Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thomas Morris, let me count the ways I am related to you

Long before there was any such thing as a commercial DNA test, I knew I was related to Thomas Morris through both my parents, who are second cousins, once (or a generation) removed. That word ‘removed’ can really cause a lot of confusion. I have found multiple ways to explain it though, and most people will catch on to at least one of the meanings.

First, let’s make sure we understand cousin relationships
First cousins share grandparents
Second cousins share great grandparents
Third cousins share great-great grandparents
Fourth cousins share great-great-great grandparents

Can you see a pattern developing?

The word removed means that the cousins come from different generations
Once removed means that cousins are one generation apart
Twice removed means that cousins are two generations apart

Your first cousin once removed is the child or parent of your first cousin
Your second cousin once removed is the child or parent of your second cousin
Your first cousin twice removed is the grandchild or grandparent of your first cousin
Your second cousin twice removed is the grandchild or grandparent of your second cousin

Can you see a pattern developing?

Drawing out the relationship on paper is also a good way to catch hold of the meaning, if you are the visual type of personality. Here is what my parents cousin relationship looks like.

When I DNA tested, I was able to upload my raw DNA data file to a site called GEDmatch. It was at GEDmatch that I was able to obtain an even better visual of the amounts of the same DNA I inherited from both my parents. This visual does not mean that all of this DNA, shown in the blue, belongs to Thomas. Through the use of other tools and techniques, I do know that some of it does. Be careful interpreting DNA results. See the end of this Blog for some of my favorite places to learn about analyzing DNA results.

Thomas is my 2nd great grandfather through my paternal line and my 3rd great grandfather through my maternal line. Yet, with all this information, I still do not know a lot about Thomas, other than I have inherited some of his DNA through both my parents and the traditional genealogical record trail shows my descent from him through two of his sons, James and John.

Thomas was born about 1824, in Montgomery County, North Carolina, the sixth child of John Jacky and Amelia Morris, my third great grandparents through Thomas, but my 4th great grandparents through James Morris, the brother of Thomas, and my maternal line.

The first glimpse I get of Thomas is on the 1830 Census listed in the home of his Father, John Morriss Senior, east of the Pee Dee River, as a male between the ages of 5 and 9 years old.

The second glimpse I get of Thomas is on the 1840 Census, still living in the home of his father, east of the Pee Dee River, he is between the ages of 15 and 19.

Around 1845, Thomas married Mary, called Polly, Williams. I have not been able to find a marriage license for Thomas and Mary, it was most likely burned in the court house fire, but their children’s death certificates all list Mary or Polly Williams as mother’s maiden name.

By 1850, Thomas and Mary are living between John Morris Senior, Thomas’s father and John Morris Junior, Thomas’s brother. The township is not stated, but most likely the area is Uwharrie. Thomas is listed as a 25 year old miner with wife, Mary, age 22 and children, William, age 3 and Elizabeth, age 1.

1860 shows Thomas, age 43, almost double the age he was in 1850, and Polly, age 31, living in Zion District, Swift Island Post Office. Children added to the family include, Joseph (9), Lunda (6), Elias (6) and James (2), who will become my second great grandfather.

At Fold3, I found a Civil War file for a Thomas Morris whose residence is listed as Montgomery County, North Carolina. I have not yet been able to prove that this is my Thomas Morris, but Montgomery County Census records show there is only one Thomas Morris old enough to have served in the Civil War in the 1860s.

Thomas Morris, a Private of Company C, 38th Regiment North Carolina Confederate States Army. Enlisted 27 August 1864 at Camp Holmes, (Near Raleigh, Wake County) North Carolina. Present on muster rolls in September and October 1864. Union prisoner of war, captured 2 April 1865 at Southerland Station, (Dinwiddie) Virginia. Imprisoned Hart's Island, New York. Released 18 June 1865 after taking the Oath of Allegiance to the United States. His residence at that time is stated as Montgomery County, North Carolina.

In 1870 my Morris family seems to have disappeared from the Census records. I am not sure if they were simply overlooked and not enumerated or if they have moved to another county or even another state. I am still on the search for them for 1870!

