This website “The Mortons of the Patuxent” chronicles the story of Thomas Morton (d. 1782 ) of Wood’s Joy and his descendants. But there is one contemporary Morton who was probably a brother or cousin of Thomas:
William Morton (c.1710/20 – 1790 Charles Co.). William and his first wife Margaret had only one surviving child, a daughter Ann (b. 1739/40) who married Daniel Murphy III in 1757 (they had many children including one named Elizabeth Morton Murphy). In 1751, “William Morton of Charles County” purchased from John Anderson and his wife 50 acres “being part of a tract of land called Whittam Enlarged, bounded by the south side of the Spring Branch, a tract of land called The Birdshead” (CC Land Z#2). His neighbors can be identified from the Rent Roll of Charles County in fall 1753, which lists the 400 acres of “Wilton” in the possession of John Davis (50), James Davis (50), Benjamin Wood (50), William Posten (50), William Morton (100) Thomas Petite (100), Thomas Davis (50). His wife Margaret Morton was still alive in 1761 (and 1770?) when William and Margaret Morton witnessed the will of David Davis.
William married a second time to Elizabeth Davis (probably the daughter of David Davis) before he wrote his will Nov 2, 1774. In 1764, Wm. Morton was one of the appraisers of the estate of Edward Davis, Sr. and in 1777 of Peter Davis of Birdshead. Relevant to this family is the widow Ann Davis who died 1785 in Chas. County (witn. Samuel Murphey, a grandson of Wm. Morton) with bequest to her daughter Elizabeth who had married a Mr. Morton; this Elizabeth Morton died 1810.
William’s will of 1774 (prob. 1794) left his wife Elizabeth a life interest in that property known as “the plantation Wittom Enlarged, where my dwelling house now stands”; then on October 16, 1794, with Elizabeth still living, William’s grandchildren (Murphey siblings) sold their survivor interest in Wittom Enlarged to Zacheus Davis. William left his daughter a tract of land called Arabia and 25 acres of Heards Mountain which he purchased from his son-in-law Daniel Murphey of St. Mary’s County on the same day he wrote his will (but he actually purchased 200 acres). Among William Morton’s chief creditors at probate was George Morton, who must be the son of Thomas Morton of that same name.
From these documents, it is clear that William Morton lived in the eastern area of Charles County along the St. Mary’s County line and was a member of Trinity Church. In short, he lived not far from Thomas Morton and had common connections and were likely close relatives. William Morton’s widow Elizabeth Davis mentions no children in her will (only that, so his desc. Accordingly, only Thomas Morton’s family is the subject of these pages.
Ancestors to Thomas and William Morton
Nothing is known of their antecedents, although there are hints about earlier John Mortons. Thomas Hussey had land rights for 200 acres due him for transporting John Morten and Thomas Mills into the Province of Maryland, rights which were then assigned to Thomas Allanson, Gent. who recorded Allanson’s Folly in Prince George’s Co. in 1663. At the June 1679 Charles County Court, Major John Wheeler presented a servant John Morton, aged 20 years, whose transport to Maryland he apparently paid for. A John Morton is one of the recipients of payments from the estates of Thomas Grimes of Prince George’s Co in 1713 and John Rodgers of Charles Co in 1721.
DNA research has indicated a link between Thomas Morton of Wood’s Joy and Marshall Morton, Sr. (b. 1756 in NC or SC), but whether those lines separated in North America or already in England is not known.
There is a well-documented Morton family in Talbot County, Md and other parts of the Eastern Shore, and occasional mentions of Mortons in Anne Arundel Co. There are also several Virginia families of this name, including one on the Northern Neck of Virginia (not related to the Marylanders who went to Stafford County in the 1780s). But no connection has been established with any of these families.
Various unplaced Mortons in Southern Maryland
In 1728 and 1730, Richard Morton received payments from the estates of John Mallahone and Matthew Mason respectively, both of St. Mary’s Co.
In 1741, George Morton and Philip Lee, Jr were witnesses to the signature of Robt Yates, a Justice of the Peace in Chas. Co. confirming a power of attorney from merchants in Bristol to “Col. Thomas Lee of Virginia and Philip Lee, Gent and Richard Lee, Gent, both of Maryland”. Because of the Lees’ various connections this could also be George Morton from King George Co, VA
Thomas Roby of the southern part of Charles County wrote his will in 1776, leaving part of his estate to the children of his daughter Mary Martha Morton (b. 1737/8) — but it is not clear who her husband might be or who these children were.
In 1778, the Charles County Orphans Court examined the balances of several estates, include that of a John Morton, who could not be that of John Morton son of Thomas (who d. 1794). In fact, John Morton son of Thomas seems to be called “John Morton, Jr.” in 1783, which again suggests there was an older man of the same name.
There are two Mary Mortons in the early censuses for Charles County; they are probably related to Thomas and/or William.
Robert Morton appears in the 1800 Census for Prince George’s County, Md: he was over 45, with one boy aged 10-15, one young woman 16-25, and no slaves.
Samuel Morton is recorded in the 1800 Census for Prince George’s County, Md: he was aged 26-44, with one boy and girl under 10, and one slave. Neighbors are John Clagett, William Shaw, Horatio Boswell, Samuel Bond, John Burns.
Anne Arundel Marr. Record: Thomas Morton marr. Mary Wasteneys, 14 November 1809.
James Morton, a farmer aged 25 without property in the 1850 census for the Charles County.
There are also probably a few Mortons who are currently unnoticed because the name was transcribed by the more common name Martin.