Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Joshua of Henrico

In Obedience to the within Order we the subscribers has seen the Lines of all the land peaceably processioned, from the Road crossing Chickahominy at the three Runs Bridge, down said Swamp, to Beaver dam Swamp, which includes the lands of Samuel Morris ... New Kent County and Hanover County Road Orders 1706-1743

Archer Johnson of Amelia County, Virginia in 1784 sold to James Patterson of Henrico County, Virginia for 75 pounds Virginia money, 50 acres of land in Henrico, Virginia bounded by the lands (and adjoining the same) of David Allen, James Freeman, Joshua Morris, and the lands belonging to the legatees of Isham Allen deceased. Witnesses were Julius Allen, Richard Allen, and Littleberry Allen.

Other Virginia Deed records provide the family relationship between the Allen’s.

2 Sep 1751, Julius Allen to Isham Allen for ‘brotherly love’ 200 acres on the south side Chickahominy adjoining Valentine Freeman, deceased, Richard Williamson, and Littleberry Allen. On the same day, Julius Allen to Littleberry Allen for ‘brotherly love’ 80 acres on the south side Chickahominy adjoining Thomas Elmore, Martin Martin, and Anthony Matthews.  

In a 1748 deed for 50 acres from Edmund and Mary Allen to Matthew Johnson ‘for love and affection’ adjoining Joseph Watson and Valentine Freeman. In 1756 Julius Allen acknowledged a deed to Elizabeth Dorton for 100 acres adjoining John Watson, Matthew Johnson, Valentine Freeman, deceased, and Isham Allen.

Matthew Johnson is the father of Archer Johnson.

The Allen and Freeman surnames are certainly tied to those same families who lived near and intermarried with the children and grandchildren of Archer Johnson in Amelia County, Virginia, as well as in Granville County, North Carolina. In fact, John Morris Jr and Fanny Johnson, daughter of Archer, named a son Isham Allen Morris, perhaps after Isham Allen of Henrico County.

This is the first link I have found between Archer Johnson and a Morris family in Virginia. My question, “Did Archer Johnson know the Morris family in Virginia before moving to Granville, North Carolina?” seems to now be answered. Yes, and perhaps through the Freeman and Allen families?

The name Joshua Morris in the 1784 deed caught my attention mainly because his surname is Morris, he lived next door to families (Allen and Freeman) who had ties to Archer Johnson who was the neighbor of John Morris in Granville, North Carolina, and his first name is Joshua, the same name as Samuel Morris’s nephew who bought land from John Robertson in 1773 on Turnip Creek in Charlotte, Virginia.

I have not dug into John Robertson yet but feel he may be somehow related to George Robertson Sr of Chesterfield County, Virginia who bought land from John Morris Sr in Granville County, North Carolina in 1803. 

Is the Joshua Morris noted in the 1784 Archer Johnson / James Patterson deed the nephew of Samuel who lived in Charlotte County, Virginia, and married Sabra Hicks, or is he an entirely different Joshua Morris, and if so, is he related to Samuel?

As it turns out, Joshua Morris of Henrico, who is named in the Johnson / Patterson deed is not the same Joshua Morris, the nephew of Samuel. However, there was a Joshua Morris who lived in Henrico many years before this deed, and he was deeply involved with Samuel Morris and his Morris Reading Houses. If there is a relationship between Joshua Morris (1784 deed) and Joshua Morris (nephew of Samuel), I could not find it, but it seems likely there is a relationship, since multiple men with the same name are found together at multiple times and places across Virginia and North Carolina.

