Saturday, June 29, 2019

Willis Morgan, son of Charles and Delilah Morgan

All genealogy research begins with a question. The question that ultimately resulted in the creation of Uwharrie Roots was, “Who’s Your Daddy, William Buck Marks?” Typically, this is the question most asked by genealogist. We want to get one more generation back, and the only way to do that is to find the parents of the previous generation. Genealogy research is a human puzzle. Connecting people together on paper who were connected in real life. It is fascinating and rewarding when the puzzle pieces come together and the life that an ancestor lived becomes real to you. You begin to know them for who they were, and not for who you want or expect them to be.

It is when those puzzle pieces do not fit together, when that one edge just doesn’t seem to close the gap, or in the case of genealogy research, does not answer the question logically and reasonably, that I begin to get this nagging feeling that just will not go away. When research leaves me with more questions than answers, it is then that I dig in my heels and begin a quest to find the proof that is required to answer the question.

When my male cousin agreed to Y-DNA test for our Morgan line, I was super excited and very thankful for his help in answering my question, “Who’s Your Daddy, Joseph Morgan?” His part was easy, swab your cheek and sign the consent form. I mailed the package back to Family Tree DNA. A few weeks later, we got the results. I doubt he has looked at it since then.

My cousin originally tested at 37 Markers and he had three matches. All with the surname Morgan. I noticed one of those matches had tested to 67 Markers, and decided to upgrade my cousin’s 37 Marker test to a 67 Marker test. The match remained solid. I immediately contacted all three matches, but have only heard back from two of them. One of the matches and I have worked together quite extensively, sending one another details of the research we have done. His research was solid back to his ancestor Willis Morgan (1811-1862) from Montgomery County, North Carolina. My ancestor, Joseph Morgan (1786-1815) is also from Montgomery County, so I was elated that I could finally attach my Joseph to a Morgan line in the same county.

I still do not know exactly where Joseph fits in the puzzle, but, I at least now know what puzzle (family) he belongs to. There was also the burden of proof on who Willis’ father was. Research currently available was at best, a best guess. I am working off the theory that my Joseph was most likely the Uncle of Willis Morgan, a brother to Willis’ father, Charles Morgan. There is a Genetic Distance of 1 between my cousin and the Willis Morgan descendant.

Since Joseph did not live long enough to create the paper trail that most who live long lives accumulate, research on him was at a dead end. He made one Census in 1810 and had a pay voucher for his service in the War of 1812. He had a wife and three young children at the time of his death. The only way to determine what family Joseph belonged to was to research all those who lived around him and all those whom his children associated with; surely his children would remain close to their Morgan Aunts, Uncles and cousins as the years went by.

I studied research done by others in an attempt to gain any useful knowledge about the Morgan families from Montgomery County. I built a research tree based on the information that I found. I began using Autosomal DNA results to connect family members to my research tree. I have an extensive Autosomal DNA tree based on these results, but only going forward from Joseph. I was finding that everything going backward from Joseph was mostly best guesses that people had made over the years, rather than on methodical research of the remaining records in the county of Montgomery.

On my Blog is posted most of the research for the Morgan’s that I have completed to date. It is far from exhaustive. I began my research by making a list of men, with the surname Morgan, found on the 1790, 1800 and 1810 Census records for Montgomery County, North Carolina. I next began researching each man to discover who he was, who he married, who his children were, who they married, did he have a will, did he own land, pay taxes, sign as a witness to a deed, have a land grant, a marriage record, a grave stone, who were his neighbors, did he ever go to court, have a run-in with the law, make the newspapers, serve in a war, have a pension file, or live long enough to buy anything from Daniel Freeman’s General Store…all of these questions needed answers for each man with the surname Morgan.

Recently, I came across Henry Morgan who, for one so young, had quite the fascinating story that went all the way to the Supreme Court of North Carolina and resulted in a 228 page paper trail that not only tells Henry’s tale, but also connects many people from Montgomery County together in the years 1838-1843, even providing directions to their homes.

