The Morton family of St. Mary’s County: Samuel Morton (1756/7 – 1834) was one of the younger sons of Thomas Morton of Prince George’s County. After serving in the Revolutionary Army, he moved to St. Mary’s County in the 1780s, married and raised his family there. But within a few years of Samuel’s death in 1834, his seven children had already scattered to Kentucky, New Orleans, Arkansas or other parts of Maryland. [N.B. There is another slightly younger Samuel Morton, born between 1756 and 1775, recorded with a small boy and girl and one slave in the 1800 census in Prince George’s Co.]
6) Samuel Morton (1756/7 – 1834) of St. Mary’s County was the sixth child of Thomas Morton of Prince George’s County and his first wife, whose name is unknown. We know his year of birth from his Revolutionary War pension application in April, 1834 (a few months before he died), when Samuel Morton (then a resident of St. Mary’s Co.) states his age as 77.
His pension application also states that he enlisted in 1777 under George Adams and served in Col. Marbury’s Regiment of the Maryland Line. He served under General Smallwood, Col. Marbury, and Capt. William Wilkinson for the full space of two months and was a Sergeant in Capt. Wilkinson’s company during which time he was in the Battle of German Town. He was living in Prince George’s Co. when he enlisted. After his discharge, he was pressed by the same officers to guard the baggage from Philadelphia to Baltimore in which service he remained 10 days when he was discharged. He took the Oath of Allegiance in 1778.
He was clearly also trusted by his family with business affairs. On Jan. 14, 1778, in Prince George’s County, Samuel Morton purchased from John Perrie a portion of “Timber Neck” as well as a portion of “Wood’s Joy” near the Patuxent, the boundary beginning where “Thomas Morton now dwellth”, in a transaction probably done with his father’s help. In his father’s will, he received half of the stock and furniture which Joseph had been given, and he signed the inventory of his father’s estate. Most importantly, he is given a share of the residuary estate, which involved him financially with his younger siblings.
Before 1785, he took residence in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, and he and his children are the only Mortons recorded in St. Mary’s during his lifetime. A decade later he received reimbursement from the state of £7.13.8 “overpaid by him for public assessments” in the years 1785-89. His name is on the 1794 militia list. The reasons for Samuel’s relocation to St. Mary’s Co are not clear; perhaps he took ownership of one of his father’s properties there, perhaps he moved to the home of a wife.
Samuel’s residence in Upper Resurrection Hundred was about 7 or 8 miles south from his family home in Prince George’s as the crow flies, but longer by road and easiest by water. His plantation was a local landmark: an 1811 lease from his neighbor William Sothoron to Elias Wheatley describes the 1.5 acres in question as the land on the right side of main road from Benedict to crossroads in Samuel Morton’s Plantation & where John Estep Jr. & Catherine his wife now reside. Samuel’s wife was a relative by marriage of the Sothorons and he had been one of the witnesses to the 1799 will of Levin Sothoron.
But his business life still occasionally involved those in the nearby counties: Samuel Morton was a creditor on the inventory of John Edwards of Charles Co. filed 4 July, 1791. He was executor of his brother William’s will, probated in Prince George’s Co. in 1815.
It is apparent that he was relatively prosperous. He appears in every census from 1790 to 1820 as well as occasional local records that survive despite the St. Mary’s courthouse fire in 1831. In the later years, as the number of his slaves grew (10, 13, 15, 17) he was the one of the larger slave-owners in his neighborhood. In 1804, he sold Eliza. Sothoron four slaves and in 1811 he sold Samuel DeButts 71 acres of “Edinburgh.” In 1801, he was a security for Nathaniel Ewing, guardian for Julian Cartwright. In 1803, he witnessed the will of Alexander Graham.
Sometime before 1790 he married Rebecca Broome (daughter of John Hooper Broome and Rebecca Greenfield), as we learn from his role as executor of the will of her father John Hooper Broome in 1799 and from a land transfer on Aug. 3, 1819 when Samuel Morton and his wife Rebecca give over to John Ashcom all their right to a certain parcel of land bequeathed by John H. Broome to his daughter Dorothy.
Those children of his whom we know by name were born from 1791 to 1812. But the early censuses record other children on his property, possibly children from an earlier marriage, possibly relatives or the family of white farmhands farmhand living with him. In the 1790 Census, Samuel Morton has two adult males and two females and one boy under 16 in his household. In 1800, his household numbered himself and his wife, one boy aged 10-15 (X), two boys younger (John and Samuel?), one young woman aged 16-25 (X), two girls under 10 (Dorothy, Susan?).
