Tuesday, February 7, 2017

County Donegal and the Morrison family

Donegal County in Northern Ireland and Morrison

I have been working a bit on the Morrison family lines that we find in Cabell and Wayne Counties in WV.  I have recently found a participant to do DNA testing who is a part of these family lines.  He has matched with the H2 Morrison family members that I have been chatting with for the past few years.  When I got the news that he was an H2 match, you probably heard my WOO HOO from WV while you sat at your computer.  I am very excited.  My 4-gr-grandmother on Mom's side was Elizabeth Hensley.  All of the old time researchers in our area assume that Elizabeth was a Morrison .....including Ruth Sammons Nassar.   I have found very few wrong assumptions among Ruth's  research writings.  My gut feeling is that this is a correct assumption....but I just can't prove it.  I will add my ideas on proving Elizabeth's connection as I have time.  But today I want to jot down some ideas that I was thinking about while I drove to knitting today.

The first is that the folklore in the WV Morrison family group is that James and Rachel Morrison came from County Donegal  in Northern Ireland.  All of this statement is iffy.  First there is no reason to believe that James and Rachel Morrison were the original immigrants.  And second the TN Morrison group who are DNA matches have folklore saying that four Morrison brothers arrived on these shores from Scotland.  All of these groups of people are almost certainly from the same original immigrants!

But nonetheless, Here are my thoughts on Donegal.  First of all.  The Morrisons of Scotland are said to have lived on:

There is little in the way of historical information on the origins of Clan Morrison. It is generally accepted that the hereditary judges, or brieves, of the Isle of Lewis were chiefs of the clan until that office disappeared in the early 1600's. The seat of the brieves was at Habost in Ness, near the Butt of Lewis. One tradition is that this line of brieves were descended from a Morrison heiress of the original line and a Macdonald of Ardnamurchan who married her in the 1300's. The Morrisons of Harris claim to be of the original line.

The Isle of Lewis is marked with the big red marker below.



Donegal is the pink area on the map of Ireland in the below map:



I have to point out that while Donegal County is in the northern part of the Island of Ireland, it is NOT a part of Northern Ireland.  Does that mean that it was not settled by the British during the period of the Scotch-Irish?

The next crazy thoughts that I have are about my mother's Family Finder matches.  I wrote a blog post several years ago about a man who contacted me about one of my mother's matches.  This man asked me if we had McDonald connections.  You can read it here:

http://marshamoses.blogspot.com/2013/11/family-finder-matches-for-sara-ann.html

It looks as if the Morrison Clan and the McDonald Clan shared home lands. 

Next I asked on the Scotch-Irish list for input on understanding County Donegal in the context of the Scotch-Irish.  John Polk was kind enough to send me the below with permission to add it to my post:

Donegal may not be part of what is now Northern Ireland but it is one of the nine counties of Ulster and was very much part of the Ulster Plantation beginning in 1609. I just checked the Donegal Hearth Rolls for 1665 and found 8 Morisons (sic) listed at that time. 

Ulster Scots came to America and became what we call Scotch-Irish from Donegal just as from the other counties of Ulster. In fact the first recognizable Scotch-Irish community in America came mainly from the Area of Lifford in Donegal, following the lead of Rev. Francis Makemie (of Ramelton), to Somerset County Maryland in 1683. To see my article on this topic from The Journal of Scotch-Irish studies please go to  http://www.mdgenweb.org/somerset/history/scotch-irish.htm 

The main wave of Scotch-Irish to America began about 1715 and continued unabated up to the Revolutionary War, particularly into Pennsylvania and on down the Appalachians into Virginia and the Carolinas.  If you want to see a list of names, the mother lode of Scotch-Irish settlers in Pennsylvania in the mid-18th century is here - http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/di/r17-88WarrantRegisters/r17-88AllCountiesInterface.htm  Just pick a county, particularly Chester, Lancaster, Cumberland, York, and start looking at the names on all the warrants that were issued at that time. I am sure you will find some Morrisons.

I expect there is at least a 90% chance that your ancestors were Scotch-Irish if they came through MD, PA, VA and/or WV in the 1700's. They emigrated for economic and religious reasons. Their situation was very different in Ulster than it was in Scotland and greatly incentivized them to get out and head for the colonies if they could get there. Once they got started they kept encouraging the ones back home to follow on and move on to the next unsettled area of the frontier. And so they kept hopscotching one over the other to follow the great road southward. My own ancestors ended up as among the first settlers of what is now Charlotte NC. That is where President Polk was born, or at least very nearby, in a log cabin just like Abraham Lincoln. Andrew Jackson very nearby, a few years earlier. These people didn't want any part of British rule and were the backbone of the American Revolution. In May 1775 the citizens of Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) declared their independence, a year before the colonies as a whole.

The situation in Scotland in the 1700s was wholly different and more comfortable than it was in Ulster in both religious and economic terms. They had far less reason to emigrate although there were still many supporters of the Stewarts and Bonnie Prince Charlie who wanted to rebel against British rule. That met a sorry end at Culloden in 1746 after which a lot them were exiled to very parts of the empire. A large contingent of them settled in the coastal areas of North and South Carolina, but they had nothing to do with their Scotch-Irish cousins in the piedmont and Appalachian areas.