Important Note:
If you have not read my post Crump v. Morgan, now would be a good time, then come back and finish this post. Otherwise, the remainder of this post will make no sense.

On the 6th, 7th, and 8th days of Dec 1841 at the house of Littleton Harris in the county of Montgomery, depositions of Dr. Francis Kron, Rebecca Talbert, Lucy Talbert, Rachel Talbert, Thomas Russell, John Pence, Henry Pence, William Talbert, Lockey Simmons, George Coggin, Eve Forrest, Sarah Lock, Hannah Palmer, Polly Lilly, William Crook, and William Palmer were taken by Littleton Harris and John Martin.

Dr. Francis Kron gave his statement that he had been a practicing physician in Montgomery County since 1830 and previous to that he had been acquainted to Col. and Mrs. Crump for several years and that he was Col. Crump’s family physician. Dr. Kron stated that he had been aware of the on-set of symptoms of derangement in Mrs. Crump even before Col. Crump’s death. He confirmed that he had been treating Mrs. Crump for insanity at the time of Col. Crump's death. He believed her to be a confirmed lunatic.

Rebecca Talbert undoubtedly provides the most information of any of the witness’s testimonies. She states that she was a frequent visitor of Mrs. Crump while she was married to Col. Crump. She confirms that Letitia had five children and names them, James, Henrietta, Laura Ann, John and Thomas. Rebecca states that because of the way Letitia acted toward her sister’s child, attempting to dump the child from its cradle and refusing to go into the room of her dying husband, that because of her behavior, she was afraid of Letitia. Rebecca confirms that Letitia remained at the Crump mansion house for about a year after the death of her husband and that Polly Russell lived there with her. Rebecca further confirms that Charles Morgan is the father of Henry, the defendant, and that Charles lived in the Crump mansion one to two years before Henry and Letitia married in Oct 1839. Further confirmation is given that Henry had been in Georgia almost all of the year 1839 and did not return until cool weather, that Henry was living with his father, Charles, at the time of his marriage, and continues to live with him in 1841, at the time of her testimony. Rebecca provides information on the area surrounding the Crump mansion, that there were many rooms in the mansion, that the windows were open, that there was a smoke house, that one had to walk across the yard and through the big gates and it was half mile to the Narrows of the Yadkin River. Rebecca states that her reason for being at the Crump dower house was to use the loom to weave her cloth. And she confirms that Letitia had a daughter since her marriage to Henry.

Rebecca lastly confirms the family members of Charles Morgan being Charles and his wife, Delilah, and their children, Henry, Harriett, Nancy, Spencer, Anderson, Sandy, Ally, Joseph, Willis, John, and Janie.

Lucy Talbert is just as insightful as Rebecca. She tells us that she lived at the house of Charles Morgan about a year before and after the marriage of Henry and Letitia. Lucy informs us that it was about half a mile from Mr. Palmer’s house, where Letitia was staying, to Charles Morgan’s house, the Crump dower mansion. Lucy describes the South East room, telling us that there were windows in the room on the south side of the house and the room was opposite the room where Col. Crump died. She tells us that the old dwelling house on the property had been converted into the kitchens after the mansion house was built and that a Mr. and Mrs. Tucker had come to visit, confirming that the Tucker’s were in the area in 1839. Lucy wonderfully tells us that she and the others started out on foot in the afternoon to go six miles through the mountain, down the Yadkin River, to Willis Morgan’s house, the brother of Henry, who had married the widow Delamothe. She says that they had to cross a branch and a creek called Dutch John and the River Uwharrie at its mouth and after going another half a mile they came upon Willis and Bethany who were out riding their horses and they all turned back and went to Charles Morgan’s house, arriving in the evening near sunset.

Rachel Talbert lets us know that she lived at Charles Morgan’s house 7 months before and 4 weeks after the marriage of Henry and Letitia. She tells us that she and Lucy Talbert are sisters and cousins to Henry Morgan, and that the doors in the Crump mansion had locks on them.

