The following post is an attempt to reconcile information that I’ve gathered so far, as well as an invitation for anyone who has more details to add in their comments. 

I have had a special interest in Elisha Morris for several years now. My cousin Mike Morris and I had both noticed that on the 1860 census, our shared ancestor Laban Morris had moved from Craven County over into the Chocowinity district. He is living near his daughter, Alpha and her husband, William Holmes, as well as several other families of interest.

We often wondered why at nearly 80 years of age he moved over there. He isn’t living right next door to his daughter — at least it doesn’t appear that he is. His wife, Kitty, had apparently passed away sometime between 1850 and 1860. Was he “going home” to his old stomping grounds in his twilight years? And how did his progeny end up having such close relationships (intermarrying) with Chocowinity folks if they didn’t spend time over there?

Ok, enough preface material.

What we know about Elisha Morris

He was probably born around 1750. He died sometime after January 1798. 

He may be biologically connected to the Morris family of Hyde County since his first land record is obtaining a grant in that county, but he may also be connected to the Thomas Morris who lived in old Bath County and had land on the south side of the Pamlico River. This Thomas Morris is recorded as having a variety of deeds, one of which was to sell land to Patrick Maule, which may have become Maul Swamp.

From his will, we know the following:

Elisha Morris had at least two legitimate children:

  • Sarah Morris (b. abt 1786) – Married James Buck. 
  • Thomas Morris (b. abt 1787) – Wife’s name unknown. 

He had one illegitimate child: 

  • Josiah Manker (I’m not sure when he was born, but if I had to guess, since he’s named first in Elisha’s will and his other two children are from his living wife, I’m thinking he was likely born earlier than Sarah and Thomas.) 

At the bottom of this post see the outline of his known (or suspected) descendants.

Land Records

Elisha Morris executed the following deeds beginning in 1787: 

As Grantee

Hyde County

  • 8 Aug 1780 – Warrant to Elisha Morris. Hyde County. 80 acres, east side of Pungo River. Adj. Solomon Smith’s line. 

Beaufort County

  • 28 April 1787 – Jesse Drake to Elisha Morris (Bk 6, p. 275). Beaufort County. £35/400 acres, east side of Chocowinity Swamp beginning at an oak at the end of the beaver dam James Cobb’s corner running So 74 Et 60 poles with Cobbs line to a pine a corner then No 34 Et 240 poles with Cobbs line then So 40 Et 160 poles to a pine on the side of a branch then down the branch So 34 Wt 380 poles to a gum on the side of the said Creek Swamp then down the Creek to the beginning. Witnesses: John Manner, Furny Horne (may be Fanny Horne). [Sold to Thomas Blackledge in 1788]
  • 11 June 1788 – State of North Carolina to Elisha Morris (Grant Bk 1, p. 99). Beaufort County. At price of 30 shillings/100 acres, Elisha Morris is granted 75 acres, south side of Pamlico River, west side of County road, with Reading Blount’s line.
  • 19 July 1788 – Reading Blount to Elisha Morris (Bk 6, p 512). Beaufort County. £20/100acres “…joining the land of John HOMES [John HOLMES] horse pen branch Beginning on the branch at HOMES’ upper corner runs his line N 80 W? to his corner over the Road to said BLOUNTs line then with Sd line S ? W 80 poles to a stake, then So 80 Et to the boundry branch and down the winding thereof to the first station …being part of a larger tract of land containing 640 acres dated 1773.” [Sold to Edward Laughinghouse by Elisha’s son, Thomas, in 1812]
  • 27 May 1794 – State of North Carolina to Elisha Morris. Beaufort County. Warrant for 50 acres S. side Pamlico River on or near hogpen Island at the head of Middle branch near or Joining the lines of Reading Blount, John Hill, Benjamin Grist. Entered 13 Aug 1793.
  • 24 Aug 1795 – Reading Blount to Elisha Morris (Bk 7, p 284). Beaufort County. £30/175 acres “situate in the County aforesaid So side of Pamplico River Beginning at a pine at the Green Swamp second corner of BLOUNT’s Old patent running So Eighty East 240 poles to Stake in his line, thence No 10? degrees East 286 poles to FISHER’s line, thence No 70 West to the Horse pen Branch up the same to MORRIS’ corner then west & with said line to the head line of BLOUNT’s old Patent to the beginning pine in the Green Swamp…part of tract granted to Reading BLOUNT for 250 acres reference being had may more fully appear”
  • 11 Jun 1798 – State of North Carolina to Elisha Morris. Beaufort County. 75 acre tract originally granted to Reading Blount, transferred to Elisha Morris. S. side Pamlico River joining Reading Blount’s line at Gum Swamp and near line of Thomas Worsley

