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John Morrell

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: Kittery, York, Maine, USA
Death: Died in Kittery, York, Maine, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Morrell
Husband of Sarah Morrell
Father of Nicholas Morrell; John Morrell; Elizabeth Drowne; Sarah Huntress; Adah Nason and 2 others

Managed by: Alice Morrill Bejnar
Last Updated:

About John Morrell

NOT the Son of Abraham and Sarah Clements Morrill. See Morrillonline site OF THE FAMILY OF JOHN MORRILL OF KITTERY, MAINE, 1640-1920 Very few of the early settlers of the territory now known as the State of Maine can boast a longer list of distinguished descendants than that of John Morrill of Kittery. not only in Maine but in many other states as well, are these names household words, for they were pioneers in manufacturing, political, religious and educational pursuits. Almost nothing has been published about them collectively, due in part, perhaps, to the fact that each one has been so busy pushing forward in strange un-blazed trails that there was no time to con- template the past. Moreover, the Quakers were never given to "shouting their deeds from the housetops." It has been said that the Quakers were such good citizens that they often counted for far more during the Revolution for offices they performed for the government, than if they had fought in the ranks.

In writing the history of the Morrill family one could not easily separate it from the history of beautiful Bauneg Beg, which has been truly said to resemble in many characteristics the Lake of Killarney, celebrated in song and story the world over, for the history of Bauneg Beg is the history of the family, who were the first white settlers upon its shores, coming when the Indians alone listened to the music of the waters, or searched for the plentiful fish and game which then abounded.

Beneath the same great timber pines which cast their shadow over the red man, today walk the descendants in the eighth generation, going about the business of log sawing at the ancient mill, or the numerous errands of the home nestling almost in the shadow of the old homestead built many, many years ago. Many descend- ants come each year from far off cities to rest and recuperate from their labors. The first white owner was Ferdinando Gorges, who explored the coast of what is now a part of Maine in 1635-6; in 1639 he was granted a charter of a great tract which he called New Somershire. It included Kittery Commons, so-called, which extended from the Salmon Falls River on the south to Bauneg Beg hills on the north. There in what is now Kittery Township, in the following year, 1640, was born the first American of our line — John Morrill. The name had been very popular in the days when persons were named for familiar objects such as fish, hand, etc. It is derived from Latin meaning "yellow hair" and was popular in Italy, France, Holland and the British Isles. England claimed two Morrill families with coat-of-arms. Although the founder of this family in America was a wealthy Englishman, it is not known to the writer whether he was related to either of the titled families.

This John was a brickmason. In 1686 he was licensed to "con- duct" a ferry and house of "entertainment." His wife, Sarah, was a daughter of Nicholas Hodgson, who was in Hingham, Mass., as early as 1635, and was killed by Indians in Wells, Maine, 1704. Her mother was a supposed daughter of John Wincoll. In 1674 John Morrill's father-in-law gave him a deed of Birch Point in what is now South Berwick. In 1676 he exchanged this for land at Cool Harbor (Eliot), still in the family. Between 1658-1703 he was granted 3,100 acres by King George, which included Bauneg Beg lake. He was a Quaker as were many of his descendants, as we shall see.

A great-great-grandson, John (5) had seven children, all of whom died unmarried. This John (5) was born in Eliot, October 17, 1797, lived on the homestead there and died in 1881; his wife Sarah (Jenkins) having died in 1868. An admirer of Andrew Jackson, for whom he named a son born in 1843. John (i) had six children. The oldest, John, born 1668, was a blacksmith. He had the homestead at Kittery. Ordered by the military officers in session at York, August 25, 1720, to erect a garrison of refuge near the ferry for the benefit of "ye inhabitants and families from William Frys' to John Morrill, son of Nicholas, inclusively." Sarah (2) married George Huntress in 1701. Edah (2) married Jonathan Nason in 1702. Hannah married John Tidy same year. John (2) married Hannah Dixon, lived at North Berwick, was prominent in town affairs, being a large land and slave owner. One slave was willed to his wife with the provision that she be freed at her death.

Some of our most prominent lines sprang from his sons, particularly Jedediah (3), Peter (3), and Peaselee (3). The others were John (3), Thomas (3), Richard (3), and Stephen (3). Abraham (2), son of John (i), married Phoebe Heard but died soon after without issue. Elizabeth, the youngest of John's (i) family, married Thomas Hobbs in 1721. She lived in Boston. Jedediah (3), son of John (2), held 2,000 acres of the King George grant. Was prominent in town affairs. To his son Win-throp he gave the tract of land at Bauneg Beg, Peter's share nearer what is now North Berwick village, and Josiali the homestead. He was one of those versatile pioneer spirits who could "turn a hand" to any kind of work; in addition to carrying on his great farm and the mill at Bauneg Beg, he was a blacksmith and was one of the first in Maine to practice medicine. A Quaker in religion. The first three mills built were burned by the Indians. The first dwelling was a log cabin, soon followed by a small frame house. In 1769, when Winthrop (4) came there with his bride, Susannah (Lewis), who rode on horseback through the forest from York, he built the fine colonial mansion which still stands, and the present mill. The Indians, having learned that he was a "William Penn man," never molested him. This mill is now run by his great- grandson, Daniel Morrill. His daughter, Anna, was the first white child born at Bauneg Beg.

