What I have written here is a work in progress that will continue to grow as I explore the many branches.
Feel free to follow the many links I have sprinkled throughout the pages, understanding that links often are broken as web sites change. Sorry.
The Origins of the Scots/IrishIn the 1600's, the border between Scotland and England was in tremendous upheaval. Peaceful, normal life was an unattainable fantasy. In order to survive, the Scots who lived in that region became "Border Reevers" (Robbers). They were the best frontier fighters in Britain, if not in Europe.
|In 1603, James I, King of England ascended to the throne and the border was finally pacified by sending many of these families to Northern Ireland. It was hoped they would settle down, but their previous lifestyle had become too ingrained. These Scots/Irish are usually referred to as "Ulster Scots" in the United Kingdom. They were predominantly Presbyterian/Protestant, and had no need of either a priest or a King to think for them.||There were wars between the Scots/Irish and the Native Irish between 1640 and 1660 when the Irish rose up against the English. Finally the Scots/Irish army was defeated, and the they became persecuted. Presbyterian services were prohibited and the ministers outlawed.|
The Scots/Irish Emigrate to AmericaAt the close of the 17th century, both persecution by the British and terrible climatic conditions all across Europe (there having been no harvest in 5 years) had become so severe that the Scots/Irish were forced to emigrate. They often indentured themselves as servants to pay for passage, and the journeys by ship, lasting anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months, were typically disastrous.
|The Scots/Irish landed mostly in Pennsylvania and began settling in the hills nearby. They also moved into Maryland or other close by places that resembled their home countryside. The first Ulster settlement was in Donegal, PA. Eventually, a ferry opened up the Cumberland Valley, and it became their heartland. By the middle 1700's, the flow of immigrants down the Shenandoah Valley and westward from Charleston and Carolina ports filled the back countries of the Carolinas at a remarkable rate.||But the Ulstermen were known for their drinking, arguing, singing, and dancing. They did not have a peaceful relationship with the Native Americans who lived all around them. The old border reevers of the Scots/English border had become the frontiersmen and the mountain men of the new world.|
William MORRIS was born 1722 or 1730 in King George, Virginia and died in Anson County, NC. Some possible records related to him that I am researching are:
He was married to Pherabee GURLEY (1723-1809?), and they had these children:
The children of William Morris and Martha Nance were:
Nathan MORRIS lived in Anson County North Carolina until 1807, according to Ruth A. Hays of Montgomery County, TN (Mail: Route 1, Guthrie, KY 42234). I believe he may have lived in White Store Township, and I also believe his family may have been acquainted with Williamson PLANT, a revolutionary war soldier mentioned in a deed for the Long Pine Methodist Church and who is also listed in Dickson County Tennessee Handbook by Jill K. Garrett.
Many small farmers opposed the British militia under Governor Tryon at the Battle of Alamance, May 16, 1771, but they lost and were compelled to take the oath of allegiance to the King. About 4,000 people who refused to take the oath left North Carolina over the next few years and moved into Tennessee. Among those who moved to Montgomery County, Tennessee, were Williamson PLANT and Thomas PETTY who is also listed in deed for the Long Pine Methodist Church.
Nathan Morris is listed as a Private in the roster of soldiers in the American Revolution as being in Evan's Company, from 1782 for 18 months. (North Carolina State Records, Clark, Vol XVI, 1782-1783, page 149)
The 1800 Census of Anson County lists the Nathan Morris family as having 3 males under the age of 10, 1 female between 10 and 16, 3 females 16 to 26, and the father being 45 or older. This would put Nathan's birthdate at 1755 or earlier.
In 1803, Montgomery County was split up, creating Dickson County, and Thomas PETTY staked a claim on Piney River. The Nathan Morris family moved to Montgomery County in 1807.
