Sunday, January 14, 2024


Continuing my research on the ancestors in the Morris Project Group M29 at Family Tree DNA, this post will cover Groves Morris who is listed as the ancestor of kit 159856. 

Previous research for other ancestors listed in Group M29 can be found by clicking on the below names.

John Jacky Morris (1780-1874) of Montgomery County, North Carolina
Blount Morris (1811-1878) of Bradley County, Tennessee
John Morris Sr (1745-1815) of Granville County, North Carolina (blog post coming soon)
John H. Morris (1774-1861) of Campbell County, Virginia
John Matthew Morris (1845-1913) of Limestone County, Alabama
William Harvey Morris (1777-1853) of Versailles, Morgan, Missouri (kit not joined to Group M29)

I’ve written about Groves Morris in a previous post when I found him and his son, Athan, listed in my second great uncle’s, Grandison Fields Morris, Civil War file. I am not sure what to make of the mix up in paperwork. It is quite the coincidence that two men, who just happen to Y DNA match, but probably did not know one another, would end up with their Civil War paperwork in the same folder. That’s spooky!

Groves lived a quiet life, at least one that did not make the newspapers or generate court records. He has been confused with Colonel William Groves Morris (1825-1918), son of Vincent Morris (1784-1876) from Loudoun County, Virginia. A lot of family trees have Vincent listed as the father of Groves (1803-1873). This is in error.

I first encountered Groves when I was researching his grandmother, Phebe Tudor Morris. She died 1840 in Granville County, North Carolina. Phebe was born in Brunswick County, Virginia about 1745 to John Tudor Jr (1720-1782) and Elizabeth White (1735-1764). John Tudor Jr was the son of John Tudor Sr (1690-1721) and Mary Seat Tudor Rose (1700-1781), who remarried to Henry Rose (1694-1751) after John Sr died. 

Phebe was about 10 years old when she moved with her family from Brunswick County, Virginia to Granville County, North Carolina. Her family lived on Fishing Creek on land her father bought from John Kirkland on 27 Jan 1764 near George Morris, who is probably the father of John Morris Sr (see kit 168405) whom Phebe married about 1765. All of Phebe’s siblings moved to Madison and Barren counties, Kentucky. She is the only one who remained in Granville, North Carolina.

As part of the administration of Phebe’s estate, Groves, along with other heirs, were mentioned in a Raleigh Register Newspaper article on 6 Nov 1840 as not being inhabitants of the state of North Carolina. I knew based on Groves age that he could not be a child of Phebe. Groves was born about 1803 and Phebe about 1745. Groves had to be a grandchild of Phebe whose father had died, and he was inheriting in right of his father, who was a child of Phebe.

Phebe Morris’s estate file makes it clear that Groves is her grandchild, and his father is William Morris, her son, who had predeceased her. We also learn from the estate papers that Groves had siblings, Movey Morris Byrum (married Morris Byrum), Jarrot Morris, Mitchell Morris (married Betsey Shell), Phebe Morris Henley (married Burwell Henley), and Nancy Morris Allen (married Thomas Allen).

The above Newspaper article shows that Mitchell and Jarrott do not live in North Carolina either. 

Groves and his brother Mitchell migrated to Burke County, North Carolina where in 1824 Groves married Isabella England, daughter of Daniel England (1752-1818) and Margaret Gwynn (1758-1847) and his brother Mitchell married Betsey Shell in 1828.  

Mitchell and Betsey Shell Morris look to have remained in Burke County, North Carolina. I could find no children for them.

Groves and Isabella left Burke County, North Carolina between 1824 and 1830 as they are found living in Habersham, Georgia in 1830. They have living with them their two sons, Daniel and William, and another family that is currently unknown to me.