By 1810, Samuel Morton is recorded with a family that we might recognize: besides himself (over 45) and his wife (aged 26-44), there are one boy aged 10-15 (Samuel), two boys younger (George and X), one young woman 16-25 (Dorothy) and one girl 10-15 (Susan), one younger girl (Arabella). Likewise, in the 1820 census, there is a man over 45 (himself), two women over 45 (his wife and X), a woman aged 26-44 (Dorothy?), a young man 16-25 (Samuel), a girl and a boy 10-15 (Arabella and George), a boy under 10 (Henry). There are no 1830 census records for St. Mary’s Co.
Samuel Morton died in early November 1834 and was buried November 9 in Trinity Parish, Charles County, where his brothers George and James would also be buried. In his will, made out on September 12 of that year, he left his wife a life interest in the estate. He gave his unmarried daughters Dorothy Barber Morton and Arabella Morton ten negroes and “a home and a support at my present residence during their single lives and I request that they assist with their servants in the cultivation of my real estate.”
About his son Samuel, he says “I have given money and other property but it does not amount to a full child’s part. My son, John Hooper Broome Morton promised to make up the deficiency but since he may fail to comply with this promise, it is my desire that my sons, George Hooper Morton and Henry Edwin Morton make up the deficiency in such a manner that will be conducive to the wishes of them all.” To his sons George Hooper Morton and Henry Edwin Morton, he left “the residue of my estate both real and personal after the death of my wife and the death or marriage of my daughters named above evenly divided.” Executor: George Hooper Morton. Witnesses: Charles C. Egerton, James Miltimore, Peter D. Posey.
A few months later, on 7 Feb 1835, a slave named Prince belonging to Rebecca Morton died on the farm of George H. Morton, and a coroner’s inquest found that he died “under the influence of ardent spirits, exposed to the cold.”
The next generation leaves St. Mary’s for parts west
In the late 1830s, after Samuel Morton’s death, it seems the property was divided and sold. How long his wife lived and with whom is not clear.
All of their children were born in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, but then they moved west and then south. Because of Samuel Morton’s favorable economic status, it may be surprising that his children left the county. But for those with wealth, the opportunities elsewhere were just as great if not greater, because they had the resources to exploit those opportunities. And once the estate was divided among six children, it was no long so substantial.
We find several of them in north-central Kentucky by 1840 as Samuel is found then in the Daviess Co., census and Arabella married there. Meanwhile in the 1830s and 1840s, Henry E. and John H.B. Morton are documented in New Orleans and then buying land in Arkansas. Presumably due to the execution of the estate of a deceased Morton relative (perhaps even their parents), there are a number of land transactions among the siblings in Kentucky in the early 1850s. The family members then reassembled in Arkansas where the families of John H.B. and George H. Morton and Samuel’s widow are variously found in censuses of the 1850s and 1860s.
The youngest, Henry Edwin Morton, eventually returned to Maryland and married a Morton cousin in Calvert County, but there were no members of this family in St. Mary’s County after the 1830s.
Children of Samuel Morton and Rebecca Broome:
N.B. The Census data suggests that there were other children who did not survive to adulthood.
6.1) John Hooper Broome Morton (1791-1860), marr. (1) Elizabeth Done, (2) Ann Fourniquet
Named for his mother’s father, he usually signed as “John H.B. Morton”. He was a wide traveler: he worked in Washington DC, then New Orleans, bought land in Arkansas, died in Norfolk and is buried in Annapolis. He married twice, but his only descendants are from one daughter Elizabeth (Morton) (Jenkins) Gale.
6.2) Dorothy Barber Morton (c. 1792/1795 – after 1834)
She was named for her mother’s grandmother (Dorothy Barber), as had been her aunt (Dorothy Greenfield) and cousin (Dorothy Barber Tubman). Her date of birth is estimated from the 1810 and 1820 census.
