The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".

Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Morgan Family Myths

When no documentation can be found in the historical records that verify the family histories, legends and online pedigrees of a family, I always find that troubling. As with so many other family lines, the truth of our Morgan ancestors is obscured with numerous stories and tall tales but there seems to be no historical record to support much of it. There is fairly reliable information on the majority of the children of Charles Morgan of Prince William and Fauquier Counties in Virginia, but much of the data online regarding sons Benjamin and John is suspicious. The fact that a dozen children were attributed to John Morgan and Martha Ann Settle who could not possibly have married until sometime after 1760, and only one possible child to Benjamin and Phoebe Settle Morgan is disconcerting. This has created persistent doubts regarding the accuracy of the history of this family as posted all over the web.

The legends appear to have begun in early 20th century family histories which elude to family bibles and old letters with no further documentation. The details of these bibles, letters and other documents are never available, and no scanned copies of the pages or letters are ever found online with these stories.

From the records of Fauquier County, it appears that Charles Morgan had several grandsons named for him. Charles, the son of Simon Morgan, was a Revolutionary soldier. He moved to Pennsylvania in 1804 where he died in 1808. Charles, the son of William Morgan, another soldier of the Revolution received large land grants in Kentucky. He settled in Fayette County for a time, later moving further west to Muhlenburg County where he died in 1822. Charles Morgan, who was documented as being killed in 1787 by indians during one of the many attacks on the Cumberland settlements of Middle Tennessee, has been believed to be the son of John Morgan and Martha Ann Settle. Finally, our ancestor Charles Morgan, born in Fauquier County in 1757 according to his Revolutionary War pension statement has been believed to be the son of Benjamin Morgan and Phoebe Settle although there is no evidence to support that claim. The two other sons of family patriarch Charles Morgan were Charles, Jr. who named no sons in his Culpeper County will of 1782 and James who left sons but none were named Charles.

William, Simon and Charles Morgan, Jr. all left wills so their descendants are documented. That is not the case for Benjamin Morgan or his brother John. Benjamin is documented as marrying Phoebe Settle in various sources, particularly a chancery case where they were among the plaintiffs in a suit filed against other heirs of Isaac Settle and the executors of his estate. In both a writ and a summons from that case in 1760, Phoebe's sister Martha Ann Settle who is said to have married John Morgan and been the mother of his twelve children, was unmarried and named as Martha Settle in those chancery documents.

By 1775, Benjamin Morgan was described as a resident of the "Province of Carolina" in a deed for 300 acres in Little Fork in Culpeper County. The property adjoined Anthony Strother and several other members of the Strother family who were closely related to the Morgan family. In 1779, Benjamin Morgan, Charles Morgan, John Morgan and Isaac Morgan were listed as taxpayers in Capt. Allen's District of Wilkes County, North Carolina.

There are numerous property transactions recorded in Culpeper County for Charles Morgan, Sr., Charles Morgan, Jr., Benjamin Morgan, William Morgan and John Morgan. Charles Morgan, Sr. is said to have owned land at the great fork of the Rappahannock which lies between Prince William and Culpeper Counties. The 1757 Culpeper County will of John Cole names his son-in-law John Morgan and makes a bequest to William Morgan whose relationship is unstated (Will Book A, p. 144-145). Two of the witnesses of that will were Charles Morgan and William Morgan. When John Cole's wife Susannah wrote her will in September of 1761, she mentioned her daughter Alice Morgan (Will Book A, p. 269-271). There is obviously sufficient documentation that John Morgan was married to Alice Cole until at least 1761.

Although family lore says that John Morgan and his wife Martha Ann Settle were also residents of Surry or Wilkes County which was formed from Surry in 1777, there are no records to support that assertion. John Morgan witnessed the will of Benjamin Taylor in February of 1775 in Culpeper County. The myths surrounding this family have credited John with being the Capt. John Morgan of Surry County who served during the Revolution, but that does not appear to be correct. Capt. John Morgan's wife is recorded as Elizabeth (Betty) in two 1794 deeds where they sold portions of his original Surry County 400 acre land grant and he died in Stokes County, North Carolina (formed from Surry) in 1819. He was not killed by indians in Tennessee. There is nothing found thus far in the records of Wilkes County that would lead one to believe that John Morgan and Martha Ann Settle were living there during the time Benjamin and these Morgan children were.

