Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Thursday, August 11, 2016

M. L. Morris & M. R. Wilson

Today's installment is basically an exercise in demonstrating online records will not provide everything one needs to do genealogical research.

1880 U.S. Federal Census, Monroe County, Mississippi, population schedule, Boyds Precinct, SD 1, ED 139, p. 294A (stamped), p. 11 (written), dwelling 11, M. L. Morris household; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 Aug 2016); citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 658.

Morris, M L, (head), W, M, 22, –, Married, Farmer, MS, NC, MS
–, S E, W, F, 21, wife, Married, At home, TN, NC, TN
–, W A, W, M, 3, son, Single, At home, MS, MS, TN
–, A O, W, F, 3/12 (Mar), dau, Single, At home, MS, MS, TN
–, J I, W, M, 14, brother, Single, At home, MS, NC, TN
–, W F, W, M, 12, brother, Single, At home, MS, NC, TN
Wilson, M R, W, F, 40, mother-in-law, Widowed, At home, TN, NC, NC
–, W J, W, M, 17, brother-in-law, Single, At home, TN, NC, MS
–, G W, W, M, 14, brother-in-law, Single, At home, TN, NC, MS
–, J R, W, M, 11, brother-in-law, Single, At home, TN, NC, MS
–, M B, W, F, 8, sister-in-law, Single, At home, TN, NC, MS

Very little is easily found on M. L. Morris. Marion Morris married Bettie Wilson 2 July 1878 in adjacent Lee County. Bettie is a common nickname for Elizabeth, so it likely matches the S. E. enumerated in 1880. No Morris family matching or nearly matching the information found in the 1880 census was located in either the 1860 or 1870 censuses. It is probable they were living in the same "Lost Corner" area with the Hester family during that period.This Lost Corner is an area of Monroe County accessible only by entering it through a road that begins and ends in Itawamba County with no other connections at one time to Monroe County roads. On the below map, the county lines are not shown. The Monroe-Itawamba line runs between Clay Hill Road (in Monroe County on the north side of Highway 371) and Carolina Road (in Itawamba County on the south side of Highway 371). Overlook Road now provides a means into Monroe County.

Ancestry's suggested records feature hints that the M. C. Morris and wife Synthia in the 1900 Wynne, Cross County, Arkansas census may be this family. It is troublesome that the middle initial appears to be incorrect in one of the censuses if that is the case. Synthia would certainly match the "S" in the S. E., presumably making the wife's name Synthia Elizabeth. The census indicates they had been married 22 years, providing a date of about 1877-1878.2 With a June 1 census date and the actual enumeration taking place that same date, one would expect the length of marriage to be 21 years, but since they married in July, it is so close to 22 years one can see they might have said 22. No children born prior to 1880 are included to provide further insight. In fact, it would appear that both children enumerated in 1880 and three others died before 1900 if this census is the same family since Synthia is the mother of nine children with only four living, all of which are enumerated.3

I am uncomfortable concluding these are the same families without additional evidence. I know of no connections other than being neighbors to my Hester or Harris families who resided in the area so I will not likely pursue the family further.

Efforts to identify M. R. Wilson in earlier censuses failed, even when using probable names for some of the children such as "George" for G. W., since that is like George Washington and "Bettie" or "Elizabeth." No family with probably matches of approximately the right age and matching at least one of the initials for M. R. as mother, and S. E. as a daughter (in both 1860 and 1870), and W. J., G. W., and J. R. as sons (in 1870) were found in Tennessee. No one was found in the 1900 census, and no probable marriage records for any of the persons were located in Monroe, Itawamba, or Lee Counties. The initials only make it difficult to trace, and no suggested records are provided at Ancestry when clicking on the individuals in the record. Once again, I know of no connection to my Hester or Harris families so I do not plan to pursue the family further.

1 “Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935,” database, Ancestry ( : accessed 9 Aug 2016), Marion Morris-Bettie Wilson marriage, 2 Jul 1878, Lee County, Mississippi; citing Hunting For Bears, Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935 (Provo, Utah: Operations, 2004).
2 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Cross County, Arkansas, population schedule, Wynne, SD 1, ED 28, p. 263A (stamped), sheet 24A (written), dwelling 447, family 459, lines 35-40, M C Morris family; digital image, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 Aug 2016); citing National Archives microfilm publication T623, roll 57.
3 Ibid.

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