The First Settlers of Holmes County --- The Morrison Family

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(From the book "Heart and History of Holmes County" by Anna Paget Wells (used by permission of the publisher, Sue Cronkite))  This book is chock full of pictures and what has been used within this web site is only a small about of the book.  It can still be ordered from Sue Cronkite or from the Holmes County Advertiser, 112 E Virginia Avenue, Bonifay FL 32425; phone 850-547-2270; fax 850-547-9200

The Daniel D Morrison Family
(1827 – 1895)

Daniel D Morrison was the only son of Allen Morrison who married. Daniel’s brother, Malcolm Morrison, did not marry. So the host of descendants of Allen Morrison and Mary Douglass Morrison do not bear the Morrison family name.

Daniel D Morrison married Martha E Stanley who was born in 1840 in Alabama. They first appeared in the 1860 Holmes County Census returns. Daniel was 32 years of age and Martha was 19. We didn’t have the pleasure of meeting either of the maternal grandparents, but through remarks made by people who did know them, we have some knowledge.

It was through Martha's family lines that dark eyes were passed down to some Morrisons. Her mother was a Pelham, and was of Dutch descent.

Grandmother had the name of doing whatever she did well. She never put out a "wash" that was not spotlessly clean. She was also a kind person. Sometimes her sons would have too much to drink and come home with a "hangover". When questioned about her patience with them, she answered, "I don’t want them ever to be able to say I drove them to drink".

I remember this story that my mother told me about my grandfather Daniel. She said he always kept liquor in the home and would take a drink occasionally, but that she had never seen him drunk. But when his sons developed drinking problems he made the remark, "If I had life to live over, I would never keep liquor in the house." All of his sons except two met violent deaths. In most of the instances, liquor played a part.

Daniel D and Martha E Morrison were the parents of nine children, six sons and three daughters. They were: Angus Archie; John; William Charles; Malcolm Allen; Mary Ella; Agustus; Margaret; Daniel Dee; and Catherine D.

1. Angust Archie Morrison, born in 1860, died in his adolescent years.

2. John Morrison, born in 1862, married Lydia Spears. They were the parents of three children:

    (a) Will Morrison who married Suzie Young. They were the parents of seven children: Myrtle, Hurtis, Bill, Alma Lois, Mildred, John, and Sue. Will and Suzie Morrison settled in Bay County and reared their family in the Panama City area. Neither of them were living in 1977.

    (b) Johnnie Bell Morrison who married John F Covington. They were the parents of 10 children: Ann, who married John Andrews; Ben who never married; Delmer, who never married; Mertie who married Willie B Bell; Grady who married Jeanetta Newman; Harley May who married Harry Duncan Eddins; Floyd, Earl, Wilene, and Edition.

    (c) Sis Morrison who died at age 5.

John Morrison was not a drinker according to legend but was killed in his home by an outside assassin to keep him from appearing as a witness in a court trial.

3. William Charles "Charley" Morrison, born 1863, married Loduky Padgett. They settled in the Leonia Community and reared a family of seven. The children were:

    (a) Viva Lea who married Wylie Kemp

    (b) Roy Morrison who married Esther Lee Stanley

    (c) Wallace Morrison who never married

    (d) Thelma Morrison who married Luther Hardison

    (e) Urda Morrison who married May Frances ?

    (f) Douglas Morrison who married Mildred McKinna;

    (g) Quo Morrison who married Mary Jackson.

Charley Morrison was killed in a logging camp. He was truck over the head with a pistol by a man named McMillan. The story as it was told to us is: There was a dispute in a game. McMillan raised his gun to strike another participant. Charley Morrison said, "Don’t do that!" Then the assailant turned on him and administered the fatal blow.

