”

In the opinion delivered by the Court it states: “Mrs. Palmer went for Mrs. Crump; but was refused access to her and could only see her through the window of a room in which she was shut up. That lady sent immediately to Mr. [Littleton] Harris to advise him of her suspicions, and he hastened to the scene of action, but did not arrive until the marriage had been just concluded.”

“and that during the day, the defendant, Henry Morgan, a young man of the age of twenty or a little more, without education, standing, property or expectancy, and with a view to gain the property belonging to the lunatic, availed himself of the opportunity of having her in his power, and with the help of the other members of the family, prevailed on her to agree to marry him; that she was then held under guard until a license could be procured, and the next day they were married by a Justice of the Peace, clandestinely, in a field, at a distance from any house, and without the knowledge of any friend or relation of hers, and in the company only of the family and relations of the defendant;”

The case notes state that Henry Morgan is a young man of about 20 years of age (maybe a little more), making his year of birth somewhere between 1814 and 1819. The years agree with later Census information for Henry. Unfortunately, the case notes do not make known the name of Henry’s mother, referring to her only as Mrs. Morgan; no other family member’s names mentioned. I cannot help but wonder if Hardy Morgan was the Justice of the Peace who married them. I have not been able to find a marriage record for Henry and Letitia yet, but continue to look in hopes of finding one.

“that [Charles] Morgan resided in the mansion house situate on Mrs. Crump's dower, which he leased from her guardian, and that he and the defendant [Henry Morgan] and the whole family had actual knowledge of the state of this person, and that it was notorious that she was a lunatic and under the care of a guardian.”

On the 13th day of Nov AD 1838, Charles Morgan and Willis Morgan made an Indenture between themselves and Green Davis and A.H. Saunders. Charles Morgan and Willis Morgan gave a note to William R D Lindsay Guardian for Letitia A Crump for the sum of Ninety-five dollars payable the first Day of Oct 1839. Should Charles and Willis not pay the note on or before the 25th day of Dec 1839, Green Davis as security for the debt was to pay the note; then turn around and sale the 50 acre tract of land on the East side of the Uwharrie River and South side of Spencer’s Creek and North side of the big road (current day Hwy 109) crossing at Morgan’s ford (current day Uwharrie River bridge on Hwy 109) on said river and leading to Fayetteville adjoining the land of William Hamilton William Harris and the said Aaron H Saunders and N & P Harris & David Morgan in order to get his money back. The deed does not state what the $95 was for, but a possibility could be for the rent of the dower land of Letitia.

The bill further states that she [Letitia] has continued a lunatic ever since; though she has borne a child since the marriage.”

Most researchers believe that Charles Madison Crump is the son of Henry Morgan based on the statement in the court file that a child had been born of the marriage of Henry and Letitia. Charles was born after the death of Col. John Crump (1835) and there is no mention of Charles in Col. Crump’s will.

Overwhelming documentation says that Charles Madison Crump is not the son of Henry Morgan either. Charles is noted as age three on the 1850 Census, age 14 on the 1860 Census, age 23 on the 1870 Census and age 34 on the 1880 Census. All dates making him born in 1846/47 – four years after Henry and Letitia were divorced and at least a year after Henry remarried and was on his way to the state of Georgia.

I found only one record that could back up the claim that Charles was born earlier than 1846; a newspaper article from the Charlotte Observer dated 27 Feb 1894. The article states, “Mr. Crump was about 53 years of age” making him born in 1841, about the same time that Henry and Letitia were granted a divorce from the state of North Carolina. It would be quite interesting to see the DNA results from descendants of Charles Madison Crump.

I now have documentation that links Henry Morgan to Charles Morgan of Montgomery County. Some researchers believe Charles Morgan to be the son of Charles Morgan Senior of Chatham County; of whom I am attempting, through historical records and DNA evidence, to prove is the common ancestor of the Morgan’s of Montgomery County. The problem thus far, as previously noted, is lack of a complete paper trail to connect any of the Morgan lines together and lack of DNA matches to a Morgan line in Chatham County.

Family members who descend from the same Morgan line as I do (Joseph Morgan and Susannah Smart) have DNA tested, and while we all have numerous Morgan DNA matches, none of them hail from Chatham County, North Carolina. This could be because no Morgan’s, or allied Morgan families from Chatham, have DNA tested. It could also mean that the Morgan’s from Montgomery County are not related to the Morgan’s from Chatham County.

Now that I have a confirmed child of Charles Morgan in Montgomery County, Henry Morgan, my goal is to find a male descendant of this line and ask him to Y-DNA test. The only male child is Charles Madison Crump. Henry Morgan had only one child, a girl, Ida Bethany Morgan. She is the daughter of Elizabeth Bailey Hannah, whom Henry married in 1852. If there is a match between Henry Morgan’s male lines, I will know this Morgan line does share a common ancestor with my Morgan line. Thus far, I have confirmed that my fourth great grandfather, Joseph Morgan, and Willis Morgan, who made that Indenture with Charles Morgan, father of Henry Morgan, do share a common ancestor. Descendants of these two lines are a Y-DNA match. I am diligently searching for a paper trail that shows their relationship.

Final comments from the court:
“Therefore, the Court doth pronounce and declare the said pretended marriage de facto, contracted and celebrated between the said Letitia M. A. Crump and Henry Morgan, to have been and to be utterly null and of no effect; and that the said Letitia was and is, and of right ought to be, free and at liberty from any bond of said pretended marriage de facto; and doth pronounce that she ought to be divorced, and doth decree that she, the said Letitia M. A. Crump, be freed and divorced from the said Henry.

And the Court further decrees that the said defendant pay all the costs of this suit, to be taxed by the proper officers.”