Samuel Morgan (1753-1833)

Origins in New Jersey

We know Samuel Morgan was living somewhere in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War, but not exactly where.  The obituary of his son Samuel Morgan Jr., who was born in 1779, states that “he was born in New Jersey, and while quite young his father moved to Georgia.” 1  His son John Morgan, who was born five years later in 1784, listed his birthplace as “N.J.” in the 1850 census. (I note, however, that three of John Morgan’s children who lived long enough to be enumerated in the 1880 census all listed Georgia as their father’s birth state.)   Oddly, Samuel Morgan’s son Thomas Morgan, born about 1783, listed “N. York” as his own birthplace in the 1850 census.

Samuel Morgan may even have been born in New Jersey, as his youngest son Jonathan Morgan lived long enough to indicate for the 1880 census that both his parents were born there.

Unfortunately, there were several men named Samuel Morgan in New Jersey records.  And owning to the scarcity of New Jersey records, there may have been several more whose names were not preserved in public records.  At least three, perhaps four, of these Samuel Morgans appear among the records of New Jersey Revolutionary War military units.   We have no way of knowing how many other Samuel Morgans there may have been whose records were not preserved.   A number of descendants have decided that he was the same Samuel Morgan who served in the Morris County militia, but I have not found any evidence to support that conclusion.

Identifying our Samuel Morgan in New Jersey records seems a near impossible task given the scarcity of New Jersey records for the colonial period.   Even the 1790 census for New Jersey is lost, and precious few records of the period remain.

In Georgia by 1793

It was surely our Samuel Morgan who was in Elbert County, Georgia by 4 March 1793 when the Elbert County court issued a headright warrant to him for 100 acres.2  There is evidently a headright document, that I have been unable to locate in its original form, dated in 1793 in which he declared that he was head of a family of nine.  He appears infrequently in such records as still exist, notably as a witness to a deed in Elbert County on 12 December 1795.3

 In Franklin County, Georgia by 1800

Although relatively few records of the period survive, Samuel Morgan was in Franklin County by 1800 when he appears on a tax list with 214 acres on the Hudson River located in what would eventually become Banks County.4  His son Samuel Morgan Jr. appears in the same tax district with 150 acres west of the Hudson.  From later records these lands appeared to lie in the general vicinity of what was later the community of Homer, now in Banks County, within perhaps three or four miles of what was soon to become the Habersham County line.  The earliest mention of his wife was her release on a deed dated 14 March 1800. ((Britton, page A-2.))

Samuel Morgan continued to appear in annual tax lists, with his sons John, Thomas, and Jonathan also appearing as they turned 21.  He and his wife Nancy again sold land in 1804 and in 1809.5

Both Samuel Morgan Sr. and his son Samuel Morgan Jr. registered for the 1805 Georgia Land Lottery, but neither was a successful drawer.   Samuel Morgan Jr. was a fortunate drawer in the 1807 lottery, drawing 202½ acres in Wilkerson County, but Samuel Morgan Sr. did not draw land in subsequent lotteries.  Nor, contrary to some internet postings, did he ever register as a revolutionary soldier.

Records of the New Lebanon Presbyterian Church

The records of the New Lebanon Presbyterian Church (later renamed the Homer Presbyterian Church) mention him several times, according to a church history.6  He probably joined the Hebron Presbyterian Church after arriving in Franklin County, but transferred to the more conveniently located Carmel Church located in the town of Homer when it was organized in 1810.7  He was one of six church elders who transferred to the new congregation.8

Carmel Presbyterian Church was reorganized in 1827 as New Lebanon Presbyterian Church and Samuel Morgan and William Turk were installed as two of the four elders in a congregation of twenty-six. (Ibid., page 248.))  William Turk, his fellow elder and a close neighbor on Webb Creek, was the uncle of John Morgan’s last wife.   Long after Samuel Morgan’s death, in 1866,  the church was renamed as Homer Presbyterian Church after Homer became the county seat of Banks County.