1880 finds the Thomas Morris family in Uwharrie Township, listed as farmers, thus the reason I believe this family may have just been overlooked in 1870. At home are Sarah (29), Elias (23), Martha (19), Mary (14), Ann (13), and my great grandfather, U.S. Grant (who would later in life change his name to John Coon) (11).

There is no 1890 Census so I am not able to track the Thomas Morris family on a Census until 1900, which shows Polly, the wife of Thomas Morris, a widow living with her son, my great grandfather, whose name has been changed to John.

John is also listed as a widow as his wife, Ella Wade, died before the 1900 Census.

Family stories say that Thomas Morris died after 1891, though I have not been able to find any documented proof as to when he died and I do not know for sure where he is buried. Mary Polly Williams Morris, wife of Thomas, is buried at Prospect Baptist Church Cemetery on River Road. Her death date is listed as 28 Feb 1910.

If you want to know more about DNA there are tons of Books, Blogs, Videos, and Facebook Groups that can assist in doing that. Some of my favorite are:

Genetic Genealogy in Practice Paperback by Blaine T. Bettinger and Debbie Parker Wayne

Blogs & Websites:

Genetic Genealogy Tips & Techniques


Saturday, October 5, 2019

Grandison Fields Morris, son of John Jacky and Amelia Morris

Grandison is my third great uncle, born, according to his gravestone, on 2 Oct 1823, the fifth child of my third great grandparents, John Jacky and Amelia Morris. He is one of my more interesting Morris ancestors. While not many records exist, or were ever captured, on his siblings, and none but the Census records, it seems, on his parents, Grandison lived a life that was steeped in records. He owned a General Store, lived in town, and was involved in church, politics and community. He, obviously, was the kind of man who would not be comfortable living the life of a miner or a farmer out in a rural area. He was a businessman, and of course, that meant records of the life he lived remain.

My guess, based on a Newspaper clipping printed in The Daily Times-News (Burlington, North Carolina) 08 Aug 1967, Tue Page 6, is that all of the children of John Jacky and Amelia Morris were born in Montgomery County, North Carolina.

In the Newspapers account, George, Grandison’s nephew, entertained with stories of his Morris ancestors, telling how they came from England, settled in Virginia, and then moved down into Montgomery County, North Carolina in 1805.

The first glimpse history offers us of Grandison is on the 1830 Census record for Montgomery County, North Carolina. He is a male between 5 and 9 years old, living east of the Pee Dee River with his father, John Morriss Senior.

I have often wondered about the ‘Senior’ on the end of John’s name. There were two known reasons why a male would be distinguished as such. 1) Because he has a son named after him who is designated as a junior or 2) There is another male in the same area, with the same name, who may be no relation to each other; and it is just a way of notating which is the older and which is younger.

In John’s case, he is listed as a Senior, between the ages of 40 and 49 (he is actually age 42 as he was born in 1788) and while he does have a son named after him, John Junior is only between the ages of 10 and 14 and listed in the same household as his father, John Senior. I believe the John Morris Junior listed on the 1830 Census is the one who became known as John ‘Bushyhead’ Morris, the son of Thomas Morris, who migrated from Virginia to Montgomery County around 1790.

In 1840, the Census shows Grandison still at home with his parents, listed as a male between the ages of 15 and 19, his actual age is 17 years. The family is still living east of the Pee Dee River, probably in the vicinity known as Dusty Level, around Cedar Creek, current day River Road area.

Grandison, listed in 1850 as a Laborer, married around the year 1845 to Mary, as she is listed on the 1850 Census. A son, Parsons, was born about 1846 and is listed as age 3 on the 1850 Census. Two daughters, Elizabeth and Martha, are listed as 9 month old twins. I have not been able to find a marriage record for Grandison and Mary as yet, but all of the children lists mother’s maiden name as [Molly or Malsay] Williams, so I am guessing that Mary’s maiden name is indeed Williams.

In 1860, Grandison and wife, Mary, now called Malsey, are listed s living in Brutons, Montgomery County, part of Troy, the county seat. One child, a son, Ananias, born about 1853, has been added to the family.

In 1866, Grandison is listed on the annual tax list as a Retail Liquor Dealer. His tax for the year 1866 is $25.00.