6.3) Susan R. G. Morton (c. 1795/98 – 1821/3 ) marr. Zadock W. Beall
The “R. G.” in her name strongly suggests “Rebecca Greenfield”, the name of her grandmother. According to the National Intelligencer of 18 Dec 1817, Zadok W. Beall (born 1783) and “Miss Susan R.G. Morton, daughter of Samuel Morton of St. Mary’s Co. Md” were married 11 Dec 1817, by the Rev. Neale H. Shaw (an Episcopal minister and teacher in Charlotte Hall). The newspaper described her husband as “late of Prince George’s County”, implying he had recently moved to Washington, but he is found in Prince George’s County in the 1820 census. Susan was then aged 20-25, which allows us to date her birth to the mid or late 1790s. In addition, there is a girl under 10 (presumably a daughter, but perhaps of a previous marriage), a young man aged 20-25 (an unknown relative or farmhand) and 4 slaves. Zadock was the son of James Beall, Jr. whose property in Prince George’s Co. was partitioned in 1821, when “Susanna Beall” acknowledged the indenture. Susan (Morton) Beall was deceased prior to July 21, 1823 when Zadock W. Beall married second, Margaret Ashcom. The fact that she is not involved in the later Morton property transactions suggests that she died without surviving offspring. Zadock W. Beall died before August 20, 1826 in Prince George’s Co., after fathering a son in 1825 named George Thomas Beall, who later moved to Brazoria Co, Texas, accompanied by his mother Margaret Ashcom.
6.4) Samuel Morton (1799/1800 — 1851/2) married twice
He seems to have married a wife in Maryland (mother of his son Thomas) in the 1820s and a second wife in the early 1830s. They later moved to Daviess Co, Kentucky, where he is found on the 1840 and 1850 census. Children: Thomas, Mary Ann, Elizabeth Rebecca, Samuel A., Jane, John H., Arabella Ann, Mary Ellen.
6.5) Arabella Morton (1807 — 1871) marr. Thomas Field
She married on 31 Dec 1840 Thomas Field in Kentucky (1805-1847), but he died young leaving her with three children. Arabella’s tombstone in Daviess County gives her dates as 16 Oct 1807 – 7 Oct 1871. Their two sons also are buried in Daviess Co.
6.5.1) Virgie Field (8/26/1840-?)
6.5.2) Benjamin T. Field (1842-1914). He was recalled in 1922 as follows:
“On November 8, 1899, [Charles Osmund Evans] was united in marriage with Miss Ella Peyton Field, a daughter of Ben T. and Martha Jane (Hurt) Field. Ben T. Field was born in Daviess County, Kentucky, March 20, 1842, and died May 2, 1914. His wife was born August 12, 1851, and died October 20, 1899. Mrs. Evans’ paternal grandparents were Thomas and Arabella (Morton) Field, and her maternal grandparents were John William and Elizabeth (Board) Hurt…
During the war between the states, Ben T. Field served as a soldier in the Confederate army, raising a company which became a part of the Tenth Kentucky Infantry, Confederate States of America. Serving with gallantry during the war, at its close he became a farmer, and in that calling amassed a comfortable competency. Mrs. Evans is one of six children born to her parents, as follows: Thomas Crawford, John William, Bettie Belle, Ella Peyton, Newton Howell and Virginia May, the last named being deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Evans have a family as follows: John Morton, Mary Elizabeth, Margaret Field, Leila Ward and Charles Osmund.” History of Kentucky, by William Elsey Connelley, Ellis Merton Coulter (1922), vol. 3, p.54.
6.5.3) John William Morton Field (10/14/1844-8/24/1903) m. Elizabeth Angeline Hanning, with four children: Mary Belle (Rudd), Robert William, John Edwin, Jesse Dean.
6.6) George Hooper Morton (c.1810 – 1855/59) marr. (1) Elizabeth Loveless ?, (2) Mary Ann Townes
He married an unknown wife in Maryland in 1829, but then moved to Kentucky where he married Mary Ann Townes on 18 Apr 1839 in Muhlenberg Co., Ky. Eventually they moved to Arkansas, where he is recorded as a Justice of the Peace in Izard County.
Children: Ellen, James, Rebecca L., Mary Ann, George A., and Alice B. Morton. After their father’s death, George A. Morton (born 1850 in Arkansas) and Alice B. Morton retraced their father’s steps and moved to Maryland, where they lived first with their uncle Henry Edwin Morton and then separately.
6.7) Henry Edwin Morton (1812-1881) marr. Mary Catherine Morton
Probably named for his uncle Henry Broome. After a decade in New Orleans, he returned to Maryland and married his first cousin Mary Catherine Morton in Maryland. He was a farmer and financier in Calvert County. They had three children: Mary Catherine, William Edwin, and John Henry.