Hardy Gatlin heirs sell land to Laban Morris – 1814 (Annotated… sort of)

by | Apr 1, 2019 | 3 comments

My ancestor Laban Morris never built on his own land. He did buy a parcel in 1814 (found in Deed Book 39, p. 589-591) from the heirs of Hardy Gatlin, but then he turned around and sold it to Hiram Pollard in 1815

Since I’m forever picking apart every single clue that I can to determine the identity of Laban’s mother, I thought I’d revisit this deed (for the millionth time, I’m sure) and annotate it as best I can in terms of identifying who’s who and hope that some of you might have more information and will comment below.

Please note, I didn’t transcribe the lengthy section on page 591 in which the assigned commissions report back from Georgia about the women being examined privately and agreeing to sell the land.

The individuals named are as follows: 

“… of the County of Morgan”

  • Levi GATLIN – Son of Edward GATLIN (d. 1781 “mortally wounded” in the American Revolution) & Elizabeth JOHNSON of Craven County. 
  • Major GATLIN – I’m not sure yet who his parents are. He was in Morgan County when this deed was made, but a few years earlier, in 1808, he married a woman named Darkes (Dorcus) GATLIN in Greene County, Georgia. It appears he may have moved on to Mississippi. [Becky Sumrell has graciously answered my questions about this! See the comments section at the bottom of this page.]

“… of the County of Greene”

  • Benjamin PEARCE – I’m unsure of his parents, although I suspect he’s a grandson of Edmund Pearce and his wife, Rachel. Edmund did have a son named Benjamin, but he would’ve been born too early to be this Benjamin. Edmund’s son Benjamin mentioned his unborn child in his will and that may be this Benjamin, but as of right now, I have no evidence of that. He married Selah (Celia) HARRIS, daughter of John HARRIS and Mary GATLIN. 
  • Celia, his wife (Selah HARRIS) – daughter of John HARRIS and Mary GATLIN
  • William TOOKE – son of Joseph Tooke (b. in Brunswick County, Virginia, d. Craven County, 1801). Some say that his mother was named Mary Robertson. I have no evidence to prove or disprove this.
  • Polly, his wife (Mary “Polly” GATLIN) – daughter of Edward GATLIN & Elizabeth JOHNSON

“… of the County of Pulaski” 

  • Stephen GATLIN – Son of Edward GATLIN & Elizabeth JOHNSON. Married Mary HARRIS on 4 Apr 1786 (bondsman: Jesse CHAPMAN). 
  • Farnifold GATLIN – Died about 1832 in Pulaski County, Georgia. (I think Farnifold and Hardy, below, are sons of Stephen, but I’ve not yet found documentation of that.) 
  • Hardy GATLIN – Died about 1819 in Pulaski County, Georgia. 
  • James ROACH – Died 1829, Pulaski County, Georgia. Married Elizabeth GATLIN (Betsey, mentioned below), daughter of Edward GATLIN & Elizabeth Johnson. 
    • [James Roach’s will mentions: Daughter: Allethea Coalson, Sons: Stephen Roach, David Roach, Greenberry Roach, James Roach Jr., Spencer Roach; Youngest Daughters: Susannah, Elizabeth, Sally; Wife: Elizabeth; Witnesses: Nancey Shipp, Penelope Powers, George Cherry]
  • Betsey, his wife (Elizabeth GATLIN) – Daughter of Edward GATLIN & Elizabeth JOHNSON. 

A William HARRIS is mentioned towards the bottom of the deed, but he doesn’t sign it and isn’t mentioned at the top so I’m not sure if that was an error. 

Land in Craven County is bordered by:

  • Eliazer NELSON – I’m totally confused about this one. There was an Eliazer NELSON who lived in Craven County in the mid-to-late-1700s, but he died by 1785 leaving a widow, Rebecca, and three living children: Levi NELSON, Seth NELSON, Rachel NELSON. His fourth child, Hannah NELSON had married an IPOCK, but she was already deceased by the time her father died. 
  • John NELSON – This could be John NELSON, who was married to Betsey WALLACE or John S. NELSON, who was married to Fanny CARRAWAY. Both men were living in the same vicinity at the time of this deed. 
  • “BRYAN’s line” – I’m also not sure which BRYAN this is. I hope someone reading this might know and comment below. 

So has all of this helped me further solve the mystery of Laban Morris’s mother? No, but nevertheless, I still enjoy fleshing out some of these old Swift Creek families. Again, if you have any information to share on any of these individuals, please comment below. 

