If you have followed this site at all over the years, you know our family’s greatest mystery is the identity of the mother of our LABAN MORRIS of Swift Creek (modern-day Vanceboro) in Craven County.

We know (or are at least as certain as we can be) that his father was ROWLAND LEDBETTER. We had the oral traditions about being Ledbetters way back, and DNA helped us narrow in on Laban’s father. Read more about that here.

We know his mother was most likely a HENBY or HENLY. There was an 1810 name change of LABAN HENBY to LABAN MORRIS. (It appears to have been incorrectly transcribed as HENLY, but that sort of thing frequently happened back then.)

After poring through records and looking at almost every type of record imaginable, we’ve resigned ourselves to the facts that we’re dependent on a preponderance of evidence to get answers. We want to know who his mother was, and who allowed him to take the MORRIS name?

There are some families that seem to have close connections to Laban throughout his life, or interesting collateral connections, especially in early adulthood.

Here is what we know about LABAN MORRIS so far (I have included Laban and Kitty’s children, their children’s spouses, and their grandchildren. As I have time, I’ll add in the next generation, so you can consider this page “in progress.”):

  • Born: Between 1781-1784, possibly along the border of Dobbs and Pitt Counties – more details on that below
  • Died: Between 1860-1870, Chocowinity area, Beaufort County, NC
  • Married:
    • 22 Aug 1805 (Marriage bond)
    • to CAROLINE “KITTY” WILLIAMS (1783–1859), daughter of TALBOT WILLIAMS and NANCY ANN GARDNER
    • Bondsman: JOHN KING, son of JOEL KING
  • Children:
    • John Morris – b. 1806 (Craven County); d. 1869 (Leon County, Florida.)
      • Married: Elizabeth (Last name unknown) – (1807–1866)
      • Children:
        • Mary Morris – b. 1832 (Craven County); married Thomas Ward 29 April 1848. They moved to Florida sometime after 1850. I can find several of their children, but so far I’ve been unable to find them in the census.
          Children:

          • Caroline Ward – b. Abt. 1849 (Craven County)
          • Mary Ward – b. Abt. 1850 (Craven County)  — Note: Caroline and Mary may be two names for the same person as I haven’t found the two of them on the same census.
          • William Stanley Ward – b. 14 Feb 1851 (Jefferson County, Florida), d. 15 Nov 1927 (Suwannee County, Florida); m. Julia Sealy
          • John Thomas Ward – b. 13 Jun 1853 (Jefferson County, Florida), d. 31 Jul 1927 (Suwannee County, Florida); m. Lillian Augusta Smith
          • Joseph T. Ward – b. 1854 (This may actually be the same person as John Thomas Ward, but his name may have been recorded wrong on one census.)
          • Elizabeth Ward – b. 1860 (Jefferson County, Florida), d. 11 Oct 1936 (Escambia County, Florida); m. Milledge Pinkney Leopard
        • Margaret Morris – b. 1834 (Craven County); d. 1897 (Leon County, Florida), married George Edward Jarrell, son of Alexander Wiggins and J. Louvina Jarrell of Craven County
          Children:

          • Alice “Allie” Gerrell – b. 1854
          • Ellen Gerrell – b. 1856
          • William Walter Gerrell – b. 1860
          • Martha Gerrell – b. 1866
          • George Allen Gerrell – 1868 – 1942
        • Jesse John Oliver Morris – b. 1836 (Craven County); Enlisted for service with Confederacy in March 1762, was killed in the Battle of Sharpsburg (aka Antietam) 17 Sept 1862. I have been unable to find any information about a spouse or children.
        • William Morris – b. 1839; Served for Confederacy from Apr 1861 to Feb 1862, but received a medical discharge. I’ve been unable to locate him on the census, though I know enlisted in Leon County, Florida.
        • J. Turner Morris – b. 1845 (Craven County); d. 15 March 1884 (Leon County, Florida), married Sarah Ennah Stephens, daughter of Benjamin M. Stephens (of NC) and Mary Louisa Barrow (of SC). He enlisted to serve the Confederacy towards the end of the war but didn’t serve long and was discharged when the war ended.
          Children:

