Monday, April 19, 2010

The Morgans of New England

The Morgan surname is Welsh.  Some believe the name to be derived from Celtic for "sea circle", and is derived from the Old Welsh name Morcant.  The surname Morgan traces its origin from the powerful Welsh family established c. 1330 by Morgan ap Llewelyn, (son of Llewelyn ap Ifor, Lord of St. Clere, and Angharad, daughter and heiress of Sir Morgan ap Maredudd (Meredith), Lord of Tredegar), meaning either "great kingdom" or "great hundred". It is a popular family name in Wales, as well as there being a group of Morgans from "Morgund". It is possible that the name was Celtic from the Cornovii Tribe who lived in the North of Scotland and in the Severn Valley near the Wrekin in Shropshire. The

My immigrant ancestor (and 8th Great Grandfather) was Robert Morgan (1601-1672) from Tredegar, Monmouthshire Wales.  He migrated to Virginia in 1635, and soon moved north to Salem, Massachusetts.  His son, Samuel, was my direct ancestor, but his eldest son was Sir Henry Morgan, famous privateer which the rum "Captain Morgan" was named for.

But starting from more recent history, and going back to Robert, my 3rd great grandparents were Henry Gray Morgan (1808-1883), originally from Bucksport (just across the Penobscot) & Harriet Holmes (1816-1856) of Frankfort (formerly Winterport), Maine.  Harriet was a member of the extremely large and wealthy Holmes family of Plymouth, Massachusetts who descended from colonial settler John Holmes of Milton Keynes, England.  Many thousands of Americans descend directly from John Holmes.  Harriet's father, Thomas Holmes, was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, but migrated north to Winterport, Maine in Waldo County.  Harriet's brothers appear in many court records of Waldo County filing claims against many townspeople to whom they had lent money.



According to Winterport Town Records I located on microfilm at the LDS Library, Henry was a wood surveyor and also a juror for Winterport.

Henry & Harriet had five children in Winterport:

1.  Albert H Morgan (1839-1863) died fighting the Civil War in Louisiana in 1863, as part of the Maine 16th Regiment.

2.  My 2nd great grandfather, William Sanford Morgan (1841-1920), also fought in the Civil War, and settled in Portland.  Not sure yet which regiment.


3.  Louise Maria Morgan (1843-??) married Roger Sheridan Rundlett of New Hampshire, moved briefly to Cambridge Mass, but came back and settled in Winterport.  No children.  Roger was a surveyor, along with his brother-in-law Seth Morgan (see below).  Roger also was a Civil War veteran and was listed as a "tuner for H&MO Company" in the 1878 Cambridge Directory.  Also in 1878, Roger lent his brother-in-law, William Sanford Morgan, $200.00 for a mortgage on William's Beech Ridge Road property in Scarborough, Maine.  William paid his brother back within two years.

Togus National Cemetery, Augusta, Maine

4.  Horace B. Morgan (1845-1911), a short man like his brothers (5'3") also fought for the last year of the War, as he had just turned 17 at that point.  He and his wife Jennie moved around a lot.  They lived in Peabody Mass, Portland Maine, Boston, and Chelsea, Maine.  He also stayed at Togus hospital, like his brother William.  He had a heart valve problem, and hemiplegia.  He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.  He was survived by his wife, and two sons (Henry & Horace).

5.  Harriet Augusta Morgan (1849-??) married twice - briefly to Alfred Rand, and then later to Charles Emery, who pre-deceased her.  I'm not aware of any children.

Soon after little Harriet was born, Henry & Harriet divorced.  Henry kept the kids, married Abigail Harding from Winterport, and had one more child, Seth Morgan (1858-1924), who never married, but took care of his ailing brother Horace.  Seth and his brother-in-law, Roger Rundlett, worked as surveyors, and according to the book An Old River Town by Ada Douglas Littlefield, they surveyed the icy width of the Penobscot River in 1904 and measured it to be 1/4 mile wide.