As Grantor:

  • 5 June 1788 – Elisha Morris to Thomas Blackledge (Bk 6, p. 359). References same tract as mentioned in the 1787 Jesse Drake deed above. £65/400 acres, east side of Chocowinity Swamp. Witnesses: William Farris, Benjamin Coakley. 
  • 6 Jan 1798 (Bond) – Elisha Morris to Levi Nelson (Bk 8, p 89). £200/ acres not specified “on the dreans of Chocowinity Creek and joins said Morris’ line, Potts line, John Hill’s line and in the middle Branch being part of two tracts of land patented by the two Reading Blounts Senr & Junr as by patent may appear the said bargained land contains ____ [amount not stated] acres of land…” Witnesses: Edwd Bartlett, Wylie Hill (In Dec 1800, Levi Nelson assigns “all my right & title of the within Bond to John Williams in the presence of Solomon Williams and Wm Williams this 19th day of Dec 1800.) Proved in court Sept 1804.

Land Devised in Elisha Morris’s Last Will & Testament

[to] my son JOSIAH MANKER one 100 acors of land being on the west End of my old pattent Land this I Give and bequeath to him freely, then all the Rest of my land to be Equally Devided between my trew and well beloved Son and Daughter THOMAS MORRES and SARAH MORRES but Excepting all the land to my trew and well beloved wife during her widowhood than to belong to my son & daughter to have as I have menshened before besides all the Rest of my property I give to my trew and well beloved wife ANN MORRES…”

Posthumous Land Transfers

The heirs of Elisha Morris sold the land they had inherited in various transactions, however because I’m still perplexed about the “old patent” Elisha mentions in his bequest to son Josiah Manker since none of his patents had over 100 acres, I don’t know if any land remained with his descendants. He may have been talking about Reading Blount’s “old patent” and calling it now his own.

