This morning I got an email from a cousin related to my Morse and Pond families. She was writing about my 4x great-grandmother Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse. She asked:
“Do you have firm evidence that Sally Maria Morse ( Samuel Pond’s wife) was in fact the daughter of David Morse? I have seen other trees that attribute her parentage to a Benjamin Morse.”
Here is what I’ve been able to piece together about this. (Note: For purposes of disambiguation, I’m going to refer to my grandmother as “Sally” despite the fact that she actually always went by “Mariah” or “Maria” in all the records we have for her.)
According to the Morse Society, Sally was born on 24 Mar 1805 to David Morse and his second wife Sarah Lathrop in Sharon, Vermont. Indeed Sally’s headstone in Burke, New York gives that as her birth date.
Sally Morse’s grave in Burke Center Cemetery.
Sally’s obituary states: “In Malone (NY) Aug. 23rd, Mariah Morse, relict of the late Samuel Pond of Burke (New York), died aged 85 years 5 months. Deceased was born in Sharon, VT, March 24, 1805, and moved with her parents to Chateaugay, this County (Franklin County, New York) in 1809.” It also indicates she moved to Burke, NY around 1830.
Obituary from the Franklin Gazette (Malone, NY), Friday August 29, 1890.
We do, indeed, see David Morse in Sharon, VT in the 1800 Census, then in Chateaugay, NY in the 1810 and 1820 Census, so that fits perfectly with what the obituary says.
David Morse died in 1840 in Johnstown, NY. If we look in the 1850 Census for Burke, NY we can see Sally with her husband Samuel Pond, and eight of their children. Also living with them is Sarah Lathrop Morse (age 85):
Pond Family 1850, Burke, NY
It was very common for elderly women to live with one of their children after their husbands passed away.
David Morse was, according to his death notice, a “patriot of the revolution”. He was also listed as a veteran in the 1840 census for Johnstown, New York.
David Morse death notice, Albany Argus, Albany, New York, 14 Jul 1840
(Note: I have found reference to a “Sergeant David Morse” who served in Guilford, Connecticut before and after the Revolutionary War, but I don’t believe this is my ancestor. So far I have not managed to find reference to a David Morse in the Revolutionary War that matches what we know of my grandfather.)
David’s wife Sarah Lathrop received pension payments of $96/year for her husband’s military service (wherein he is also described as a sergeant). The payments stop after a final payment in March 1857, and no payment is made in September 1857.
David Morse Pension, 1857
Sarah Lathrop Morse died in Burke, NY on 2 Jun 1857 (between the pension payment that was made and the one that was not made). She was buried in Burke. From this, we know the Sarah who died in Burke and had been living with Sally is the same Sarah who had been married to David Morse. This, to me, firmly establishes the link of Sally Morse Pond to David Morse and Sarah Lathrop.
On the other side of this, evidence-wise, is a copy of a birth record from New Hampshire which shows a Mariah Morse born to Benjamin Morse and his wife Abigail exactly one year earlier on 24 Mar 1804 in Haverhill, New Hampshire.
Mariah Morse Birth, 1804
This Benjamin Morse married Abigail Emery in Orford, New Hampshire on 31 Dec 1799, and had at least six children in Haverhill.
There is a Benjamin Morse in the census for Sharon, VT for 1800 with two sons and two daughters, but this Benjamin Morse was having children in that town as early as 1791 (Son Henry Morse, alongside Benjamin in the 1840 census, was born in Sharon on 16 Jun 1791). This rules him out as the Benjamin who married Abigail Emery and moved to Haverhill.
The Benjamin from Haverhill seems to have stayed in New Hampshire; he is in the Haverhill Census for 1800 and 1810, and in the 1850 census for Concord, New Hampshire living with his daughter Harriet (who was born in Haverhill).
We have seen that our Sally Morse moved to Chateaugay in 1809, whereas Benjamin Morse is in the 1810 Census for Haverhill with three young daughters. We also have birth records for three daughters born to him in Haverhill between his marriage and 1810, one of whom is Mariah Morse. So it would seem from this that the Mariah Morse who was born in Haverhill was still there with her parents in 1810, not in Chateaugay, New York with David Morse. This makes unlikely the idea that she was born to Benjamin in Haverhill, but then went to live with David in Chateaugay as an adopted child.
Going back to Sally’s birth… she was said in her obit to have been born in Sharon, VT on 24 Mar 1805. David Morse is indeed seen in the 1800 Census for Sharon, Vermont with his first wife Esther Larabee. Esther died 31 Dec 1803 in Sharon (her death was recorded in nearby Royalton, VT), and David married Sarah Lathrop on 21 Feb 1804 in Sharon, VT according to the Morse Society. So that aligns well with them having a daughter a year later in March, 1805.
Esther Laribee Death, 1803
Sally, for her part, gives her birthplace as “Vermont” in the 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880 Census records. She certainly believed she was born in Vermont and not in New Hampshire.
I believe at this point that the name and birth day are a coincidence, and the Mariah Morse born in New Hampshire is not Sally Maria “Mariah” Morse.