By 1870, Grandison has moved his family to Troy, the county seat. Mary, Malsey, Grandison’s wife, is now listed as Mollie. It is a wonder that any genealogist can find anyone, what with the way our ancestors changed their names and ages every ten years!

Parson’s, the oldest child, married Miranda Harris 27 Oct 1867 and has left home.

Grandison Jr was born between the Census years, in 1862.

James McRae is listed as living in the home of Grandison Sr, his occupation is Clerk of Probate. Which means he probably works at the court house and is boarding with the family. Since Grandison lived about a block from the court house in Troy, it would make sense for the Clerk of Probate to board near the court house.

There is also a Jesse Spencer listed as Dwelling # 50, but I think this is a mistake by the Census taker as the next Dwelling listed after Jesse is 52. Jesse should be Dwelling # 51. However, it is interesting that Grandison’s occupation is listed as Attending Grocery and Jesse’s occupation is listed as Retired Merchant. I wonder Grandison is working for Jesse?

The first mention in Newspapers (that I am sure of) of Grandison is 1879 when Colonel Allen Jordan made two references about his land and his General Store, Morris & Co.

COL. Allen Jordan was a long time citizen of Montgomery County and the longest practicing attorney there. He represented Montgomery County in the General Assembly from 1862-66, 1873-74, and 1887-89 and was a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1868. COL. Jordan died in the court room at Troy in 1907 while prosecuting a case. His wife, Mary Horton Jordan ran the post office in Troy for twenty years before her death in 1905.

1880 tells us that Grandison (going by his initials, G.F.) is still living in Troy. Mary/Malsey/Molly is now going by her initials too, M.E., as are the children, Martha, Ananias and Grandison Jr.
Elizabeth Frances Morris married John Roby Crook in 1873 and has moved from her parent’s home. By 1900, Elizabeth and husband, John will be living in Providence, Rowan County, North Carolina.

In 1889 and 1890, I found Newspaper articles that referred to Grandison as Col. G.F. Morris. I know these articles are referring to my Grandison as he was the only G.F. Morris is Troy, North Carolina at that time, other than his son, who was underage in 1889 and 1890, thus cannot be Grandison Junior.

I also know this is my Grandison because his daughter, Elizabeth, married J.R. (John Roby) Crook and moved to Rowan County.

So, I checked Fold3 and found several Civil War documents alluding to a Grandison, an Athan L, and a Groves Morris. This is either the most interesting document in history or the most coincidental one!
Groves Morris, born about 1803, to William Morris and an unknown mother, in Granville County, North Carolina, is the grandson of John Morris and Phebe Tudor. Groves migrated to Georgia before 1830 as he is found on the Census for Habersham, Georgia. Athan L Morris is the son of Groves and great-grandson of John and Phebe Tudor Morris. This is the line that my male cousins and paternal Uncle Y-DNA match to.

Stuck in the file for Grandison Morris are four documents. The first three relating to Groves, but the name Grandison Morris, with Groves written under it, on the first document. Athan L Morris is mentioned on the second document, with Groves Morris listed as Father. The third document is difficult to make out but looks to have Grandison Morris, House or Horse Rent, 5 dollars, paid on 30th June 1864.

The fourth document in the collection is also difficult to make out, but looks to be the receipt to Grandison Morris for the house or horse rent. The clearest writing on the document states Montgomery County.

Checking Fold3 for a file on Athan Morris brought me to a file with 22 pages, most of the documents in this file are the typical cards one sees with only the name, rack, and company information. The other documents were receipts of clothing issued. Two of the documents were telling as they provided proof that Groves Morris is the father of Athan and that Athan died December 15, 1861. Another document in the file states that Athan died on the 16th of December at Yorktown, VA.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why or how the rental receipt for Grandison Morris, Montgomery County, North Carolina got in the file for Athan L Morris, who just happens to be the son of Groves Morris, who just happens to be the very line that my Morris family in Montgomery County Y-DNA matches to. This has to be the eeriest coincidence in history!

On 10 Jan 1886, Mary/Malsey/Molly/M.E. Morris dies and is buried at Southside Cemetery in Troy, North Carolina. Her gravestone states her name is Molly E, wife of G.F. Morris.