Name    Grover Morris
Home in 1830 (City, County, State) Habersham, Georgia
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5           2     Daniel and William
Free White Persons - Males - 20 thru 29       1     Groves
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39       1     Unknown
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19    1     Unknown
Free White Persons - Females - 20 thru 29    1     Isabella
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39    1     Unknown

1840 shows Groves and Isabella lived in Mount Yonah (now Cleveland), Habersham County, Georgia with their six sons and one unknown female.

Name Groves Morris
Home in 1840 (City, County, State) Mount Yonah, Habersham, Georgia
Free White Persons - Males - Under 5            2 Alpheus, Columbus
Free White Persons - Males - 5 thru 9            2 Elisha, Joseph
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14        2 Daniel, William
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39        1 Groves
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39    1  Isabella
Free White Persons - Females - 40 thru 49    1 Unknown

Groves and Isabella are still residing in Habersham, Georgia in 1850. Their children are shown by initials only. W. M (William), E. F. M. (Elisha), J. M. M. (Joseph), A. T. M. (Alpheus), C. C. M. (Columbus), A. J. M. (Athan), H. J. M. (Henry). 

Groves is listed as a farmer.

In Aug 1853 Groves sold to John C. Pitner and James S. England, trading under the style and firm of Pitner and England of Athens in Clark County, for one dollar paid by Morris to the said Pitner and England for the better securing of the payment of a certain promissory note signed by the said Morris for the sum of six hundred and forty-seven dollars and forty-seven cents .... Morris has sold a certain tract of land known by lot number eighty-one in Habersham County, Georgia containing 238 acres. If Morris pays the note, this instrument is void. 

In Dec 1853, just a few months later, Groves sold to Carter Cannon the same tract of land.

It is estimated that Isabella died about 1855. Groves looks to have moved from Habersham County to Union County around that time and in 1858 remarried to Elizabeth Gladden. 

The 1860 Census for Union County does not show Groves’s new wife living in the home, it only shows Groves with his son, Henry.

In Jul 1863, Groves appears before a Justice of the Peace in Union County, Georgia and provides an affidavit that he is the father of Athan Morris who died at York Town in Virginia on 16 Dec 1861 and that Athan left neither a wife nor children.

In Jul 1867, Groves took an oath of loyalty; the Supplemental Reconstruction Act (March 23, 1867) that required an oath of past loyalty for any man in the South to vote. The local registrar had to swear that he had never held office under Confederacy, nor given aid or comfort to it. They also had to take the ironclad oath. (Wikipedia)

The Reconstruction Acts of 1867 required Southern states to ratify the 14th Amendment, draft new state constitutions, and register voters, both black and white. In order to vote, men had to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States, and some were disqualified for their participation in Confederate government posts. This database contains books recording those oaths of allegiance and returns listing qualified voters registered in Georgia in 1867. It includes both black and white citizens. (Ancestry)

In 1870, Groves is shown with wife, Elizabeth, and their children, Sarah, John, and Thomas. I believe Mary is most likely Elizabeth’s child from another marriage as she was born before Groves and Elizabeth married in 1858.

Though I can find no record of his death, most family trees list Groves dying about 1873. Elizabeth is still living in Union County in 1880 with two of her children, John, and Thomas.

Sometime before 1900, the family moved to Upshur, Texas and are found living among their England and Morris relatives. Elizabeth made the move too.

1910 shows Elizabeth, age 72, living with son Thomas in Upshur, Texas. Living next door is Alpheus, the half-brother of Thomas.

Son of Groves and Elizabeth, Thomas Groves Morris, died in 1962. His mother’s maiden name is listed as Hall on his death certificate.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Morris Y DNA research, continued

I am continuing forward with my Morris Y DNA research. My paternal male line has been Y DNA tested and is in Group M29 at the Morris project at Family Tree DNA. I have spent the past year (2023) researching the matches in hopes of finding out more about my own ancestors origins, my third great grandfather, John Jacky Morris who died about 1874 in Montgomery County, North Carolina. 

Below shows a list of Y DNA matches in Group M29 who match to male descendants of John Jacky Morris of Montgomery County, North Carolina.

