Saturday, August 28, 2021

Who Were the Griggs Boys?


On October 27, 1846, 33 year old Vashita Calloway Morton left her earthly body to pursue a life in heaven.

Two years later, on November 19, 1848, her widower, Rev. Samuel Parsons Morton married Lucy Martin Ingram. In the next census record, 1850, the very first one to give names, but not relationships, to the women, children and other people, like borders and hired hands, in the household, Samuel and Lucy are seen living in Cedar Hill, Anson County, with a number of children in their home.


Name:Samuel Morton
Birth Year:abt 1806
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Diamond Hill, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Real Estate:500
Line Number:4
Dwelling Number:805
Family Number:805
Household MembersAge
Samuel Morton44
Lucy Morton52
Elizabeth W Morton12
George A Morton10
Sarah Morton6
Lewis Morton3
James W Morton1

First there is George Arnold 10, Elizabeth Wincy Morton 12, and Sarah 6. These 3 were Mortons, I know who they are and where life took them. Wincy was my 3rd Great Grand mother. Then there were 2 small boys, Lewis, age 3 and James W., age 1, who were obviously born after the death of Vashita C. Morton. Everyone has them pegged as being the sons of 44 year old Sammy and 52 year old Lucy. I just didn't see that as likely.

So, for years, I tried to find Lewis and James. Most just put it off as the too often case of child death that occured in those days, but my spidey senses, genetic memory, intuition, whatever you want to call it, was telling me that was not the case. I had the feeling that the reason these boys were not being found past 1850 was that they were not Mortons. People swapped children alot in those days, for various reasons.

So, I began a search for a Lewis, born about 1847, within a reasonable distance from the Morton family, say Anson and Stanly, possibly Union County, in 1860, when he would still be young and should still be living with a family or a guardian. I chose Lewis because it was a far less common name than James. The other criteria I was looking for was a Lewis of the right age, with a brother named James W. who was about 2 years younger. 

And there were two.The next step was to see where  this Lewis and James W. combination were in 1850.

Lewis and James W. Brown fit the bill, and they lived in Tyson Community in Stanly County, that bordered the northern end of Anson County, where the Mortons were living. However, in 1850, Lewis Proctor Brown and his brother, James, were safely within the household of their parents, Lewis Tobias Brown, and his wife, Jane McIntyre Brown, in Tyson.


Name:John Greggs[]
Birth Year:abt 1802
Birth Place:North Carolina
Home in 1860:Gulledge, Anson, North Carolina
Post Office:Wadesboro
Dwelling Number:1051
Family Number:1011
Real Estate Value:400
Personal Estate Value:350
Household MembersAge
John Greggs58
Susanna Greggs56
John Greggs23
Alfred Greggs14
Elisha Greggs13
Louis Greggs12
James Greggs10

Then there was Lewis and James Griggs (misspelled Greggs), who lived in Gulledge, in Anson County, with John and Susanna Griggs. Correct names, correct ages, within a reasonable distance, but let's look at them ten years before, when they were toddlers, in 1850.


Name:John Griggs
Birth Year:abt 1799
Birthplace:North Carolina
Home in 1850:Gulledge, Anson, North Carolina, USA
Real Estate:300
Line Number:22
Dwelling Number:290
Family Number:290
Household MembersAge
John Griggs51
Susan Griggs42
Mary Griggs16
Elizabeth Griggs15
John Griggs13
Frances Griggs11
Alfred Griggs7
Elisha Griggs5

No Lewis (or Louis), no James, but there's John, and Alfred and Elisha? So where were Louis and James?

Why living with Rev. Sammy and his wife, Lucy, of course. The question is why? So, let's look at the Griggs family. Were they connected, somehow, to Sammy, or just church family perhaps? Were they related to Lucy Morton? That, I don't know at this point, but let's look at who they were.

The Griggs/ Greggs line that Lewis and James Wesley were heir to, began with John Grigge, an Irish immigrant, who was born around 1757. He served in the Revolutionary War as a Private in the North Carolina Militia.

The family settled in Anson County, NC and a second John, who took on the spelling Griggs was born around 1780. John II  married Fannie Rushing. They moved south of the border to Chesterfield, South Carolina, were they were parents to a third John.

John Wesley "Jackie" Griggs was born in 1798, when his father was just 18, in Chesterfield County, SC. He would move back to Anson County, NC and settle in the Gulledge Community. 

Jackie married first to Susanna Meadows, born around 1806, in 1822.

Jackie and Susanna would become the parents of 10 children: 

1823 Lydia

1832 Emaline

1834 Mary

1835 Elizabeth

1837 John IV

1839 Frances C.

1843 Alfred

1845 Elisha

1847 Lewis

1849 James Wesley

 James Wesley was Susanna's  last child. She was well into her 40's when he was born. Perhaps when 1860 rolled around, she was ill. With the boys just being babies in 1850, actually, I don't believe it was a matter of education. There may be an answer somewhere in a court record, but it's still my belief that Lewis and James W. Griggs were the two little boys living with Rev. Samuel and Lucy Morton. Susanna would die in 1864 and was buried in the Griggs Cemetery in Gulledge Township, which is located on what is known as "Littles Quarters". 