I note that the Presbyterian Church history referenced here contains an entirely fictitious ancestry for Samuel Morgan, apparently provided in the 1990s by a great-great-grandson of Jonathan Morgan.9  It also states, with the only evidence being “family history”, that Samuel Morgan was born in Pennsylvania.10

 1833 Will and Death

Although he continued to be taxed in Franklin County, and evidently continued to attend the New Lebanon Church, at some point Samuel and Nancy Morgan apparently lived with one of their children in Habersham County.  (I might note that, at that time, the Habersham County line was perhaps five miles from Samuel’s land in Franklin County.)

The deaths of both Samuel and Nancy Morgan are noted in the minutes of the New Lebanon Presbyterian Church:11

Samuel Morgan, a ruling Elder of this church, departed this life the 9th of October 1833 aged 80 years and strong in the faith.

Nancy Morgan, a member of New Lebanon Church, departed this life October 26th 1835 aged seventy-eight years and in the triumphs of faith.

The will of Samuel Morgan, as it appears in the Habersham County minute book: 12

Habersham County, February the 8th Day 1833 — Samuel Morgan Senr. of said State and County being in a low State of health but in proper mind and understanding Doth this Day make his last will and testament. (Viz.) Doth give & bequeath unto Samuel Morgan Junr. & John Morgan & Jonathan Morgan this three Sons, one Negro man by the Name of Tony & one Negro Woman by the Name of Jinny and one Tract of Land Lying & being in the County of Franklin & State aforesaid on the waters of Webbs Creek Two hundred & fifty acres joining to Samuel Haden & others.  I also give & bequeath unto Thomas Morgan my Son one Dollar.  I also give & bequeath unto Marthy Garison & Patsy Paris & Telitha Cockram my three Daughters all my house hold and Kitchen furniture.  I also give & bequeath unto Nancy Garison and Margarett Cook my Daughters one Dollar each. I also give & bequeath unto William Forsyth a husband of my Daughter Rhoday one Dollar, the above Stated property to remain & be for the Support of my Self & wife Nancy during life & then to belong to the above named persons as is above stated. I further appoint Samuel Morgan Junr. & John Morgan & Jonathan Morgan my Lawful Executors.  I do hereby acknowledge the above Statements to be my last Will & Testament in the presents of this day and date above written.
Signed: Samuel [his X mark] Morgan
Witness: Merady [his X mark] Bondzeal, Richard Morgan, James Bryan

The will is immediately followed by this item in the inferior court minute book:

Ordinary Court 14th January 1834
Ordered By the Court now Sitting that Fred A. Weever be and he is hereby authorized to Sell the property of Thomas [sic] Morgan Dcesed and make a return according to law.

 

  • There is no mention of real estate in Habersham County, so we might logically assume that Samuel and his wife Nancy had formerly lived in Franklin County but were now living with  one or more children in Habersham County.
  • Richard Morgan is unknown.  No Richard Morgan appears in the records of Franklin County.  It is possible that this was a transcription error by the court clerk when he copied the will into the county record book, much as he erroneously wrote “Thomas” for “Samuel” in the adjacent record.

Samuel Morgan’s wife Nancy was Nancy Hill, according to a marriage license taken out by their son Jonathan for his fourth and final marriage in 1876.13

