Mary Chisholm Morrison is one of those ancestors that has been hiding in plain site for a long time. As with most women in that era she can only be found through her husband. The fact that there are several John Morrison estate files, land grants, court records, Census records, and deeds make it nearly impossible to determine which of the several men who bear this name are the one I am looking for. The laborious job of reading records and putting families together to figure out who each John Morrison was continues but I wanted to share on this Blog what I have found out so far.
The only established fact that I have is that Mary Chisholm, daughter of Murdock Chisholm, was the wife of John Morrison. I believe she was born in Scotland around the year 1767. Per Murdock’s estate file, John and Mary Morrison lived in Richmond County, North Carolina in March 1825 when she received $12.02 ½ when her father’s estate was divided.
There are six estate files located in Richmond County, North
Carolina, one in Roberson County, North Carolina, and one in Montgomery County,
North Carolina – all for John Morrison. However, after reading through all the
estate files on Family Search, I discovered that the files dated 1839, 1842, 1851
and 1852 (shown as 1832 in error) are all for the same John Morrison and cover
a period of about 13 years.
Estate file: John Morrison (1839) Richmond County: died Dec 1838, Sarah, widow and Executrix, Malcom Morrison was appointed guardian of minor heirs of John Morrison July term 1839, at least one tract of land is noted as located beginning at the south east corner of a tract of fifty acres owned by Neil Lyttle (?) and formally owned by Edward McPherson and on the road leading from the dwelling house to Laurel Hill, John A, Daniel and Malcom Morrison bought property at the estate sale, by 1842 Sarah, widow of John Morrison is mentioned as Sarah McEachin, April 1842, James McEachin is noted as guardian of minor heirs of John Morrison dec, heirs are Angus, Murdock, and Norman Allen Morrison, in 1848, James McEachin renews his guardian bond for $32,000 for heirs of John Morrison listed as Angus D. Morrison, John M. Morrison (probably Murdock from 1842), and Norman A. Morrison.
Estate file: John Morrison (1842) Richmond County: Lists Sarah, wife, as Executrix, minor heirs mentioned, the file says to see also the estate file for Angus Patterson (3 estate files for Angus Patterson) Patterson, Angus (1842) has mention on page 3 of the guardian return for James McEachin guardian for minor heirs of John Morrison.
Estate file: John Morrison (1851) Richmond County: mentions James McEachin guardian of minor heirs of John Morrison
file: John Morrison (1832 (should be 1852)) Roberson County: I believe
the date is wrong on this file. It should probably be 1852 as that is
the earliest date found on any document in the folder. James C. McEachin
is listed as the guardian of the minor heirs of John Morrison Dec’d and
is attempting to collect debts from people in Roberson County who owed
money to the estate of John Morrison Dec’d. The heirs at law, Angus,
John, and Norman are mentioned in this estate file.
This John Morrison married Sarah Morrison, daughter of Norman and Christian Morrison. John and Sarah had three sons, Angus D (b. about 1832), John Murdock (born about 1834), and Norman Allan (born about 1836), prior to John’s death in 1838. Sarah is mentioned in her father’s will as Sarah McEachin, wife of James C. McEachin. All three estate files make mention repeatedly of the three sons and note them as being the heirs at law of John Morrison Dec’d.
Although I have not been able to pin a date of birth on this John Morrison, reading through these estate papers gives me the impression that he was older, perhaps a lot older, than Sarah who was born about 1810, and that perhaps Sarah was his second wife, though the estate papers never mention any other children or heirs belonging to John. I say this because John was a wealthy man who had accumulated land and slaves. I normally do not see this amount of wealth in younger men. Also, the Census record for Richmond County, North Carolina shows John’s progression from 1790 to 1820 with a wife and at least 3 children. Then, in 1830, the first wife is gone, and a 68-year-old John is living with 2 females ages 15 through 19. Sarah was born about 1810 and would meet the age requirement here.
There are other scenarios too as there are other John Morrison’s listed on Richmond County Census records who meet the age requirement for John. This is just one of the theories I am chasing.
In the 1839 estate file, Sarah petitions the court to appoint a jury of freeholders and one Justice of the Peace to examine the estate of her deceased husband as she believes the provisions left to her in the will of her husband are less than what is allowed by law. I have not been able to find the will of John Morrison. It is not included in any of the estate files.
Sarah does win her case and a jury of men are dispatched to the estate of John Morrison to ascertain exactly what is, by law, due her. The jury found that the will did not meet the requirements of the law and proceeded to divide the real and personal property of John Morrison to meet the dower requirement. Sarah was awarded 290 acres of land, being part of several tracts including the dwelling house and all outbuildings, ¼ of the slaves, Peggy Rose & child, George, Frank, and Reuben, she received $112.50 and ¼ part of the money notes and other perishable property from the estate.
