-John Morrell of Kittery, Maine (1640-1723), a Quaker and a plasterer of unknown parentage, probably English (though some believe he may have been Irish), who was an early citizen of Kittery, which had only settled from the Abenaki Indians in 1623. In 1693, John was the first settler of North Berwick, which was annexed from Kittery under the name "Kittery Commons", and built his log cabin on Wells Street. It is reported that John's young great granddaughter, Sarah Morrell, was killed and scalped by Indians within the limits of North Berwick village in 1748, when she was 12 years old, so peace wasn't achieved even a century after settlement.
-Abraham Morrill of Salisbury, Massachusetts (1595-1662) (originally from Essex, England).
The name was occasionally spelled "Morrell" in the States, which is the traditional English spelling. The use of that spelling in the USA appears to be arbitrary, upon examination of all vital records, censuses, and city directories involving the below families.
This blog post will seek to identify most of the old families, including the Morrills who were the namesake of Morrill's Corner in Deering, where only a couple of the different Morrill families lived during the 19th Century. The Morrill House on 1229 Forest Avenue, which was north of an Amoco service station (now a Subway sandwich shop) in the heart of Morrill's Corner, appears to have been a prominent house during its heyday, but I'm not sure which Morrill owned it, and when. I believe it could have been owned by Levi Morrill (son to Stephen, brother to Bruce). It was razed around 1933. More on this below. Another Morrill House just south of the corner, at 1163 Forest Avenue, owned by Rufus Morrill, Jr. (where the Meineke now is), is also a subject of study below.
This list cannot be deemed exhaustive, so any Morrill researcher wishing to assist with this is more than welcome to email me.
The first six families listed below represent the only families I have found to have arrived in the Portland area by 1840, most of which have an established link to the historical Morrell family of Berwick, Maine, which traces its roots to John Morrell:
1. Jonathan Smythe Morrill (1804-1881). Jonathan, my third great grandfather, was a carpenter born in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire to Jotham Morrill (born 1768 in Berwick Maine) and Catie Brown. Jotham is my current 'brick wall', as I cannot seem to find his parentage so that I can link him to either John or Abraham, but I suspect it's John, given his birth occurring in Berwick.
Shortly after Jonathan's marriage in Tuftonboro to his new wife, Sally Elliot, they moved to the Deering district of Westbrook Maine by 1830 (later this area was later officially named the Town of Deering, and soon thereafter annexed to Portland). As early as 1840, they lived on 62 Washington Street, in Portland's East Bayside district.
An entire blog post is dedicated to this family here, but his five children which survived to adulthood were: Sarah Jane Morrill-Andros-Morse (1828 – ), Statira G. Morrill-Tucker-Carey (1831 – 1862), John Henry Brown Morrill (1834 – 1894), Martha W. Morrill-Curtis, and Emily N. Morrill-Morgan-Hall (1844 – 1900), who was my 2nd great grandmother.
His five adult children bore him 21 grandchildren, and at least 47 great grandchildren, all of whom are deceased at this writing (2012). A great many of the descendants of these great grandchildren reside in the Portland area today. Jonathan's family is the largest of the Morrill families of Portland. But he wasn't the first Morrill to arrive in Portland...
The youngest child of Jonathan Smythe Morrill