Tuesday, July 10, 2012

More About William Morgan

Marriage Bond of William Morgan and Martha Williams
Last year I did a post about the William Morgan Farm, a beautiful gray stone house and barn along Doe Run Road in Corner Ketch. At the time, I lamented the fact that there was little information I could find about the farm's builder and namesake, William Morgan. Several weeks ago, though, I was contacted by Marcia Healy, a Morgan descendant who does happen to have more about him and his family. In graciously providing this information about her family (she's actually a descendant of one of William's sisters, if I understand it correctly), she managed to both confirm and refute some of the assumptions I had made about Morgan. But thanks to her, we'll now have a more complete (and accurate!) picture of who William Morgan was.

First the part I got right -- The William Morgan buried at Pencader Presbyterian Church in Glasgow is the correct one. He was born in Pencader Hundred in about 1762 to John Morgan, also likely a native of that hundred. The Morgans were probably of Welsh origin, as were many of the early 18th Century immigrants to that area (the word "Pencader" itself is a Welsh term meaning "chief chair" or "highest seat"). Although William's resting place is included in the "Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots", we haven't yet found any other concrete evidence that he served in the Revolution. However, he would have been about the right age, turning 18 in about 1780, right in the middle of the war. Since there must be some evidence somewhere to explain his inclusion on the list, I would assume that he in fact probably did serve in one of the Delaware regiments.

In early 1787, William married Martha Williams (c.1758-1816), the daughter of Maurice (or Morris) and Esther Jetton Williams. Martha's grandfather, Roger Williams, was a major landowner in the Glasgow (then, Aikentown) area, and after his death a parcel of his land was given to the church there (apparently, the land on which the church sits). Within a couple years of their marriage, William and Martha had two children, John (1787-1818) and Mary (1789-1814), both of whom sadly died fairly young. Another daughter born later also predeceased her father. William, Martha, John and Mary are all interred at Pencader Presbyterian.

When William's father John died in 1793, William was named co-executor of the will. He along with his four married sisters -- Rachel Hamilton, Sarah Scott, Mary Henery, and Gwen Dunsmore (Marcia's ancestor) -- were named among the heirs. It's possible that inheritance he received from his father helped purchase his farm in Mill Creek Hundred in 1797. The National Register of Historic Places form for the farm states that Morgan bought 235 acres that year, which he had increased to 257 by the time of his death in 1833.

Now to the part I was incorrect about in the original post. The Mary Morgan to whom a portion of the farm was left at William's death was not his daughter -- it was his second wife. Martha, his first wife, had passed in 1816, and sometime between then and 1833 he married Mary. As it so happens, Mary's maiden name was also Williams. It doesn't appear that she was Martha's sister, as she's not listed as one of Maurice's children and she seems to have been born in Pennsylvania. However, I have a feeling that they were related. Cousins, perhaps. This would be far from the first instance we've found of a widower marrying a member of his late wife's family (we've even seen it be sisters).

In his will, Morgan stipulated that all but 100 acres of his farm should be sold to pay off various bequests, as well as money for the Pencader church in order to maintain his, Martha's, and John's graves. The document even specifies the remaining 100 acres, reserved for Mary: "I William Morgan of Mill Creek hundred in the County of Newcastle and State of Delaware...will and bequeath to my beloved Wife one hundred acres of Land off the west end of my Plantation to be divided from my other Land by a line running from the public road at the south side of my Plantation to James Thomsons Land parrallel(sic) with the line dividing my lands from the Land of Robert Tweed".

Now, I can even state who purchased the other portion of Morgan's farm -- Amos Eastburn, one of the sons of David and Elizabeth Eastburn. Since Amos is shown on the 1849 map to the east of Mary Morgan, we can get a feel for how far William's original tract extended.

Thanks again to Marcia Healy for passing this information along to us (I found a few extra details, but most of it came from her). Hopefully this helps to create a better and fuller picture of one of the early landowners of northwestern Mill Creek Hundred.

1 comment:

  1. Amos Eastburn Married Mary Jane Moore, youngest daughter of Capt. William Moore.