          • Charles Morris – b. 1878 (Florida) – ?
          • Stephen Morris – b. 1879 (Florida) – ?
          • John Oliver Morris – 1882-1920 (Florida); never married
          • Mary E. Morris – 1883-Aft. 1940 (Florida); never married
    • William B. Morris – b. 16 MARCH 1809
      • Married: Susan MacIntosh – b. 1806, daughter of James McIntosh and Susan “Sukey” Anderson of Craven County
      • Children:
        • William Bryan Morris – (1833–1904), married (I) Ellender Witherington, daughter of Southy Witherington and Mary “Polly” Prescott of Craven County; married (II) Clarissa Witherington, daughter of Southy Witherington and Mary “Polly” Prescott; married (III) Serena Wiggins, daughter of Dennis Wiggins and Elizabeth “Betsy” Holmes
        • Henry James Morris – (1844-1908), married Martha Elizabeth Atkinson, daughter of Jenkins Irving Atkinson and Jessie Ann Spear
    • Thomas Morris – b. 16 AUG 1811
      • Married (I): Nancy Adams (1814-1854), daughter of James Adams and Jennett (Last name unknown) of Pitt County
      • Children:
        • Susan Morris – b. 1838 (Craven County), married Quincy Hinson of Columbus County, NC
        • Augustus Morris – b. 1842
        • Joseph Edward Morris – b. 1842 (Craven County) d. 1916 (Pavo, Thomas County, Georgia), married Lucy (Last name unknown) of Columbus County, NC
        • Celia Morris – b. 1844
        • Thomas A. Morris – b. 2 Feb. 1846 (Craven County), d. 22 Sept. 1917 (Pavo, Thomas County, Georgia)
      • Married (II): Demaris Green – b. 1827, of Columbus County, NC
    • Joseph Morris – b. 5 JAN 1817 (Craven County), d. 17 Mar. 1897 (Craven County)
      • Married: Mary Ann Buck – b. 12 Mar. 1828, d. 30 Jan. 1916, daughter of Anthony Buck and Amy Hollis of Craven/Pitt County area
      • Children:
        • Caroline E Morris – (1854–1925), married John Jones (b. 1834)
        • Francis Marion Morris – (1859–1940), married Martha E. Powell (b. 1879), daughter of John Powell and Jane Laughinghouse of Craven County
        • James M. Morris – (b. 1862)
        • Susan A. Morris – (b. 1865)
        • George H. Morris – (b. 1867)
        • Amy Isabelle Morris – (1872–1957), married Alexander Franklin Wiggins
    • Alpha Morris – b. 1818 (Craven County), d. aft 1880 (Chocowinity)
      • Married (I): John Norris
      • Children:
        • Mary Norris – (b. 1834)
        • Nancy Norris – (b. 1835), married Isaac Buck (1835-1919), son of Allen Buck and Malsey Taylor of Beaufort County, NC
        • Sarah “Sally” Norris – (b. 1836), married Noah Anderson (1837-1865), son of Reuben Anderson and Mary “Polly” Witherington of Craven County
        • Patrick Norris – (1839–1914), married Mary “Polly” Wiggins (1843-1914), daughter of Jerrell Wiggins and Mary Polly Jerrell of Craven County
        • John Norris – (b. 1842), m. Lorena Paramore (b. 1841), daughter of James Paramore and Chloe Galloway of Pitt County
      • Married (II): William Holmes (b. 1815), son of John Holmes and Selah Averitt (Avery) of Chocowinity
      • Children:
        • Caroline Holmes – (b. 1846), married Noah Avery (1847-1900), son of Stephen Avery and Nancy Gardner
        • William Henry Holmes – (b. 1848), married Nancy Harriet Wiggins (b. 1853), daughter of Alexander Wiggins and J. Louvina Jarrell
        • Turner Thomas Holmes – (b. 1851)
        • Riesia Holmes – (b. 1852)
        • Susan Holmes – (b. 1853)
        • Serena Holmes – (b. 1855)
        • Winifred Holmes – (b. 1857)
        • William Holmes – (b. 1860)
        • George Holmes – (b. 1865)
        • Samuel Holmes – (b. 1867)
    • Levi Morris – b. 1824 (Craven County), d. bef Jun 1866 (Craven County)
      • Married: Sarah “Sally” Holmes (b. 1833), daughter of John Holmes and Selah Averitt (Avery) of Chocowinity
      • Children:
        • Sarah “Sallie” Morris – (b. 1855), married James Clark, son of Etheldred Clark and Rosetta Downs 
        • William Roland Morris – (1858–1936), married Serenia “Rainey” Edwards (1868-1922), daughter of Harvey Edwards and Jane Holmes (daughter of John Holmes and Selah Averitt (Avery) of Chocowinity)
        • George Morris – (1860–1924), married Louisa Elizabeth Sammons (1851-1924)
        • Levi Mack Chester Morris – (1868–1906), married Connie Daisy Venters (1875-1954), daughter of Slade Venters and Elizabeth Venters
    • William Roland Morris – b. Sept. 1828
      • Married: Sophia Holmes (1838–1915), daughter of John Holmes and Selah Averitt (Avery) of Chocowinity
      • Children:
        • Nancy Augusta Morris – (1858–1914), married Charles S. Banks (1864-1917)
        • Roland Morris – (b. 1866), married Susan J. Stilley (1867-1950), daughter of Freeman Wait Stilley and Mary Toler
        • Sophia E. Morris – (b. 1869)
        • Sarah Morris – (b. 1873)

Are you descended from the Laban Morris family? Do you think you might be? Please comment below! We’d love to hear from you. Also, please comment if you have any corrections to the information above.