As for Henry Gray's ancestry, below he is included on the birth listing for Bucksport (formerly Buckstown), Maine, to William and Rachel Morgan, and he was one of 8 children:

The family moved to Pittsford, Vermont around 1816, where they had both grown up.  There, they had three additional children:

-Abel Morgan (born 20 Feb 1819)
-Amherst Lee Morgan (25 Aug 1824 - 11 Dec 1912) who lived in NY State for a while, and settled in Missouri with his wife Mabel and their many cats (see picture below)
-Mary Morgan (1829-?)


William (1775-1852) and Rachel (1779-1848) both had settled in Winterport along with their son Henry, and are all buried there together in Oak Hill Cemetery. 

Here are the Winterport graves of this family:

Oak Hill Cemetery
Winterport, Maine

Grave of two of Henry's children:
Adelaide Morgan (daughter of Henry & Harriett)
Seth Morgan (son of Henry & Abigail)

Grave of Baby Irving
Son to Henry & Abigail Morgan

Grave of William's son Henry Gray Morgan
and both wives Harriet Holmes & Abigail Harding

Grave of Elders
William Morgan & Rachel Sheldon

Graves of Parents of Harriet Holmes (and baby John)
Oak Hill Cemetery
Winterport, ME

William's parents, Israel & Sarah Jackson-Morgan, were also from Pittsford, VT, but married in Worcester Massachusetts for some reason.  In fact, Israel Morgan (my 5th great grandfather) was one of the founders of Pittsford, in Rutland County Vermont.  Below is an archival document given to me for free by the VT Secretary of State, dated 9 September 1788, whereby the town's founders petition the state to open a new parish:

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Transcription reads:
“To the Honourable General Assembly of the State of Vermont to be convened at Manchester in the County of Bennington on the Secont Thursday of October next the Petition of the inhabitants in the southwest part of Pittsford and the northern part of Rutland, humbly herewith that by Reason of a Range of mountains being between them and the places of public worship in the town of Pittsford and in the west society in Rutland within the…of which towns your petitioners belong that it renders it impractable for them to get to their places of public worship with their family and being desirous to enjoy the priviledge of social or public worship and a preached gospel did before that there was any law made in this State that did prohibit any societys forming themselves as such for religious purposes:  vis on the 19th day of October last united together by sollom covenant and agreement which they then did commit to writing and subscribed their names to the same and that your petitioners have…constantly keept up the public worship of God and in greater part of the time have supported a preached gospel amoung them by an approved gospel minister and as your petitioners are about to settle a minister among them they would be glad to be properly and  and leagally incorporated as a distinct society for religious purposes therefore your petitioners pray that the following tract of land contained within the following boundarys be incorporated into a distinct parish with all necessary privilidges  by the name of Oraing Society:  viz beginning at the southwest corner of Pittsford thence running northerly on Pittsford, with line three miles to a stake and stones:  thence running easterly to the northwest corner of Ricahrd Adams’s land then on the north and east line of said Adams’s land to the southeast corner thence about a southeast point to the northeast corner fo Nathaniel Fairfield’s land thence on said Fairfield’s east line and so continuing a southardly corse upon the heath of the mountain to a stake marked on three…with the letter O with a heap of stones round it standing on the line between Pittsford and Rutland thence running southardly on the heighth of land about one mile and an half to the southwest corner of Aja West,’s land thence on the south line of said West’s, and Nehemiaah Gates land to the northwest corner of Jaied Watkins’s land thence southerly on said Watkins’s west line match it comes to Zebulen Moses’s north line then westerly on said Moses’ north line so continuing the same corse to the west line of Rutland thence northerly on Rutland west line to the first mentioned bounds excepting Benjamin Cornish and Gabriel Cornish and their lands in granting which prayer your Honour’s petitioners, as in duty bound shall ever pray, dated at Rutland this 9th day of September 1788.
I did not find any record of Israel fighting in the Revolution, however.  He would likely have been of age then.  On the above document, signing along with Israel were Samuel, David, and Jonathan Jackson.  They could have been relatives of his wife Sarah.

Israel was a 5th generation American, whose 3rd great grandfather was Samuel Morgan, born in Salem, Massachusetts.  He died there just a few years after the Witch Trials. 

Samuel's father was Robert Morgan (1601-1672) from Tredgar, Monmouthshire Wales, who migrated to Virginia on his uncle Richard's ship (the Philip in 1635) going to the Jamestown settlement.  He soon moved to Salem.

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