Thursday, July 18, 2024

The Smoky Ordinary

The Smoky Ordinary sits in the picturesque country-side of Brunswick County, Virginia surrounded by farm land, near the intersection of Liberty Road and Old Stage Road. Less than a mile away Smoky Ordinary Road meets up with Old Stage Road. According to the Historical Marker placed here, the Smoky Ordinary was established at least by 1750 and served colonial "travelers on the north-south stage road." The historical marker continues, "that during the American Revolution local warehouses were burned by British Colonel Tarleton and legend says that it was from that occurrence that the ordinary derived its name."

Most families have legends that have been handed down for generations and they can certainly offer valuable clues to help find that elusive ancestor. Legends can also keep a researcher stuck if taken literally, like finding the Indian princess that great grandma descended from because she had black hair and high cheekbones. My own family legends have been disproved time and again, for example, 3rd great grandpa William Marks did not come to America on a ship from Germany. In fact, he looks to have never left North Carolina. While I do think there is always some grain of truth in a legend, like my Morris family having some connection to Clarksville, Virginia; for sure, something happened there, but it was not 3rd great grandpa John Jacky Morris's birthplace; I have found most legends are just that, legends, stories that were made up to explain that grain of truth. Always try to find the fact in the legend and then work with the historical documentation to prove or disprove the legend around it.     

The legend of how Smoky Ordinary got its name seems to make more sense if the Ordinary was named after the road or the road after the Ordinary. Both seem to have been in existence at least 25 years prior to the burning of the tobacco warehouses during the American Revolution.

Brunswick County, Virginia has many early deed records identifying Smoky Ordinary Road. The earliest I could find was dated 1760 when Henry Morris of the Parish of St. Andrews deeded to his son-in-law George Baily for love and affection a tract of land containing 381 acres situate in Brunswick County on both sides of the Smoky Ordinary Road.

In 1773, two years prior to the American Revolution, James Buchanan and Thomas Simmons advertised a tract of land in Brunswick County, Virginia containing 355 acres known by the name of Smoky Ordinary and "well adapted for either Merchant or Tavern Keeper." 

In 1774, a year before the American Revolution, pursuant to the last will and testament of Thomas Simmons, deceased, the tract of land known by the name of the Smoky Ordinary was advertised for sale again and noted, "conveniently situated for a Merchant or Ordinary."

Henry Morris (I call him the elder) has captured my attention mainly because his surname was Morris and he lived in Virginia, both areas of interest to me right now. While researching Henry I found that he was "imported" to America from Great Britain in 1718. On 3 May 1739 Henry came into Court (Brunswick County, Virginia) and made oath that he never made use of his Importation Rite (the right to receive land, also called a head-right) and that this was the first time Notwithstanding his being imported from Great Britain twenty one years (1718). If Henry were 21 years old when he was imported to America, that would put his birth year around 1697.

Henry (the elder) looks to have either sold his head-right to Clement Read Sr. of Bushy Forest or he was imported by Clement Read. Clement Read has been part of my previous research because he had family ties to Samuel Morris's (founder of Morris Reading Houses) son, John, who married Clement Read's granddaughter, Mary Jameson Elliott Morris, her mother, Ann Read, being the daughter of Clement Read.

More than that though, Henry (the elder) may have a connection to another Henry Morris (the younger) who lived in Granville County, North Carolina and even more than that, Henry (the elder) has a connection to those Bailey's who signed as witness to a deed between Abraham Morris and William Renn Northcross in Mecklenburg County, Virginia that I mentioned in a previous blog. In fact, George Bailey was Henry's son-in-law who was deeded the land on Smoky Ordinary Road.

Also noted in previous blog posts, several Morris men, Henry, William, George, Edward, Thomas, and Samuel, all lived in Granville, North Carolina, the same place John Morris Sr. lived. There may be a familial relationship between them, but thus far, no record can be found to link them together. John Morris Sr. of Granville, North Carolina is the line that my Morris line Y DNA matches to so figuring out the genealogy of the Morris family in Granville County, North Carolina may lead me to my own Morris family.

Henry Morris (the younger) is found in Granville Court Petitions 1754–1764: Campbell vs Morris and Lanier vs Morris.

