William Morrison, Sen, and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown), were the founders of the Morrison family of Burke County, North Carolina.
William was probably born in Pennsylvania in the early 1730’s. The couple married (again,
probably) shortly after 1750. It is likely that the marriage took place in North Carolina, their ultimate home. Rowan County was their residence as early as 1757 (perhaps earlier). By 1778, they lived in the newly organized county of Burke. They acquired several land grants in Burke County, and probably lived in its southern extremity on the South branch of Muddy Creek, which would place them in present day McDowell County.
William served in several responsible positions in Burke County. In 1779 he was a state representative. In the early 1780’s, he served on a commission to determine the site of the court house in Rutherford County. Later he served as an arbiter when the commission to determine the site of the county court in Buncombe could not come to a decision. He served at least two terms as Sheriff of Burke County during the 1780’s and may have served at least one term in the 1790’s.
William and Mary had a large family. At least ten children reached adulthood. They were, in approximate order of birth:
- James, born ca. 1754, married Elizabeth (Campbell?)
- William, born 1757, married Rachel Patton
- Margaret, married Elijah Patton, Sen
- John, married Mary Margaret (Erwin?)
- Andrew, married Mary Armstrong
- Jane, married a man named Pyett
- Elizabeth, a spinster
- Daughter, married Joseph Wilson
- Daughter, married John Templeton
During the American Revolution, William was a Patriot. He swore allegiance to the State of North Carolina, then in rebellion against Great Britain, when he served as a state representative in 1779. There is some evidence that he was a militia officer during the revolution.
William died in 1807, leaving a will which was probably destroyed when Burke County records were torched by Federal troops during the Civil War. His will was identified in Burke County Court Minutes; it was witnessed by Joseph Wilson and Thomas Morrison. His executor was John Morrison, who gave account of William’s possessions, which amounted to only a Negro slave and a rifle gun. It seems likely that his extensive lands had been conveyed to his heirs before his death.
Mary, in keeping with the laws of the time, was invisible to court records until after William’s death. She first appears on Burke County tax rolls in 1808. Shortly after 1810, Mary moved with her daughters, Elizabeth and (unknown) Templeton, and her son-in-law John Templeton, to Tennessee. Her will was written in 1813, and is on record in Williamson County, Tennessee. She may have survived until 1816.