Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jonathan and Sally Morrill of Portland Maine

My third great grandfather was Jonathan Smythe Morrill (1802-1881), a carpenter, ship builder, stevedore, and laborer born in Tuftonboro, NH to Jotham Morrill and Catherine Brown, both of Moultonboro, NH.

(who else is buried there?)

Jonathan married Sarah "Sally" D. Elliot (falsely rumored in my family to be of Native American descent, and from Sandwich, NH) on 14 Dec 1826, in Moultonborough, NH by Isaiah Greene Orne, Esq. (Source:  Early Marriages of Strafford County - thanks to Google Books free previews!).  However, the Mormon FHL has a record of their marrying in nearby Moultonboro, which record states that they were both from Moultonboro.  It's possible that some more research there would be beneficial, to find if perhaps this record is more accurate (there are no Eliots in either the 1810 or 1820 Moultonboro census).

After marriage, they immediately moved to Maine, first living in Westbrook (then part of Deering) (1830 Census).  Next door to them was Benjamin Elliot's family.  See census below (not a great copy, by the way), where I've yellow highlighted the Elliot and Morrill heads of household:

By the 1840 Census, the Morrills had taken up a rental residence in the rear apartment at 62 Washington Avenue in Portland, where Jonathan worked as a pile driver and a bridge builder.  His family was one of the first Morrill families to arrive in Portland.


Jonathan & Sally lived in the East Bayside district of Portland the remainder of their lives, which was quickly becoming a diverse neighborhood, filled with African Americans and Irish, and was then the locale for the Cumberland County Jail on Monroe Street.  In 1854, their son, John HB Morrill, had purchased 62 Washington from Peter Andrews, but in 1861 he deeded the property to his mother Sally (not sure why it didn't go to his father!).  In 1878, they moved around the corner to a rear apartment on 15 Winthrop Street for the remaining few years of Jonathan's life, a place they rented from Irish immigrant family, the Maddens.  The Morrills were not counted here on the 1880 Census, for some reason.  Maybe the census taker failed to look at the rear apartment.  In any case, 1881, just after Jonathan passed away, Sally sold the Washington Street building saw the sale of the building for only $125.00, which would be over $4K today!  I wonder why Sally was taken to the cleaners like that?

For the 1866 City Directory, it appears that 62 Washington (rear) had another interesting dweller, one Smith Morrill, a dock builder living right in the same apartment as Jonathan.  Not a clue who that could be, and the only Smith Morrill I can locate in other records at that time was living in Gardiner Maine. 

In March of 1868, Jonathan was accused of voter fraud ("fraudulently voting in the name of another"), but was later cleared of the charge when it was determined that his name was incorrectly transcribed by an election official.  Ironically, the name he was accidentally given on the voter roll (and was then accused of using this as a fake name) was Jotham Morrill (which was his father's name!):

Jonathan & Sally had nine children in Portland.  I believe at least three of them died young.  Here is a best copy image of the birth roster from Portland archives, courtesy of the Mormon Library:

Transcribed below, with a brief history:

1. Abigail Morrill (1827 – ) doesn't appear in any later records.  She had died prior to the 1840 Census.

2. Sarah Jane Morrill (1828 – ) was a dressmaker.  She married at age 17 to a 52 year old Portugese sailor named Peter Andros (who Anglicized his name to Andrews, and his descendants were born with that name).  They had four children, and then divorced around 1862.  Sarah Jane remarried to Woodbury Morse in 1864, then had another four children.  She and Woodbury died sometime between the 1900 and 1910 Censuses.

3. Benjamin Morrill (1831 – ) doesn't appear in any later records.  He was definitely dead by the 1840 Census.

4. Statira G. Morrill (1831 – 1862) was named after her aunt Statira Graves of NH.  She lived in Portland for her entire, very short, life.  She worked as a seamstress, and at 17 she married a Samuel Tucker.  A few years later she married a Canadian named Joshua Carey.  They had one child, Naomi Carey, in 1858.  Naomi was only 4 when her mother died, and was therefore raised by her grandparents.  Joshua soon remarried a woman named Amelia, and had six more children.  I'm not sure why Joshua couldn't raise Naomi.  Naomi married Edward Hall, a carriage painter, and son to the British Halls of that neighborhood.  Edward Hall's brother Joseph was later a 2nd husband to Naomi's aunt Emily Morrill. Naomi & Edward had three children.

5. John Henry Brown Morrill (1834 – 1894) fought in the Civil War, and worked as a hair dresser in Portland.  He married Maria Beal from Freeport in 1863, and they had three children of their own:  Frederick, John & Nettie Morrill.  Maria also had three kids from a prior marriage, Ira, Phebe, and Bertha Chase.  Bertha was adopted by John, so she became Bertha Morrill.  This particular family has many descendants.  John was a very popular barber, and he is well mentioned in his former boss, John Todd's 1906 Book, "A sketch of the life of John M. Todd : sixty-two years in a barber shop, and reminiscences of his customers".   One particularly amusing anecdote from that book follows: 

John H.B. Morrill worked for me sixteen years.  He was a character, a man of impulse, not always governed by the highest principles, and also a genius.  After the great fire he moved over to the Cape, now South Portland.  He bought a cow and calf.  He took the cow over the ferry at noon, but the calf he sold to a butcher, who was to take it home at evening.  After the great fire in 1866, I bought a photograph saloon and hauled it upon the sidewalk in front of the post office.  The custom house at that time was in the post office building in the room now occupied by the United States Court.  Mr. Morrill hitched the calf to the wheel of the saloon until the butcher called for it.  Of course, as soon as the mother was taken away, the calf commenced its music, and such bleating and blarting was never heard in front of the post office before nor since.  One of the inspectors of customs came in a great rage and said: “Todd, I want that calf moved at once.” “That is not my property, Mr. Blank,” I replied. “Whose calf is it?” “Mr. Morrill did own it, but has sold it to a butcher.”  “Mr. Morrill, you remove that nuisance at once.” “You don’t like that music, I reckon,” Mr. Morrill replied.  “Mr. Blank, you will blart worse than that when the Federal tit is taken from you.” 