  • 19 Oct 1803 – Nathan Nelson & Ann Nelson, his wife, Executor & Executrix of Elisha Morris to Levi Nelson (Bk 14, pp. 357-358) £66 “…the payment of which was secured to the said Elisha Morris & sd Morris gave his Bond to make a title to the said Nelson for the following land to wit: One parcel beginning at a pine at the green Swamp the second corner of Redding Blounts old patent – running thence So 80 Est 240 pole to a stake in Blounts line then No 10 Est to the middle Branch then down the same to horse pen Branch then up the Horse Pen Branch to Morris’s Corner formerly Manors Corner, then Westerly with said line to the head line of Blount old patent then with Blounts line by estimation one hundred & twenty five acres be more or less & one other parcel beginning at a pine standing on the west side of the ?? Road in Reading Bloutns 2 line running south 46 pole to a pine then south 57 Est 120 pole to a pine then No 58 Est 131 pole to said Blounts line and from thence with said Blounts line to the Beginning by estimation [75 acres] more or less. the first being part of a tract pattented by Reading Blount, Reading Blount Jr. & Joesph Blount & dated the 25 day of Jan 1773 & by Reading Blount sold to Elisha Morris and the latter granted to Elisha Morris date 11 Jun 1798 the also bargained premises …” Signed: Ann { her X mark } Nelson, Nathan { his X mark } Nelson; Witnesses: Reading Grist, Edward Bartlett
  • 21 Mar 1812 – Thomas Morris to Edward Laughinghouse (of Pitt County) (Bk 9, p. 331) $42/75 acres “lying and being in the County of Beaufort and state aforesd Joining the land of John Homes [John Holmes] on Hoshen [Horse Pen] Branch beginning on the Branch at Homes upper corner runs his line N 80 W to his corner over the Road to Sd Blounts line then with the sd South 10 West 80 pole to a statke thence So 80 Et to the Boundry Branch and down the winding thereof to the first station containing by estimation seventy five acres… being part of a larger parcel of land containing by the pattent six hundred and forty acres bearing date 25th day of January 1773…” Signed: Thomas { his X mark } Morris; Witnesses: John Laughinghouse, Mary A. Miller
  • 14 Feb 1818 – Thomas Morris to Howell Downs (Bk 14, p. 72) $50/50 acres [description is very faded] “… on the… side of Chocowinity… Middle branch then up… then with Potts line… containing fifty acres be the same more or less it being a piece of land .. to the said Thomas Morris by will of his father…” Signed: Thos { his X mark } Morris; Witnesses: Henry Harding, Nath Harding
  • 5 May 1822 – Nathan Nelson to Thomas Morris (Bk 15, p 341) “For and in consideration viz for the sole support & maintenance of myself and my wife Nancy Nelson as long as both or either of us do live punctually performed by the aforesaid Thomas Morris him or his heirs exec’rs Adm’rs or assigns and as such I the aforesaid Nathan Nelson … grant, convey and set over unto the said Thomas Morris… a certain tract or Parcel of land situate and being in the County of Beaufort State of North Carolina on the South Side of Pamptico River beginning at a maple in Bay Branch near James Gray’s third corner tree a pine and runs from the said maple down the winding of the Branch one hundred & thirty six poles to a gum in Richard Buck’s line thence West seventy one poles to a stake, thence south sixteen poles to Nathan Nelson’s corner, thence with Shadrack Downs’ line East to his corner, thence with his other lines to the old patent, thence with the patent to Gray’s corner a pine, thence East with Gray’s line to the beginning containing by estimation one hundred & fifteen acres be the same more or less…” Signed: Nathan { his И mark } Nelson; Witnesses: John Bryan, Richard B. Richards
Nathan Nelson and Nancy Nelson (formerly Morris) to Thomas Morris (life estate), 1822, Bk 15, p341

Nathan Nelson to Thomas Morris (life estate), 1822, Bk 15, p341

  • April 1, 1823 – Nathan Nelson and Thomas Morris to Shadrick Downs (Bk 13, p. 200) $45/30 acres for a “certain track … of land lying in the County of Beaufort and State of North Carolina… Beginning at the Newbern Road on Richard Buck’s line, thence running with his line west to Boid’s [Boyd’s] line to a pine thence along Boyd’s line to a stake the corner of the patent thence with the patent to Gray’s Corner a pine thence to the Newbern and Washington Road East thence along said Road to the beginning containing thirty acres more or less…” Signed: Nathan { his X mark } Nelson, Thomas { his mark } Morris; Witnesses: Howell Downs, Isaac { his X mark } Buck
Nathan Nelson and Thomas Morris to Shadrach Downs, 1823 (Bk 13, p200)

Nathan Nelson and Thomas Morris to Shadrach Downs, 1823 (Bk 13, p200)

  • 19 Feb 1827 – James Buck and his wife Sally Buck, daughter of Elisha Morris to Edward Laughinghouse (Bk 14, p 358) For 10 shillings, she sells all of the land that fell to her in her father’s estate. [Why did they sell her land to Edward Laughinghouse for next to nothing?]

Sometime before 1850, Elisha Morris’s grandson left Beaufort County and moved to Fentress County, Tennessee. The following item below appears to be the last transaction conducted before he and his family made the trip. This is land he had purchased from Thomas Buck just a short time earlier. Just a few months earlier, in March 1844, he and his wife, Elizabeth, also sold land that had been owned by his father-in-law, Benjamin Sutton and that had come to Elizabeth as heir.

