John Morrison is believed to be the third son of William, Sen, and Mary Morrison of Burke County, North Carolina. John was born, according to family tradition, on October 7, 1764; the place of birth was probably Rowan County, North Carolina.
John can first be found in public records when he served as a chain bearer when a land grant issued to his father was surveyed March 4, 1780 (entry number 1369, 640 acres, South Muddy Creek). He is subsequently invisible from public records until 1790 and thereafter. He is statistically present as one of the five males who were members of the household of William Morrison Sen in the Burke County, Morgan District, first census of the United States. Later in the 1790’s, he can be viewed from time to time in the Burke County Court Minutes, serving on road juries and trial juries. He received two land grants from the State of North Carolina in Burke County, the first in 1795 and the latter in 1799. The land grants were probably in the part of Burke County that is now McDowell County.
It is possible that John was a militia member who fought at the Battle of King’s Mountain. That is stated by Sudie Hood in a family document, who said in reference to the battle, “John, the younger son, celebrated his 16th birthday by engaging in this battle.” In letters to Lyman Draper, Dr. William Twitty of North Carolina, said that John Morrison was present at a skirmish against the British on Cane Creek (in either Burke or Rutherford County) and that he was also present at the Battle of King’s Mountain. He is not mentioned in the official records of the participants at the battle.
John married Mary Margaret (Erwin?) about 1791. In 1802, he bought 300 acres of land in Rutherford County, and it appears this was his principal residence thereafter. It is likely that he inherited some of his father’s lands and kept his land grant properties in Burke County; his 1826 will conveyed “the farms” where his three eldest sons lived to each of them. All three lived in Burke County when they appeared in the census records after they were adults. He conveyed land in Rutherford County to each of his five younger sons. John can be identified in the records of both Burke and Rutherford Counties after 1800.
John and Mary had eleven children who survived to adulthood. They were, in order of birth:
- Francis, who married Elizabeth Dysart
- William, who married, first, Cynthia Black, and second, Susannah Queen
- James, who married Rachel Patton
- Mary, who married William Johnson Long
- Catharine, who married Elijah Patton Watson
- John (an apparent bachelor, (no record of him after 1835)
- Robert P., who married Charity Andrews
- Thomas, who married Elizabeth Robinson
- Elizabeth, a spinster
- Andrew P., who married Elizabeth A. Wilson
- Joseph, who married Dorothy Whitesides
John died in December, 1826. His Rutherford County will is on record, and names each of his children. The will reveals he had extensive lands, given to his male children; he also gave each of his three daughters generous dowries, consisting of horses and tack, beds and other household furnishings, as well as $200 in cash. Mary lived on the home farm the rest of her life, dying before December, 1843.
Both John and Mary, and presumably their children, were Presbyterians. It is likely that both John and Mary are buried in the cemetery at the Brittain Presbyterian Church in Rutherford County, North Carolina.