From the Fortress of Solitude
I’m delighted to share another interesting story with you tonight concerning the ancestors of our Great Grandmother, Effie Helen Victor.
As you may remember, Effie was married to our Great Grandfather William Jonathan Williamson. Grandmother Effie’s mother’s name was Nancy Morris - our doorway into the Morris family of New Jersey.
In tonight’s story we learn about Isaac Morris, his wife Rebecca Hathaway and their children, one of whom was our 4th Great Grandfather Benjamin. This history tell us that we have two more Revolutionary soldiers in our family line, our 5th Great Grandfather Isaac Morris who was a Wagon Master in the Morris County, New Jersey Militia. The other was our 5th Great Grandfather Matthias Spinning who was:
a private minute man of the Essex county, New Jersey, militia, and suffered much for the cause of American liberty. He and his brother Isaac were captured by the British and carried to New York, where they were confined for several months within the loathsome walls of what was called the Sugar House, famous as a place of confinement for the American prisoners of war.
And now, more on the Morris Family of New Jersey. We begin with a Relationship Chart:
Benjamin Morris and Mary Spinning
Isaac Morris and ?
Nancy Morris and Whitty Victor
Effie Helen Victor and William Jonathan Williamson
Vennie, Ima Della, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles, Maurice.
The Morris family came originally from England. Isaac Morris lived in Morristown, New Jersey, prior to and during the Revolutionary war, and during that contest he served as a private with the minute men of the Morris county, New Jersey. militia. He married Rebecca Hathaway and they became the parents of five sons and two daughters, of whom Benjamin, born February 20, 1774, was the second child. At the close of the Revolutionary war the family removed to the Northwest Territory, as Ohio was then called. The route chosen was by way of Pennsylvania, and several weeks were required in making the overland journey through the wilderness and over the mountains to Redstone, near Pittsburg.
After tarrying there for a few months they embarked on a, flatboat with all their possessions and floated down the Ohio river,. landing at Columbia, near Cincimiati, in the year 1790. This site was afterward abandoned because of the frequent overflow of the river, and they went north ten or twelve miles to a place called Round Bottom, on the Little Miami river. In order to protect themselves against the Indians they at once began the erection of a fort. Benjamin Morris, then sixteen years of age, assisted in its construction. A small patch of ground was cleared and such grain as they had brought with them. was planted. While at work, whether sowing or reaping, two men were kept on duty as sentinels, yet the settlement suffered from occasional attacks by the Indians until after General Wayne's successful campaign in 1795. To add to their hardships smallpox broke out among them and carried off several of their number, including the young wife and infant child of Benjamin Morris. He had married a Miss Tichener.
Jacob, the eldest son of Isaac Morris, joined St. Clair's forces against the Indians: and was among the victims of that awful defeat. When General Wayne was organizing his army Benjamin Morris removed. from the fort and enlisted as a pack-horse man, thus taking part in the campaign. After peace' had been established Isaac and Benjamin Morris removed from the fort. The former purchased a tract of land about four miles west of Lebanon, Warren county. He died in his eighty-eighth year. He was. a man of small stature and somewhat original in his religious views.
Benjamin Morris bought a farm a short distance north of that purchased by his father and occupied it throughout his remaining days. He wedded, for his second wife, Mary Spinning, a daughter of Matthias and Hannah (Haines) Spinning, who lived about two miles west of Lebanon. The Spinnings trace their ancestry to Humphrey Spinning, who came to America. in 1639 with the Puritans. He was one of the founders of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in the year 1665. He was married October 14, 1657, to Abigail, daughter of George and Mary Hubbard, and his death occurred in 1689. He was the father of nine children, six sons and three daughters, including Edward, the father of Matthias Spinning. The last-named was born in the year 1750 and died in 1830. He had three brothers and two sisters, including Judge Isaac Spinning, of Montgomery county, Ohio. Matthias Spinning was a quiet and peaceable man of sterling worth. He served in the Revolutionary war as a private minute man of the Essex county, New Jersey, militia, and suffered much for the cause of American liberty. He and his brother Isaac were captured and carried to New York, where they were confined for several months within the loathsome walls of what was called the Sugar House, famous as a place of confinement for the American prisoners of war.
The children of Benjamin and Mary (Spinning) Morris were ten in number-- five sons and five daughters, of whom the subject of this review was the eighth in order of birth. The father died in 1861 at the home of this son, near Bellbrook, Greene county, whither he had come on a visit. After the death of his wife, Mary Spinning, he had married again, the third union being with Sarah Weaver, of White county, Tennessee.
From: George F. Robinson, History of Green County, Ohio (Chcago: S. J. Clark Publishing Company, 1902), 846-848