Nine months after the death of his wife, Mary, Grandison remarries to Eliza Williams in Randolph County. The couple make their home in Troy with Grandison’s daughter, Martha, who to my knowledge never married. The Census taker listed Grandison and Eliza as being married 14 years, but the correct number is 4 years.

Grandison Fields Morris died 1 Aug 1902 and is buried at Southside Cemetery, Troy, North Carolina.

In a Newspapers article, The Montgomerian (Troy, North Carolina) dated 08 Feb 1912, Thu Page 2, an article was written with a keen description of what Troy looked like at the time Grandison lived there. The article says that G.F. Morris lived on South Main Street and the old oak tree in front of his home had to be cut down due to disease.

At one time, Troy had many giant oaks, hickories, black gums and elms. By 1912, few were remained.

The article paints the historical picture of the court house burning in the 1880’s and the fire that destroyed the Morris store. The double offices on east Main Street and the stores of Smitherman and Watkins, the black gums that stood in front of the Allen home on West Main Street.

Man loves to live in the roaming’s of the past at times, he loves the days of his childhood, the trees, the streams, the old craggy fruit trees, the rocky Knowles, the meadows, the briar patches, the road swamps, the wooded lands, the old fields - all of the rough, rugged things of nature along with the beautiful. After all it is a pleasure to sometimes live for a season in the good old days of the past...

In the places our ancestors called home…

Mary Ann Smart, daughter of Nathan Smart, is not the wife of Mark Dennis

There is much confusion on who the Mary is that married Mark Dennis, 1850, in Montgomery County, North Carolina. Mark Dennis is the son of James Dennis and Mary Morgan. According to the 1850 Census, James is 52 years old, making him born about 1798. Mary is listed as age 52 as well, making her born the same year, 1798. The only reference I have thus far been able to find to Mary’s maiden name is on the death certificate of her son, Littleton Jackson Dennis, who died in 1922 at the age of 102 years. Mary’s maiden name is reported as Morgan by her grandson, L.M. (Levi Madison) Dennis.

As noted in previous Blogs, Mary Morgan is not the daughter of Joseph Morgan and Susannah Smart, who married Joel Henderson after Joseph died. I do not know who Mary’s parents are, but I know who they aren’t. Susannah is too young to be Mary’s mother (she was only 6 when Mary was born) and there is no female, Mary’s age, ever found on the Census records in the household with Joseph and/or Susannah. It is possible (but not proven) Mary Morgan is the daughter of Zachariah Morgan who was born about 1770 in Chatham County, North Carolina. Zachariah Morgan migrated to Montgomery County after the Revolutionary War and lived on the road leading from Fisher’s Ferry to Fayetteville; joining the land of Andrew Dennis, who lived on Cedar Creek, current day River Road area. 100 acres of Zachariah’s land sold for taxes due in 1809, 1810, 1811 and 1812. It would not be a stretch to think that James Dennis married the girl next door.

James Dennis is the inferred son of Andrew Dennis, who was in Montgomery County as early as 1779, when he entered two land grants for 150 acres each. Montgomery County was formed from the northern part of Anson in 1779. Land records from Anson County show that there was a George Dennis in Anson as early as 1755 and a Nathaniel Dennis in Anson as early as 1761.

James Dennis and Mary Morgan were married around 1820 and had ten known children, Littleton (1821), William (1824), Malinda (1825), Mark (1827), Alexander (1828), Nancy (1830), John (1835), George (1837), James (1841) and Willis (1841).

Mark Dennis, the fourth born child of James and Mary Morgan Dennis, married Mary Ann Dennis on 10 Jan 1850 in Montgomery County, North Carolina. Littleton Dennis, Mark’s older brother, signed as bondsman. At least one death certificate of a child of Mark and Mary Ann Dennis Dennis, lists mother’s maiden name as Dennis.

Nearly every online family tree I reviewed lists Mary Dennis’s maiden name as Smart and claim she is the daughter of Nathaniel and Darutha Smart. While it is certainly possible that Mary’s maiden name is Smart and not Dennis, there were several in the county, the historical record disagrees with the claim that her parents were Nathan and Darutha Smart.

