Mysteries and Brick Walls

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Robert Morrison 1740 Anson Civil War Picture John Keith in Australia Margaret Murphy Origin
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Robert Morrison: Immigrant to Bridgewater 1740

  • Mystery 1) Date and place of birth
    • Need to contact LDS to research the genealogy "Rowley-King Family 1630-1980". This book establishes that Londonderry was the birthplace of John Morrison (1709-1790), who is a close DNA match with our family (see Group C - DNA section). This genealogy might provide more information as to the family of John Morrison, who could have been a brother to Robert.
    • Contact made, but "Londonderry" source was not supported by any further records.

  • Mystery 2) Father and mother
  • Mystery 3) Marriage date
    • A second (maybe third) marriage for Robert Morrison to the widow Mary Dorman (McIntire) January 22, 1761. North Bridgewater Vital Records. This is supported by the will of Robert Morrison which referred to his wife Mary. No children by this marriage.
    • A likely guess for Robert's wife's maiden name is Sarah Henry. All of John Keith's children used maiden names for the middle name, with first son named John Henry. They used Brown, Thaxter, Woodbridge from Charlotte's side, but there is no evidence of a Henry on either side. And the Henry family came to North Bridgewater with Robert in 1740. Possibly a brother to Robert's wife. Robert's sons John and Alexander had second or third daughters named Sarah where the first daughter had the wife's name and one was given the name of the wife's mother.
  • Mystery 4) Date of death and cemetery records
    • Died in 1764 in North Bridgewater, MA per Cary Genealogy
    • Congregational Library in Boston records searched. No new information found.
    • Most likely cemeteries are Ashland or the First Parish Cemetery. No records of a Morrison gravesite. Per Dale Cook-NEHGS
    • Cemeteries were visited and searched by Jim Morrison. No grave of any Morrison found. See cemetery section in Vital Records.
    • Have records searched in Londonderry County for a marriage of Robert Morison to a Sarah Henry about 1725. Birth of William about 1726, and Alexander 1728. Left for the US in 1740. Henry family living close by.
  • Mystery 5) Emigration to the US
    • All four families arrived in North Bridgewater at the same time. They may have arrived directly from Ireland (Morrison, Henry, Wilson and Brown), but evidence from a land sale says Robert originally was in Damariscotta, Maine when he purchased the homestead in Bridgewater. The Nottingham Morrisons also arrived in 1740 on a ship from Port Rush, very close to Ballymoney.

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Anson Reed Morrison Civil War Pictures

Mystery 1) What publication was it that had Anson's picture?

The following article appeared in an Albany newspaper shortly before 1914. We can date this given the mention of the "aged aunt" who was still living. This was Maria (Morrison) Brown who died in 1914 and was Anson's sister. The Albany woman is Mary Charlotte Buckley (Lottie), who was the daughter of Anson Reed Morrison, the Civil War soldier in the picture.

In the article, clues are given that indicate that a "series of Brady War pictures" were making the rounds in Albany. It also says that Mrs. Buckley is "taking the series" and was "looking through one volume". This indicates a published magazine of some sort. And the reference to an "aged aunt" who was Maria Morrison, would place this some time around 1907-1912. If this is a picture of Anson as a Sergeant Major, then it would have been taken after the battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863. There are many published books of Brady photographs, but most of the pictures are officers, and Anson was an enlisted man.

According to one of the letters from Aunt Maria to Lottie, she had sent Lottie three pictures of her father. One was taken while Anson was in prison. The "flag is at his head, and his coat is buttoned up". The second picture was taken after the prisoner exchange and showed a rather thin Anson. Then there was a third picture that may be the one shown in the newspaper. The tin picture of Anson below is the only picture still in existence today that we know of. It is held by Sarah Buckley, Lottie's great granddaughter. Also in her possession is the four by two inch bible that Anson carried with him during the war. The search for these lost pictures continues.

Publications searched for the picture of Anson:
Photographic History: Part 1-10 by Miller 1912
History of the Civil War-Mathew Brady by Lossing 1912
Battles and Leaders of the Civil Wars-Volume I-V by Johnson, Bradford, Cozzens. 1956
The Memorial War Book by Williams. 1979

Publications still to be searched:
The Century Magazine:Battles and Leaders of the Civil War Series 1885-87

The tin picture is two by four inches. The bible is about three by five inches.

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John Keith Morrison in Australia

Mystery 1) Where did John Keith live in Australia, and why didn't he return?

John Keith Morrison left his family in 1854 to search for gold in Australia. From the letters of Anson Reed and his mother Charlotte, they fully expected him to return to Maine. They never lost hope despite his lack of letters. We only know of two letters. The last was in 1865. There is a death certificate for a John Keith Morrison with the right birth year, but no mention was made of his family. If this is him, he died in Australia in Junee, the heart of the 1850's gold rush, in 1886. He would have been 77 years old. Perhaps he never returned because he was gone too long. Perhaps he had no money for the trip. There was an insolvency case for a John Keith Morrison in 1878 in Junee. Several of the prospectors from Maine did return. There are ongoing researches on this group of individuals.

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Margaret (Murphy) Morrison Origin

Mystery 1) We know little of Margaret Murphy's family.

This all changed in 2020 when we discovered the mystery of a Cora Pile, who was supposedly a close cousin from across the river in East St. Louis. It was discovered that Cora was actually a Murphy who was adopted very young when her parents, Cornelius Murphy and Caroline Braun passed away.

Cornelius was the brother to our Margaret Murphy. More of this discovery can be found in the Spouse section 1700 - 1940, in addition to a family tree of John Murphy and Hanora Lynch.

Margaret Murphy married John Henry Morrison around the year 1868. John Henry was a traveler up and down the Mississippi River, and there must have been good reason to settle in St. Louis.

We suspect the reason the Morrisons in St. Louis are Catholic was because of Margaret Murphy. On her death certificate is the name of her father, J. Murphy, and mother Nora Lynch. It was believed the family came over from Cork, Ireland. The census records indicate this was between 1859 and 1861.

To see the full story, follow this link to another page.

The Rest of the Murphy Story

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Carrie (Pitz) Morrison Origin
Mystery 1) Parents, birth and immigration. from Germany

Carrie Pitz was married to Anson Morrison, son of John Henry Morrison. Her father was Franz Pitz, and her mother was Josephine Schuetz.

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To Do List
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October 5, 2006
Contact West Boylston for Anson Reed Morrison and Margaret Gilhooly marriage license likely around 1867-69.
Contact was made. No record of the marriage exists in West Boylston.

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