Thomas Morton was the son of Thomas Wood (d. 1782) of Wood’s Joy and an unknown wife. We can first distinguish them in the historical record in 1767, when the appraiser for the estate of Robert Dove Cook in Prince George’s Co. was called “Thomas Morton, Jr.” His father was called “Thomas Morton, Sr.” in 1774, but the simple name is often ambiguous until the death of the elder Thomas Morton in 1782. Thomas was listed after his brother John in his father’s will (in which he received a Negro woman “Sarah”). We can estimate his date of birth in the mid-1740s.
Thomas Morton, Jr and David Weems owned the 40-ton Schooner “Belvedere” built in 1773 and used on the Patuxent and in Annapolis, and he is recorded in Anne Arundel County thereafter. The administrative account of the estate of John Brashears of Anne Arundel (27 Nov 1776) records a payment to “Thomas Morton, Jr.” In 1776, the Council of Safety gave “Thomas Morton” a commission as Second Lieutenant of the South River Company of Militia.
Thomas Morton’s business connections with the Weems family led to personal ones. He married Susannah Weems on 22 Dec 1776 at St. James Church, Old Herring Creek, Anne Arundel Co. She was born 4 March 1745 (NS), at Marshes Seat, the home of her parents, David Weems and Hester Hill. Susannah was an older sister of the famous Parson Weems who invented the story of George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. In his 1779 will, her father wrote, “I give I give unto my daughter Susannah Morton Negro wench Beck and Rachel, also Negro Boy Seymonant and Negro girl Nell and their increase forever.” Along with several members of the Weems family, “Thomas Morton, Junr” appears in on the 15 Nov 1780 list of subscribers to support the clergy of St. James’ Parish (he signed up for 150 lbs tobacco, but is not recorded as paying it). A generation later, Thomas’ nephews Joseph and William Morton also married members of the Weems family.
As the Revolutionary War was ending, he seems to have moved 50 miles west to Montgomery County, Maryland. Writing from West River, Anne Arundel Co., he gave notice in the Maryland Gazette (15 March 1781) that he intended to petition the General Assembly for confirmation of his title to a tract of land in Montgomery County, purchased from Edward Sprigg.
Indeed, the 1783 Montgomery County land assessment show several tracts in Linganore and Sugar Loaf Hundred under Thomas Morton’s name: Bealls Good Will, pt, 262 acres, Final Conclusion, pt, 494 1/2 acres, Resurvey on Happy Choice, 234 acres, Self Defence, 113 acres. In order to get clear title to some properties Thomas Morton also purchased for £1350 from Paul Dorst that had belonged to the estate of Henry Hunter he also received an act from the assembly on 21 May 1787.
He must have set up mills there, for in 1792 several individuals petitioned the General Assembly for a road in Montgomery County from the Frederick County line to the mills of Thomas Morton and Zachariah Maccubbin and then to the main road that went to Georgetown. Two of the witnesses for the 1797 will of James Talbott there were Thomas Morton and George Norris. They are also listed as official members from Montgomery County in the files of the First Conference Journal (1801-1809) of the Baltimore Methodist Conference.
The 1790 Census for Montgomery County lists Thomas Morton, with one white male under 16, two white females, which implies he and his wife had a son and possibly a daughter. He is listed without slaves. The surname Morton does not appear in the 1800, 1810 or 1820 census reports for Montgomery County.
Current research has not clarified what became of this man or his family, but worth noting are three items:
—A “Thos Morton, Jr.” appears on the list of those in Washington DC with no personal property to pay taxes (Nat. Intelligencer, 20 Aug 1804), but Thomas son of Thomas Morton (d. 1782) had not used the title “Jr.” since his father died 20 years earlier.
—1809 Anne Arundel Marr. Record: Thomas Morton marr. Mary Wasteneys
—1835 Montgomery County court records: William Morton is the administrator of the estate of James Clagett.