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.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Finally found - our Morgan Family Ancestor

There is a copious amount of undocumented, inaccurate information floating about the internet regarding our ancestor Charles Morgan. After many years of searching Virginia's Northern Neck for some tidbit of documentation to identify the father of this ancestor who stated in his 1832 Revolutionary War pension application that he was born in Fauquier County, Virginia in 1757, I think I've finally found something of consequence.

The Benjamin Morgan and Phoebe Settle lineage which I spent years investigating proved to be incorrect. I shared the details of that research in a blog post five years ago. Benjamin Morgan was the son of Charles Morgan, born 1680 to Anthony Morgan and his wife Elizabeth. Charles' birth is recorded on the 28th of September, 1680 in Farnham Parish, Rappahannock, Virginia. Deed records in Wilkes County, North Carolina proved Benjamin's son Charles to have been incorrectly attributed to his brother John Morgan and couldn't have been our Charles.

The other most frequent theory found in countless sites on the internet is that he was the son of Anthony Morgan and Mary Wilson of Brunswick County, Virginia born 1764. Charles own words in his pension statement disprove Brunswick County as a place of birth and 1764 as a date. Anthony, born circa 1720 to 1730, was the son of Anthony Morgan, brother of Charles Morgan above, and Ann Duncan of Westmoreland County, Virginia. Like Charles, Anthony's birth is recorded in Farnham Parish, Rappahannock, Virginia on the 20th of November, 1686. Over the years I've frequently searched but could find no record of an Anthony Morgan living in Fauquier County, until recently when I happened upon the index of customers recorded in the Dumfries Store Ledgers of Prince William County.

Index of Customers at Daniel Payne's Dumfries' Store
Fauquier County was established on May 1, 1759, from Prince William County which fits exactly the time of our Charles Morgan's birth. At the time he was born it would have technically been Prince William County. The excerpt at right from the index of Daniel Payne's Dumfries Stores Ledger documents that Anthony Morgan was living in the Prince William County area from at least 1758 to around 1763. These records of Anthony Morgan's residence in Prince William County finally make it feasible that he could have been Charles' father. This family connection also coincides with an abundance of fairly large autosomal DNA matches on chromosome 4 to other descendants of Charles Morgan as well as to members of the Duncan family.

Much research of this family is still yet to be done. In reviewing all the sites which list Anthony Morgan as marrying a Mary Wilson in Brunswick County, Virginia and most of his children having been born there, none of them cite any sources. The only Morgan I have been able to find historical records for in Brunswick County is a Robert Morgan 1726 through 1745. It is highly likely that Robert may be another of the children of Anthony and Elizabeth Morgan of Westmoreland County. The widow Elizabeth Morgan married John Ware after Anthony Morgan's death and Robert Morgan was listed along with his brother Anthony as sons-in-law (stepsons) in John Ware's 1704 will.

One of the primary online sites proffering Anthony Morgan's marriage to Mary Wilson and living in Brunswick County, Virginia is the SARRETT/SARRATT/SURRATT Families of America where I found the following citation - "In 1755, Anthony MORGAN III was appointed constable in the room of Lazarus Taylor." This cites the source as Ibid., O.B., 1754-1755, p 221 but makes no reference to the county where this is recorded. Research of Lazarus Taylor in northern Virginia indicates that he was a resident of Northumberland County who settled in 1744/45 on Marrs Run on land believed to be located in Hamilton Parish, Prince William County, which later became part of the newly formed county of Fauquier. If Anthony's appointment as constable was in the Fauquier area, it is further repudiation of the theory suggesting Anthony was living in Brunswick County during this period.

Another potentially significant find is an Anthony Morgan recorded in the tax lists of Surry County, North Carolina in 1771 and 1772 along with an Anthony Morgan, Jr. and Samuel Morgan in 1771. Anthony's cousin Benjamin Morgan, son of Charles of Fauquier County, migrated to neighboring Wilkes County, North Carolina around that same time. This may suggest that Anthony left the Fauquier area at the same time as his cousin, settling in North Carolina briefly as he migrated to South Carolina.

Our Morgan mysteries are definitely not resolved yet, but I believe that Anthony Morgan's listing in Daniel Payne's Dumfries ledger is a huge step toward finding Charles Morgan's lineage and ultimately our immigrant ancestor.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Uncle Harley Reeves

Jesse Harley Reeves was my grandfather's younger brother, born 30 March 1890 in Blandville, Ballard County, Kentucky. Their father, Sidney Preston Reeves, died in 1905 at the young age of 46 and a few years later, Harley left Kentucky and began working in Yellowstone National Park. Harley's desire to visit this area may have been inspired by his older half brother Burley Douthit's military posting to Wyoming in 1909. Whatever the reason, Harley left Kentucky as soon as he became an adult and headed for the northwest.

Naomi Harriett Davis
In 1913 at Eagle Creek in the park, he married Naomi Harriett Davis. For the next sixteen years, Harley and Naomi with their children lived in Yellowstone. It always amazes me to think of what a brave girl Naomi was living in the wilderness and raising her small children with such incredible wildlife. But it was also a fantastic experience for the whole family.

Over the next sixteen years, Harley and Naomi had Sylvia, Jessie Harlene, Burley, Clyde and Bud. One of their granddaughters told me that they would spend the summers camped in the areas of the park where Harley was working. In the summer of 1925 they camped in the Upper Geyser Basin near Old Faithful, the summer of 1928 they were in the Norris Geyser Basin and in other summers at various other locations.

The map of the park below has notations where several of their summers were spent:

They returned to Kentucky to visit family around 1918 when the country was experiencing the terrible flu epidemic of 1918. Both Harley and Naomi along with some of the children contracted the flu but survived and returned to Montana and Yellowstone Park.

By 1930 the family had left Yellowstone for Yakima, Washington. There Harley was farming on the Yakima Indian Reservation in Washington State and the children were all attending school.

During the 1960's, Harley, Naomi and their granddaughter Doreen made several trips back to Kentucky. They even managed to visit Texas where Harley and my grandfather enjoyed several wonderful visits.

Harley and Naomi remained in Washington the rest of their lives. In Paulsbo, Kitsap, Harley died in 1960 and Naomi in Yakima in 1964 after living what I consider the great adventure of their family's time in the Yellowstone.

Special thanks to my cousin Carole Davey, granddaughter of Harley Reeves, for sharing these wonderful pictures and the map of Yellowstone.