This blog will cover John H. Morris, who kits 146588 and 400658 descend from.

John H. Morris was born between 1774 - 1776 in Buckingham County, Virginia. He died 12 Feb 1861 in Campbell County, Virginia. His parents, as reported by son John Jr. on the 1861 death registry for Campbell County are William and Sarah Morris. She is thought to be the daughter of William McCormack who died in Louisa County, Virginia in 1753.

There seems to be multiple reasons that would lead researchers in the Morris / McCormack direction.

First, since the 1861 death registry tells us that John Morris was born in Buckingham, Virginia and that his parents are William and Sarah Morris, it makes sense to think that if John were born there, his parents lived there.

According to the Virginia, U.S., Death Registers, 1853-1911 John Morris died 12 Feb 1861.
Name    Jno Morriss
Gender    Male
Race    White
Death Age    85
Birth Date    abt 1776
Death Date    12 Feb 1861
Death Place    Campbell, Virginia
Cause of Death    Old Age and Rheumatism
Occupation    Farmer
Spouse    Lucretia Morriss

Second, Buckingham County, Virginia has a surviving Surveyor's Platt Book, 1762-1814 that shows surveys for William Morris Sr. and William Morris Jr. in 1786 for land adjacent to David and John McCormack (names also listed in the will of William McCormack). It makes sense that one of these William Morris’ may have married a relative of David and John McCormack.

Two surveys dated the 17th and 18th of Oct 1786, one for William Morris Sr., 350 acres lying in the county of Buckingham on the head branches of Willis River joining the lines of Capt. John Mossley (?) and David McCormack’s line and the second survey done for William Morris Jr., 120 acres of land lying in the county of Buckingham joining the lines of David McCormack, William Morris, John McCormack, and lines of William Morris Jr. whom the survey was made.

The Willis River is a 61.8-mile-long tributary of the James River in central Virginia. It rises in southern Buckingham County and flows eastwardly into Cumberland County, then turns north-northeastwardly and flows into the James River in northern Cumberland County, about 6 miles southeast of Columbia.

The Little Willis River is a 15.5-mile-long tributary of the Willis River in Virginia and rises in Buckingham County and flows east into Cumberland County, joining the Willis River 9 miles north of Farmville.

Third, an 1844 deed between John Goodman and his stepdaughter, Lucretia Morris, shows John deeded to Lucretia 100 acres of land on Cheese creek in Campbell County, Virginia. The same place William and Sarah Morris were found living in 1802.

The 1802 deed in Campbell County, Virginia between William Morris, and Sarah his wife to Absalom Lynch for 200 acres of land being part of a tract of land originally granted to William Harris dec’d for 940 acres in Campbell County, Virginia on the branches of Cheese creek and Flint Stone creek on both sides of Wards road beginning at Henry Eidson's Henry Davis's Robert Hardwick's corner...crossing Ward's Gordon and Hardwick's corner the same being lines of the aforesaid Malory's corner...crossing Ward's road (again) and a head of Ormsby’s Eidson's line...witness James Deering, Joseph Eidson, Thomas Sharp.

I’ve included above a current map of the area listed in the deed record. In the writing Campbell Chronicles And Family Sketches: Embracing The History Of Campbell County, Virginia, 1782-1926 by Ruth Hairston Early, I found a list of land patents. On page 15 is noted that William Harris obtained this tract of land in 1789; that means William Morris obtained the land between the years 1789, when it was initially granted to William Harris and 1801 when he sold it to Absalom Lynch.

William Harris wrote his will in 1786 and it was probated in 1793. This tract of land is not mentioned in his will. He gave his son Isaiah 400 acres of land at the head on Minters Creek whereon he now lives. Daughter Betty received 400 acres of land adjoining to it on branches of Sevon (?) Creek whereon David Carty now lives, and John Hall received 100 acres of land to the value of 10 pounds providing that he stays with me or my son William Harris if I am dead till he is of age and all the remaining estate I give to William Harris. 