Both Campbell and Lanier lived in Brunswick, Virginia close to Henry (the elder). Each man can be found as witnesses to deeds that Henry (the elder) executed. Walter Campbell died in Brunswick County, Virginia about 1751 and in his estate papers are found information on money owed from Henry Morris (the younger) to the estate of Walter Campbell.

Nicholas Lanier died in 1779 Brunswick, Virginia. There seems to be a lot recorded about him and the Lanier family as a whole. You can read more about that here

My research is incomplete as I am not able to find the documents needed to help me understand how Henry Morris of Granville, North Carolina knew Walter Campbell and Nicholas Lanier of Brunswick, Virginia. Why did he owe them money? Additionally, what happened to Henry and is he related to John Morris Sr. the man whose descendants my family is a YDNA match to?

John Rose, shown in the above documents for Walter Campbell, was one of the men ordered to appraise the estate of Walter Campbell in Brunswick, Virginia. John Rose is the brother of Henry Rose who married Mary Tudor. Mary's first husband was John Tudor and her son John Tudor Jr was the father-in-law of John Morris Sr. of Granville County, North Carolina. John Tudor moved his family from Brunswick, Virginia to Granville, North Carolina before 1764. His daughter, Phebe Tudor, married John Morris Sr. about 1765. It is very possible that John Morris Sr. is somehow related to Henry Morris (the elder) of Brunswick, Virginia. More research into the Tudor family may uncover a connection between John Tudor and the family of Henry Morris (the elder).

Henry (the elder) wrote his will 11 Aug 1783 towards the close of the Revolutionary War. The will was probated 23 Nov 1783, two months after the Treaty of Paris was signed with Britain on 3 Sep 1783. He was probably in his 80s and had lived through the entire American Revolution and saw the founding of the United States of America. 

His end years were not as good to him as his early years though. Henry tried to leave money to his descendants through lands that were sold, but in the corner margin of his will, you can see where his executor wrote, "no money." None the less, Henry had lived a life full of excitement, he took a chance and imported himself to America, then a very new and dangerous land. I do not know where in Great Britain Henry boarded a ship or even what ship, or how long the voyage took to get to America or where he departed that ship in America. Did anyone come with Henry? A brother? A cousin? A friend? All I know is he landed in America in 1718, probably around the age of 21 and made his way to Brunswick County, Virginia. I do not know what struggles he faced but it is obvious he overcame any that he encountered and lived a long, full life. He came to America as a British colonist and departed this life as an American citizen.

The Smoky Ordinary still stands today as an emblem of the lives our colonial ancestors lived in the area of Smoky Ordinary Road in Brunswick County, Virginia. What an honor to be able to see the same building that they saw, the same roads that they traveled, the same land they lived on.

Saturday, July 13, 2024

The overcomers

Y-DNA testing can be a powerful tool in genealogy research. Testing my paternal uncle and several male cousins has allowed me to focus my research on other Morris families that I know I am somehow related to; even if it is a distant relationship, I can know I am on the right track. I may not know how my 3rd great grandfather, John Jacky Morris, relates to these Morris families, but he does, and researching the matches hopefully will bring me closer to finding the Morris line that John Jacky belongs to.  

This blog will cover a Morris family whose origins are found in Moore County, North Carolina and who my uncle and cousins have a Y-25 DNA match to. The tester has tested to Y-37 but is not showing as a match at that level. I believe if this kit were upgraded to Y-67 or higher (Y-111 or Big Y 700) the match would show up on the match list at the higher level. At a minimum, if the kit were joined to the Morris project at Family Tree DNA, I believe it would most likely be put in Group M29, where my Morris family is.

This Morris family very likely connects to Frederick Morris who shows up in Cumberland (now Moore and Lee) County, North Carolina in 1765 when Frederick purchased land on Juniper Creek from George Robards. You can read more about Frederick by clicking here.

John W. Morris was born about 1812, probably in Moore County, North Carolina. It seems likely he is the son of Stephen Morris whom he was living next door to from 1850 - 1880. John married Mary about 1840/1. She was born about 1823, probably also in Moore County. It is thought Mary’s maiden name is Black because Malcom and Catherine Black are living with her in 1860 and 1870 and are old enough to be her parents. Outside of the Census resource though, I can find no other connection between Malcom and Catherine Black and Mary.

