So much of the connecting families is made by inference, we have to make the case with little absolute evidence. Much of the connections begin with the census data. Today I’m writing about my findings that, as is typical, began with the census and those wonderful community biographical collections.
Several years ago, I read the following about my 4th great grandmother, Sarah Turner nee Morse:
I was trying to find out about Sarah’s parents and thought this tidbit about her brother being a Chief Justice in Ohio was potentially a great clue. When I first began this hunt, the Internet was through my phone line and not much was available so I spent the bulk of my time going to the historical libraries and requesting materials through interlibrary loan. Eventually, I inferred that Sarah’s father’s name was Joseph and that he was born in New Jersey. I found a Henry Morse from Ohio that seemed to be who they were referring to in the article above but nothing that connected Sarah with him or Sarah’s father, until yesterday.
Note: Please use this information with caution and carefully read the suggested lineage from Peter back to Anthony because there are differing versions, which I will discuss in this post.
In a book entitled Memorial of the family of Morse1 beginning on page 197 is the following:
This information is very helpful on many levels. First, to specifically indicate ‘my’ Sarah Morse and to suggest a lineage from Anthony Morse of Newbury. Depending on the publication you are reviewing you may be told that Sarah’s line descended through Anthony’s grandson Peter (Robert’s son) as is suggested above or through Anthony’s son, Peter, which seems to be more common, and I will discuss later in this post.
On page 111 of Lord’s 1896 publication, he indicates how he arrived at his suggestion:
By referring to the “Morse Genealogy,” as published by Rev. Abner Morse, A.M., in 1850, it will be perceived that, although the will of Anthony Morse, Jr., (the son of Anthony Morse of Newbury, Mass.,) was given, no mention was made of the will of his father Anthony Morse, the emigrant of 1635.
That Rev. Mr. Morse should have overlooked the will of Anthony Morse is not surprising, as it was not recorded, but on the files as before stated. But the will of William Morse was recorded, and is clear and explicit, and if Rev. Mr. Morse had known of this will the names of the children of William Morse would have been far different than given in his publication of “Morse Genealogy,” in 1850. It must be borne in mind that Joseph Morse, (son of Anthony Morse of Newbury, Mass.,) had children and referred to in the will, but not by name, and Joseph Morse was deceased before his father, Peter Morse (son of Anthony Morse) had children referred to in the will and Peter Morse was living at date of will (as would appear from the phraseology of the will), and Robert Morse was also living (whom we infer was the oldest son) and his children also referred to; but Anthony Morse was deceased, and we infer this from the phraseology of the will – if we had no other data to guide us. In all probability four sons of Anthony Morse were born in England (and probably Robert, Peter, Joseph and Anthony Morse), and perhaps the ‘daughter Newman’ of the will was also born in England. But ‘dau. Newman’ was probably deceased before 1680, date of will of Anthony Morse, but the ‘daughter of Smith’ we infer was living. And it is not impossible that both of these daughters ‘Newman’ and ‘Smith’ were born in England, for admitting that Anthony Morse was b. 9 May, 1606 (as Rev. Mr. Morse tells us), he would have been, if married in 1626, about 20 years of age, and between that time and 1635 (nearly 10 years) 6 children could have been born. It will be remembered that Anthony Morse had two wives, on the first of whom, in all probability, the light of a New England morning never dawned. Ann (2nd wife) was married in England, as is believed.
William Morse, who was born 1608, by Rev. Mr. Morse, may have been married at the age of 20 years, about 1628, and had children born in England, perhaps the daughters, ‘Newman’ and ‘Smith’.
We have no data to show which of the sons or daughters of Anthony Morse were by his first wife or second wife.
Much earlier in his book, specifically on page 42, he provides this (noticed the underlined sentence is about Henry Morse of Hamilton, Ohio):
[There is a doubt concerning Peter Morse, brother of Robert Morse, having any sons]
Peter Morse (son of Robert, Anthony) removed to Elizabethtown, NJ., now known as Rahway, and died prior to 1726 and as Rev. Abner Morse, A.M. has been inclined to think, after long research, was the father of Joseph Morse and Amos Morse, more plausibly so than the other, Peter Morse, the brother of Robert Morse. This Joseph Morse (the son of Peter) made his Will 16 March, 1726, and had sons and daughters. To a ‘son Joseph’ he gave his ‘slave Peter’ and to his other ‘son Amos Morse’ he gave his ‘slave Joseph’.