In searching the records of Wilkes County, North Carolina, it becomes quite clear that Benjamin Morgan was undoubtedly the father of these young Morgan family members. They were all also born before Martha Settle could have married John Morgan which would have to have been after 1761. The only John Morgan in Wilkes County was the sibling of Charles and Isaac Morgan. Charles married Ann Hall in Wilkes County on 21 Jan 1780, Charity married Henry Gambill on 6 Oct 1778 and Alice married James Gambill on 24 Jul 1785. By 1782, Benjamin, and Isaac Morgan are the only Morgans of this family listed as taxpayers in Wilkes County, an unrelated Joseph Morgan was also listed as a taxpayer that year. Charles Morgan along with Benjamin and James Gambill witnessed a Wilkes County deed from Henry Gambill to William Clark on 10 Sep 1784 (Deed Book A-1 p.483). This does not agree with the Morgan legends which state that Charles and John Morgan arrived in the Cumberland Settlements of Tennessee with their father-in-law Major William Hall. In the last transaction by Benjamin Morgan on 2 Nov 1785 which was apparently before leaving North Carolina for Tennessee, he conveyed 140 acres in Wilkes County to James Coddell (sic Caudill). That deed makes reference to improvements to the property made by Henry Gambill and was witnessed by James Gambill (Deed Book A-1, p. 452). And most illuminating of all, a deed from Benjamin Morgan to William Johnson for 300 acres in Wilkes County written 14 December 1784 includes as part of the legal description of the land that Benjamin Morgan was selling, the phrase "along a line between Benjamin Morgan and his son Charles" (Deed Book A-1, p. 504). It should also be noted that the names "Benjamin" and "Phoebe" were used for the children of Isaac Morgan, James Gambill and other descendants.

The earliest records of the Cumberland Settlements of Middle Tennessee such as Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee written in 1858 and Early Times in Middle Tennessee written by John Carr in 1857 simply state - They (the indians) killed old Mr. Morgan, the father of Esquire John Morgan, who owned the fort near that place...They killed Captain Charles Morgan and old Mr. Gibson, near where Gen. Hall now lived...They killed Armsted Morgan, a brother of Captain Charles Morgan, and a fine-humored, well-disposed young man, while he was guiding through from "South-west Point" Captain Handly and a company of men for the protection of the Cumberland settlements. It is only in much later publications written more than 100 years after these events that "old Mr. Morgan" begins to be identified as John Morgan.




Benjamin Morgan is documented as being present in Sumner County by 1787 for that year he was listed as a delinquent taxpayer as was Armistead Morgan who had also been killed that year. The only John Morgan listed in these Cumberland Settlement census records is John Morgan, the son-in-law of Maj. Hall. In December of 1804 a public sale was advertised for 320 acres on Bledsoe's Creek which belonged to Benjamin Morgan. The property was taken to satisfy a judgment obtained by Winchester and Cage.

The result of all this research is that I have made no progress in finding the parents of our Charles Morgan who died in Warrick County, Indiana. However, I am now sure that he was not the son of Benjamin and Phoebe Settle Morgan since he had been living in South Carolina since 1775, and not in Wilkes County when the 1784 deed naming Benjamin Morgan's son Charles was written. A clearer picture of Benjamin Morgan is also emerging and the evidence suggests that he was the "old Mr. Morgan" who was killed by indians in 1787 but there are still many questions. If there really are bible records and other early documents in existence, it would be wonderful if they could be shared with other researchers in order to help find the truth of this family. What is the documentation for the marriage of John Morgan to Martha Ann Settle? If John and Martha didn't go to Tennessee, then where? We still need to learn exactly who the parents of the dozen children previously attributed to them were as well as countless other missing details of their lives.

