Isaac Morris, died 1750, Amelia County, Virginia and His Descendants

This will be my last rambling about the Morris clan of Amelia County, Virginia, as they are not directly related to my husband. However, I hope that the wills and lawsuit that I’ve uncovered as I chased this BSO (bright, shiny object) will help some Morris descendants somewhere.

Isaac Morris left a will dated 17 December 1749, which was entered into court records on 18 May 1750.

Isaac named his loving wife, Mary Morris, and his son, Moses Morris, as executors of his last will and testament. Perhaps luckily for his descendants, his children and grandchildren were a bit on the litigious side and a chancery court lawsuit further identifies some of his grandchildren.

First, here is his will, which Isaac signed with his mark:

Amelia County, Virginia WB 1:64
Source: FamilySearch

In the name of God amen I Issac Morris Senr being very weak of Body but in my Perfect Sence (sic) and Memory praised be God Almighty for the same and knowing the uncertainty of this Mortal life Therefore Make and Ordain this my Last Will and Testament Revoking all other Will by me formerly made and this Only to be my Last Will and Testament I therefore Give and Bequeath as followeth

Item, I give and Bequeath to my Daughter Elizabeth Harris one Negro Man Named Bridge which she Hath already in Possession and Cow and Calf to her and her Heirs and assigns for Ever

Item I give and Bequeath to my Son Moses Morris one negro Girl named (Tamer?) and three Hundred Acres of Land Lying in Amelia County at the place Called Jacks quarter taking it in a Regular Manner to Lines that it may Not be hurtful to the Other part of the Trace of Land to him and Heirs for Ever after the decease of my Loving Wife Mary Morris

Item I Give and Bequeath to my Daughter Leah Morris one negro Girl named Judy to her and her Heirs forever

Item I give and Bequeath to my Son silvanus Morris three Hundred Acres of Land Lying in Amelia County with the Plantation whereon I now Live to him and His Heirs and assigns for Ever

Item I give and Bequeath to my Son Zachariah Morris Three Hundred Acres of Land Lying Amelia County Joining my Son Moses Morris to him and his Hiers (sic) for Ever

Item I Give and Bequeath to my son Isaac Morris Three hundred acres of Land lying in Amelia County Joining my Son Zachariah Morris to him and his heirs for ever

Item I give and Bequeath to Thomas Whitworth when he hath paid for it the Land in Amelia County which he bought of me to him and his Heirs for ever. And as for the Residue or Remainder of my Estate be it in what nature or property (?) Except Land I leae under the Care of my Wife Mary Morris During her naturall life or Widow-hood But if she should marry at that day or the day of her Death then the above mentioned part of my Estate to (be) Equally Divided amongst Three of my Daughters Tabitha, Rhoda and Oney Morris and three of my Sons Silvanus Zachariah and Issac Morris —But if the Leagusies (sic) of the last six Children mentioned be found to be more then the (?) Leagusies Given in the Personall part then the (overplus?) to be Equally divided amongst all my Son and Daughters Except Elizabeth Harris. and lastly Constitute and ordain my Loving Wife Mary Morris Executrix and my Son Moses Morris Executor of this my last Will and Testament in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and fixed my Seal this seventeenth day of December One thousand seven hundred an forty nine.

Isaac (his X mark)Morris Seal

In the time At these (words?) (except Land)
Interlined before signed

Signed Sealed
In Presence of
Benjn Hendrick
Jacob Seay, Thomas Whitworth
Sarah (her X mark) Edwards

From this, we can see that Isaac Morris had the following children. Whether or nor wife Mary was the mother of them is unknown. Birth years are estimated, based on the fact that Moses had to be at least 21 to serve as an executor, so born no later than 1728 and he had unmarried sisters.:

  1. Elizabeth, born c1725; married Mr. Harris, before 17 December 1749
  2. Moses, born c1727
  3. Leah, born c1729; unmarried in 1749 (or possibly married to a Morris cousin, which occurred in this family and time period)
  4. Silvanus, born c1731
  5. Zachariah, born c1733
  6. Isaac, born c1735
  7. Tabitha, born c1737; unmarried in 1749
  8. Rhoda, born c1739; unmarried in 1749
  9. Oney, born c1741; unmarried in 1749

Two statements in Isaac’s will led to years of litigation by siblings and siblings’ heirs against their mother, Mary, and brother, Moses. First, the estate couldn’t be fully distributed unless Mary remarried or died. She was alive at least as late as September 1767, but is mentioned as “late mother” on 21 July 1773 by Moses Morris.

What caused the lawsuit to be filed was one sentence in Isaac’s will: But if the Leagusies (sic) of the last six Children mentioned be found to be more then the (?) Leagusies Given in the Personall part then the (overplus?) to be Equally divided amongst all my Son and Daughters Except Elizabeth Harris

Because Mary survived husband Isaac by at least 17 years, property values had changed a lot, both real and personal, and the heirs were fighting to have their shares made equal by current standards of the day. Sadly, most of the legal fight was over the value of enslaved people.

However, buried in the case file are pages which gave a few more details about Isaac’s children.

Here is the revised list of heirs of Isaac Morris, based on further details in Amelia County, Virginia Chancery Court files 1785-015 and 1791:018:

  1. Elizabeth, born c1725; married Mr. Harris, before 17 December 1749
  2. Moses, born c1727; died c1802, when he wrote his will.
  3. Leah, born c1729; married Joseph Pollard, before 22 February 1770
  4. Silvanus, born c1731; perhaps the one who was sued by wife Sarah for cruelty between 1783 and 1792.(See Chancery Court file 1792-027) as Tabitha Morris was one of the witnesses called to court.
  5. Zachariah, born c1733; died c1807, when he wrote his will
  6. Isaac, born c1735
  7. Tabitha, born c1737; unmarried, but alive in 1785
  8. Rhoda, born c1739; married John Beadle, before 22 February 1770. John Beadle died after 26 November 1788.
  9. Oney, born c1741; married Augustine (also called Abraham in the court papers) Beadle, before 22 February 1770

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Isaac Morris, died 1750, Amelia County, Virginia and His Descendants”

  1. I have been researching the Amelia Co. Morrises for many years — before the Internet. The mention of Catherine Morris as a daughter of James Waters is new and fascinating! And your theories about the name Rhoda also have me thinking. Moses Morris’s wife in July 1763 and in Apr 1786 was named Mary (I suspect she was a Hawkins, but that’s another story). But could his first 4 children (Rhoda, Zachariah, a daughter, and Moses Jr) have been from a first wife, Catherine Waters? I wonder if James Waters’ (first?) wife was named Rhoda, and so if Catherine was Moses Morris’ first wife, it would have been customary for the first daughter to be named for the maternal grandmother. Here’s another possibility: Moses had a sister named Rhoda who was born about 1740/2, which is about the same time that Mourning Waters was born. Maybe Moses’ mother (another Mary UNK) and Catherine Waters’ mother were sisters. In fact both of these theories could be correct because, as you know, it was very common for cousins to marry. I’d love to brainstorm with you!

    1. Dear Diane,

      I have also been working on the Morris crowd in Amelia for ages. I descend from Jenny Morris Hendrick. I would like to get in on this “brain storming.”

      Al the best,
      Jason

  2. I’m a descendant of these lovely litigious Morris’s 🙂 My dear grandmother was Selina Morris and I’ve been researching Amelia County where they came from. I go back to Eaton Morris and not sure who his parents are. But definitely Amelia County was the place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.