As reported in an earlier blog, I broke through a brick wall in the family history of my grandmother’s mother Gillian (Gillie) Virginia Morriss Ison. Since returning from our Pennsylvania trip, I’ve spent most of days in my “cave” researching this piece of family and American history.Family Tree and Sheets for Gillie V. Morris Ison
Like the Ison family that Gillie joined, the Morriss family and its extended branches migrated over time from Virginia through Kentucky and into Missouri. Gillie’s father Peter Philander Morriss married Elizabeth Ely, part of the Ely family of Ralls County, Missouri, a place where creeks and roads carry the Ely name. They were original settlers to the area, along with the Judy (Tschudi) family and Utterback family with whom they intermarried, and held extensive land holdings near the elbow of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Peter and Elizabeth settled down in Chariton County, Missouri not far from the Howard County home his mother and father had settled after coming from Kentucky via Scott County, Virginia. Scott County is the gateway to Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap and a family home of the Gabriel Ison’s father as well. This connection may in fact be a factor in how Gillie and Gabriel met.
The origins of these families are varied and interesting. Some bulleted highlights:
- MORRISS – Thomas Morriss’ grandfathers had met on the ship “Active” coming from London to Virginia as indentured servants in 1774. (If anyone is interested in this period of history, I strongly recommend the Pulitzer Prize winning book Voyagers to the West by Bernard Bailyn.)
- SALLING – Peter Morriss’ father Thomas H. Morriss married Malinda Salling who came from Scott County, Virginia. Her great grandfather John Peter Salling was commissioned to explore the Kentucky territory in about 1740. One of the first white men to venture into the area, he was captured by Cherokee’s, traded to the French in New Orleans and eventually made it home to Rockbridge County. He came originally with his family from Teiffenbach in the Palatinate of Alsace-Lorraine.
- JUDY (Tschudi) – Mary Polly Judy married Isaac Ely, a judge in Ralls County, Missouri while in Kentucky. The family had arrived moved to Kentucky from Pennsylvania after arriving from Switzerland. Her father fought in the Revolutionary War in the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment.
- UTTERBACK (Otterback) – The family originally immigrated from Trupbach in the North Rhine-Westphalia Palatinate to Fort Germanna in Virginia Colony. They were brought there in 1714 under the sponsorship of Governor Alexander Spotswood to develop the iron works industry.
- ELY – In 1762 Isaac Ely, who had arrived from Scotland or England (accounts vary) received a land grant from Lord Fairfax on both sides of the Cacaphoen River and surveyed it with William Scott, whose wife he married after William’s death.
The family tree from Gillian Virginia Morriss back to the early 1700’s along with all family sheets is included above. I encourage you to examine them, especially that of Isaac Ely and Mary Polly Judy. More on them and the family during the Civil War in my next blog.