There is a really good book about them which I highly recommend as a general background - "The Scotch-Irish, A Social History" by James G. Leyburn. Perhaps you already have it. 


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Family Group #1: Short Mountain, TN Hawkins group

I have become particularly interested in the subgroup in Family group #1 that I am calling the Short Mountain, Tn group.   I find that almost every participant who is a part of this subgroup has some connection to Short Mountain or to Warren, DeKalb, or Cannon County, TN.  I am going to add some information from some of these participants in this spot.

Nancy Pack had an ancestor with name Benjamin who has a connection:

  I just sent an e-mail to Bret as I really believe we have a common ancestor in what would now be Warren Co. TN.   ...  His last known Hawkins ancestor Joseph lived and died in that area and my last known ancestor GGG Grandfather Benjamin Hawkins (maybe John Benjamin) died in Warren Co. TN (his will in my tree gallery) but was buried in Riceville, McMinn Co. TN.   I think we may share either him or his father as a common ancestor.  It would be so great if we could find that out! 

and


Nancy Pack’s line:

(Hawkins Group #1) (Dekalb County AL Hawkins—Steven Thomas Hawkins participant 59402) 
     Our earliest ancestor  Benjamin Hawkins (1754-1827) was born in NC and died in McMinn County TN.  We know from Benjamin's will that his wife was Mary and they had 10 children—Benjamin,Jr., James,Joseph, William, Nancy, Blanche, Polly, Sally, JOHN and Raleigh.  In the Chancery Court Records of McMinn County TN there are disputes documented about the land Benjamin Hawkins had bequeathed to his wife Mary and their children.  Depositions describe what happened to the children in the years after Benjamin's death.  John Hawkins (our Great-great grandfather) and his brother Raleigh migrated to Dekalb County AL from the McMinn/White counties of TN about 1833.  
     By this time, John had married Elizabeth Cook and had six children. Six more children were born to them in Dekalb County AL---Benjamin,III, Alexander, Raleigh, Lucinda, John,II, Mahulda Jane, James, Preston, WILLIAM, Mary Ann, Jerusha, Blanchey.  Raleigh (1800) also married Henrietta Beene and had several children in Dekalb County AL.  Most of the descendants stayed in the area of Dekalb County AL and Dade County GA except for a few descendants who migrated to Arkansas and Texas.  The first generation of John Hawkins and Elizabeth Cook are included on our Hawkins Family Tree on ancestry.com.  
     Our Great-grandfather WILLIAM C. Hawkins (1840-1872) married Mary Ann Beene (1845-1923) in Dekalb County AL in 1859 just before the Civil War.  He was a union sympathizer but was conscripted into the service of the Confederacy in April 1862.  He quickly deserted, hid out in the woods for 8 months--- then crossed federal lines and joined the First Tennessee & Alabama Vidette Calvary, Company C.  He served as sergeant until honorable discharge in June of 1864.  He was then employed by the United States to work on the military railroad until the end of the war.  In 1872, he decided to join a wagon train going out west so he left Dekalb Co.AL with his wife and 3 children. (William Jacob, Nancy Elizabeth & JOHN PRESTON ) They did have Hawkins and Beene relatives in Arkansas so possibly that was their destination.  Around Boles, Arkansas our Great-grandfather William C. Hawkins died and was buried in an unmarked grave.  His wife Mary Ann had their fourth child (Amanda Jane) and promptly returned to Dekalb County AL with her four Hawkins children. 
      In 1874, Mary Ann finished filing a claim with the Southern Claims Commission that her deceased husband had started in 1871.  (case no. 7538). In 1875 she took her mother, nephew and three neighbors to Cleveland, TN to give depositions proving that she and her husband had been loyal only to the union and had not aided the confedrate cause.  She proved her case and received $366 for 280 bushels of corn, 100 bushels of potatoes, 7 sheep, six hogs and one good horse taken by the General McCook's army in September 1863.  
     Our grandfather JOHN HAWKINS (1869-1925) was quite industrious and adventurous. He left Dekalb County about 1900 and traveled south to Shelby County AL.   He found work as a guard in the Longview Workcamp (1900 census) One evening, the warden Thomas J. Sanders took him home for dinner and he met the warden's daughter, IDA B. SANDERS.  She was to be our grandmother.  They moved a few miles away to an area of Bibb county called Six Mile and opened a general store---serving several  mining towns that had cropped up as the iron ore was being mined out of  the hills and dales of Shelby, Bibb and Jefferson counties.  They also lived in part of the store which was situated at the fork of the Cahaba and Little Cahaba Rivers. (now part of a nature conservancy) About 1913, the store burned and they returned to Dekalb County and bought a farm in Lebanon, AL---the county seat at that time.  The railroad was closeby and brought all the materials to build a house.  They had six children—Horace, Mary B., John P., Chad, WILLIAM THOMAS & Warren G.   Their mother Ida B. passed in 1923 and their JOHN P. HAWKINS  in 1925 so the young children were reared by a half-uncle and neighbors.  In 1923 their grandfather Papa Sanders and Ggrandmother Mary Ann also passed so they had lots of troubles but they all grew up to be hard working respectable people.  

John Preston Hawkins (1869-1925)
& wife Ida B. Sanders (1879-1923)