In reviewing marriage records, I found Martin Laton applied for a license to marry Mary Smart 3 Oct 1850, some nine months after Mark Dennis wed Mary Ann Dennis.

Both Mark Dennis and Martin Laton served in the Civil War. And both Mary’s applied for a widow’s pension. However, Martin Laton died in the War and Mark Dennis came home and lived until 1892. Mary Laton applied for her widow’s pension in 1885 and Mary Dennis applied in 1902.

In 1865, Mary Laton, widow of Martin Laton, filed a petition with the court for one year’s support from the estate of her husband. In 1866, the Administer of the estate, who is Nathan Smart, informed the court that Mary had already been provided her one year's support. In this record, it states, "...the undersigned, being appointed at the last term of this court to lay off a year’s support for the Petitioner, beg leave to report that they were informed by the father of the Petitioner that the years support had been laid of[f] some time since...your commissioners ask to be discharged..."

The most compelling evidence I can provide that Mary Smart, daughter of Nathan Smart, married Martin Laton, is the estate record of Nathan W Smart, that lists Mary Laton as an heir to his estate.

Census records show in 1870, Mary is back home with her parents, N. W. and Ruth Smart and is listed by her maiden name, Smart.

In the 1880 Census, Mary is listed in the home of her mother, Ruth Smart, as Mary Laton.

Mary Laton looks to have died in 1894. Her estate record can be found on Family Search.

As noted previously, Mary Dennis, wife of Mark Dennis, died after 1902, as that is the date on her widow pension claim.

Of interest, in the estate file of Nathan Smart (1875) is found a bond for the minor children, Mary Smart and Eliza Smart, dated 1849. The three men who signed the bond are William Smart, Wilson Smart and Lockey Henderson.

I do not know who these children are or why Nathan Smart was their guardian. Should any readers know who Mary and Eliza Smart are, please leave a comment letting me know.

John Morris Jr, son of John Jacky and Amelia Morris

The lives that some ancestors lived scarcely make a ripple in the records of the past. Sometimes, though, it is the names associated with those records that leave behind a mountain of clues that get us closer to finding that elusive connection. My third great uncle, John Morris Jr, is one of these individuals.

John was born about 1819, most likely in Montgomery County, North Carolina, the son of John Jacky and Amelia Morris, my third great grandparents. He died between 1850 and 1870. I am not able to find any mention of him, his wife or his child in 1860, but his wife, Martha, and child, Elizabeth (Liza), show up in Swift Island, Montgomery County, North Carolina in August of 1870, living alone.

Many family trees show John died 23 September 1850 and Find-A-Grave states that he died three days after the 1850 Census was enumerated, but lists his death date as 23 September 1850, which cannot be the case as the 1850 Census was enumerated on 30 September 1850, so, if John died three days after the 1850 Census, his date of death would be 3 October 1850. So, it gets a bit confusing.

John married Martha Ferrill on 5 Dec 1845. Thomas Lilly was bondsman. And here is where it gets interesting. The Lilly’s were a very prominent family in early Anson and Montgomery Counties, with deeds going back to Anson County in 1756, when Edmund Lilly sold land on the Pee Dee River to Benjamin Dumas. Also of interest is the fact that Thomas married Drusilla Willams in 1847. My Morris family intermarried with the Williams family to a great extent and I am now on the hunt to find out more about Drusilla Williams and her family, and what, if any, connection, they had to my Morris family.

I’ll come back to how it gets interesting at the end of the Blog.

Prior to John’s marriage to Martha, he lived at home, east of the Pee Dee River, with his parents, John Jacky and Amelia Morris, my third great grandparents. Just a few doors down lives Alsy Ferril, who has a female in his household old enough to be Martha. I’ll need to dig deeper to find out who Alsy Ferril is and if he is the father, or possibly the grandfather, of Martha.

In 1847, Dr. Francis Kron paid a medical call to John Morris Jr, son of John of Montgomery County. This may or may not be my John, as there were several John Morris’s in that area at this time. I think there is a good chance though, that it is my John.

Dr. Francis Kron administered febrifuge, a substance that reduces fever, to John in August 1847 and made another visit on September 19. I have not yet been able to make out the word for the visit in September. John paid cash in full, $1.50, for the visits.