After a very thorough search of Campbell deed books 3, 4, and 5, I was able to trace this tract of land through its original grant to William Harris from his selling it to Arthur Harris and then its sale to John Ward. The land passed through several hands until it finally came to Anderson White who sold it to William Morris in 1799. So, William Morris only owned the land for 2 years before selling it to Absalom Lynch in 1801.

Fourth, William Morris and Sarah McCormack’s marriage date is based on the birth registry of their child, Edward who was listed in the Douglas Register Marriages - Not recorded by Rev. Wm. Douglas. Dates here given, unless otherwise specified, are birth date of first child shown in this register. Births and Baptisms show William Morris & Sarah McCormack, a son named Edward born Mar 25, 1765. Baptized May 1, 1765. So, the couple were married prior to this date.

Fifth, in his will written 1753 in Lousia County, Virginia, William McCormack names his children as David, William, Thomas, John, Micajah, Charles, Mary, Nancy, Sarah and wife, Rebecca.

John H. Morris married Lucretia Howell in 1800 (her name is transcribed multiple ways on marriage records as Howell, Howeth, and Howett but is probably Howell). She was born about 1775 and died around 1844 in Campbell, Virginia. She was the daughter of Elizabeth by a first marriage of whom her spouse is not known. We do know that he died before 1791 as Elizabeth remarried to John Goodman in that year.

Children of John H. Morris and wife, Lucretia Howell Morris are:

Elizabeth (b. 1801) m. Thomas Wingfield (Windfield), son of Francis and Elizabeth Wingfield who were first cousins. Francis is the son of Charles Wingfield and Sarah Joyner and Elizabeth is the daughter of Thomas Wingfield and Anna Davis. Charles Wingfield’s first cousin, Peter Wingfield (married Charlotte Freeman) made the trek to Anson County, North Carolina in the late 1700s and can be found on the 1790 Census for that place living between John Mullis and Griffin Nash, a son-in-law who married his daughter, Jemima. Another daughter, Sarah, married Richard Howell, a man with the same surname as Lucretia Howell Morris who married John H. Morris. There may be some connection between these families that I just cannot see yet. Much more tree building is required to get these families back to the early 1700s so I can see the big picture of how (or if) they are all connected.

I am obviously very interested in this family line because some of them ended up in the same vicinity as John Jacky Morris, my ancestor. Currently, John Jacky Morris is a brick wall. His parents and siblings are not known. Y DNA testing my uncle and several cousins has allowed me the opportunity to research the Y DNA matches in hopes of finding out more about John Jacky Morris and the families he was connected to.

My family lore says that John Jacky Morris was born in Mecklenburg, Virginia. It just so happens that Peter Wingfield lived there. In 1782, Peter witnessed a deed between William Pennington and Jesse Morris for 136 acres of land in Mecklenburg, Virginia beginning at the old road in John Brown Jun’s line … to Malone’s corner. This is fascinating as I have many atDNA matches to Jesse Morris descendants. Mainly the children that married into the Drumwright line in Mecklenburg, Virginia. John Jacky Morris is probably somehow related to Jesse Morris, I just do not know how. Jesse did not name John Jacky in his will, so I know the relationship is not parent/child. But, perhaps, uncle/nephew. Yet another problem is that Jesse’s parents are also unknown. Y DNA testing male descendants of Jesse Morris is needed to find out what Morris family he belongs to. 

William (b. 1802) m. Mary Collins, the daughter of Andrew Collins and an unknown (at least to me) wife. Some think Andrew married Polly Morris and others have him listed with wife Elizabeth Freeman. In 1828 a deed of trust was executed between John Morris and Andrew Collins for debt owed to William Gregory. I do not know if this is John Sr. or John Jr. 

