5) George Morton of Morton’s Mill (1750s — 1826). Born in the early 1750s, George Morton was the fifth son of Thomas Morton and his first wife (name unknown). He settled in Charles County with his brother Joseph who was also his business partner. At some stage, he inherited or acquired his father’s homeplace on the properties Wood’s Joy, Cross Gut, Timberneck.
George Morton would have grown up on his father’s plantation “Wood’s Joy” near Truman’s Point and in March 1772 he was styled as a Planter of Prince George’s County when he and his brother Joseph purchased from Ignatius Hall of Charles County the plantation “Canterbury”. For the rest of his life George was resident in Charles County. With his brother Joseph, George is listed in Bryantown Hundred in the Constable’s Census of 1775, took the Oath of Allegiance to the State of Maryland in 1778 and joined the Maryland Militia, where they appear on the 1777 list in the company led by Capt. Peter Wood. He appears on the land assessment of 1783. He witnessed the will of Andrew Moran there in 1790.
In 1781, together with his brother Joseph again, he bought 92 acres, one sixth of the plantation “New Brandford”, from Eleanor Miles of Charles. But, after the Revolution and their father’s death in 1782, George and Joseph purchased properties separately and in 1796, for £200, Joseph bought out George’s interest in Canterbury and New Brandford which they had purchased jointly in previous decades.
Some of the new properties George purchased alone were: 61.33 acres of Strife from John Harbin (1786), 42.5 acres of Strife from John Harbin (1787), 68 acres of Scale of Head from John Kinnick (1792). In St. Mary’s County, on 8 Aug. 1809, Leonard C. Moran & Francis Knott transferred to George Morton Sr. 34 acres, part of Quainton, which Morton deeded over to Thomas M. Swann on 29 March 1823.
But his most important purchases were several contiguous tracts between Bryantown and Hughesville which he purchased from the Hagan family: 200 acres of Good Intent from Benjamin Hagan (1793), then 193 acres of Clare and Addition to Clare and part of Boarman’s Manor from various members of the Hagan family (1799 and 1812). To these he added other small tracts until the total was over 1000 acres. On these properties, perhaps as soon as he bought them, he built and operated a grist mill which operated for half a century and gave the property its name then, “Morton’s Mill Farm” (later called “Oakland”). His 1820 census report lists one person engaged in “manufacturing”.
It is not clear when he began to live on the Morton’s Mill Farm as his homeplace, but eventually he built a large house there for which the date bricks survive, inscribed “1822” and “G.M. 1823”. Although he died soon after the house’s completion, his widow Dorcas Morton lived there for another 20 years, and then the heirs of his daughter Julia Ann Turner held it until 1850 when they sold it to Alfred Gardiner.
He died a very wealthy man in 1826. He was recorded in the censuses of 1800, 1810, and 1820, with an increasing number of slaves (18, 30, 40). The only larger slaveholder in the neighborhood in 1820 was Price Thomas, whose daughter would soon marry George’s nephew James Morton.
On 7 Jan. 1797, when George Morton was in his 40s, he took out a marriage license to Dicandia Dorcas Billingsley in St. Mary’s County (the license says “Dicandia” and she is called Dorcas in his will, but the unusual double name is also known from other related families). She was the daughter of Allen Billingsley (who named Dorcas Morton in his 1800 will) and Elizabeth Broome. George’s brother Samuel Morton had married Dicandia’s first cousin Rebecca Broome a few years before.
But the ages of his children make it clear that Dicandia Dorcas was his second wife. He must have married first around 1775. At the time of the 1800 census, besides himself and his new wife, his household has one young man aged 16-25, two boys and a girl aged 10-15, two boys and a girl under 10. The 1810 census shows the the couple with another older man, three young men and woman aged 16-25, a girl aged 10-15 and a boy under 10. By 1820, living with the couple are just three other persons: a woman aged 26-44 (Elizabeth?), a younger woman and man aged 16-25 (Julia Ann, Allen).
