Saturday, August 19, 2023

A More Perfect Union

See updated research here

In my previous post Morris Reading Houses, I mentioned that the biography of Archibald Alexander, originally published in 1854, stated that Samuel Morris "had removed from Hanover, and was now residing in the lower end of Campbell County…” on page 61 of the same work is noted that Archibald, while traveling through Campbell County, Virginia visited with Samuel Morris and “lodged at the house of a pious man, a nephew of Samuel Morris, and the next day went on to Bedford” County. 

This one sentence provided me a clue that Samuel Morris was an uncle and he had relatives living nearby. Samuel had a sibling who had a child, or children, and that child that Archibald Alexander had lodged with in 1789 or 1790, was the nephew of Samuel Morris.

That nephew was probably Joshua Morris who lived in Charlotte County, Virginia, just across the county line from where Samuel lived.

Based on deed records, and the writings of Archibald Alexander, I know Samuel Morris lived in the lower end of Campbell County, Virginia. Deed records tell us that Samuel lived next door to David Rice, on Dutchman’s and Read’s Branch, near Little Falling River. That location is very near the dividing line of Campbell and Charlotte counties.

Deed records in Charlotte County, Virginia tell us that Joshua Morris lived on Turnip Creek, also very near the dividing line of Charlotte and Campbell counties. In fact, right across the county line from where Samuel Morris lived. So, even though these men lived in different counties, they only lived a few miles from one another. 

Joshua Morris married Sabra Hicks. They had no children, and both left their estates to their nieces and nephews. A supplement to the Frosts and related families from Bedford County, Tennessee has much information on the Hicks relatives of Sabra.

Joshua Morris is the son of an unnamed brother of Samuel Morris. Joshua makes note in his will that he has a brother named Nathaniel who had already died and names Nathaniel’s children as Martha, Sarah, Ann, Rodannah (called Rhoda), George, and Mary. Joshua’s last will and testament orders that one half of his estate is Sabra’s to do with as she wants, and the other half, after Sabra’s death, is to be divided between his Morris nieces and nephews. 

In Chancery records of Virginia, is found the suit brought by Issac Hickman and wife, Ann, formerly Ann Morris, the daughter of Nathaniel against the estate of Sabra Morris. In the ensuing 36 pages is found the genealogy of the children of Nathaniel.

Ann married Isaac Hickman

Martha married Joel Coffee

Sarah married Joshua Roach

Rodannah (Rhoda) married Daniel Harper

Mary married Chester Benson

George, in 1796, was living in Grainger County, Tennessee

In the book Campbell chronicles and family sketches : embracing the history of Campbell County, Virginia, 1782-1926 by R. H. Early is found an enlightening quote:

"What makes a thing important is the result that comes from it."

A belief of religious freedom became so important to men like Samuel Morris that after the Revolutionary War, they and other American citizens, in order to form a more perfect Union, demanded their religious rights be guaranteed in writing. America truly is a more perfect union thanks to Samuel and his fellow dissenters.

   Future research projects:

If you will recall from the previous post, Kedar Best and Mary Ward in Warren County, North Carolina named a child David Rice Best. After Kedar Best died, his widow, Mary Ward Best, remarried an unknown Morris male who we found out was the son of Samuel Morris of Campbell County, Virginia. Mary had several children with her Morris husband, who would have been the grandchildren of Samuel Morris. What happened to those children?

Samuel Morris, according to deed records lived next door to a man named David Rice in Bedford / Campbell County, Virginia. David Rice, the neighbor of Samuel, migrated to Kentucky where he became known as "The Apostle of Kentucky." David Rice was also instrumental in founding Hampton-Sidney College, where Archibald Alexander served for 9 years as President. So, Kedar Best named a child after David Rice (1733-1816). How are the Morris, Rice, Ward, and Best families related?

David Rice’s son, James Harvey Rice (1769-1832), married a lady named Melinda Matilda Ward (1774-1832). I believe there is a cousin connection between Mary Ward Best Morris and Melinda Matilda Ward Rice. How are Mary and Melinda related?

The name Harvey seems to be connected to a man named William G. C. Harvey who died 1808 in Charlotte County, Virginia and is somehow related to the Samuel Morris family in Campbell and Charlotte counties, Virginia. Interestingly, a Y DNA match descends from William Harvey Morris born about 1777 in Virginia and, I think, probably named for William G. C. Harvey or his father, who, according to Chancery records in Campbell County, is also named William Harvey. Does William Harvey Morris (and the Y DNA match) descend from a Morris/Harvey marriage in Charlotte or Campbell County, Virginia?

Even more intriguing, David Rice’s parents are David Rice, born about 1680 in New Kent County, and Susannah Searcy, born about 1700 in Hanover County. John Tudor Jr, (born 1754) brother of Phebe Tudor (born 1745) who married John Morris Sr (born 1745) (another Morris Y DNA connection) and settled in Granville County, North Carolina, married Martha Searcy (born 1754). The couple, John, and Martha Searcy Tudor, migrated to Madison County, Kentucky along with all other Tudor siblings, except Phebe, who remained in Granville County. To be sure, there is probably a connection between Martha Searcy Tudor and David Rice’s mother, Susannah Searcy. How are the Morris/Tudor and Rice/Searcy families connected?