  1. Samuel Morgan Jr.  (26 April 1779 – 2 February 1857)  He and his family are covered in Ms. Britton’s book and numerous online postings.   He had three marriages and eight children.  He died in Benton County, Alabama, to which he had moved in 1834, and was buried in the Nances Creek Methodist Church cemetery.   His obituary in the Jacksonville Republican states that “he was born in New Jersey, and while quite young his father moved to Georgia.” 14   Samuel Morgan Jr. (1779-1857) moved to Alabama in 1834 with his first wife Eleanor Garrison.
  2. Nancy Morgan married a neighbor named Thomas Garrison
  3. Telitha Morgan was Teletha Cockram in her father’s will.  She was apparently married to H. J. Cockram.
  4. Rhoda Morgan  She was married to William Forsyth.
  5. Margaret Morgan  She was Margaret Cook in her father’s will.
  6. Thomas Morgan (c1787 – c1852)  Although not named in the will, he seems likely to have been a son of Samuel Morgan.  He appears sparingly in Franklin County records.  His name appears next to Samuel Morgan’s on the 1807 and 1811 tax lists with 100 acres on Webb’s Creek. 15  He may have moved into an adjoining county, perhaps Habersham whose county line was at that time just a brisk walk to the northwest.  He moved to the part of Walker County that became Chattooga County after buying land there in 1836. 16  He was enumerated in the 1850 census of Chattooga County as age 63 and born in “N. York”, with a wife named Cyntha A. (age 39), and two young men named William (19) and C. C. (16, born in Alabama).   In 1853 his will was disputed by some of his children on the grounds that his second wife Cyntha had taken advantage of his dementia to acquire his estate.17  His children included William Morgan, Sophronia H. Morgan (Lansford), John R. Morgan, Thomas Morgan, Pleasant Newton Morgan, and perhaps others.
  7. John Morgan  See separate page.
  8. Martha Morgan She was Martha Garison in her father’s will, the wife of James Caleb Garrison.
  9. Jonathan Morgan (7 April 1801 –  4 May 1890)  He married Christina Gardner in Clark County, Georgia on 23 September 1832.18  He was enumerated in Franklin County in 1830, 1840 and 1850 with several children. 19  He was still in Banks (formerly Franklin) County for the 1860 census but by the 1870 census was living in Calhoun County, Alabama not far from his brother.  After his wife’s death he married a widow named Cynthia Ann Farmer on 15 August 1877 in Calhoun County, Alabama.20  He and Cynthia (1812-1885) share a common, modern gravestone in the Nances Creek United Methodist Church Cemetery in Calhoun County.

 

 

  1. Eunice Britton, page A-6, quoting the Jacksonville (Alabama) Republican issue of 18 February 1857. []
  2. Georgia Headright and Bounty Land Grants, images at familysearch.com, image 214 of 574 among Morgans.  The warrant is marked “executed” on the back side. []
  3. Britton, page A-2. []
  4. The tax list notes that his land was originally owned by Samuel Nelson. []
  5. Historical Collections of the Georgia Chapters, Daughters of the American Revolution, Vol. I, Franklin County (Chas. F. Boyd, State Printer, 1926), pages 239, 280. []
  6. Banks County , Georgia Hebron Historical Society, Hebron Presbyterian Church : God’s Pilgrim People 1796-1996 (Darby Printing Co., 1995). []
  7. Ibid., pages 107 and 149. []
  8. Ibid., pages 142 and 211. []
  9. Ibid., pages 393-398. []
  10. Ibid., page 212 and again on 394. []
  11. Kindly posted online by Jacqueline King at http://banksga.genealogyvillage.com/Obituary/SessionMinutes.html. []
  12. Habersham County Inferior Court Minute Book 4A, pp113. []
  13. Britton, page A-2. []
  14. Britton, page A-6, quoting the Jacksonville (Alabama) Republican issue of 18 February 1857. []
  15. The 100 acres appears to have belonged to Samuel though Thomas was taxed on it. []
  16. Britton, page A-18. []
  17. Britton, page A-18. []
  18. Original marriage license dated 17 September and and return by Samuel Brightwell, J.P. []
  19. In 1850 the household included Jonathan (49), Christianna (50), Reuben (19), Nancy M (18), Lucretia (17), Samuel (15), Lucinda (13), Rhoda (11) and Green (5). []
  20. Original marriage license and return.  The return refers to her as “Mrs. Cyntha Farmer”. []