The Final Chapter in my Missouri Bound Musings
The ancestors of Gillian Virginia Morris, my grandmother’s maternal grandmother, made it to Missouri! That is, if you have followed my previous posts.
To discover how her parents, Peter Philander and Elizabeth Ely Morris, met, we must dig into Place. I use a capital “P” for Place because I consider it key to all historical research. And to understand Place, you need maps, and I do LOVE maps.
But first, a recap:
- Part 1 and 2: Thomas H. and Malinda Salling[i] Morris(s) moved from Rockbridge County, Virginia by about 1845 and settled in Chariton County, Missouri with their children. One of those children was Gillian’s father Peter Philander Morris.
- Part 3 and 4: Isaac Ely and Mary Polly Judy Ely travelled from Clark/Montgomery County, Kentucky to Missouri with their children. One of their children was William Scott Ely. They arrived with Isaac’s father Benjamin Ely in about 1820, and bought land in Ralls County, Missouri in 1824.
- Part 5: Hankerson Adam Utterback and Catherine Pence Utterback moved from Boone County, Kentucky to Ralls County, Missouri via Clay County, MO by about 1824.[ii] In 1829, his daughter Rebecca Virginia Utterback bought land in Ralls County, as well.
- Part 1: While not a direct ancestor, an important connection is John Salling brother of Malinda Salling Morris. He moved from Rockbridge County, Kentucky to Ralls County, Missouri by 1833.
William’s father, Isaac, had purchased various sections in Township 55 Range 6 of Ralls County.
Rebecca’s father, Hankerson owned 160 acres in Township 55 Range 7 Section 33, shown below. Note that, geographically, the map below would be to the left of the map above. The bend in the Salt River left incomplete above is completed below.
But how did their child, Elizabeth Ely (her gravestone says Eliza), meet and marry Peter Philander Morris, of Chariton County? How far apart are Chariton County and Ralls County? The map at the top of this post is a close-up of Missouri from the excellent map resource at the State Historical Society of Missouri.[v]According to the map’s scale for mileage, the two counties are about 60 miles apart (Google Maps confirms this). Sixty miles is a fair distance to travel in the 1800’s.
The key, of course, is Peter’s uncle John Salling. The Morris family of Chariton County likely visited the Salling family in Ralls County. So how close was John Salling to the William Scott Ely’s homestead? The plat maps for Ralls County[vi] found at the Missouri Digital Heritage site gives us a clue. I took the land office records[vii] of the families previously mentioned, a spreadsheet of which can be found hereRalls County, Missouri Land Records, and compared it to the plat maps of 1878. Here is a close-up of Sections 54-7. (You saw 55-6 and 55-7 previously.) I’ve circled the land ownership of William and Rebecca Utterback Ely and put a rectangle around the property of John Adam Salling so you can see how near they lived to one another.[viii]
A visit, a soirée, a chance encounter? Who knows, but Elizabeth Ely and Peter Philander Morris met—and they married. I have not found a marriage certificate or the exact date of their marriage, but the death certificate of their first child, Thomas, born on June 25, 1856, names them as his parents.[ix] Place…an important push-pin in family history.
[i] Also Sally and Salley
[ii] George H. Utterback, son of Hankerson, helped sponsor the atlas listed below and indicated 1834 as his year of settlement.
[iii] Some say September 24, 1829, but I have not yet been able to verify this.
[iv] See a spreadsheet of the land purchases of all the Ralls County families here.Ralls County, Missouri Land Records
[v] The full map is available here. http://digital.shsmo.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/Maps/id/92
[vi] AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORICAL ATLAS OF RALLS COUNTY, MISSOURI Compiled, drawn and published from Personal Examinations and Surveys BY EDWARDS BROTHERS, OF MISSOURI. General Office: 209 S. FIFTH STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1878 http://cdm.sos.mo.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/mocoplats/id/2716/rec/1
[vii] Ancestry.com. U.S. General Land Office Records, 1776-2015 [various]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.
[viii] Note that John A. Salling died in September 1878 based on Letters of Administration, 1849-1907; Author: Missouri. Probate Court (Ralls County); Probate Place: Ralls, Missouri
His land now appears to belong to his son Samuel I Salling, his daughter Susan, who married Charles H. Phillips, and Stephen Scobee, the father of Ely Scobee, who married John’s daughter Rebecca and died of Typhoid fever six weeks later (based on a find a grave report).