This Indenture made this 17th day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fourteen between Levi GATLIN & Major GATLIN of the County of Morgan, Benjamin PEARCE and Celia his wife, William TOOK and Polly his wife of the County of Greene, Stephen GATLIN, Farnifold GATLIN, Hardy GATLIN, and James ROACH and Betsey his wife of Pulaski County, all of the State of Georgia of the one part, and Laban MORRIS of the County Craven and State of North Carolina of the other part. Witnesseth That we the said Levi GATLIN, Major GATLIN, Benjamin PEARCE, and Celia his wife, William TOOK, and Polly his wife, Stephen GATLIN, Furnifold GATLIN, Hardy GATLIN, and James ROACH And his Wife Betsey — for and in consideration fo the sum of two hundred dollars to us in hand paid by the said Laban MORRIS before the sealing and delivering of these presents, Hath bargained, granted, sold aliened ennscoff? convey & confirm, unto the said Laban MORRIS a certain piece or parcel of land, Situate lying and being in the County of Craven aforesaid, on the North side of Nuse River, and North side of Mall’s Swamp [Maul’s Swamp], Beginning at a Pine near the head of waters branch in or near BRYAN’s line, running So 80 Et 101 Poles to a lightwood Stump near a medow, then north 28? poles to a Pine in or near John NELSON’s line, then No 77 Wt 206 poles to a Stake near a small drean?, and near Eliazer NELSON’s corner two Pines then with a Straight line to the beginning, bearing date 24th January 1783. Reference being had to the will more fully appear of record, being all our title, claim interest and property to the above described piece or parcel lands which by the death of Hardy GATLIN Esquire we became with others lawful heirs of the personal and real estate of the said Hardy GATLIN Esquire who died intestate in the year of our Lord 1804 — To have and to hold to him the said Laban MORRIS his heirs and assigns for ever the above bargained land and premises. Together with all and singular the Hereditaments above bargained land and premises. Together with all and singular the Hereditaments and appurtenances to the same belonging or in any wise appurtaining to him the said Laban MORRIS his heirs and assigns forever in fee simple. And we the said Levi GATLIN, Major GATLIN, Benjamin PEARCE and Celia his wife, William HARRIS, Stephen GATLIN, Furnifold GATLIN, Hardy GATLIN, and James ROACH & his wife Betsey for ourselves, each of our heirs, executors, and administrators do covenant and promise to and with the said Laban MORRIS his heirs and assigns that we will warrant and forever defend the title, claim, interest and property of the above bargained land so far as we by the death of the said Hardy GATLIN Esquire became heirs; against the lawful claim or claims of all manner of persons claiming by, from or under us whatsoever. In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals the date above written.

Stephe Gatlin { Seal }
Furney F. Gatlin { Seal}
Hardy Gatlin { Seal }

Jas. Roach { Seal }
Elizabeth (her X mark) Roach { Seal }

Benjamin Pearce { Seal }
Celia Pearce { Seal }

Levi Gatlin { Seal }
Major Gatlin { Seal }
William Tooke { Seal }
Mary Tooke { Seal }

Signed, sealed, and del’d in presence of }
Giles Shute }


State of North Carolina }
Craven County }

Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions June Term A.D. 1815
Then was the Execution of the foregoing Deed proved in open Court and in due form of law by the oath oath of Giles Shute Subscribing Witness thereto. Ordered that a Commission issue to James Fillengen, Archibald West, Malachi Murden, & John Colbert of the County of Greene State of Georgia and David Gurtman, Lewis Hollon and William Horne of the County of Pulaski, State of Georgia, empowering said Commissioners or any two of them to take the private examination of Elizabeth the wife of James Roach, Celia, wife of Benjamin Pearce, and Mary wife of William Tooke as to their free consent in executing the foregoing deed.

Attest. J. G. Stanley C. C.


If you’d like to download PDFs of the original deed, click the links below. (Links will open in a new tab.)


  1. Becky

    Major Gatlin was the Thomas Gatlin who wrote his will 14 July 1790 and died in 1793. Dorcas, if I remember correctly, was either the daughter of Levi, son of Edward, or his brother, Shadrack. Both Levi and Shadrack married daughters of Thomas Worsley, Barbara and Laney, respectively. Their sister, Dorcas, married a Chapman (I think it was John). And, yes, Stephen Gatlin had sons named Hardy and Farnifold. See this discussion for deeds.


    • Becky

      *make that Major was the son of*

    • Sara Whitford

      Oh, this is great information! Thank you so much, Becky!



  1. (1814) Heirs of Hardy Gatlin to Laban Morris - […] Note: I have an annotated version of this deed explaining the relationships of the individuals named and where they…

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