Joshua Morris, the elder

At Family Search within a collection called Deeds, Wills and Court Records Part 1, 1750-1767, Henrico County, Virginia I found a 1753 deed between Edward Watkins of Cumberland County, Virginia and Edward Curd, William Smith, Samuel Morris, Turner Richardson, Joshua Morris, John White, Aaron Trueheart, Michel Jones, John Oakley, Alexander Robinson, Richard Williamson, Obadiah Smith, Jacob Smith, Henry Stoakes, Nathaniel Bacon, John Owen, Julius Allen, Martin Burton, John Warrinner, Richard Truman, John Rice, and Dudley Brooke of Henrico County paid to Edward Watkins twenty shillings for one acre of land in the county of Henrico being part of the tract “my son Thomas Watkins now lives on.” Witnesses were Matthew Taylor, Samuel Bellamy, Thomas Watkins, John Watkins, and Mark Taylor. 

Julius Allen is most likely the same man named in the 1784 deed with Archer Johnson and James Patterson shown above.

Dudley Brooke is most likely the grandfather of Mary Polly Brooke who married William Harvey Morris (a descendant is a Y DNA match to my Morris Group M29 at FTDNA). Mary Brooke and William Morris lived a short time in Robertson County, Tennessee and Simpson County, Kentucky, but migrated to Haw Creek, Morgan County, Missouri where they are found on the 1840 Census and lived the remainder of their lives.

In December 1755, the Chesterfield court granted the petition of Dudley Brooke, William Lacy, and Jacob Trabue to set up a Presbyterian place of worship on the lands of Andrew Ammonet.  

In the paper ‘The Morris Reading-Houses: A Study in Dissent’ is provided a few details about Joshua Morris (the elder). The paper seems to take most of its information from ‘Sketches of Virginia: historical and biographical’ by William Henry Foote published in 1856. And Foote seems to have obtained a lot of his information from a work called ‘The great awakening: a history of the revival of religion in the time of Edwards and Whitefield’ by Joseph Tracy published in 1842, and some of that information came from the work called a ‘Memoir of the Rev. Samuel Davies: formerly president of the College of New Jersey’ published in 1832. The Rev. Samuel Davies having firsthand knowledge of Samuel Morris and his Morris Reading Houses.

Joshua Morris, the elder, was hauled into court in Williamsburg in 1745 for allowing “John Roan to preach in his house.” Joshua lived in James City County, Virginia at that time and it is his name shown in the 1753 deed above from Edward Watkins who is noted in the below document as being identified as owning the land that a Morris Reading House was built on. I believe that the above deed for one acre of land may be the same land that the Morris Reading House was built on. 

The 1745 court date makes it obvious that the elder Joshua Morris was born before 1724. I can only assume that he is 21 years old or older if he is being called to court to defend his religious activities. This Joshua may be the same man later found in Charlotte County, Virginia, the nephew of Samuel Morris. However, it could also be a brother of Samuel – and that would be very exciting to find!

Joshua Morris, the younger

The other, younger, Joshua Morris found in later deeds for Henrico County married Sarah, the widow of Thomas Watkins Jr and according to research I found at it looks like this couple migrated to Kentucky around 1788. This Joshua, the younger, was also deeply religious and may have been related to the other Joshua Morris, the elder, and to Samuel Morris (religious dissenters) found in the 1753 Henrico County deed. I could find no documents that linked them together though.

It can be quite confusing reading the deeds as some of the same names come into play in the later deeds as seen in the 1753 deed from Edward Watkins to the group of men who are known religious dissenters. Without a doubt, all these men knew one another. However, the time between the 1753 deed and the 1779 deed, (26 years) indicates that there were two different Joshua Morris’s living in Henrico County at two different times.

The deeds for Joshua, the younger, follow:

1779 Thomas Bottom to Joshua Morris (the younger) one acre of land adjoining the head of the mill pond late Thomas Watkins Jun deceased ... and joining Joshua Morris's land.