4. Malcom Allen Morrison, born 1868, married Jane Miles. They were the parents of nine children. They were:

    (a) Pearl Morrison who married Thurman Alford;

    (b) Clarence Morrison who never married;

    (c) Will Morrison who never married;

    (d) Pallie Morrison who married E Hanna;

    (e) Lee Morrison who never married. Lee’s story is a sad one. She died young from a ruptured appendix. It was during the Depression in the 1930s. She was refused admittance to a hospital because her blind father didn’t have the money to pay the bill. It was arranged with a hospital in Pensacola to take her, but her appendix had ruptured before she got there and she didn’t make it;

    (f) Jake Morrison who never married. He served as a Private First Class in the United States Army. He was a talented musician and dancer. He died of pneumonia at the age of 46;

    (g) Hubert Morrison who married ? Sunday;

    (h) Lula Morrison who married ? Tullis; and

    (i) Charlie Morrison who married ? Spires, the daughter of Dr and Mrs Spires of Gaskin.

Malcom and Jane lived in Holmes County near Belin until their house, with all its contents, was burned, including his old violin (fiddle). Of all the things the fire destroyed, he missed his old fiddle the most. He was a talented fiddler and folk dancer.

5. Mary Ella Morrison, born in 1870, married William S Padgett (story under Padgett Family). They were the parents of 11 children.

6. Augustus "Gus" Morrison, born in 1874, married Mary Elizabeth Miles. They were the parents of eight children. They were:

    (a) Bessie Morrison who was murdered by Negroes (story told separately);

    (b) William Dudley "Dud" Morrison, who married Kate Gillis;

    (c) Gus Morrison who married Lillian Pryor;

    (d) John Morrison who married first, Millie Jones, second Monette Jackson;

    (e) Mary Morrison who married Rev Randall M McDaniel;

    (f) Martha Morrison who married Arnie Pryor;

    (g) Charlie Morrison who was killed by brother Gus after they had been drinking; and

    (h) Chester Morrison, who died in infancy.

The father, Gus Morrison, was also killed by his brother Dee after they had been drinking. This is the story as it was told to me: Uncle Gus seemed to have a special love for children. He was visiting Uncle Dee and picked up one of his children. Uncle Dee thought he was too much "under-the-influence" to hand the child and told his brother Gus to put it down. Uncle Gus didn’t think he was too drunk and didn’t put the child down. Consequently, his brother Dee shot and killed him. The said thing about these stories is that the brothers loved each other and the killings were so useless. My mother thought it was the effect of liquor, the mind-altering drug that was responsible.

7. Margaret Morrison, born 1875, married Daniel Henderson, who was killed by William S Padgett over a team of oxen (story and trial given separately). They were the parents of four children:

    (a) Icey Henderson who married Will Harris;

    (b) Leonia Henderson who married ? Harris, the brother of Will Harris;

    (c) Will Henderson who married Charity Parish; and

    (d) Little Daniel Henderson, who died young.

8. Daniel Dee Morrison married Julia Morrison, a distant cousin. They were the parents of four children:

    (a) Gillis Morrison who married Eva Mae Heath;

    (b) Ella Morrison who married Walter "Sonny Boy" Pryor;

    (c) John Morrison who married Edna Ruth Padgett; and

    (d) Essie Lee Morrison who married first Richard Carrol, and second, Reed Andrews.

Daniel Dee Morrison was killed by a Sellers. This is the story was it was told to us by his wife: Her husband Dee had already retired. Some of his acquaintances came and insisted that he go with them for some reason (we were young when we heard the story and have forgotten the reason). Anyway, it seems as there was a plot to kill him and he never returned alive.

Uncle Dee, it seems, had a high temper and people were afraid of him when he was drinking.

Mother told me some funny stories about her brother Dee. When he was small, he was stung by a bumblebee. He was playing in the yard one day and my mother overhead him talking to a tumblebug. He said, "You can’t fool me. You have changed your color, but I know your voice."

At school he was under suspended sentence for using bad language. He had an attack of nosebleed. The teacher had lent him her handkerchief to use. After the bleeding had stopped, he washed the kerchief and hung it on a bush at the edge of the school yard to dry. Dee looked out the window just in time to see a cow nab the kerchief off the bush and promptly started chewing it He became so upset he let slip a forbidden word.

The teacher evidently thought it was an understandable slip and further suspended his sentence.