12 comments:

  1. Beverley,

    Any idea where in Culpeper county Charles, William and John Morgan lived in the middle 1700s? Are the texts of their wills available online? I'm researching the Cole family, whom I believe may have actually settled in the part of Culpeper county (orginally Orange county) that became Rappahannock county in 1833.

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  2. I don't know if any of the wills are online but I just looked in the Culpeper VAGenWeb Archives and see the will of a James Allan who mentions land in the main fork of the Rappahannock that joined Charles Morgan (Jr.) and Bryant Thornhill (Charles Morgan Jr.'s son-in-law). See http://files.usgwarchives.net/va/culpeper/wills/allan-jas.txt

    I have transcriptions of wills and deeds for Culpeper that include the wills of Charles Morgan Sr.'s will and Charles Morgan, Jr.'s from published texts at my local genealogical society but I'm in the process of moving and it would take a while for me to find them. Check back with me in a couple of weeks by posting another comment here and I should be able to locate them by then.

    From everything I've seen, it appears that Charles Morgan's land was in the area of the great fork of the Rappahannock River which divides Culpeper and Prince George/Fauquier. You might check at your local library to see if they have a genealogical section or if you have a local genealogical society, they probably have the published texts of deeds and will for that area.

    Beverly

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  3. Hi Beverly. I am working on this line--have been on and off for years. My husband is descended from Phoebe Morgan, dau of John Morgan and Martha Settle. She married Leonard West. John Morgan took up 640 acres in Sumner County, TN -- recorded in 1786. This was once the NC Military Reservation. Killed in an Indian attack, along with son Charles. There are plenty of sources to go with all of this, including hand-written family history. Please do not give up. Yes, it is a confusing history and I'm not "there" yet! -- Joy -- find me at http://users.frii.com/parrot/

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  4. Joy,

    Thanks for the comment. Where might someone find these sources and the hand-written family history to document this?

    Beverly

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  5. Hi Beverly.

    Here is an example of an oral history (once handwritten) that lists many of the people I am researching: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tnsumner/fabright.htm. There are errors in this oral history -- oral history usually has errors in it! The family tree info I inherited also has several vague paragraphs of oral history about the Morgans and Indian attacks.

    I have relentlessly pursued these Morgan's Fort events over the last few years. I am trying to figure out when Leonard and Phoebe came to NC/TN, and what events they witnessed, who their neighbors were, and if they were possible acquaintances in VA/NC. Documents detailing early Sumner County, TN history etc. come from the Tennessee Genealogical Society, JSTOR, out of print authors, and even from archive.org. Lots of places. I cautiously view info from researchers on line, always going back to original sources if I can find them.

    I have been in contact with author Bill Puryear, also descended from John Morgan. His beautifully illustrated book is partially online: http://www.billpuryear.com/historic-sumner.html Mr. Puryear has done archeological research on the Forts of early Tennessee. He has found artifacts from Morgan's Fort. He has done extensive, original source research -- not exclusively on Morgans, but about early Sumner Co.

    A good resource to show changing boundaries of counties is: http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/

    In 1983, I wrote up a genealogy for Leonard West, with Morgan info in it. "West" is the target family; I am on West discussion groups--one that has done DNA research. I do not put my 1983 document on-line for everyone to see because I have found all sorts of errors and mis-directions in it. I did the best I could in 1983, but there are so many more resources today. I'm concerned about perpetuating errors! Contact me via email found at the http above, and I'll send you a PDF of the 1983 doc. Disclaimers abound.

    However, it seems like you are pursuing a different bunch of Morgans, but probably related. I am also stuck in the time zone before John Morgan and Martha Settle. It seems like you and I are in the same historical region; I'm guessing there are lots of related Morgans there. Sorting them out is the problem. BTW, the Settle/Suttle name was passed down to a son of Leonard West and Phoebe Morgan--Amos Suttle West (b. 1801). So I know I'm at least on the right track for my Morgan bunch. -- Joy

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    1. Hi Joy,

      Thanks again for writing. Actually I have read that hand written history that apparently came from John Morgan Bright but it lacks documentation regarding a marriage between John Morgan (son of Charles Morgan of Fauquier) and Martha Settle which is the weak link in this family history.