In 1850, after the Census was taken, John and Martha welcomed the birth of their first and only child together, Elizabeth Jane, called Liza. As mentioned previously, Liza is not on the 1850 Census and I cannot find her or her parents on the 1860 Census. The first glimpse we get of Liza is in 1870, at the age of 19, birth year, about 1851. Liza is living with her mother, Martha, in Swift Island.

Three months after the 1870 Census, on 24 November 1870, N. W. Smart solemnized the union of matrimony between Liza J. Morris and Raymond Clodfelter. N. W. Smart is Nathaniel (Nathan) Smart, a Justice of the Peace in Montgomery County and closely related to my Dennis line. Nathan’s daughters intermarried heavily into my Dennis line. Nathan is also related to my fourth great grandmother, Susannah Smart Morgan Henderson.

Eliza and Raymond made their home in Davidson County, North Carolina and had three children, Martha (1871), Claude (1876), and John (1878) prior to Liza’s death in 1878. Liza is buried at Pine Hill United Methodist Church Cemetery in Davidson County. Raymond Clodfelter remarried to Flora Johnson in 1885 and they went on to have several more children.

Now, how it gets interesting…

My Morris research, which includes traditional genealogy, atDNA and Y-DNA testing, is to find out if there is a connection between my third great grandfather, John Jacky Morris and the Thomas Morris family who settled in Montgomery County, North Carolina. I am currently pending Y-DNA test results from a male Morris who descends from John Bushyhead Morris, who descends from the Thomas Morris line. I have several male Morris cousins and my paternal Uncle who have Y-DNA tested whom I want to compare results.

While researching for this Blog, John Morris Jr, son of John Jacky and Amelia Morris, I came across the marriage license, dated 1845, for John Morris Jr and Martha Ferrill. Thomas Lilly signed as bondsman and I thought that a bit odd. As already noted, the Lilly family were prominent in Anson and Montgomery Counties and I was curious to know how my Morris family, who are always listed as poor farmers and miners, might know the Lilly family. I found out that Thomas Lilly married Drusilla Williams in 1847, two years after John married Martha. So, John Morris and Thomas Lilly knew one another prior to Thomas marrying Drusilla. My Morris family intermarried, to a GREAT extent, with the Williams family and I wonder if John may have introduced Thomas Lilly to Drusilla Williams. More on that at a later date. My main interest right now lies in how John knew the Lilly family.

Some Goggle searches later, I came across a Blog at Jobs Children titled, ‘Whispers of Eliza Winfield Lilly.’ In the Blog is mentioned Tallapoosa County, Alabama, Marriages - Record Book 2. 1 ISAAC MORRIS and MARY B. SHARP. I found this quite interesting as my Morris male cousins and my paternal Uncle who have Y-DNA tested, have atDNA and Y-DNA matches to a Morris line from Limestone and Madison Counties in Alabama, as well as Y-DNA matches in TN and GA.

Wanting to know more about the Isaac Morris family, I performed some additional Google searches and found the following at US Gen Web Archives. I am pretty sure (at this point) that the Isaac Morris mentioned in the letters is somehow related to the Morris family from Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, but without a doubt, somehow all of these Morris families knew one another. I find it interesting, as well as significant, that both the Isaac Morris family and my John Jacky Morris family have the same family history about their ancestors who came from England to Virginia and finally settled in Montgomery County, North Carolina close to the Narrows on the Yadkin River.

At the website, are two Morris letters that offer some insight into the Morris family in Alabama. Several surnames found in Montgomery County, North Carolina are mentioned, as well as, the family history that matches my own; that this Morris family came from England, to Virginia, and migrated to Montgomery County, North Carolina and settled near the Narrows of the Yadkin River.


The following is a portion of a letter written by Rev. Jonathan Morris, son of Isaac Morris and Rebecca Bean, to Rev. J. V. M. Morris his nephew and son of Isham Morris about 1884. The family descendants can be viewed at and scanned images of this letter can be seen at and includes another transcribed letter which names the children of Isaac & Rebecca Bean Morris and their birthdates.