He kept the cow all summer, sold her, I think, to Captain Mareen.  “I see she has but one horn, Mr. Morrill.  She is not breachy, and broke her horn by hooking fences, I hope.” “She never troubled me any that way.”  In a few weeks the captain called on Mr. Morrill.  “Happy to see you, Captain.”  “I don’t know whether you will be happy or not to see me, I have come on business.” Morrill told me afterwards he knew what the business was he came to adjust.” You told me, Mr. Morrill, that cow was not breachy.  I can’t keep her anywhere.  She will toss over her head every fence she comes to.  She would break up a camp meeting.  Now what did you mean by telling me that she was not breachy?” “I never told you so.” “You certainly did, for I asked in particular if she was not and spoke of her horn being broken off.  Don’t you remember that?”  “Yes, I remember your speaking about that, and I told you in plain words, Captain, that she had never troubled me any on that account.  She would come home every night full of herd grass and clover she had got by breaking into the neighbor’s field, but it never troubled me any.  But it did trouble Neighbor Dyer, I have no doubt, some; but it never did me.” The captain burst out laughing, bade him goodby and went home.
In 1858 there was a closely contested election for mayor.  At that time there were no secret ballots and the voting was not as closely watched as now.  Everybody was supposed to be honest then.  Morrill was a great hustler.  He boasted that he could get more floaters to the polls to vote than any man in the city.  He belonged to fire engine number eight, and the company had as lively a set of boys at that time as any company in the city.  One of the boys hailed Morrill and said “We must get every voter out today that is on the voting list, or we shall get left.  I just looked over the list.  There is Patrick Ward’s name there.  He died about two years ago.  You can get someone to vote in his name.  There is a dollar to pay the fellow that you get.” John plants himself upon the sidewalk to look over the longshoremen as they go to dinner.  Mr. Blank was warden at that time.  He was a great politician.  Morrill did not have long to wait before an Irishman, a coal heaver, on his way to dinner, appeared.  John stepped up to him in a most familiar manner, reached out his hand with a “How are you, Mr. Ward?” “And who are ye talking to, young man? My name is not Ward at all, but Mike Flannagan.”  “Never mind that.  I have a dollar for you.”  “What for?”  “I want you to vote for me.”  “Faith, I can’t.  I’m not naturalized.”  “That makes no difference today.”  “Is that so, and how is that?”  “Why, there is a name on the voting list; I want you to vote in that name, and the dollar is yours.  Will you do as I want you to, for obedience is better than sacrifice in this case? Now listen; I want you to walk up to the desk over there, hold up your head, as though you owned the whole shooting match, and say, ‘Pat Ward, sir.  Speak up loud,’ and he will say, ‘What ward?’  Tell him * Ward one.’ “He marched up as big as Billybeblessed.”Mr. Ward, sir.’ He forgot to put in Pat.  Mr. Blank said, “What Ward?” “Ward one, sir.  Vote Mr. Ward.”  One of the Republican checkers said, “He did not understand you, Mr. Blank, when you asked for his given name.” “Well, I did,” said the warden, amid a roar of laughter.

6. Isaac Morrill (1837 – ) doesn't appear in the 1840 or 1850 Census. He must have died as a child.

7. Catharine Morrill (1838 – ) doesn't appear in the 1840 or 1850 Census.  She must have died as a child.

8. Martha W. Morrill (1840 – 1917) married James Hiram Curtis, and had at least 6 children: Charles F., James E., Annie J., Ida E., Florence Louise, and William E.  Martha was widowed by 1910.

9. Emily N. Morrill (1844 – 1900) was my 2nd great grandmother.  She married William Sanford Morgan, a Civil War veteran, on 28 Oct 1865, and had three daughters:  (1) Abbie (who never married), (2) Adelaide (who married George Simpson and later Presbury Dennison, and had one daughter, Emily Simpson-Pease), and (3) my great grandmother, Hattie.  William & Emily divorced (due to his constant drinking) and then both remarried at the end of the 19th Century.  Emily's 2nd husband was neighbor and childhood friend Joseph G. Hall, a carriage painter (and brother to her niece Naomi's husband Edward from the neighborhood).  They married in 1891, and lived on 123 Cumberland Avenue, right around the corner from where her mother (then widowed) was living on 21 Cleeve Street.  Joseph died in 1895, and then Emily died in 1900 of hemiplegia.  Everyone is buried at Forest City Cemetery in South Portland.

(ca 1890)



Below is a pedigree for Emily.

Unfortunately, due to New Hampshire's lack of records, I've yet to go back three generations for her.  She appears to be fully English.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful story !!!
    Very enjoyable read.