Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Allen line: James Morgan Sr. 1607-1685

First, let me say I have no original research about our ancestor, and the long, long genealogy I have for his mother may be completely erroneous.  So as far as we know for sure, James may have been dropped from a spaceship back in 1607.  Many websites indicate that his father was William Morgan and his mother was Elizabeth Morgan.  Elizabeth ties into a long long line leading to royalty, but I just found a website that listed the children of William and the well known Elizabeth, and there was no James listed.  So for now, James may be the son of William Morgan, and his wife may have been named Elizabeth, but there's no proof. 

It's believed that James was born (not to aliens from a spaceship) in Llandaff, Glamorgan, Wales, about 1607 and later lived in Bristol, Gloucester, England.  Nothing further is known of him until he sailed from Bristol in the summer of 1636 and landed in Boston. Massachusetts Bay Colony.  He settled in Roxbury, Massachusetts and there married Margery Hill on August 6, 1640.  In 1649 or 1650, he and his young family moved to New London, Connecticut, where he was associated with the church of Rev. Richard Blinman.  Most of the congregation was of Welsh background, which lends credence to the belief that James was also Welsh, although if records have been found and proven I am not aware of them. 

He was apparently a respected person in his community, for he was one of a committee to lay out the bounds of New London on the east side of the Great River in 1661.  He was one of three people to seat the people in the meeting house in 1661, and in 1662 he was one of a committee to contract to build a house for the ministry.  This year he also had the third highest assessment of any town member, with a value of 250 pounds.  Apparently his relative wealth were as a result of his land holdings, as there is no mention of other occupations he may have followed.  The lands he was first granted were just 6 acres of uplands, which doesn't seem to be a basis for wealth, but he may have been a speculator, also. He sold these lands and moved to what is now Groton, Connecticut in 1657.

Besides serving as a selectman for many years, he was the first Deputy from New London plantations to the General Court at Hartford in 1657 and was returned there annually until 1671. Despite his standing in the community, his relative wealth, and his political achievements, as far as can be found he always signed his name with an "X", indicating he couldn't sign his name. 

His known children are Hannah, James, John, Joseph, Abraham, who lived just 11 months, and a daughter who also died in infancy. 

I wonder why James chose to come to Massachusetts and then was willing to move from Roxbury to the New Haven (then known as Pequot) settlement?  Was it for economic reasons, or was he an adventuresome sort, or was it for religious reasons, or did all three come into play?  I'd also like to know what was in his mind as he and his family fled Groton in 1676, when the Indians burned all but four buildings during King Philip's War?  Did he have any regrets, or did he and Margery get through this crisis one day at a time, as the other refugees also did?  How did they summon up the courage to return and rebuild their home? 

Our line of descent is:
James Morgan-Margery Hills
James Morgan Jr-Mary Vine
Mary or Mercy Morgan-Thomas Starr
Thomas Starr Jr-Jerusha Street
John Starr-Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Clarissa Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Clarissa Starr-Edward Allen
Richard/Edith/Vernon/Corinne/Tessora
kids, grandchildren, etc

James is my 8th great grandfather.