John Morrison (1842) Richmond County, North Carolina, wife: Flora
Morrison, children: Malcom R, Catherine wife of M.C. Morrison, Christian
(?), Mary, Norman, Nancy, Isabella, Alexander, Angus, Flora (noted as
the youngest child). Witness of will: Malcom McLean and Angus Gillis.
Malcom R. Morrison qualified as Executor Jan Term 1843.
Estate file: John Morrison (1856) Montgomery County: Malcom Murchison, Administrator, mentions John R Morrison, Dr. Joseph Ewing, A. C. Robinson, 1765 Edmond Fanning land grant, Calvin Kellis and Isaiah Haywood.
This could be the John Morrison I am looking for as there are mentions of people who had close ties to the Chisholm family, the Ewing’s, Robinson’s, and Haywood’s all intermarried with the descendants of Murdock Chisholm. The only issue is that this John is living in Montgomery County and not Richmond County.
There is an 1850 Montgomery County Slave Schedule for John Morrison, but he is not the be found on the 1850 Census for Montgomery County. John Morrison is also on the 1850 Slave Schedule in Laurel Hill and Fair Ground, Richmond, and Upper Division, Robeson counties.
Estate file: John Morrison (1869) Richmond County: Gilbert Patterson, Administrator. Leaves lands and farm to sister Sarah and her husband, John A. W. Dees and father-in-law, James Dees. No mention of wife or other heirs at law. This may be another John Morrison.
Estate file: John Morrison (1886) Richmond County: Power of Attorney to Alexander Morrison from M.R. Morrison and wife Melissa from Columbus County, North Carolina for inheritance from the estate of John Morrison. This may be another John Morrison.
Estate file: John Morrison (1921) Richmond County: excluded, not relevant as this John Morrison died in 1921. The John Morrison I am looking for was born about 1762 and could not have lived this long.
Searching the North Carolina Supreme Court files found an 1852 court case between John Morrison and Abner Jenkins who had owed a debt to John since 1835. In this file is noted that John Morrison had more than one son, and his son, John R. Morrison is mentioned as “the son” who knew about the note on Abner Jenkins.
Abner Jenkins was born about 1797 in North Carolina. His great-great granddaughter, Mary Jenkins, who was born 126 years after him, would, in 1945, marry my Great Uncle, John Louis Morris. Mary Jenkins Morris died in June 2020 and was buried at White Crest Baptist Church in Montgomery County, North Carolina.
If this is the John Morrison I seek, the date of 1852 proves he is a different John Morrison than the one who married Sarah and died in 1838. John obviously could not institute a court case and testify in 1852 if he died in 1838.
I wonder if the John Morrison who died in 1838 might be the father of John Morrison and the grandfather of John R. Morrison who are mentioned in the Supreme Court case. More research required.
Another family who had close ties to the Chisholm’s are the Pankey’s. As noted on the above document, Samuel Pankey entered bond together on 18 Mar 1844 in the Supreme Court case.
In 1824, Auzey Pankey, who married Elizabeth Chisholm, the niece of Mary Chisholm Morrison, wife of John Morrison, sold to John Morrison for the sum of $45 a tract of land in Richmond County on the Long Branch, said land was granted to Charles Hammond, and begins at the said branch at a stake...beginning corner of Shubale Weeks...to McKinnon’s line...to Bozeman's line....to Colemans line. Witnesses: Ralph Parnell and Arthur Robinson.
The Robinson’s were another allied family who had close ties to the Chisholm family through marriage. Arthur Robinson’s sister-in-law, Nancy Stanback, intermarried with John Chisholm, the brother of Mary Chisholm who married John Morrison.
Perhaps the most telling evidence I have found that could show John Morrison is the same man found in the Supreme Court file, is a deed dated 1844 between Auzey Pankey and John R. Morrison, who was named as the son of John Morrison in the Supreme Court case file.
In 1844, John R. Morrison sold to Auzey Pankey for $300 a tract of land in Richmond County on the waters of Mountain Creek…containing 103 acres… except 9 acres which was deeded to Alfred Baldwin in the fall of 1807. Witnesses: John Pankey and Isaac Ewing Jr.
I have not yet found the Alfred Baldwin deed. Alfred Baldwin is the son of Jesse Baldwin and Elizabeth Stringfellow. I am currently researching Dorothy Stringfellow, the sister of Elizabeth Stringfellow Baldwin, who married (I think) John Jenkins, who probably has connections to Abner Jenkins found in the Supreme Court file with John Morrison.
Isaac Ewing Jr. is the son of Isaac Ewing and Phoebe Jackson. The Ewing family married into the Chisholm family when Isaac’s brother, John Ewing, married Mary Chisholm, the daughter of Daniel Chisholm, brother of Mary Chisholm Morrison. I will talk more about the Ewing family in later Blogs.