Tombstone of John Griggs I from Find-a-Grave

Jackie Griggs (John III) would marry a second time to Sarah Ann Teal, daughter of Bart and Pinky Teal. There were 3 more children:

1868 Nancy Jane

1870 Charles Patterson

1878 Harriett Ann

Lewis Griggs himself, he, like most young men of the era who were born in the 1830's and 1840's, ended up fighting in the Civil War.

Name:Lewis Griggs
Regiment State/Origin:North Carolina
Regiment:43rd Regiment, North Carolina Infantry
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Film Number:M230 roll 15

One of the lucky ones, I suppose, Lewis survived the War and within a few years after the fallout, married and started a family.  Several of the children of Jackie Griggs married into the Gulledge family, the prominent gamily that the entire community was named for, and Lewis was one of them. 

On Jan. 1, 1869, at the age of 21,  he married Miss Harriett Elinore Gulledge, 19, daughter of James R. Gulledge and Martha Howell Gulledge. I'm interested in this Howell connection, as there are Howell's in my Davis family tree.

Lewis and Hattie, as she was called, settled in the area of Anson County called White Store, where she had grown up. White Store Township is located just west of Gulledge in the southwestern most corner of Anson County bordering both Union County, NC and the South Carolina border. There, they raised 3 sons and 6 daughter:

1867 Willis David Griggs

1870 James E. Griggs

1871 Martha Jane "Mattie" Griggs

1872 John S. Griggs

1875 Mary Ann "Mollie" Griggs

1876 Susan Rebecca Griggs

1877 Catherine E. "Kate" Griggs

1886 Hattie May Griggs

1890 Nora Euphemia "Ola" Griggs

A few newspaper clippings of the family follows:


The Charlotte Observer

Charlotte, North Carolina
15 Jan 1931, Thu  •  Page 19

James Wesley Griggs chose a different route and became part of the western migration. A child with this parents in 1860, by 1870, he had moved to Collin County, Texas and was living with the Felker family, working  as farm labor.

Name:James Griggs[]
Birthplace:North Carolina
Dwelling Number:50
Home in 1870:Precinct 5, Collin, Texas
Post Office:Plano
Occupation:Farm Laborer
Personal Estate Value:100
Household MembersAge
John Felker50
Margaret Felker42
Susan Felker25
Isreal Felker14
Elisabeth Felker11
Oney Felker9
Martha Felker6
Tennessee Felker3
Mary Stubblefield14
Thomas Lewis17
James Griggs
Missouri Felker17

One year later, Missouri Felker, 17 in the census, would become his wife in October of 1871. 

Missouri Dutch Felker Griggs, shared by Victoria Stack

James Wesley Griggs was not the only young man from the East Coast to travel west after the Civil War.

From the restlessness of youth, to the experience of traveling during the war, to the newer, quicker methods of travel with the spreading of railway lines, escaping the memories of war took many a young (and sometimes older) man far from home.

James Wesley Griggs first landed in Plano. He and Missouri mostly raised their children in Denton County, Texas. She would pass away, on February 21, 1892 in Hood, Cook County, Texas.

The turn of the century, in 1900, found him in Cook County, Texas, with only his youngest son, Israel, at home, but his younger half- brother, Charles Patterson Griggs had moved his family to Texas as well, and was living with James.

Name:James W Griggs
Birth Date:Sep 1848
Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Home in 1900:Justice Precinct 4, Cooke, Texas
House Number:1
Sheet Number:13
Number of Dwelling in Order of Visitation:223
Family Number:224
Relation to Head of House:Head
Marital Status:Widowed
Father's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Mother's Birthplace:North Carolina, USA
Months Not Employed:0
Can Read:Yes
Can Write:Yes
Can Speak English:Yes
House Owned or Rented:Own
Home Free or Mortgaged:F
Farm or House:F
Household MembersAgeRelationship
James W Griggs51Head
Isriel T Griggs14Son
Charlie P Griggs38Brother
Mary E Griggs34Sister in Law (Sister-in-law)
Carrie L Griggs10Niece
Charles C Griggs8Nephew
Cyle Griggs6Nephew
James C Griggs4Nephew
Lelah C Griggs2Niece

James still a restless spirit, moved to the colorfully named town of Willow Bar in Cimmaron County, Oklahoma, where he is found, alone, in 1910. However, in 1920, at age 71, he had opted for the convenience of city life, and  was living on East Fifth Street in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with his son, Israel, a Railway Engineer.

Willow Bar Crossing lay along the Santa Fe Trail

James Wesley Griggs nearly made it to 1930, but lived to experience the roaring 20's, for  what it was worth. He died September 20, 1929, in Fort Worth, Cook County, Texas. He was 80 years old.

James Wesley Griggs, shared by angler6588

I can not give a reasaon the Griggs boys were placed with Rev. Samuel and Lucy Morton as infants, but I do know they were not living with their parents in 1850 and the Lewis and James Wesley who were incorrectly labled "Morton" in 1850 were not Mortons and were not the sons of a post-menopausal Lucy.

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