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About Thomas Morehead
First, I must credit William Addams Reitwiesner’s (email@example.com) extensive work on Muhammad Ali’s ancestry. It appears to that although Thomas Morehead's date of death is fairly certain to have been in 1913, his date of birth is in dispute. If he was born in 1859, then his father, Armstead Morehead (my third cousin, 5 times removed), died when Thomas was 6 years old, and that he was First Sergeant of Company E of the the 122nd Colored regiment of the US Army in 1864 at the age of 5 years. This seems highly unlikely. There are letters in the US National Archives, written to the pension department, in favor of Thomas Morehead's date of birth being ca. 1838, by written by James W, Morehead, Armstead Morehead's legitimate white son. James Morehead states his own mother died when he was very young, about a year old. James states that he and Thomas grew up together and were no more than 1 or 2 years apart in age. Aletter from Thomas Morehead himself to the pension commissioner reads: " September 4 1908
Lewisburg Ky R.F D 1 Box 49.
to the Comiheris Dear Sir in answer to your letter I have give you true reports to my age. you ask me for Bible eveidents but I could not give that, but I give you J W Morehead. eveident and my mather raise us boath and that is the best eveident I Can give you my rigiment was Company E 100 and twenty Second
Mr Thomas Morehead"
William Reitwiesner records Mr. Ali’s great grandparents as: Thomas Morehead, b. ... , Ky., ... [ca. 1838], d. Logan Co., Ky., 28 May 1913, ae. 76 [Kentucky Death Index, 1911-2000, vol. 28, cert. 13679] m. Old Union Church, Logan Co., Ky., 24 Dec. 1890
Lizzie Bibb, b. ... , Ky., ... Oct. 1869, d. ... 29 Dec. 1919
William Reitwiesner adds further documentation: “Other documents in the pension file for Thomas Morehead state that he was born in Logan Co., Ky., in June 1837 or on 14 Dec. 1837, that his military service was from 21 Sept. 1864 to 24 Sept. 1865, that his first wife, Georgia Morehead, died 18 May 1885, that he married Lizzie Bibb at the Old Union Church in Logan Co., Ky., on 24 Dec. 1890, and that he died on 28 May 1913. On 24 June 1913, Lizzie Bibb Morehead was guardian to Lorena and Norine Morehead (twins born 1 June 1900) and Herman Morehead (born 17 May 1905), minors under 16 at Thomas Morehead's death. Lizzie was age 47 on 26 Sept. 1913, and died 29 Dec. 1919
For further details about Thomas Morehead, including the evidence to support the claim that Thomas Morehead had been fathered by his owner (Armstead S. Morehead), see John Egerton, "Heritage of a heavyweight", The New York Times Magazine, September 28, 1980, p. 54 et seq. The article includes several family photographs.
"The Ancestry of Muhammad Ali", available on the Web at http://www.genealogy.com/famousfolks/muhammada/index.html, claims, at http://www.genealogy.com/famousfolks/muhammada/d0/i0000023.htm, that Thomas Morehead, Muhammad Ali's great-grandfather, was born in December 1859, but this is based on a misreading of the 1900 census.”
Tina Gardner (amateur historian) I am related to this family through my 6th greatgrandfather, Courtney C. Norman, the (not famous) brother of the famous Revolutionary War heroine, Kerenhappuch Norman Turner.