15 November 2010

Josiah Morton's Service Confused

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber
November 2010

While Registrar of the Poage Chapter DAR I was asked to assist a Greenup County resident with her papers concerning Josiah Morton. She proudly proclaimed that he had a lovely marker dedicated by the DAR in Greenup County and felt she would have no difficulty establishing her lineage.

The earliest, local, notation that Josiah Morton of Greenup County was in the Revolution appeared 28 April 1942 in the Daily Independent. During a report of the Poage Chapter business it states "...that the marker had arrived for the grave of Josiah Morton in Greenup County and would be placed soon honoring a Revolutionary soldier who died in 1838."

Another article in the Portsmouth Times, 11 October 1965, states Josiah Morton's service was performed under General Nathaniel Green. There was no indication in any chapter minutes or articles of how the chapter determined that this Josiah Morton, in fact, was the Josiah Morton who served from Virginia in the Revolution.

An article in the Portsmouth Times dated 20 November 1875 gives a very colorful description of Josiah Morton, and his slaves, of Greenup County, including the statement that he was a member of the First Presbyterian church of Portsmouth. With such detail one would think if he had military service it would have been mentioned in that article. It was not.

The History of Greenup County, Kentucky by Nina Biggs was not written until 1951, 9 years after the ordered marker indicating service. In Biggs publication she states that Josiah served at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse and Siege of Yorktown. She also mentions he has a land grant but does not stipulate where or what the land involved.

The next research step was to locate Josiah Morton's actual military service record. The Revolutionary Pension of one Josiah Morton filed with the National Archives is S8898. The very first page states that Josiah Morton of Caswell County, North Carolina served under the command of General Green. This Josiah Morton, by his own testimony had been in the state troops of Virginia from Prince Edward County, Virginia and had served at Yorktown. He states he was born in Prince Edward County 26 December 1760. He also states in his own words that after the war he moved to Caswell County, North Carolina. The statement was given in Caswell County in 1833.

There is no other Revolutionary record of another Josiah Morton among the Federal Records. The Josiah Morton of Greenup County appears on the 1830 Federal Census for Greenup County, Kentucky while Josiah Morton of Caswell County, North Carolina appears on the 1830 Federal Census of that county.

Researchers are aware that Josiah Morton of Greenup County, Kentucky married Nancy Fuqua while Josiah Morton of Caswell County, North Carolina was married to Elizabeth Venable. The NSDAR has a submission for Josiah with wife Elizabeth [National #420442]. There are no applications filed in the DAR for the Josiah Morton of Greenup County, Kentucky.

Josiah Morton of Greenup County, Kentucky was here in 1810. Josiah Morton of Greenup County does not appear on the 1820 pension list for the state of Kentucky nor does he appear in Revolutionary Soldiers in Kentucky by Quisenberry.

Next, I carefully reviewed the Land Warrants of Kentucky. Josiah Morton did not have a Virginia Revolutionary War Warrant. What I did find for Josiah Morton of Greenup County, Kentucky is a Kentucky Land Warrant dated 16 May 1819 book E page 393. These are warrants purchased from the early state of Kentucky not earned for military service.

Clearly the Poage Chapter attributed Josiah Morton of Greenup County with the service of another of the same name. But what about Josiah Morton of Greenup County? He certainly is of the right age to have interacted during the War.

The Library of Virginia shows a Josiah Morton in Charlotte County, Virginia at the same time Josiah Morton of Prince Edward County was in service. The Virginia Auditor of Public Accounts shows that during the session that began May 1780 of the General Assembly there was an act to impress supplies needed by the American Army. In Commissioner's Book I page 303 are the certificates issued by the commissioners of the provision law showing Josiah Morton's name and the recorded date payment was authorized. This Josiah is a patriot not a soldier. The Fuqua family also owned property in Charlotte County and Campbell County, Virginia.

Heads of Families of Virginia 1782 show Josiah Morton, later of Caswell, North Carolina in Prince Edward County while the other Josiah Morton resides in Charlotte County with 4 white and 20 blacks. Again the Fuqua's appear in the Charlotte County list.

In 1811, one year after Josiah Morton appears in the Greenup Census, the Legislative Petitions database for Virginia shows Mary Ward of Kanawha County, the widow of Jeremiah Ward asking for a law allowing her to pay Josiah Morton for his moiety in slaves which were divided by the estate of her father Moses Fuqua of Greenup County,Kentucky.

Thus while Josiah Morton, of Greenup County, Kentucky, may not have seen battle under General Green or been at Yorktown, as did his counterpart, he is a patriot recognized by his public claim.

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