"I will now tell you something about our ancestors. My Grand Father by my Fathers side was born in England and immigrated to the continent of America a number of years before the revolution & settled in North Carolina on Broad River I think in Montgomery County near the great fishery in that state known as the Narrows of the Yadkin on the Yadkin River. His name was John he had one brother by the name of Isaac who settled in Virginia about the same time. Of his children I know nothing. Grandfather Morris had five sons and two Daughters his oldest Daughter married a man by the name of Sanders both of whom died in northern Georgia. I can not say what county.
Aunt Polly the youngest daughter married Alexander Mackey who had a large family of children that was living in Georgia & Alabama when I left the state. They uncle and Aunt both died in Muscogee County Georgia. 

As to my fathers brothers I know but little. I never saw any of them but Uncle John who was living near Columbus Mississippi when I cam to Cali. He was about 85 years old at that time, a full blooded Methodist and had been for over 50 years. He had two sons and several daughters but I can not tell who they married. His sons moved to Texas in an early day.
Uncle Spencer Morris also moved to Texas before the first Texas War and I understand died there during the first war.

Uncle Wm Morris and his wife died in Northern Georgia he also had a large family but I have never seen but two of his children one son and one daughter.

Uncle Charles Morris moved to Tennessee before I was born and know but little about him. The last heard of him he was living in Missouria. 

Grandfather Bean my mothers father was born & married in Scotland but like Grandfather Morris moved to America before the Revolution they were neighbors in North Carolina at the time of the Revolution. 

My Father & Mother were both born in that state before the war and were married in that state and had two children before they moved to Georgia. They first settled in Jackson County where I was born about 3 miles from Madison. 

I cannot say what county your Father was born in but him and I think all my brothers except the youngest was born within Jackson or Morgan Counties. The youngest Isaac was born in Jasper County. My Grand Father and Grand Mother Bean both died in Jasper County she at 76 and him 93 years of age both had been members of the Baptist church for a number of years.

My Father & Mother both died in Tallapoosa County Ala. My mother was 76 and Father 94 years of age. My mother had been a methodist about 62 years and died in the triumph of the Christians faith. My Father and I joined the church at old Mount Zion where you were raised in 1828. Your father had joined a few months or perhaps one year before. You see I am not very well posted. I have taken more panes to inform myself than any of my brothers. You can see that we are Scotch and English mixed. I presume you know more about your mothers people than I do tho its 49 years since I know your grand Father Kindall and about the same time since I know your mother. The first Methodist Preacher I ever heard was in your mothers house in 1824 it was old Father Hunter who died in Mississippi in 1868.

Second letter from Jonathan in the possession of and Transcribed by Aubrey Morris

"Lincoln Placer County Cali
Decr 14, 1884"
Revd J. V. M. Morris,
Your welcome letter of the 15 Sept was received in due time but like the most of the Morrises I have neglicted to write but will now comply with your request. I was truly sorrow to learn of your family afflictions for I have seen the troubles of us Circuit Preachers when afflicted in this County. It's so hard to make the Church realize their duty in such cases. I am fully of the opinion that our sistum of church government is the best in existance for evangelising the World but we failed in the outset to train the members of our church in the matter of giving and it is going to be an uphill business to get them right but I believe strong in Gods Providence and he will not let those who trust in him suffer for bread and when he afflicts it is for our good. May it be so in your case is my Prayer... I am at a loss to know to answer your enquiries. You want to know the ages of all my brothers and sisters. I have not record and the nearest I can come to it is to begin with my own age and go back as there was about two years difference. I can come very near it. I was born on the 18th day of Feby 1812 Brother John who died in Texas was born in August 1809. Charles on the 22nd Feby 1806 I think your father was born 22nd Feby 1804 Hiram in 1802 and Spencer in 1800 Sister Polly Davis in 1798 Alsia Mills Etris which was the eldest in 1796 I have not heard from her since about 1834. The youngest bro Isaac was born July 1816. This is as near as I can come to there ages. My mother died in May 1847 was born 6th May 1764 North Carolina. Father died in 1856 He was born in 1762 This is the nearest I can come to of generaligy from memory. 