      Martha Settle was still unmarried and named as Martha "Settle" in the Fauquier Chancery Case among the Settle/Suttle heirs in 1760. (see http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/case_detail.asp?CFN=061-1760-002). On the other hand, Phoebe Settle is listed as Phoebe Morgan, wife of Benjamin Morgan in those documents. This proves that Martha Settle was yet unmarried in 1760 and couldn't be the mother of Esquire John Morgan of Sumner County who would have been born prior to that date in the early 1750s.

      As for the other events referring to John Morgan and Morgan's Fort in the Puryear website, those are documented in Ramsey's Annals of Tennessee (inserted above) and Early Times in Middle Tennessee. None of these early histories give the name of the older man, Esquire John Morgan's father who was killed as "John Morgan". One of those histories names him as the father of Charles Morgan and the Wilkes County NC deeds document that Charles was the son of Benjamin Morgan.

      The Wilkes County records document the presence of Benjamin Morgan and several of these individuals like Charles who have been incorrectly identified as children of John Morgan and Martha Settle. I am really interested in anything that would document a marriage between them (John and Martha) and establish where they were located after Fauquier County because currently there is no historical documentation of them in any other location. The John Morgan who married Mary Hall in Wilkes County NC is the only John Morgan recorded in middle Tennessee and undoubtedly the son of Benjamin and Phoebe Settle Morgan based upon the Wilkes County records.

      On a trip to Logan County, Kentucky, I searched the deed and probate records for evidence of Morgans in that area. I have a copy of a survey of land belonging to Phoebe Morgan (widow of Benjamin?) which joined land belonging to Leonard West. I recently moved so it would probably take a month or more to find it, but when I do, I'll be glad to scan and send to you. Benjamin Morgan's presence there is also documented in the 1787 delinquent taxpayer lists of Sumner County along with Armisted.

      As for my Charles Morgan, all I know positively is that he gave his date of birth as 1757 and place as Fauquier County, Virginia in his revolutionary war pension statement of 1832. Hopefully my autosomal DNA results will eventually help clarify that lineage.

      Beverly

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  6. In our West group, we have a transcript of the land survey(s) with Phoebe Morgan's name, so you don't have to scan it. Just like your conclusion, I figured she was a widow by then. Just a guess. I have the info on the 1787 Sumner County taxpayers also. Benjamin was living in Capt John Morgan's district (JM was his land district's manager.)

    I think the John Morgan who married Mary Hall, and the Charles Morgan who married Thankful Ann Hall, were children of John and Martha Settle Morgan. William Hall was the father of these two Halls. Did you find the Wilkes County records for the Morgans and Halls? I only found the marriage records of Charity and Alice Morgan, who both married into the Gambill family. The Gambills moved to TN too, I believe.

    It's so complex!

    I believe the Halls and Morgans came out together to the NC Military Reservation (later Sumner) about the same time. William Hall established Hall's Station, and John Morgan (Sr.), with the help of Charles and John (Jr.) established Morgan's Fort. John (Sr.) and Charles, and also William Hall, were killed in Indian attacks during ca 1788. I think that Armistead was also killed, but at a different time.

    I think Benjamin and John (Sr.) are related, but not brothers. Maybe cousins.

    Yes, Leonard West and his kin moved to Logan/Simpson Counties, KY. In your David Hall page you mentioned, "Both the Hall and Morgan families migrated to Logan County, Kentucky by 1800 and it was there that Adam and Edy married in 1819." Were you referencing a particular source on that migration? Thanks!

    Beverly, you are doing a great job. I hope your DNA test will illuminate many mysteries! It seems we are both close to finding some answers. It is difficult to be patient. Very best wishes; it has been a pleasure to correspond. If I find any good clues, I'll let you know! -- Joy

    P.S. The Wingo family briefly appears in the Leonard West line. Leonard West -- Susan West Peters -- Mary Jame Peters Jepson -- Ida Jepson Blewett -- Mary Lou Blewett married Charles Wingo. Children Ida, Robert, Pauline, Evelyn, and Beulah Wingo. I don't have dates.