In sum, it would seem that there were 7 or 8 children by at least two wives. From the wills of George and his son Henry, we know the names of 6 children. Harry Alexander Davis’ The Billingsley Family, probably relying on family tradition, attributes to the Billingsley couple the following: Allen, Julia Ann (b. 1810/11), Sarah (“died unmarried”) and a child who “died after a few days”.
In his will (written 10 Feb. 1825 and probated 5 Jan. 1827), George Morton made extensive provisions for the division of his real estate and other property, including:
- —to “my wife Dorcas for her natural life all the lands wherein I now live adjoining together called and known by the names of Clare, Addition to Clare, Good Intent, and part of Boarman’s Manor”; and thereafter to his daughter Julia Ann Turner:
- —to “son George Morton, the plantations on which he now lives, called and known by the names of Wood’s Joy, Cross Gut, and part of Timber Neck, being in Prince George’s County” and four slaves and all the equipment he now has.
- —to “my daughter Elizabeth Morton the lands I purchased of James Kemp called and known by the names of ‘Ludford’s Gift and the Hatchette being in Prince George’s County.”
- —to “my son Joseph . . . all the money I have paid for the land on which he now lives to him and his heirs forever” and two slaves.
He appointed his wife and son-in-law Joseph A. Turner as joint administrators. The witnesses were Chapman Billingsley (wife’s nephew), John A. Billingsley (wife’s first cousin), Randolph Acton. In the 1840 census, Dorcas Morton, in her 70s, is the only free person at the large Morton’s Mill Farm. She wrote her will in 1843.
Although George Morton had four sons, none of their three known sons had offspring, so the Morton name did not continue in this line past 1870.
Children of George Morton and ——:
5.1) Henry Morton (1775/80—1821), d.s.p.
He was a witness of the 1800 will of his stepmother’s father, Allen Billingsley. At the time of the 1820 census, Henry said he was over 44. He was living in Prince George’s County, not far from his brother George, with a free black woman and three free black young men on his property.
At the time of his will, written 8 March 1821, his brother Allen was still alive and his sister Julia Ann was unmarried. He left his property to his father for his natural life and then equally to his brothers and sisters.
5.2) Elizabeth Morton (1786/7-1859) marr. Henry McPherson
She was still unmarried at the time of the 1828 Prince George’s property assessment records her as “Elisabeth Morton” owning 271 acres of Hatchett, which she had been bequeathed by her father, at a value of $932.24. Then on 30 August 1828, she married Henry McPherson in Anne Arundel Co. In 1838, Elizabeth and her husband Henry McPherson of Calvert County gave “Ludford Gift and The Hatchett except a small part sold to George Morton supposed to contain about 30 acres” to “George W. Morton & Harriet E. Morton (son and daughter of Joseph Morton deceased) of Prince George’s County” (PG Land Deed AB11 522).
Her husband was the widower Henry McPherson (c. 1784-1851), son of Capt. Alexander McPherson and Mary Weems. He was the brother of Catherine McPherson who married Elizabeth’s cousin William Morton, and that was probably why they moved for a period to Calvert Co. According to the parish records of St. Paul’s/St.Mary’s, Henry died 17 Jul 1851 in Aquasco. There is an Elizabeth McPherson recorded as a communicant in the 21 May 1853 parish records, as well as the 1855 communicant list.
The Planter’s Advocate (2 March 1859) reports her death on the 21st Feb 1859 aged 72, relict of Henry McPherson. Although Henry had a number of children by his first wife, but it is not clear that he had any by his second wife Elizabeth Morton (who was over 40 when she married him).
5.3) George Morton (1788- 1870) marr. Ellen H. Wood
Presumably born in Charles County on his father’s farms, he spent his adult life in Prince George’s County on the ancestral Morton properties east of Aquasco. His date of birth can be estimated from his age 61 in the 1850 census and 72 in the 1860 census.