Brother Spencer married Miss Sarah Bassett Hiram Miss Bethany Bingham John Miss Pheby Musick Isaac's wife was named Mary but I forgotten her maden name. They both died in Tallapoosa County Ala since I have ben in Cali. You know who your father and Uncle Charles married as to myself if I marry it will be in 1885 

You wish to know something about the time etc. of the organisation of the Old Mount Zion Church. Well it was organised by Revd. John Hunter in 1824 at your Grand fathers Isaac Kendall's residence. Your grandfather Kendall & wife Sarah Kendall who married Jessie Brown, your mother and her then husband Frederick Sessions Asa Sessions & wife Henry Williamson & wife Bro Spencers wife Sarah her Father & Mother and I think your Aunt Elisabeth was one of the first. 

I must not leave out old Uncle Ben who was a slave of Henry Williamson He was a local Preacher with great zeal & the eloquence of a great man. If I get to heaven I think it is likely my star will be in his crown as it was under his Preaching that I first saw that I was a sinner tho a small boy. I never seace praying tho it was several years before I felt that I had been truly converted. Forgive this digression for I loved Uncle Ben and had many happy seasons with him before we were separated. These I think about all the first year in 1825 they built a school house betwen your Mothers & Asa Sessions used the water out your mothers spring. 

That year your father and Spencer joined and others but I cannot give their names. In 1826 my Fathers brothers Hiram, Charles, John, Sisters Polly & Ala M & Myself joined. My mother joined the Methodist church in 1784 in North Carolina but moving to Georgia where there was no Methodist Church she had joined the Baptist Church but in 1826 she came back to the church of her choise. About 1826 the country was settled up purty well and we had a large membership. 

I will give some of names Deason & family Leaches & Your Grand Father Kendall was the first Class Leader in 26, Your Uncle Jerry Kendall and Jas. Calloway were Leaders when I last saw them they were living in Miss and both local preachers. Your uncle Thomas Kendall died I think a local preach in Wilcox County ala. As I have stated John Hunter was the first Preach his family lived in Henry County at that time Georgia, North and South Carolina was one conference Hunter preached for 2 years then Thadius Bell from South Carolina then Jeremiah Freeman then Varnel McNaffey the man you was named after - Who I'm sorry to say died a drunkard here in California about 30 miles from this place several years since. Stegall & Hesse bearing new DD The most of them were young members but full of zeal and preached Christ and him Crucified. They seemed to delight in the Doctrin of Justification by Faith also Repentance and Future Rewards and o for more such Peachers in Cali. We have a few but as a rule they seem to make smooth pretty talks and are fearful they may say something that will sound harsh on the ear. When I read in Nashville Advocate of the many revivals you have had this year in Georgia I long to be there with means enough to enable me to spend all my time in attending such meeting The happiest work of life is around the alter with mourners for years I have had but little of that to do But we Pray for a general revival this conference year and hope to see one more year when God will be glorified in the Conversion of Many. I will say in reference to Old Mount Zion the Preachers in early days we had as Presiding Elders & Camp Meeting help such men as old Doct Pierce and Uncle Jack Simmons purify and others whose names I cannot recall since writing this letter when go back 60 years and then ask myself how many of these I have written about are yet alive and how many are gone to Heaven. So far as I know a large majority are gone, oh if so fortunite as to get to heaven, What a host will be there from Georgia Alabama Mississippi and California to greet me Welcome. I am waiting for the summons. I know it won't be long. I have strong faith that I'll hail with joy Praise God for the Christians Hope of outlasting the storm of the world and goiong where all is Peace Hallaleyuh. Well Mack I have written until I'm very happy, ever the Prospect of soon meeting yours if not on earth in Heaven.. Now as to my Bodily health it's has been extra good all through the summer and fall except colds which is very common in California in the fall and Spring seasons. We are having a very dry time for this season of the year. Two months to day since we had rain enough to lay the dist and we now having heavy Frost which checks the growth of everything and the prospects for farmers are gloomy. There is some Prospects of rain tonight. I will now close by sending my best wishes to you and yours. May God Bless you in noble work of Saving Souls. 

Your affectionate Uncle,
Jonathan Morris

I have new thought of Bro Isaacs wifes maden name it was Sharp, She was the daughter of a widow."