The Morton Family

The Morton family consisted of William Morton and his wife, Nancy, their son, John V., and two daughters. They arrived on their league across from future Richmond in 1822. I will assume you have read the preceding chapter in this pamphlet on Daniel Perry and his family. The other reference for this article I will use is History of Fort Bend County by Clarence R. Wharton.

William Morton drowned in the flood of 1833.  [maybe]

The Handbook of Texas says " Morton was drowned in a Brazos flood in 1833. Randal Jones was the last person to see him alive."

There is evidence in the County Clerk's records of Fort Bend County that indicate that he vanished from Fort Bend County, never                                        to be seen in the county again. He probably not die by drowning.

Glimpses of our History  by MONA FENN says;

In October of 1834, Nancy Morton, a resident of ‘the municipality of Austin’, filed a petition in the court of that jurisdiction as follows:

     “That in the spring of 1833, her husband, William Morton, a resident of the municipality of Austin, abandoned his plantation and property in a state of mental alienation, and it is believed, left the Republic and went to the United States of the North where it is believed he still is and your petitioner has little hope of his speedy return, so that it becomes necessary for a curator or curators to be appointed by the Court to take charge of his property and to manage his affairs during his absence from the county.”  (Abstract of Title, D. Fitzgerald League)

Evidently, just before events of the Texas Revolution reached Fort Bend County, more legal papers were drawn up.  On Feb. 20, 1836, Nancy Morton petitioned the court to have her deceased husband’s property divided between herself and her four children—Louisiana, wife of Daniel Perry; Mary, wife of W.P. Huff; John V., and William P.,   a minor being represented by John Fitzgerald as guardian. 




What were the names of the Morton children?

Clarence Wharton says on page 7 of his HISTORY OF FORT BEND COUNTY "The Mortons brought the distressful news that the sailboat in which they had come from Mobil had been wrecked on Galveston Island just across the pass; that the family, wife and five daughters, were at the scene of the wreck while the father and son John had gone out for help."

Nancy  was the wife of William Morton.

Jane Edwards  was the daughter of Nancy by a previous marriage. Jane married William Little.

John V  was the son of the Morton couple when they arrived in Texas. He married Elizabeth Shipman. He was the first sheriff of  Fort Bend County. He was the first sheriff killed while in office.

Louisa Ann  was the daughter of the Morton couple. She married Daniel Perry.

Mary  was the daughter of the Morton couple. She married Huff.

William P  was the son of the Morton couple. He is only mentioned in the Fort Bend County Clerk records shown above. Nothing else is known about him in Fort Bend County.

The known children are  two daughters  plus  Jane Edwards  and  Nancy [wife/mother]. John V and his dad had already left the wreck and did not need to be rescued. William P  is described as a minor in the records above, and was probably born in Fort Bend County. [Then Austin County] In the Brazoria County Deed Records Book B pages 389/90 there is mention of a William P Morton, as folows;

The above is from Brazoria County records. The PDF file is posted online and the above is on page 3 of that file.  Alexander-Compton-Plantation.pdf


The FBC records state that William P. Morton was a minor in 1834, probably less than 18 years old, or whatever the law was at that time. The Brazoria County records [ABOVE] indicate that a William P. Morton purchased two slaves in 1844. If this is the same William P. Morton, he would be less that 28 years old in 1844, with a thousand dollrs to spend. In 1836 William P. Morton was awarded 1384 as his part of the Morton estate. William P. Morton pruchased two slaves eight years later. Reasoning tells me that there would not be any land left in his fathers name after the estate agreement, which leads me to speculate that any later county records showing land owned by 'William Morton' would probably be owned by William [P] Morton the son who would not need to use his middle initial anymore because there was no one else named William Morton he would be confused with.

Mr. Wharton on page 20 declared an oldest son, John, who is John V. Morton. He will become the first sheriff of Fort Bend County. Also declared are two unnamed daughters one of which marries W. P. Huff. [pg125] In 1850 Mary gave her age as 60 and was living with her six children ages one to fifteen. If these children survived they would be joined by Laura Ann Perry as the only decedents of the Morton family. [pg128] Nancy Morton, mother of Mary, is listed as sixty nine in 1850. Reasoning tells me Mary is not sixty in 1850 as stated on page 125, or nine years younger than her mother with a one year old child.

On July 7, 1824, William Morton obtained a Mexican Land Grant of 1 1/2 Leagues of  Land on the east bank or the Brazos River and a Labor of  Land [177.1 acres] directly across the river on the high west bank. Built on the Labor, the Morton home was a log cabin. William Morton lived here with his family until his untimely death in 1833, when he drowned in a flood of  the Brazos River. By early 1836, the estate of William Morton had been partitioned, and the family was living on the Morton League east of the river. During the Texas Revolution, on February 21, 1836, Mrs Nancy Morton, the widow of William Morton, sold the Morton Labor on the west bank of the Brazos River to Robert Eden Handy and William Lusk. On November  8, 1837, the earliest sales of  lots in the City of  Richmond were made. The first purchaser was Mrs Mary Huff, a daughter of William and Nancy Morton; her purchase was Lot #12, Block #96 for the purchase price 'unknown' and deed record 'C-64'. She purchased the first lot sold in the City of Richmond on land that once belonged to her dad. Research has not revealed why she selected lot #12 for her home. If she wanted to, she could have watched the river traffic from her front porch. This location was on a high bluff of the river, she did not have to concern herself with flooding. Lot #12 remained in the Huff family until 1876 when the heirs sold it for $65.00 to Poebe Newell "together with the hereitaments and appurtenances". After sixty years the old house must have been in bad shape because Phoebe borrowed $125.00 from Alex Kerr for the purpose of putting up a new dwelling. Phoebe Newell was a former slave and was referred to as a "freed woman of color".

The other unnamed daughter is said to have married Stephen Richardson. I have not found any other reference to the surname  Richardson associated with any Morton. Louisa Ann (Louisiana) Morton is the daughter of William and Nancy Morton that married Daniel Perry. This is documented by land transfers in the Daniel Perry pamphlet. Is she is the other unnamed daughter?

Wharton on page 129 says that “Samuel Glascock’s wife, Elizabeth, was the daughter of John V. Morton. Her mother, the wife of John V. Morton, was a daughter of Daniel Shipman” I can not find much that is accurate in this statement. John is the son of William an original 300. Daniel and Elizabeth Shipman were brother and sister and their parents were Moses Shipman and Mary Shipman an original 300 couple.

John V. Morton married Elizabeth Shipman. John’s sister, Louisa Ann Perry, lived no more that two miles from Moses and Mary Shipman and family. I don’t think he traveled far to find a wife. John and Elizabeth had three children, Marry Ann, Louisa Jane and John S.  John V. Morton was the first sheriff killed while in office. None of his children survived. Elizabeth inherited her husband’s property. Elizabeth Shipman Morton, a widow, Married Samuel B. Glascock. They had two children, Hillary R. and Sarah Martha. These children are not blood related to the Morton's.

Louisa Ann Perry died before 1849. Nancy Morton, according to Wharton, is still living across from Richmond in 1850. This may be for census taking only. She did own the land. After her son, John V., and daughter, Louisa Ann, died; Nancy had four living grandchildren of Louisa Ann's, Daniel Perry Jr. (IV), Mary Perry, Laura Ann Perry and Mary Ann Morton living at Duke. I think Nancy lived at Daniel’s house to help take care of her grandchildren. Mary Shipman would certainly try to keep her daughter and granddaughter close.

Nancy Morton lived with her husband, William, on the future site of  Richmond from 1824 until he drowned in 1833. The Texas Revolution had just begun in 1833 so before the Runaway Scrape   in 1836 records indicate Nancy sold the property on the west side of the Brazos River and  moved to the east side of the river. Nancy's daughter, Louisa Ann, married Daniel Perry in 1833 and they resided at Duke. The Runaway Scrape was in March and April of 1836 with the home of  Eli and Sarah Fenn being destroyed by Santa Anna on the Morton League. Nancy's home on the Morton League probably was destroyed too. Eli and Sarah lived with Moses and Mary Shipman at Duke after the Runaway Scrape until they could build on the Fitzgerald League. Nancy and her son, John V. probably moved to Duke and lived with Nancy's daughter, Louisa Ann. This would have be in late April of 1836 and in December of 1836 John V. married Moses and Mary Shipman's daughter, Elizabeth. Remember that the Fenn's were living at the Shipmans. All the members of the Morton and Fenn families are living at Duke close to the Shipmans except Mary Morton Huff. Mary purchased the first lot in the new Richmond and lived out her life on her dad's land grant. Nancy would have four grandchildren by Daniel and Louisa Ann, and three grandchildren by John V.[These are also Moses and Mary Shipmans grandchildren. Moses Shipman died in 1837. Grandmother Nancy was needed at Duke, especially after 1843 when John V. was killed and Louisa Ann died.

The only Morton to survive Duke was Daniel and Louisa Ann’s daughter, Laura Ann Perry.

Written by

John Walker   2008


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