  • 8 July 1844 – Elisha Morris to James Buck (Bk 22, p. 371) $80/100 acres “being a Patent or part of a Patent granted to Thomas Pollard patent bearing Date [1782] Containing one hundred acres be the same more or less, Beginning at a dead pine the fourth corner of the patent and runs North 62 West to middle the reedy swamp then west to the middle of the said Swamp to the County line, then with the County line to Pollard’s Swamp to a pine then North 68 East to a stake…” Signed: Elisha { his X mark } Morris; Witnesses: Ephraim Edwards, Thomas { his X mark } Morris

Elisha Morris Family Outline 

Please note: This is not an exhaustive outline. These are the children and grandchildren that I’ve been able to identify.

  1. Josiah Manker (b. abt 1780, Beaufort County, NC) m. Susan LNU (b. abt 1780). I’m speculating a little bit about Josiah’s children. I don’t have direct proof that Nancy and James are children of Josiah, but the ages fit well with the ages of children in the census in Josiah’s household and they are living in close proximity to their future spouses. There weren’t many Mankers around in this timeframe. 
    1. Nancy Manker (b. abt 1799) m. Zachariah Williams (b. abt 1795 – son of Talbot Williams & Nancy Gardner; brother in law of Laban Morris.) They moved to Posey County, Indiana.
      1. Talbot Williams (b. abt 1825) m1. unknown;
        1. Emily Williams (b. abt 1845) m. Lewis Kincheloe
          Talbot Williams m2. Willamette Sloops
        2. Elizabeth Williams (1843–1936) m. Elias Bedford Kincheloe
        3. Missoura E Williams (1852–1900) m. John W. Wiggins
        4. Joseph Tolbert William (1853–1938) m. Anna McReynolds
      2. Amariah Williams (b. abt 1832) m. Lucinda Endicott
        1. James F Williams (b. abt 1853)
        2. Adelia Williams (b. abt 1856)
        3. Albert D Williams (b. abt 1858)
        4. America V Williams (b. abt 1860)
        5. Lucinda E Williams (b. abt 1862)
      3. John W. Williams (b. abt 1837)
      4. Nancy Williams (b. abt 1843) m. Benjamin Gwaltney
        1. John C. Gwaltney (b. abt 1868)
        2. Eva Gwaltney (b. abt 1870)
    2. Lewis Manker (b. abt 1805) 
      1. Sophia Manker (b. abt 1834) m1. Obediah Parrott
        1. Benjamin F. Parrott (1859-1908) m. Lucretia Hodges (Beaufort County, NC)
          Sophia Manker m2. Thomas Edwards
        2. Cornelius S. Edwards (b. abt 1861, Beaufort County, NC)
    3. James Manker 
  2. Sarah Morris (b. abt 1786, Beaufort County, NC) m. James Buck (b. abt 1784, North Carolina). This line is tricky and is pretty much pure speculation. None of their children are named while they are in North Carolina. I highly suspect the James Buck who shows up living near Elisha Morris in Fentress County, Tennessee is the same James Buck who as married to Sarah Morris, only Sarah must’ve died before he moved as his wife in Tennessee is named Elizabeth and she was born in Tennessee. Based on census records there were definitely children born to the pair before the supposed move, and if the Fentrees County, TN family is the same James Buck, we can identify a couple of them. [James also had two children with Elizabeth in Tennessee, Vina and Burton, but since those aren’t descendants of Elisha Morris I won’t be including them in this outline.]
    1. Daughter Buck 1 (b. abt 1808)
    2. Daughter Buck 2 (b. abt 1811)
    3. Daughter Buck 3 (b. abt 1814)
    4. John Buck (b. abt 1819) m. Maranda LNU in Fentress County, TN. Sadly, none of their children appeared to have any heirs.
      1. Jarvis Buck (1844–1886)
      2. Mary Ellen Buck (1848–1886)
      3. John S. Buck (1853–1875)
    5. James Buck, Jr. (b. abt 1822) m. Mahala Smith 
      1. Winnie Buck (b. abt 1855)
      2. Annie Buck (1856–1885) m. Christopher C. Thomas
        1. Lena May Thomas (1879–1943) m. Hiram Staten Irwin
      3. John Francis Marion Buck (1859–1933)
        1. Lee Noel Buck (1886–1970)
        2. Willie Buck (b. abt 1887)
        3. Roxy Anna Buck (1889–1983)
        4. William Henry Buck (1891–1969)
        5. John A Buck (b. abt 1893)
        6. Oscar R Buck (1897–1992)
        7. Nannie Buck (1900–1997)
        8. Lexy Buck (1904–1994)
        9. Carl O. Buck (1907–1990)
        10. Cecil G Buck (abt. 1912)
      4. Daniel Buck (1870)
      5. William Riley Buck (1870–1935) m. Virla Christian
        1. Hazel Buck (1922–1986) m. Otis E. Rogers)
        2. Henry Edison Buck (1924–2006) m. Sara Thomas
  3. Thomas Morris (b. abt. 1787, Beaufort County, NC) m. Lavina ? (b. abt 1794, North Carolina). Evidently moved to Tennessee sometime between 1840 and 1850. Died after 1860 probably in Wayne County, Kentucky. While the Beaufort County census suggests he had four daughters born before 1820 so that may mean that Harriet Morris and Nancy Morris are his daughters. It is PURE SPECULATION that they are his children, so while I won’t flesh out their descendants here, I will list them as possibilities. The only child we can definitely identify is his son, Elisha.
    1. Harriet Morris (SPECULATIVE!)
    2. Nancy MORRIS (SPECULATIVE!)
    3. Daughter 3
    4. Daughter 4
    5. Elisha Morris (b. abt 1821, Beaufort County, NC, d. bef 1880) m. Elizabeth Sutton (daughter of Benjamin Sutton & Keziah Haddock). [Elizabeth is living with son James on the 1880 census in Scott County, TN.]
      1. Louisa Morris (b. abt 1842)
      2. John A. Morris (b. abt 1844) – Appears on 1850 and 1860 census with Elisha Morris’s family, but I’ve been unable to trace him after that time.
      3. Nancy Jane Morris (1846 – 1927) married 8 Mar 1866 to James W. Hancock. Her marriage license states she was born in “Beauford County, North Carolina.” (*Some people have William Oscar and James listed as children of Nancy’s daughter, Dolly, but on William’s Social Security record it names his parents as Nancy Jane Morris and James W. Hancock. It may be that they were Dolly’s children, but I’m listing them as Nancy and James’s children until I am able to locate other information.)

