He's a bit scary looking in this photo, but he was very old at the time. Sammy lived a very long, productive life, and he was not a scary man, not in the least. By all accounts, he was an honest, devoutly religious man, who served his community, lived humbly and piously, and would give someone the crumbs off his plate, if he were starving.
What I do know of his origins is that he was born on the western bank of the Yadkin/ PeeDee River, in an area now known as Badin.
The below excerpt is from the 1830 census of Montgomery County, North Carolina. This section was on the Western side of the Pee Dee River, which would become Stanly.
Other Mortons lived in a different section of Stanly County, to the west, closer to the Cabarrus County line. By virtue of their neighbors, we can assume these Morton's lived around the Red Cross/ Big Lick area.
On old maps from the early half of the 1800's, we see a little town at a crossroads in the Northeast portion of the county called Narrowsville, named that because of its proximity to the rapids and 'narrow' section of the Yadkin/Pee Dee river.
This is where Samuel P. Morton spent his early years.
The below portion of the census shows Samuel P. Morton and his household, with 3 other Morton families nearby.
I believe these are these are his people, his family, this James, John and Will, while there's another John and William on the other side of the county.
The list names the following men:
John Stone, Thomas Bell, James Morton, Joseph Allen, James Dudney, William Morton, Nancy Hearne, John Calloway, William Lee, Samuel P. Morton, Will Collin, Thomas Hogan, James Maudlin, Henry Marshall, John Morton, Abner Nash and Arch McIver
The households show James with a household containing a male in his 50's with a female in her 60's. This could be husband and wife if he was late in his late 50's and she in her early 60's. There are 2 young men in their 20's another between 15 and 20, and a girl in the same age range.
William Morton was in his 20's.There were 2 women in his home in their 30's and a little girl under 5.
Samuel Parsons Morton was also in his 20's and so was a woman who must have been Vashti. There was a girl 15 - 20, another 10- 15, and another 5 to 10. There was one little boy under 5, which was probably Stephen Ferdinand Morton. I don't know who the girls were, her sisters or his, maybe. Knowing Sammy was 25 and Vashti younger, I can't see them being daughters.
John Morton was in his 30's as was a probable wife. There was a girl, 10 to 15, two boys 5 to 10 and a girl under 5.
This leads to more questions. If James was Sammy's father as numerous family trees claim, where's the proof? Sure, he was older and lived in close proximity, but if Sammy's father died when he was 18, as the 1953 profile on him suggested, then it could not have been James, as he was alive in 1830. Perhaps the article was wrong, and Sammy was in his 20's.
If the three young Morton men, William, John and Samuel P. , were all sons of James, then the article was also wrong about that as well, as Sammy would not have been the oldest son, with John over 30. That's possible too, as the article was written at least 2 generations and 50 years past his death. I have already found inconsistencies in it.
Assuming James passed away before 1840, what happened to John and William?
I'm not sure where these questions will lead. DNA connections are already adding more puzzles in the log book.
And so, with little to no information to go on, this begins my search for the Narrowsville Mortons.