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  7. Joy,

    The sources for the identity and arrival of the William Hall family (not related to the Hall family of Sumner TN), is the biography of Charles Morgan Hall (brother of David), published by Battle, Perrin and Kniffen in 1886. William Hall is recorded as a Logan County taxpayer in 1800. Charles Morgan's revolutionary war pension statement given in Warrick IN in 1832 is the source for his family's migration to Kentucky. They were living in Logan County by 1802 when the marriage of his daughter Polly to Archibald Loveless was recorded. Charles Morgan information published in "They Came to Warrick County, Indiana - The Revolutionary War Soldiers and Patriots Buried in Warrick, Indiana and Some of Their Descendants" published as a bicentennial project by the Captain Jacob Warrick Chapter of the DAR.

    As for Wilkes County NC records, the only records there for the Fauquier VA Morgan family concern Benjamin Morgan his children. See deed by Benjamin Morgan naming his son Charles at http://files.usgwarchives.net/nc/wilkes/deeds/morgan690dd.txt which was witnessed by another son incorrectly attributed to John Morgan, Isaac Morgan. Another 1784 deed by Benjamin Morgan (http://files.usgwarchives.net/nc/wilkes/deeds/morgan693dd.txt) was witnessed by James Gambill who married Alice Morgan in 1785.

    There are no Wilkes County records for John Morgan and Martha Settle. The Capt. John Morgan of Surry County NC who served with North Carolina regiments in the revolution did not leave North Carolina. He lived in that portion of Surry County from which Stokes was created dying there in 1819. His wife is documented in various deeds as Elizabeth or Betty.

    A thorough search of all tax lists, deed indexes and probate records of Wilkes County shows no records of John Morgan and Martha Settle, only Benjamin and his children which have been incorrectly attributed to John and Martha. Another unrelated Morgan family did move into Wilkes County before Benjamin et al migrated to Tennessee.

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  8. hi, i'm so glad i stumbled upo this page. i am kevin william king, i have recreated my tree with the help of king kin, research and ydna.............the name MORGAN is a ' family/middle name from 1780 on down the generations......my farthest back documented ancestor is joseph morgan king b. circa 1780 virginia.................i have tried so many ways to find if his mother were a morgan.......and there are alot of morgans!...

    ...early on i scoured pa, n.j etc. looking up the welsh morgans, mostly quakers.......i couldn't prove a king=morgan connection............i went all over fauquier culpeper and loudoun's records, to find the morgan's there...of course the charles morgan family.....his many children..and the grants to his land....the able, noah and francis morgan family of fauquier....

    .on marsh run in SW fauquier there is a joseph morgan, 1780ish married to elizabeth............can't prove he's a son of charles.but on the deeds along the marsh, old charles morgan is mentioned, far back...........my kings are 1st documented as living on marsh run in 1800, witnessing a will for peter bower .i cannot find a marriage or connection though................

    ....there is a more famous king family, the joshua kings, in the same area and same time....but thru ydna, i've proved we are not related/ actually, through recent ydna matches, i find those kings are related to the kings of stafford!/

    i even found a fascinating connection between the morgans of middlesex co/ who also owned 600+ acres in fauquier/......and the king family of adjoining gloucester co..va.......court documents, land deeds, etc, have only turned up scant proof of a john king married elizabeth morgan of middlesex, and then moving up to culpeper.later on to fauquier......so, i'd love any help i can get about my morgan name...i'm kevinking915@yahoo.com.....thank you......

    i'm sorry, i know nothing of the N.C. morgans, but have always grouped them with the charles morgan family

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  9. Hi Kevin,

    Good to hear from you. I'm going to write you an email at your address above. If you don't receive anything from me, you might check your junk mail filter.

    Beverly

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  10. hi beverly, how are you...............kevinking915@yahoo.com i don't think i've heard from you.......i'd have remembered, i think, because this research is so vital to my king tree..............could you retry me..thanks so much....kevin

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  11. hi beverly.........i don't think i've heard from you yet.....would you retry me?...thanks kevin

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