He had Military service during the war of 1812, and in 1870 his widow thereby claimed a pension, subsequently receiving $80 per year. In the 1821 General Election for Delegate in Prince George’s County, George Morton, Federalist, received 648 votes, but the Republicans got more votes. He appears in the 1820 Prince George’s Census as head of a separate household with just a young man aged 16-25 and 13 slaves.
In 1826, he inherited from his father the properties on which he was living, named as Wood’s Joy, Cross Gut, and Timberneck, which had belonged to his grandfather Thomas Morton. The 1828 P.G. Tax shows George Morton with these properties (and 36 acres of Hatchett) and 17 slaves. Hatchet and Ludfold’s Gift was located at the intersection of the Woodville-Benedict road and Chalk Point Road (going down to Trueman’s Point). In 1835, Morton sold the corner 2 acres.
His real estate was valued at $13,000 in 1850 and he had 43 slaves. In 1851, he bought 7 acres “Part of Dove’s Rest” and “Dove’s Perch” along the Aquasco Road (including the Selby Store, later Cochrane Store). In 1860, his real estate had risen to $25,000 with $40,000 personal property (50 slaves). George Morton was one of the incorporators of the Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road in 1853.
He married Ellen Henrietta Wood (b. 1812/3 – c. 1874), sister of Mgt. Greenfield Wood. George Morton died in early 1870, and his widow Ellen H. Morton is found in the 1870 census in the home of her daughter Rebecca Hawkins in Charles Co.
Children of George Morton and Ellen H. Wood:
5.3.1) Sally Morton (1831-1840s)
Born 30 Jan. 1831, bapt. 1 March 1832, but not in 1850 census. The announcement in the Port Tobacco Times for her sister Rebecca’s wedding in 1857 calls Rebecca “the eldest daughter of George Morton, Esq. of Woodville”, so Sally must be deceased by then.
5.3.2) Thomas Morton (c. 1833/4-)
He is recorded in the 1860 census in Aquasco, a Planter with $8,000 real estate and 10 slaves. He enlisted in the Confederate forces in Leesburg, VA on 14 June 1861 and was discharged in May 1862. Perhaps he was somehow disabled, because in the 1870 census he is listed without occupation, real estate or personal property, in the residence of the A.B. Slye family in Patuxent City, Charles County. He is presumably the Thomas Morton on the list of registered voters in Charles County’s 8th District in 1870.
5.3.2) Peter Morton (1834-), presumably died young because not in the 1850 census.
5.3.3) Rebecca Wood Morton (1839-) marr. Peter Wood Hawkins
According to the Hawkins family bible, Rebecca W. Morton was born 18 March 1839; then baptized 26 July 1839 (St. Paul’s, Baden). She and her first cousin Dr. Peter Wood Hawkins (1830-1908) were married by Rev. J.H. Chew on 12 Nov 1857. Their children were: Nannie W. Hawkins (b. 1858, marr. Erasmus Gill Bowling), Ellen W. Hawkins (1860-1869), Florence G. Hawkins (b. 1867), Henry Holland Hawkins (b. 1870, marr. Mary Chapman), William Pinkney Hawkins (b. 1872).
5.3.4) Margaret “Maggie” Morton (1841-1861) marr. John Henry Bowling
Born 31 Oct 1841, bapt. 16 Feb. 1842, she was married 5 Jan 1860 by Rev. Marbury to John Henry Bowling (1835-1861), son of John D. Bowling. She died 11 June 1861 in the birth of her first child and namesake, Margaret, who was under the care of her aunt Rebecca Hawkins and grandmother Ellen Morton in the 1870 census. Margaret Morton Bowling (1861-) married Clarence Hall.
5.3.5) Eliza Ellen Morton (c. 1845-) marr. Barkley James Thomas
In 1867, she married Barkley James Thomas. Children: Henry, Mary, George, Sally, Margaret, Bessie.
5.3.6) Ann Greenfield Morton (1848-1853). The Planter’s Advocate published a long poem on the girl’s death.