        Nancy Jane Morris marriage bond

        Nancy Jane Morris’s marriage bond states she was born in Beaufort County, NC.



        1. Dolly Morris
        2. William Oscar Hancock* (b. 9 Apr 1885 in Pulaski County, Kentucky) m. Maude Ann Farmer 
        3. James E. Hancock*
      4. Maranda Morris (1849 – bef. 1860) – She appears on the 1850 census with Elisha’s family in Fentress County, TN, but is not listed on the 1860 census in Wayne County, Kentucky unless she is the same person as Elizabeth Ann “Betsy” Morris. 
      5. Elizabeth Ann “Betsy” Morris (b. abt 1850) m. James Sellars in Monroe, Kentucky
        1. Martha Ann Sellers (b. abt 1869)
        2. Julia A. Sellers (b. abt 1872)
        3. Elijah Sellers (1873–1951)
        4. Bernetta J. Sellers (1875–1965)
        5. Sarah E. Sellers (b. abt 1877)
        6. Nancy Sellers (b. abt 1879)
      6. James “Jimmie” H. Morris (1853 – 1927) m. Louisa Sharp in Scott, Tennessee
        1. Florence B. Morris (b. abt 1874)
        2. Balzora Morris (b. abt 1876)
        3. Virginia E. Morris (b. abt 1878)
        4. Henry C. Morris (b. abt 1879)
        5. Allen R. Morris (b. abt 1880)

The descendants of Elisha Morris ended up in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Missouri, California, and elsewhere. Do you descend from Elisha Morris? If so, please comment below! In addition, if you’ve DNA tested, either comment below or message me at eastcarolinaroots@gmail.com. We’re definitely matching descendants of this family so I suspect some biological connection between Laban Morris’s mother and Elisha Morris. They might’ve been siblings or cousins.