After the death of Dee Morrison, Julia Morrison married Zach Prescott. They reared three children:

    (a) Gladys Ruth Prescott;

    (b) Charles Prescott; and

    (c) Henry H Prescott

Julia Morrison Prescott is buried in the Leonia Cemetery. Dee Morrison is buried in the Otter Creek Cemetery.

9. Catherine D Morrison, born 1881, married Leonard Miles. Catherine was the youngest child of Daniel and Martha Morrison. She and Leonard parented two children:

    (a) Vircey Miles who married Ray Bedsole. They had three daughters. They were: Glyndol Bedsole who married Coy Commander, Ann Bedsole who married Paul Wilson and Mary Ella Bedsole who married Charles P Andrews. The Bedsoles had a home in Ponce de Leon. In 1977, Vircey was a popular young lady in her 80s. She was elected "Collard Queen" of the very first "Collard Festival", which became an annual event in Ponce de Leon. She was a joy to claim as a relative. She taught school for many years.

    (b) Leonard Justice who died young.

Catherine’s husband Leonard, was the brother of Mary and Jane Miles who also married into the Morrison family.

Catherine Morrison Miles was too delicate to stand the rigors of pioneer life. She died in her 20s in the home of my parents before I was born. Mother told me about how her sister, Catherine, faced death. She had a heart condition that made it impossible for her to lie down in comfort. As she sat in a chair, she looked up at my mother with a smile on her face and said, "I feel peculiar, do you suppose I could be dying?"

"We had better get a doctor," someone suggested.

"I think you had better get a preacher," Aunt Catherine replied.

She did die and the calmness and courage with which she faced death has always been an inspiration to me.

John Morrison (1759 – 1849)

The exact date of John Morrison’s arrival in the Territory of Florida is not known. We do know that he served on a jury in Pensacola in 1823. We find him listed in the 1830 and 1840 Census returns of Walton County. He died in 1849 just before the 1850 Census was taken.

The late Jack D Hunnicutt did some research on the John Morrison family. It was his belief that the Morrison families started out in Escambia County and wound up in Holmes County without ever moving out of their house.

Escambia County at one time had for its eastern border the Choctawhatchee River.

Then Walton County was created and its eastern border became the old eastern border of Escambia County.

Then when Holmes County was created it included that portion of Walton County extending from the river to the midpoint of Range 18 West. It can be seen that a person who settled between this mid-point in Range 18 West and the river at the time it was part of Escambia County could live in the same house and wind up in Holmes County.

Since Walton County was created in 1824 and we know that John Morrison was in the Territory before that time, we think we can safely assume that Hunnicutt’s beliefs were correct.

Here are some conclusions that Hunnicutt reached concerning John Morrison: "He was the oldest Morrison settler in this area. From the 1830 Census returns, we conclude that he had been married, that his wife was dead at the time, and probably a married son and two grown daughters were living with him.

"The 1840 Census returns indicated that the son had probably established his own home and the two grown females were part of the elder John’s household."

The writer’s grandfather, Daniel Morrison, her great-grandfather, Allen Morrison, and her great-great-grandfather John Morrison were all in the same household when the 1830 Census was taken. She never saw any of them – they all died before she was born.

The two grown daughters were Sarah Morrison and Margaret Morrison who married David Neel. Apparently, Sarah did not marry.

According to the information that we have, John Morrison had at least seven children: Murdock Morrison; Sarah Morrison; Malcom Morrison; Norman Morrison; Allen Morrison; John Morrison, Jr; and Margaret Morrison.

1. Murdock Morrison, born in 1785 at sea, married Sarah ?. We do not know how many children they parented. We believe there were at least three:

    (a) John;

    (b) Sarah; and

    (c) Malcom.

Murdock’s birth at sea helps to establish the date of John’s coming to America from Scotland.

2. Sarah Morrison, born in 1788 in South Carolina, was never married. In her old age, she lived with her niece, Christian Brownell, in Holmes County.

3. Malcolm Morrison, born 1790, married Margaret Douglas. They were the parents of two children:

    (a) Catherine who married John Campbell; and

    (b) John who married Christian Bowers. In 1850 John and Christian were listed in Holmes County Census returns. In the 1870 Census they were in the Walton County returns. They lost two sons, Archibald and William, in the Civil War. They reared a large family and owned several slaves before the war.