John Jr (b. 1804) m. Mary Ann Eliza Freeman in Caswell, North Carolina. I do not know who Mary’s parents are. Interestingly, Thomas H. Wingfield, made oath that she was older than 15 years. I have not researched this line yet, but the obvious question is what were they doing in Caswell County? John claims on several Census’s that he was born in Tennessee. I hope to uncover the answers to those questions with future research.

Nancy (b. 1805) m. Pinkney Scott, the son of Samuel Scott and Sarah Bruce. Just like her brother, John Jr, Nancy claims on at least one Census that she was born in Tennessee.

Jesse (b. 1807) m. Evelyn Freeman. Her parents are not known to me. More research is needed on this line.

Achilles (b. 1808) m. Nancy Kidd. I do not know who her parents are. A male descendant of Achilles is a Y DNA match to a male descendant of John Jacky Morris (my paternal family line). An 1889 Virginia Chancery suit between the children of Achilles and Nancy requires more research on my part. 

Micajah (b. 1811) m. Lively Scott, daughter of Samuel Scott and Sarah Bruce and sister of Pinkney Scott.

Mahala (b. 1813) m. William Finch, son of John Finch and Mary Weber. Several deeds in the 1840s and 1850s are found between the heirs of Mary Finch for land left her by her father, John Weber, and John H. Morris who purchased the interest in the land from the heirs.

Susan (b. 1815) m. Robert Cox and moved to Missouri. 


James (b. 1816) m. Melvinia Swinney of whom I know nothing more currently.

I was able to reasonably find John H. Morris and family on Census records for 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1850 in Campbell County, Virginia, and line up the children by age. It is important to note that I am researching the neighbors of John. I already know that his neighbor, John Goodman, is his step father-in-law, the stepfather of his wife Lucretia. Equally important are the surnames found living alongside John. Names like Williams and Merritt are surnames that are also found in my own family tree so I will be looking for any connection to North Carolina with these names. I also need to search Tennessee and Caswell, North Carolina records for John and Lucretia.

Name John Morris
Residence Date    6 Aug 1810
Residence Place    Lynchburg, Campbell, Virginia, USA
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10         4 (Achilles, Jesse, John Jr, William)
Free White Persons - Males - 26 thru 44        1 (John Sr)
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10    2 (Elizabeth, Nancy)
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44    1 (Lucretia)

Name John Morris
Enumeration Date 7 Aug 1820
Home in 1820 (City, County, State) Lynchburg, Campbell, Virginia, USA
Free White Persons - Males - Under 10                2 (Micajah, James)
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 15        2 (Achilles, Jesse)
Free White Persons - Males - 16 thru 18        2 (William, John Jr)
Free White Persons - Males - 45 and over    1 (John Sr)
Free White Persons - Females - Under 10    2 (Mahala, Susan)
Free White Persons - Females - 10 thru 15    1 (Nancy)
Free White Persons - Females - 16 thru 25    1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons - Females - 26 thru 44    1 (Lucretia)

Name John Morris
Home in 1830 (City, County, State) Campbell, Virginia
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14        1 (James)
Free White Persons - Males - 15 thru 19        2 (Achilles, Micajah)
Free White Persons - Males - 50 thru 59        1 (John Sr)
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19    2 (Mahala, Susan)
Free White Persons - Females - 50 thru 59    1 (Lucretia)

In 1850, John Morris Sr. was living with his son, John Jr. Close neighbors are Thomas and Elizabeth Morris Wingfield, the daughter of John Sr.

Home in 1850 Campbell, Virginia, USA
Household Members (Name) Age
John Morriss 46 (b. 1804)
Mary A Morriss 38 (b. 1812)
Matilda A Morriss 17 (b. 1833)
Almira F Morriss 13 (b. 1837)
Thomas J Morriss 10 (b. 1840)
Mariah J Morriss 8 (b. 1842)
Joseph A Morriss 6 (b. 1844)
David E Morriss 4 (b. 1846)
John Morriss 76 (b. 1774)
George W Freeman 20 (b. 1830)
Edward Dorse 15 (b. 1835)