On the 11th day of August 1842, at the dwelling house of Willis Morgan, in the county of Montgomery, Littleton Harris and Nelson Harris, proceeded to take the dispositions of Susannah Henderson, Rachel Talbert, Davis Russell, Charles Morgan, Delilah Morgan, Bethany Morgan, Joseph Morgan, and William Hearn in order to understand the chain of events that had taken place leading up to the marriage of Henry Morgan and Letitia Lindsay Crump.

Now, Willis Morgan lived on the dower property of his wife, Bethany Bailey Delamothe, left to her by her first husband, Henry Delamothe, who had died in 1838. Henry’s will named the dower property for Bethany as located at the mouth of the Uwharrie River on the Pee Dee River unto Island Creek on the same River extending as far as Benjamin Bell’s line on the Uwharrie River to the widow Bell’s line near Island Creek Bridge.

Susannah Henderson, my 4th great grandmother, who was first married to Joseph Morgan; second to Joel Henderson, says she was acquainted with Letitia Crump and had visited with Letitia while she lived with Littleton Harris. Conversations were odd and trivial at times and at other time sensible and intelligent. Letitia was engaged in knitting and sewing while at Susannah's house. Letitia expressed a dissatisfaction to living with Littleton Harris and wanted to live at the home she had shared with her husband, Col Crump. Susannah said she had been at Henry Morgan's house since he married, and Letitia spoke and acted in the same manner as before they were married. Susannah lived a half a mile from Littleton Harris.

Charles Morgan, next witness, stated that he was present in Oct 1839 when his son Henry Morgan married to the widow Crump by William Crook Esq. Charles, in a lengthy statement, told of outlandish actions taken by his son Henry to marry Letitia and further told of a dysfunctional relationship between Henry and Letitia. Charles further confirms that Nancy and Harriet Morgan are his daughters. He also confirms that Letitia has had one child since her marriage to Henry. Delilah Morgan, in her statement confirms twice that Henry is her son.

Bethany Morgan, called Thana, states that she and her husband (Willis) were called to Charles Morgan's house the night before the wedding. That she spoke with Letitia and advised her not to marry Henry, that he was too young for her and poor and could not take care of her in the same manner Col. Crump had. Bethany further states that she had seen a letter from Daniel Harris who had offered to marry her, but Letitia told Bethany that she would not have Daniel Harris as he had whipped his first wife and she was afraid him.

Joseph Morgan, the son of Joseph and Susannah Smart Morgan, and the ancestor that my male cousin, who Y-DNA tested, descends through, told that he went to Georgia with Henry in 1839 and that they returned to Montgomery County in Aug 1839, that while in Georgia and on the way home from Georgia he heard Henry say he was going to marry Mrs. Crump, but that he had never heard Mrs. Crump say anything about Henry.

There are multiple other testimonies from the people who lived in Lawrenceville, Montgomery County between 1838 and 1843. Their stories bringing to life this one dramatic situation between Henry Morgan and Letitia Lindsay Crump that surely was the talk of the town for many years, but has now assisted me in pushing Willis Morgan back one more generation. I now have a glimpse of what the Crump mansion might have looked like and directions from the Crump mansion to Willis Morgan’s home. I now know who the father of Willis Morgan is, who his siblings are, and even a few of his cousins. I have been able to, using DNA results and this paper trail, create a working theory that Willis’ father Charles and my 4th great grandfather, Joseph, are most likely brothers. The connections are being made and I now move on to the next research project of finding out more about Charles Morgan and see if I can connect him with any other Morgan men who lived in Lawrenceville and were born about the same time. The puzzle pieces are coming together, and soon, I hope to find the answer to my question, who’s your daddy, Joseph Morgan?


  1. That is great!
    I sure wish I had the resources that you have! I have but haven't been able to verify a belief that Henry Delamothe was my great-great-great grandfather.

  2. Thank you for your comment and for reading my Blog. I wish you much success in your research and hope you find your connection to Henry Delamothe. DNA testing is one way to break through brick walls.