Monday, February 3, 2014

Morrison family from Pittsylvania to Cabell County

I became very excited about the fact that my 4-gr-grandmother, Elizabeth Hensley, was the daughter of William and Rachel Witcher Morrison.  Elizabeth was married to Solomon Hensley in Pittsylvania County before 1810/1811 (based on estimated date of birth of oldest son).  Everyone who researches this family indicates that Elizabeth was a Morrison.  So I have assumed that fact.  And I began to jump into her supposed ancestors.  However, as I started a blog post about her connection to the Witcher family, I saw many holes in my assumption about her connection.  So I am going to take some time to try to figure out and prove just who Elizabeth really was.  I will begin this with a close look at the Morrison family who lived in Pittsylvania County during the Revolutionary war, but moved to the area that is now Cabell and Wayne Counties in WV by early 1800.  There is a great deal of information and much of it is contradictory.  I can not seem to find a source that has lots of documentation to prove the connections that are asserted.

The traditional story is that Patrick Henry Morrison came into the Salt Rock area in the early 1800s with McComases and Hatfields in hot pursuit of Indians that had stolen their horses in Giles County (now Logan).   I have a copy of a typed account written by Patrick Henry Morrison when he was 80 years old dated  22 September 1910.  This is Patrick Henry Morrison, Jr who is writing and he is living in Cabell County, WV at the time of the writing.

Some of what Patrick Henry Morrison says does not agree with the research that I read from the Morrison family.

My father, Patrick Henry Morrison, Sr. came from Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  He was Scotch Irish in descent.  My Grandfather, James Morrison, was an old Revolutionary Soldier and is buried on the home place.  No Tombstone.  He lived here with my father, Patrick Henry Morrison, Sr.  My father Patrick Henry Morrison, sr.  died directly after the Civil War on 28 May 1869.  My mother, Anne (Ward) Morrison, died in 1855.
Patrick Henry was with a group that tracked Indians who had stolen their horses in GIles County, Va to what is now the Salt Rock Community in Cabell County.  They found the horses and returned home.  Patrick Henry liked the area so much that he and his brothers and sister traveled through the Cumberland Gap to settle at Salt Rock. [my note:  doesn’t make sense to travel through the Cumberland Gap to settle.....much more likely that they moved via Giles/Logan]

Note that he does not name his sister nor does he mention parents moving with them although he says that his grandfather is buried on the home place.  But the huge difference from the research is that everyone's research says that Patrick Henry Morrison, Sr  was the son of William and Rachel Witcher Morrison---not James Morrison.

So next I am going to look at the Morrison males found in Pittsylvania County area in the late 1700's to early 1800s

A Patrick Morrison took the oath of allegiance in Pittsylvania County in 1777.  He was on William Witcher’s list as was John Hensley Sr. and John Hensley Jr., 4 Razor men, and 6 Witcher men. There is no other Morrison male on the Pittsylvania list.

I looked again at that site this morning and would add to the above comment that Benjamin Foster was named on William Ward's list.  But it would seem that everyone in Pittsylvania County should be somewhere on the list because after several of the lists are named the men who refused to sign.  So where was William Morrison?

After sleeping on that thought and doing some more looking on the internet, I did find a list of those taking the oath in Henry County.  But I first want to add a piece information as I should see who might have been actively engaged in fighting in the Revolutionary War in Jan 1777.

Henry County Courts
By an act of the Assembly of October 1776, Henry County Court was first held in the home of John Rowland on the third Monday in January. Records show that 630 citizens took the oath of allegiance to the United States and about 40 refused to renounce their allegiance to Great Britain. There were many more people living in the county than this indicates, either away hunting and trading or serving in the army under George Washington.
Source: The Historical News, Vol. 27 No. 4-VA, November 2007, Southern Historical News, Inc.

So the site where one can find the oath of Allegiance for Henry County is:

This link takes you to the Allen County Library's digitalization of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography Vol 9, pg 12-13 if you prefer paper copy.  It is read on Google play.

and I also found the below statement which indicates that some of these men could have been very young.

History of Henry County, Virginia by Judith Hill – Oath of Allegiance, taken at the first county court that was held at John Rowland home, third Monday in January 1777, all free males above 16 years.  ......

Oh, my gosh....there is Bailey Carter on the second list made by Peter Saunders.  On the third list made by Thomas Hamilton is found George and George Jr Rowland.  On the fourth list made by James Lyon is a man with name Isham Solomon.  On the fifth list made by Edwin Lyne is John Salmon, Charles Foster, Mich Rowland, Mark Foster

Sure enough, the list is continued in Volume 10 of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography on page 72.....whoops....doesn't seem to be a continuation of the list.  But this issue is VERY interesting.....

Unfortunately the list that I looked at in Vol 9 does not seem to be a complete list if there are really 600+ taking the oath.  I count only about 355 names including those who refuse on this list.  I have been looking at the magazines one by one to see if I can find the rest of the list.  Indeed Henry County has articles every month, but they do not seem to have the rest of the name.  I would seem to be more productive to actually read these old magazines as I go rather than skipping around.  So I will put this project off temporarily.  

The below starts my list of various land transactions for Morrison family:
In Henry County there are the following land transactions:

James Morrison to William Slaughter 18 Oct 1810 Deed Book 3 page 382

Nathan S. Morrison  selling to James Whalen 18 Dec 1803  Deed Book 2/pg 311