1779 William and Agnes Gathright to Joshua Morris (the younger) 5 acres of land in Henrico County on Boar Swamp it being surrounded by the lands of the late Thomas Watkins dec’d 

1783 William Coutts to Joshua Morris (the younger) one half acre lot in the City of Richmond known by number 661

1783 Fiskin Barker to Joshua Morris (the younger) 30 acres of land lying in Henrico County near the Seven Pines and bounded by the lines of Isham Allen and Archer Johnson

1785 The estate of William Robertson dec'd appraised by William Cook, Joshua Morris (the younger) & James Patterson

1787 Joshua Morris (the younger) and wife Sarah to Edward Bass part of the three lots divided by a decree of the court agreeable to the last will and testament of Thomas Watkins Jun

1787 James Patterson to John Stockdell, where Joshua Morris (the younger) now lives

1787 Joshua Morris (the younger) and wife Sarah of the City of Richmond, Henrico County to Joseph Jenkins of Henrico County all that tract of land which the last Thomas Watkins Junior of the county aforesaid bequeathed to his then wife Sarah Watkins being one half of the tract which the said Watkins lived at the time of the bequest … 221 acres

1788 Samuel McCraw to John Craig of Fayette, Kentucky, 1/2-acre lot on Shockoe Hill, City of Richmond, number 679, opposite of the lot McCraw purchased of Joshua Morris (the younger)

1793 Andrew Castlin of Richmond County to John Hockaday of New Kent County, a lot of land in the City of Richmond on Shockoe Hill number 661, the same lot sold in by McCraw to Castlin in 1790 and was purchased by McCraw of a certain Joshua Morris (the younger)

Thomas Watkins, different from the Thomas Watkins Jr who lived in Henrico County, wrote his will in Nov 1769 in Bedford County, Virginia, the same place where Samuel Morris lived at that time. After making the customary requests that his just debts and funeral expenses be paid, he names his brother as George Watkins who he hopes will pay off the debt he is named as security for. If George pays the debt, then Thomas gives the slaves mentioned in the bill of sale in Halifax County to his brother but if not, then the slaves to be sold to discharge the debt.

To John and Reuben Watkins a tract of land in Pittsylvania County to be equally divided among them but states that Rueben gets to choose his half first.

Daniel Driskoll received all the upper end of a survey of land lying above a branch which makes into Falling River above the Island Ford.

Wife Mary Watkins received the whole estate real and personal during her natural life on condition she pays to his Mother Elizabeth Watkins five pounds current money annually towards her support.

After Mary's decease Judith Pruitt, daughter of Michael Pruitt, if she remains unmarried and in good repute with no stain on her character, she receives the plantation and house where Thomas now lives with the land which was purchased of Lawson as well as the survey joining Daniel Driskoll on Falling River and 200 acres purchased of Griffith Stith also two slaves named James and Kesiah, one bed and desk.

Absalom Watkins 400 acres of land had of Stith, one bed, one horse.

The remainder of the land and slaves and household furniture, stills and all things belonging to Thomas to be equally divided among the children of his several brothers and sisters with his sister Elizabeth, not married, and his wife's 3 sons, Robert, Benjamin, and William Hall.

He appoints Mr. Joshua Morris (the elder, nephew of Samuel Morris) and Mr. Michael Pruitt executors.

There were two very different Joshua Morris’s living in Henrico County. One Joshua is probably the nephew of Samuel Morris who later lived on Turnip Creek in Charlotte County, Virginia, and married Sabra Hicks. He may be and probably is the same man who in 1745 lived in Henrico County and was called to court over his religious affiliations. This also could be a brother of Samuel and possibly the father of Joshua and his brother Nathaniel.

The other Joshua Morris is the husband of Sarah Watkins, widow of Thomas Watkins Jr of Henrico County, Virginia. Around 1788, this Joshua moved to Kentucky and furthered his religious career.

Read more about Joshua, the younger, and Sarah here and here

More research is needed to fully answer my question. Are the two Joshua’s related? It’s very possible that they are related from a previous generation. It also seems possible that Joshua Morris who moved to Kentucky probably knew Archer Johnson and very possibly knew John Morris Sr of Granville County, North Carolina, who lived next door to Archer on Hatchers Run in Granville County, North Carolina.

1 comment:

  1. Always look foward to new posts. Thank you for sharing with us!