Last summer her great grandson, Mr. A. A. Thompson of Chattanooga, Tennessee, visited Bauneg Beg. During his visit he was presented with a chair which had been a gift to Anna from her mother. Originally there was a set of six of these old "1700" Windsor chairs. Anna Morrill before her death divided these chairs between her daughters. Winthrop in his old age was cared for by his grandson, Nathan Morrill. Nathan was the father of the present owner of the estate, Mr. Daniel Morrill. He was cared for in his turn by his son, and Daniel's wife has a number of stories which grandpa told her, one of which she passed on for this article. It was told to Nathan by his grandfather, Winthrop. An Indian brave with his wife and papoose asked at Jedediah's house for shelter from an approaching storm. The baby was strapped to a board as was their custom. Bidden to enter, they stood the board and baby against the outside of the house. "Bring baby in, it rains," said Mr. Jedediah. The brave replied, "Me toughen baby."

W hen ready to resume their journey they found the papoose "toughened" indeed. The water from the eaves falling on his head ran into his mouth and drowned the child. They stoically carried it down by the river and buried it, continuing their journey as though nothing had happened out of the ordinary.

Doors were never locked in these times and it was an every-day occurrence for Winthrop and his wife to awake in the night and lie quietly in their great four-poster bed in the kitchen, and watch the Indians who had stolen quietly in and were warming them- selves by the fireplace, talking softly in their guttural, their swarthy faces lighted by the blaze of the great logs. When warm and rested they carefully covered the fire with ashes as they found it, and resumed their journey, never disturbing this Quaker family, who had no fear of them. Nathan very closely resembled in features Andrew Jackson, whose staunch admirer he was, being as they used to express it, "a Jackson man." To his son Daniel's wife, Harriette (Randell), all seekers of our lineage owe a great debt of gratitude. For forty years she has been an able and untiring assistant to one and all. Her prolific pen often working far into the night to record the many interesting morsels of family history which she so well knew how to make interesting, even to the most casual reader. This couple are the last of their line, having lost all their children many years ago. But Mrs. Morrill's great mother love would not be starved; several girls have been fed, clothed and educated by her and worthy boys helped to start in life. At present she has three, the youngest not yet of school age. Jedediah, ]r., son of Jedediah, settled in the town which was afterward named for him, "Morrill," in Knox County, near Belfast, Maine.

Two others. Josiah and Peace married Meader, settled in the eastern part of the state. One of his granddaughters was a famous Quaker minister of Seabrook, New Hampshire. This lady, Mrs. Elizabeth Morrill Folsom, was the dearest friend of J. G. Whittier's mother.

On her death the poet wrote the lines of ' The Friend's Burial "

"My thoughts are all in yonder town, Where, wept by many tears, Today my mother's friend lays down The burden of her years. Oh, not for her the florist's art, The mocking weeds of woe ; Dear memories in each mourner's heart Like heaven's white lilies blow. How reverent in our midst she stood Or knelt in grateful praise ! What grace of Christian womanhood, Was in her household ways. For still her holy living meant No duty left undone; The heavenly and human blent Their kindred loves in one. An inborn charm of graciousness, Made sweet her smile and tone, And glorified her farm wife's dress, With beauty not its own."

Many pictures of this lady and others, sisters, cousins and other relatives are still preserved by North Berwick descendants. The quaint and prim Quaker head-dress, white folds at neck and shawl, make very aristocratic photos. John (2), son of John (i), had a son, Stephen, who married Elizabeth Winslow of Falmouth. Peter (3) had a daughter killed and scalped by the Indians. As the story is told, she and an older brother had been sent into the forest to get a hemlock broom.

She happened upon some lurking savages, who were waiting for darkness to attack the settlement. She screamed and the savages caught and scalped her to prevent the spread of the alarm. She expired on her father's doorstep. When the Indians learned that they had killed a Quaker maiden they were filled with regret ; on their return march north they stopped at a small lake, some three miles away and carved her picture on a great tree. This lake was then named "Picture Lake" and is still so called. The tree was often visited and the story is still told beneath its boughs by the old inhabitants to the children of today "in her memory." billkidder1 billkidder

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John Morrell's Timeline

Kittery, York, Maine, USA
January 9, 1666
Age 26
Kittery, ME, USA
Age 30
Kittery, York, ME
Age 35
Old Kittery, York, Maine
Age 36
Kittery, York, Me
Age 37
Kittery, York, ME
April 13, 1680
Age 40
Kittery, York County, Province of Massachusetts
Age 40
Kittery, York, Maine, United States
September 6, 1723
Age 83
Kittery, York, Maine, USA