5.4) Joseph Morton (1790/4 – bef. 1838) marr. Harriet Weems
He was named for his father’s brother and business partner, Joseph Morton. By 1820, he had moved to Anne Arundel County, where the census records him (and another aged 26-44) with a large farm with 14 slaves and a 5 free blacks. Joseph Morton who married Harriett Weems in Anne Arundel Co on 4 September 1821. St. James’ Church in Anne Arundel Co. records his burial on 18 January 1832. He died middle-aged, leaving behind two children. In 1838, his sister Elizabeth (whose husband was also a Weems relative) gave some land parcels to “George W. Morton & Harriet E. Morton (son and daughter of Joseph Morton deceased) of Prince George’s County”. But they were still minors then, wards of their uncle George, as an Anne Arundel land settlement shows.
5.4.1) George William Morton of P.G. Co. (1823-1870)
He was born in Anne Arundel Co. He was recorded as a merchant in the 1850 census and a planter in Aquasco in the 1860 census with $12,500 real estate and $12,500 personal property (20 slaves). Listed among the 1864 war draftees from Prince George’s Co were “G. W. Morton, planter, Woodville” and “Richard Douglass, slave of Geo. W. Morton”. In an 1867 list of slaveholders, he is listed as agent for his brother-in-law Peter Wood, Sr. Morton died in Baltimore but was brought back home for burial at St. Mary’s Aquasco. For his real estate see, his sister’s entry. His census reports do not indicate a wife or child.
5.4.2) Harriet E. Morton marr. Peter Wood, Sr.
She was married to Peter Wood at St. Peter’s Church Baltimore by Rev. M. Lewis of Charles Co. on July 16, 185. Wood was a trustee of Charlotte Hall Military Academy, and they had a son Peter Wood, Jr., later chief of the weather bureau in Erie, Pa. Mrs. Harriet E. Wood lived in the old house called the “Wood House” (pdf) at the intersection of Aquasco and Chalk Point Roads, until 1867 when it was sold to Samuel Selby. She seems to have moved to Washington. On February 21, 1877 Harriet E. Wood sold nearby property in Aquasco District to Samuel L. Selby for $500 cash in hand and a $2000 mortgage. The land is “a part of a tract of land formerly owned by George W. Morton deceased, save and except one square acre of land sold and conveyed to Albert H. Scott.” The 217 and 39/100 acre tract is bounded in part by the road from Woodville to Trueman’s Point. On 27 January 1883, Mary P. Selby and Virginia M. Selby granted a right-of-way to John A. Selby for $1 for “a road fifteen feet wide now used as a private road leading from the farm known as Morton’s Burnt House Farm to the public road leading from Woodville to ‘Truman’s Point’.”
Children of George Morton and Dicandia Dorcas:
5.5) Julia Ann Morton (1798/1800 – bef. 1843), marr. Joseph A. Turner
She married between 1821 and 1825 Joseph Adams Turner (b. 1783), son of William Turner and Mary Barker. In accordance with her father’s will and then her mother’s, the property Morton’s Mill Farm was inherited by her children George and Joseph Turner, but then quickly sold.
He was born 3 Feb. 1824 and died in 1861 leaving four minor children in the care of his executors Philander A. Bowen (his cousin‘s husband) and C.C. Magruder. His property, the “Aquasco Mill Farm” (484 acres), was then sold to P.A. Bowen who built an elegant large house that still stands today.
5.5.2) Joseph Henry Turner (1828-1893) marr. Maria Augusta Biays
They had six children, including a son named Morton Magruder Turner. The family is buried at St. Paul’s, Baden.
5.6) Allen Morton (1800/4 – 1822/4), d.s.p.
He was named for his grandfather Allen Billingsley. He was mentioned in his brother Henry’s 1821 will but not his father’s written in 1825.
5.7) ? Sarah, who died unmarried?
In the Sept. 9, 1843 issue of the Maryland Republican, the Prince George’s Co. sheriff advertised the capture of a 23-year-old runaway slave named George Bourke, who said he belonged to Sarah Morton living near Benedict, Charles County.