Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Six Gun Motivation

I have spoken of sitting at Aunt Elma's feet and hearing her stories and I will try to share the one that is my favorite. When I visited home and stayed for six months, I tried to visit Aunt Elma as much as I could. One day she told,  my sister Donna and I, this story of our 2nd Great Grandfather.
His name was William M. "Bud" Morris and he was known as the man that the Morristown road was named after. He was born according to his gravestone in 1840 but on every census he is enumerated on, he was born around 1846 or 7. The information for the Military stone was given by T. C. Lloyd in 1942 so that may be what the family thought his birthday was. There is another William J Morris born in Alabama and with the birth-date of 1840 so that may be where the discrepancy comes in from. His Death certificate with information given by his daughter Laura states Dec. 1839 so the mystery of this man began with his birth.
He was an interesting character and I think that a book should be written of his adventures. It starts with him marrying an Indian woman named Matilda Jane Spears. I am sure that was a risk in 1867 and as a young couple who probably already had enough to try to overcome, it put another strain on making it in that day.
My 2nd Great Grandmother was a Creek Indian. There is no paperwork that states this that I have found yet, but there are clues from my cousin and his great Granddaughter Mary Findley and from Aunt Elma. I believe in family lore and the story of her Parents on Mims Island. I have heard it from more than one member of the family.
He had to be a pretty strong character to go against the grain and marry a Native girl and she was probably passing as white to avoid any local outrage and danger to themselves and their children.
This may be why he started to carry a six gun on his hip or it may have been the standard of that day. It was during the settling of many of the areas by non locals after the Civil War and there were still people that had lost so much during that war.
He won land in the Lottery and built a home for his wife and they had a family of 7 children. Hanging in my Aunts home was the paperwork signed by the President. This was something that Aunt Elma seemed particularly proud of, although this was her Husbands family and not her own by blood.
He served in the War Between the States in Co. A, 15th Confederate Calvary CSA, Florida and was a Private. He filed for and was granted a pension, A08150, MORRIS, William M., 15th Conf Cav, Santa Rosa Co, 1907, 14 pgs. ( Sherry Footprintseeker Schindler Morris) and settled down after the War to build his life. Jane nursed him from his wounds received after his service Sept. 1863 to May 1865 from which he recovered and then married her in 1867. He would have been 20 and she was 19. 

His Parents were Burrell and Rosanna Carnley Morris.  Burrell was born in 1808 and Rosanna was born in 1824 according to Census records, but that differs according to what year you reference.    A lot of older men married much younger women back then and it was a way of making the ages seem more appropriate so you see discrepancies in ages among the many Census images. Burrell was born in Cherokee, Ga and Rosanna was born in Alabama. I am not sure where as I do not have a birth record.  They had 14 Children and the majority of the Morris line from Florida and Alabama come from this family. 

Here is the story from Mary D. Findley, "I have never known his middle name. He is one of my great grand fathers. I do have picture of him and my great grand mother was a Cherokee Indian, married a Spears(killed by other Indians) and then married my grandfather. My father, Guy Diamond, Sr. said that my great grand mother Morris took care of "Bud" when he was hurt in the Civil War and he brought her to Santa Rosa C., Fla. and married her. I knew all their children, except Maggie, who is the first person buried in Cora Cemetery, about 6 miles south of Jay, Florida. Both great grandparents are buried. Great gran mother Morris' tombstone reads Matilda Jane Spears Morris.

As a child, I do remember "Bud" Morris. He would come by our house to see my father . He would be in a black buggy pulled by a big black horse. My father wouldn't let us get to near him because he liked his moonshine, probably could be ornery, He is supposed to have died at 98 from poison moonshine. My father was a big teaser. He laughed and said that he thought it was the 18 yr. girl he had in the buggy with him. Probably bad moonshine is correct.!!!!! "
(How cool is it that we have a living Great Granddaughter to ask questions of and that remembers for us)
My Aunt told me the almost the exact same story of his son, Ervin Washington driving a buckboard asking young girls if they wanted to take a ride and giving them money if they would. He was ornery and a bit shady but I guess that is what makes for a story to be remembered by generations.
The story that I loved best was one of Bud sitting on the front porch of the old wooden house he built. He always wore the six gun on his hip and one day in particular, someone came driving a rig down the road. In those days and with the quiet all around, you could hear the buggy wheels a distance away and Bud would be waiting for them in his rocker. As they approached the house, he would leave his chair, walk down the steps and look to the direction of the noise. He was awaiting the arrival of the buggy passing his home.
If by chance you saw him, it would be neighborly to wave, tip your hat or raise your hand with the reins in them, to acknowledge that you saw him and to say Good morning or Good day.
Many people would wave and give him the neighborly response he felt should be given by anyone that had any manners at all to speak about. In the event you passed by his home without the acknowledgment that he was standing there, you would only do that once. He would draw his six gun and proceed to start shooting in your direction to remind you, that the next time you went by his house, you best be on your best manners and be neighborly.
Aunt Elma chuckled as she told me this. It is amusing when you think of it now, but I bet if you had that happen to you, you would be thinking of a different route the next time you wanted to go to town. I am sure that if you did take the same route by the house and saw him step off the porch, you would not only tip your hat and wave but pull on the horse's reins to make them turn their head in the general direction of him too.
I feel that William "Bud" was proud and maybe that was a sin, but I can guess that he felt that you were riding on "his" road. One he had walked and ridden a horse to the Tallahassee land office to get the paperwork that gave him the land that became his legacy. A legacy that still has a Morris living on it. (That paperwork was signed by the President and hung in the bedroom of Aunt Elma's home.)
It brings me some pride too, in knowing that this ole Crudmudgeon's blood flows in my veins, giving me some of the strength I have needed to survive my life and to tell the story of his....
Gloria Peacock Kimmel Nov. 17, 2015
(Photos courtesy of Aunt Mary Elma Peacock Morris)

Gloria Peacock Kimmel's photo.

Gloria Peacock Kimmel's photo.

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