According to the 1850 and 1860 Census, John and Mary had eight known children, although John’s 1886 will only names Catherine, Isabella, and Angus.

The 1850 Census records children Jane (1842), Catherine (1844), David (1845), Isabella (1847), Henry (1849), and Robert (1850).

In 1860, two additional children have been added, John W (1848) and Angus (1851). 

In 1870 we learn that John and family are living in Pocket, Moore County in dwelling number 70. That area today is in Lee County, which formed from Moore County in 1907. Children living in the home are Catherine, John W, Angus, and 77-year-old Catherine Black. Malcom Black looks to have passed away between the 1860 and 1870 Census years.

Isabella married James Wesley (called J. W.) Oldham and is living next door. Stephen, age 83, is next door to J. W. and Isabella with Lucy, Nancy, Stephen, and a new name, Mary J, age 20, living in his household.

The 1880 Census shows John Morris was living in Pocket, Moore County, age 68, a farmer, and widowed. His children Catherine and Angus are living with him, but Mary looks to have passed away prior to 16 Jun 1880, the date the Census was taken. Living next door are Lucy and Nancy who were on the 1850 and 1860 Census with Stephen Morris who looks to have passed away as well. Jane McBryde, age 24, a niece, is living with them.

Angus Morris, the youngest son of John and Mary, married Callie Clark about 1884. Their son, Chandler was born about 1885. Three more sons would follow, Claude Lacy, born about 1886, Lawrence Carson, born about 1888, and Angus Milton, born about 1891. In 1894, Mary Elizabeth was born, the only girl. In 1896, Everton Lutterloah was born and the youngest, August was born in 1899.

Angus and his family settled on Big Juniper Creek in Moore County. The same place Frederick Morris settled in 1765.

The first tragedy struck in 1886 when taxes could not be paid. It looks like the family property might have been sold for taxes and costs.  

In 1895, the second tragedy came when Angus, with counterparts, D. Clark and Bud Blalock were arrested by Marshals J. P. Scott and Joseph McIver who found the three operating an illicit distillery about the area of Pocket post office. They were bound over for the next term of federal court. 

In 1900, Angus moved his family to a farm near Carthage. It seemed that life may have been getting back on track.

The third tragedy struck in 1903 when Angus died leaving Callie a widow with seven children. The oldest, Chandler was only 18 and the youngest, August, only 3 years.
The fourth tragedy visited this family when in 1906, Callie followed Angus to the grave. The children had lost both parents within three years. Mary and Everton lived in a Christian orphanage in Alamance County during their teen years.

Callie had remarried in 1905 to James Atlas “J. A.” Dickens. Her marriage license provides the name of her father, Newton Clark, but not the name of her mother. A. W. Clark, he also applied for the marriage license, and J. L. Clark were two of the witnesses present at the marriage. These may be brothers or other relatives of Callie.

I have not been able to find any more information on Chandler, the oldest, or August, the youngest.

Claude married Margaret Pipkin in 1915. They made their home in Randolph County but moved to Alamance County where Claude worked as a Laborer in the Cotton Mill Industry. He died in 1933.

Lawrence, who also looks to have served time in the military, married Lillian Bryant in 1919 in Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio. He looks to have worked as a Barber, owning his own business. He died in 1944. His obituary noted him as a beloved husband.

Angus married Lena Kiser before 1915 and the couple made their home in Davidson County, North Carolina. He worked in the Furniture business as a Sander. He died in 1936 at his home in Lexington.

This is the male line with the Y-DNA match to my Morris family.

The only daughter, Mary Elizabeth, married Jacob Adamee in 1915 and they settled down in Alamance County, North Carolina. She led an active life within her church for 47 years. Mary died unexpectedly in 1969.

Everton married Henrietta Lupton in 1917 and Bertha Kahl in 1948. He moved to Maryland where he pursued employment as a Millright in the Steel Industry. He died in Maryland in 1964, noted as a beloved husband and devoted father.