Nathan MORRIS was still living in Montgomery County, TN at the time he wrote his will on February 28, 1830. They lived on a plantation and Nathan had 5 personal servants himself. It is not known how many other servants were in their household or worked on the plantation. The following children were from his first wife, Louisa (last name and dates unknown):
Nathan MORRIS was married twice, the second time to Michal (last name unknown, 1778-186?) and the Will lists the following children separately, with inhertitances more closely tied to Michal:
His father's will stipulates that Michal "shall have all the rest of my effects together with the plantation wherein I now live to be at her command during her natural life or widowhood or until my youngest son Nathan Morris comes to the age of 21 years and then to be equally divided between Thomas, John, Ross, and Rebecca and Nathan." Assuming Nathan Jr. John's younger brother, born in 1821, would have been 21 by 1842, his mother Michal's planation and other effects inherited from Nathan would have been divided between the children around 1842. The 1850 Montgomery Co. Census, p221, lists Michal Morris, age 71, with Ross (29) and Thomas (35) living with her, and Real Estate valued at $500. The Agricultural Production schedule gives her land ownings as 137 acres plus $200 of livestock. Sometime between 1851 and 1860, the John Morris family moved from Montgomery County to Hickman County, Tennessee. Apparently, John's portion of this inheritance consisted of 5,000 angora goats and at least 6 slaves. The best estimation I can make of the location of the 700 acre property they were farming is in an area 1 mile South and 1/2 mile West of Pinewood, to the Northeast of James Hollow, North and West of the Piney River, as well as the bluffs and caves about 2 or 3 miles into the wooded region near what is now Cash Hollow Road. Oddly, while personal property value is listed as $12,861 (a sizeable value rivaling that of the wealthy merchants and lawyers around there) the real estate value is $0. He must have had an lease or other arrangement to farm the the land? Who owned the property in 1860? I believe it is currently part of a 463 acre tract owned by the Cash family.
In the 1860 Census for Hickman County, 6th District, page 139, the John MORRIS family is listed next to the Hardy PETTY family, consisting of Hardy PETTY (1811), Susan Wren PETTY (1812?), and at least 9 children. The Hardy and Susan PETTY family is also listed in the 1931 letter by W.P. MORRIS in numerous places. The CASH family land is adjacent to the PETTY Cemetery which Hardy PETTY defined and donated in his will. I assume these are descendants of Thomas PETTY, one of the first settlers of the Piney River in Dickson County. Hardy's wife Susan's maiden name was WREN. Is she related to Nathan Morris' child Rebecca Wren Morris? Is this why there is such a bond between the PETTY family and the John MORRIS family?
At the outbreak of the Civil War, at age 43, John MORRIS joined the Confederate Army along with other men from Hickman County, possibly into A or B Company, 42nd Infantry of the CSA (based on a match between Tennesseans in the Civil War, Part 2 and Goodspeed's Hickman County History of Tennessee. Sometime between January 20th when he was in Centerville selling a 12 year old slave named Lewis, and February 13, 1862, he joined his regiment and was sent to Fort Donelson, which is only about 60 miles north of Pinewood. Almost immediately upon arrival, on February 16, 1862, Fort Donelson was captured by the Union forces under General Ulysses Grant. Some historians believe this was a collossal blunder, as the gunners at the fort had rendered 4 Union City-class Ironclad Gunboats inoperative and had repelled every Union assault on the fort. And yet they surrendered, turning the tide of the war almost immediately in its infancy, by opening the way for the Union to invade Nashville and the South. John MORRIS and 13,000 other soldiers were captured, and MORRIS was sent to Rock Island Prison in Illinois in 1863. It is not clear where he was held for the year prior to his incarceration at Rock Island, because Rock Island prison was not operational until November 1863. Possibly Camp Douglas in Illinois.
"On April 10, 1862, a petition was sent from Camp Douglas to Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee, from men from the 42nd, 48th, 49th and 50th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, expressing a desire to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal Government, and requesting his intercession in their behalf."
He took the Amnesty Oath, and when he returned home to Pinewood, (they found him walking down the road) he was "tall and lean, with an awful crop of beard" and his children did not even recognize him. It's over 500 miles from Rock Island to Pinewood. How far did he actually walk? If he was indeed at Rock Island, he managed to survive smallpox and many other horrors that killed 17% of the entire inmate population there.
The John Morris household is listed in the 1870 and 1880 Census of Humphreys County. The real estate value in 1870 is $2,000 and the personal property value is $800. I imagine the goats did not make the move to Humphreys County. Certainly the roughly $3,500 worth of slaves he owned were set free by 1865. In the 1880 Census of Humphreys County, District 2, John Morris is listed as a widower, with Sallie, Mattie, and Samie (daughters) living with him as well as Katie (Kate R) HALL (26), listed as a Daughter, and her two sons Camp HALL (8) and Alfred HALL (6).
After Ella TROTTER died in 1893, Williamson Plant MORRIS moved to Rives, TN, in Obion County.
On October 10, 1894, he married Elizabeth Caroline WHITESIDE (05/18/1864-11/21/1951) of Rives, TN.
She was the daughter of John N. WHITESIDE and Elizabeth L. HARPER (married 11/12/1839).
Family members say they never heard her call W.P. anything except "Mr. Morris", and he called her "Miss Lizzie".
She had 2 brothers, John and Luther, and 2 sisters, Mary Ann and Margaret Jane.
Both W.P. and Elizabeth are buried in Pleasant Hill Cemetary in Rives, TN.
They had the following children: