I want you to take a virtual drive with me from Sugar Land, west on 90A into Richmond. The first traffic light after crossing the Brazos River has a sign that says LOOP 762. The next intersection has a traffic light and is THIRD ST. Take a right and the next street has a stop sign, and is MORTON ST. Take another right and on the right side of the street is the MORTON MASONIC LODGE and then ahead is a stop sign. THIRD St. is one block behind us and this is SECOND ST. Across the street is the old Richmond Fire Station and BEHIND the fire station, FIRST STREET IS MISSING. It has been missing since the flood of 1899. Now we turn left and cross the Hump of the RR. The water from the flood of 1899 was higher than the RR. Ahead on the left side of the street by about a block is the MORTON CEMETERY. What is missing from this cemetery are the GRAVES OF ANY OF THE MORTON FAMILY.

I hope you enjoyed our drive.


    The year was 1781. The place is Missouri. The event is the birth of a baby girl to her Pettigrew parents. They named her NANCY. When Nancy Pettigrew grew up, She married Mr. Edwards and they had a daughter they named JANE. For whatever the reason Nancy Pettigrew Edwards was again single and married William P. Morton of Mobile. Jane Edwards married William W. Little, in Missouri, early in 1821.In the United States, in November 1821, William Little contracted with Austin to work for him in Texas until December 1822 building cabins, a stockade and planting five acres of  corn. He sailed as superiendent of cargo on the Lively and reached the mouth of the Brazos River in January 1822. The Lively then left them stranded and headed for Port San Bernardo. One day a party in a 40 foot PRIGUE came into the mouth of the Brazos River with David Fitzgerald and his son John. In February 1822 the party moved upstream until William Little and David Fitzgerald both camped at the great bend of the Brazos.[-RICHMOND-] David Fitzgerald immediately started building his house on land he chose and wished to own on the EAST SIDE of the Brazos..

    In the middle of March, it was decided to send a group to visit the mouth of the Brazos in hopes of finding more colonists. There were none found so they spent a few days fishing. After a few days a SMALL YAWL [rowboat] reached the river bringing William Morton and his 17 year old son John. The Morton group had shipwrecked a sailboat and needed help to rescue the mother and 5 daughters.

This was not just a fishing trip.This trip to the coast at the mouth of the Brazos River would have been caused by Jane Edwards Little. Either she was with her husband and wanted someone to meet her mom, Nancy, or she was with the Morton group and her husband wanted someone to meet his wife's arival to the Brazos.


WHAT IS MISSING are any names of the 5 daughters.


WHAT IS MISSING is any written communication with Nancy Morton. She could not read or write.


    On July 7, 1824, William Morton obtained a Mexican Land Grant of 1 1/2 Leagues of  Land on the east bank of 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 disapearance.

    When David Fitzgerald went to San Felipe to apply for his land, he was told that William Morton already owned the land. This conflict was resolved by an agreement between the two to trade a quarter of each others league when Fitzgerald was granted his land. That way David Fitzgerald would own his land with the house that he had built.


    The census of March 1826 listed Morton as a farmer and stock raiser, aged between forty and fifty.His household then included his wife, Jane, three sons and two daughters

    WHAT IS MISSING is the correct name of Mr. Morton's wife, Nancy, not Jane There were only 2 sons and two daughters. What I believe is the error is that census is for the Little family.


    David Fitzgerald attended the Battle of Anahuac and returned home only to die in 1832. [There are several other participants in this event that shortly after returning home died, a reason to suspect foul play]


    This event happened in December of 1833. Daniel Perry, his wife Eliza J., and their two sons, Samuel and James Whitehead, arrived in Texas in June 1832 and went to live with his brother, James, near Caldwell, until Daniel could find a place on which he could make his home. As there were no more land grants being issued he would have to buy. Sometime during this time his wife, Eliza, died. He met Louisa Ann Morton, Daughter of William Morton, and on December 24, 1833, they were married by marriage bond. After Texas became a Republic the were remarried by Harris county officials on September 7, 1837, as recorded in Book A page 8. The original bond is written in the handwriting of Mr. Thomas Barnett.

    The newly weds and Daniel's two sons from his previous mariage made their residence on the 1/4 league [agreed to be ] traded from David Fitzgerald. [presently located near Arcola].


    During the spring flood of 1833 at Richmond, William P Morton walked into the floodwaters of the Brazos River. This is the last he was seen or heard from, that I know of. His body was never found. He was never officially declared DEAD.

    Senario 1, It would be quicker in the courts to say he abandoned the area and settle his estate, as apposed to proving he was dead.

    Senario 2, He really was not dead, and he really did abandon the area.

The results are the same, he was claimed to have abandon the area.


   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)

Daniel Perry, Lousianna 's husband, was administrator of the Morton estate.

    On Feb. 20, 1836, Nancy Morton petitioned the court to have her missing husband’s property divided between herself and her four children—Louisiana, wife of Daniel Perry; Mary, wife of W.P. Huff; John V., and minor-William P., being represented by John Fitzgerald as guardian.

    It can be concluded that no improvements existed on the labor of land on the west side of the Brazos River after 1934 [including no remains of the Morton's original home].

    It took Nancy Morton two years to settle the estate of her deceased husband. One day later, she sold Labor # 1 to Robert E. Handy and William Lusk on February 21, 1836, "together with with all the uses and improvements ."  Handy and Lusk were merchants in the community of Brazoria, and desired to start a new own, which they did on this labor of land following the Texas Revolution. [-RICHMOND-]

In the 1836 division of her deceased husband's estate, Nancy Morton received the labor # 1 on the west side of the Brazos River plus, on the east side,  the southwest quarter of League # 18 on which she resided-- which is immediately across the Brazos River from Labor #1. The four children were to divide the remaining property equally. Each heir--William P., John V., Mary, and Louisiana Morton--Received a total of 1384 acres"

    WHAT IS MISSING  is why and when did Nancy move their residence across the river. Keep in mind that this settlement happened exactly two months before the Battle of San Jacinto.

    Mary Morton was already married to William P Huff. 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'. This location was on a high bluff of the river, she did not have to concern herself with flooding. [Remember, First Street washed into the Brazos River in the flood of 1899. aparently flooding should have been a concern ]

    WHAT IS MISSING is what happened to the couple. Willim Huff died pennyless and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Houston. This only makes sense if you know that one of the couple's daughters Married a Ewing and she financed the burial. Mary was not buried here, so she is still MISSING to us.

    William P Morton, the 'minor', may be hidden in plain sight to historians because his name is the same as his dad's. William P Morton property would not show a new owner when transferred to a 'minor' of the exact same name. In the BRAZORIA County Deed Records Book B pages 389/90 there is mention of a William P Morton, as folows;

    In March 1844 Alexander  Compton issued  four  notes totaling $8070.99 to Edward Purcell with Stephen M. Westervelt and King Holstein as trustees of a deed of trust. At this time he had to use 34 slaves, his plantation, and his current cotton crop for the year 1844 to secure his notes.SHORTLY THEREAFTER HE SOLD TWO OF HIS SLAVES TO WILLIAM P. MORTON FOR $1,000.00


    March and April of 1836 saw Santa Anna's army chasing Sam Houston and his army in order to do battle. In April Santa Anna was camped on the labor of land belonging to Handy and Lusk.The residents of the area were racing to the United States, just across the Sabine River, into Louisiana. This is referred to as the Runnaway scrape.Upon returning to the Brasos after the Battle of San Jacinto, both the Mortons and Fitzgeralds found their homes burned.

    Nancy Morton and her son John V Morton began to to stay with Nancy's daughter, Lousianna Perry at what would become the Duke Community. [now near Arcola]

    John V. married his close neighbor, Elizabeth Shipman, on December 22nd, 1836. She was the daughter of Moses and Mary Shipman, original 300 settlers. In 1837 John V polled ninety-five votes to win the election as the first sheriff of Fort Bend County. While serving as sheriff, he was killed at Richmond by George W. Pleasants on February 7, 1843. George W. Pleasants would eventually be buried at the Morton Cemetery.

John V was buried at Duke

Louisa Jane Morton died in 1843 was the 3 year old Daughter of John V. and Elizabeth Shipman Morton.             She is buried at Duke.


John S. Morton died in 1848 was the 6year old Son of John V. and Elizabeth Shipman Morton. He was killed by being thrown from a horse.

He is buried at Duke.

Mary Ann Morton died in 1852 was the 4year old Daughter of John V. and Elizabeth-she died of Cholera and is Buried at Duke.

None of John V. and Elizabeth's children survived Duke.

Elizabeth eventually married Mr Glasscock


Nancy Morton died about 1850 plus or minus.

She is buried at Duke.


Lousianna Moton Perry died sometime between 1843-1849; Wife of  Daniel Perry-Daughter of  William and Nancy Morton; Sister to John V., Mary and William P.; Mother of Samuel H., Daniel Jr., Mary L.,William M., and Laura A.

She is buried at Duke

Daniel Perry Jr. (4th)  died in 1852. Was the 5 year old Son of  Daniel and Lousia Ann-he Died of Cholera and

is Buried at Duke.


Mary L Perry died in 1852 Daughter of  Daniel and Lousia Ann-She Died of Cholera and

is Buried at Duke

William M. Perry, [A MORTON], Died in 1863 and was the 29 year old son of Daniel and Louisa Ann- He was Killed the in Civil War in Springfield, Illinois.


During the Civil War Daniel Perry and his daughter,Laura Ann moved to Houston to live.


The only Morton to survive Duke was Laura Ann.  


    The cemetery was Dedication, by William Paschal [W. P.] Hamblen, Filed May 28, 1902-Recorded Vol.23, page 266 Fort Bend County Deed Records.

    Judge W.P. Hamblen was educated in Houston, studied law with Sabin & Henderson (Governor J.W. Henderson and C.B.Sabin, United States Judge who died in 1890). Hamblin was admitted to practice June 19, 1855 in Harris County, Judge P.W. Gray being Judge of the court at this time, and has practiced continuously in Houston ever since, except from October 1, 1855 to March 1, 1856 when he was county clerk of Fort Bend County under appointment of Judge C.C. Dyer, Chief Justice.

    The 100' x 100' Cemetery was [and still is] marked by 16 each 3"steel pipes set in home made brick and mortor.


OF FORT BEND COUNTY. Today CAD will not recognise the cemetery because they require a legal description.


In Houston Laura Ann met and later married Charles C. Bryant. Laura Bryant's name appears as the wife of  C C Bryant in an 1875 Fort Bend County deed transcation. Laura and her husband sold 75 acres to Green K. Cessna. The daughter of Green K Cessna was Miss Lou Cessna, who in 1889 married Daniel J. DeWalt.

More information is available at

Duke Community


The Family Tree Of  Daniel Perry 1794-1970  PDF


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