4. Norman Morrison, born 1792 in South Carolina, married Sarah ?. They were the parents of 11 children:

    (a) Gincey, born in 1828;

    (b) Berry Allen, born 1833;

    (c) Benjamin, born in 1835;

    (d) Miles, born in 1836;

    (e) Catherine, born in 1838;

    (f) Finley, born in 1841;

    (g) Elizabeth, born in 1842;

    (h) Daniel, born in 1843;

    (i) Henry, born in 1845;

    (j) Alexander, born in 1847; and

    (k) William, born in 1848.

5. Allen Morrison, born in 1800 in South Carolina, married Mary Douglas, born in 1801 or 1802 in North Carolina. They were the parents of nine children:

    (a) Daniel Morrison, born in 1827 in Florida. He married Martha Stanley who was born in Alabama;

    (b) Catherine, born in 1830 in Florida, married Oliver Oates (story under Oates Family);

    (c) Christian, born in 1832 in Florida, married Daniel Jackson Brownell, born in 1832 (story under the Brownell Family);

    (d) Sarah, born in 1836 in Florida, married Ben Sellers (story under Sellers Family);

    (e) Malcolm, born in 1836 in Florida, never married;

    (f) Martha, born in 1843 in Florida, never married;

    (g) Nancy J, born in 1845 in Florida, married Andrew W Stanley (story under the Stanley Family);

    (h) Abigail, born in 1847 in Florida, married William "Bill" Cooey (story under the Cooey Family); and

    (i) Margaret was born in 1849 (the same year her grandfather John Morrison died). She married Charles S Padgett (story under the Padgett Family).

6. John Morrison, Jr was listed in the 1940 Census near the location of the elder John Morrison and his sons, Allen and Norman. In his household there were three males in the age group 5 – 10, one male 10 – 15, and one male 20 – 30. Evidently, the male in the 20 to 30 age bracket was the head of the family, John Jr. He must have been 30 years of age judging from the size of his family. There was one female in the age group 0 – 5, one female 5 – 10, and one female 40 – 50. None of these females seemed to have been the wife. Two females were too young and one was too old. The female in the 40 to 50 age bracket must have been his mother or mother-in-law. We found John Morrison, Jr in no other Census report. We conclude he must have moved away. It is not known for certain where he went. There is some speculation that he may have gone to New York.

There is an article written about the Euchee Valley graveyard entitled "Here Lies North Florida History" by Bob Thomas, Pensacola News-Journal staff writer. He comments on different epitaphs. I quote what he said about one of them: "John M Morrison makes one wonder. He lived Mar 28, 1881 – Nov 3, 1900. His tombstone said this: Died Peacefully on the eve of his graduation in Pughkeepsie, New York.

"What could that young man, barely 19, have given the world? Would he have been a man of letters or a skilled surgeon or an engineering genius? Would he have written great plays, perfected an operation, or built graceful bridges?

"Probably not. Like the mass of humanity, he probably would have plowed through the mire of life looking for whatever is the simple truth of it all.

"Yet maybe – just maybe – he would have found it and then we would all know today."

We too had found this stone while searching for relatives in this old graveyard and wondered. Knowing that graduation classes sometimes stage celebration parties, we wondered if John M Morrison had enjoyed too much celebration. We rejected this thought because the celebrations usually come after graduation.

Since the elder John Morrison is buried in this graveyard, it is very probable that he was a descendant of the elder John Morrison. If not a descendant, at least a relative.

While we have no proof, we believe that John Morrison, Jr was the son of the elder John Morrison, Sr (1759 – 1849).

7. Margaret Morrison, born in 1815 in South Carolina, married David Neel. They were the parents of two children:

    (a) Catherine, born in 1844 in Florida;

    (b) John Neel, born 1848, was an outstanding citizen that literally grew up with the county since he was born the same year Holmes County was created.


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This page was last updated on:  17 June 2002 , 08:42 PM