He lived at ‘Morse Mill’, Rahway, NJ. His son Joseph Morse married (1) Hannah _________, and Anna (Winans) Bond, and was the father of ‘Doct’ Isaac Morse of Elizabethtown, NJ, and grandfather of Judge Nathan Morse, the Recorder of New Orleans, La. Amos Morse (brother to Joseph Morse just mentioned) m. Susanna Tremlee, who d. 1799. He settled where his grandson Anthony Morse (son of his son Anthony Morse) lived at Rahway, NJ, one half mile west from Morse’s Mills. This Anthony Morse inherited the homestead estate. His father was Anthony Morse, who married Hannah Burnham. From the Joseph Morse above mentioned, through Joseph Morse his son, was descended Joseph Morse of Hamilton County, Ohio, who had Hon. Henry Morse of same town.
The descendants of Peter Morse were very respected and many of them highly distinguished.
Peter Morse, (brother of Robert Morse, and not to be confounded with another Peter Morse the son of Robert Morse) and of this Peter Morse we have positive assurance that he went to New Jersey with brother Robert and was with him one of the ‘Elizabethtown Associates,’ of previous mention, and there is hardly a doubt but that Peter Morse was the witness to the deed of his brother Robert Morse and wife Ann, 19th of July, 1658, to Amos Stickney, as before noted. This is a more ready inference than to suppose this deed was witnessed by Peter Morse (the son of Robert Morse), whom Coffin, the historian, thought was born at Rowley, Mass. Tradition has assigned that this Peter Morse had children. The Will of his father, Anthony Morse of Newbury, Mass., date of 1680 reveals this, but these children were not named only referred to, and we have no positive knowledge of them. We presume that the ‘Peter Morse’ who ‘purchased lands near Elizabethtown, NJ in 1687,’ and ‘owned lands in SE part of Elizabethtown, NJ now Rahway,’ and ‘died prior to 1726,’ was the Peter Morse of our lists given as the son of Robert Morse, and grandson of Anthony Morse.
By 19032 a revision of Abner Morse’s 1850 publication2 (which Lord references) affirms the original inferences that Peter of Elizabeth Town is Robert Morse’s brother, son of Anthony. In several portions of the 1903 publication the author mentions that some corrections were made based on Lord’s 1896 book. However, regarding the matter of whether it was Anthony’s son or grandson Peter who was a founder in Elizabeth Town, they are clear: it was Anthony’s son Peter, brother of Robert who was a ‘taylor’. Open the pdf below and carefully read the excerpt about Peter that provides their evidence and reasoning for their position.
I imagine most of the readers of this post quit reading further up because this is a long post with difficult old writing style quotes and it is necessary to read the attached document to fully follow all the trail. I’ve provided more than might be needed to show the differing information and to make it clear that there are 2 divergent assumptions of lineage on this line:
- that Anthony’s son Peter moved to New Jersey and had sons from whom I descend (Abner Morse, 1850, & 1903 revision)
- that Anthony’s son Robert had a son Peter who had sons from whom I descend (Henry Lord, 1896)
In the April 1906 issue of the New Jersey Historical Society Journal Miss Leavitt author of the revision to Abner Morse’s book summarized this difference this way:
I will continue to research this but for now, I’m inclined to think the 1903 revision3 by Leavitt is the better inference and the authors appear to have fully considered Lords’ information. There are several other inconsistencies to be reconciled in this line, such as which wife was the mother of Anthony of Newbury’s children.
For those of you who are interested in seeing this information in my database, here is a link to Sarah’s family tree.
- Lord, Henry Dutch., Memorial of the family of Morse. Cambridgeport, Mass.: Harvard Print. Co., 1896.
- Morse, Abner., Memorial of the Morses: containing the history of seven persons of the name, who settled in America in the seventeenth century. With a catalogue of ten thousand of their descendants…, 1850.
- Ancestry.com. Morse genealogy : comprising the descendants of Samuel Anthony, William, and Joseph Morse and John Moss : being a revision of [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: Morse, J. Howard. Morse genealogy : comprising the descendants of Samuel Anthony, William, and Joseph Morse and John Moss : being a revision of the Memorial of the Morses published by Rev. Abner Morse in 1850. New York: unknown, 1903.
- Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society. New Jersey Historical Society, New Jersey Historical Society, 1906.