FAQ – Was John Morrison the father of our immigrant James Morrison, James his Grandfather, and Robert his great grandfather?

One of the most common misconceptions of our family history is that our Immigrant James Morrison was the son of John Morrison and Janet Steele, of the New Hampshire Morrison’s, which is not true. Unfortunately this common mistake continues to be propagated on the internet. It was likely started by someone who read a reference to a James Morrison in an 1880 hard bound book published by a Leonard A. Morrison. In the book it states that a John Morrison was married twice, 1st wife not named, came to America with his 2nd wife, a Jean or Jeanette Steele, and some of his children. One of his children was a James Morrison – but unfortunately not our James Morrison. It is very difficult to correct misinformation once it makes it to the internet.

The following excerpts from the book explains why our James Morrison is not the Morrison, son of John & Janet/Jeanette (Steele) Morrison of Londonderry N. H. “On December 25, 1723, his sons James, ancestor of the Windham Morisons, and John, ancestor of the Peterborough Morisons, who had preceded him (father John) to the New World, deeded him the following tract of land…”

Next on page 78 it states that “John had eight children, the eldest being James, born in Ireland abt 1675, died about March 5, 1756 in Londonderry.” (That’s Londonderry, N.H. JWM)

Next, “this particular James Morrison, son of John & Janet/Jeanette (Steele) Morrison, is sometimes named Charter James, for he is supposed to be the James Morrison whose name appears upon the memorial to Governor Shute, of Massachusetts, bearing the date March 26, 1718, previous to the settlement of Londonderry, N.H. The book goes on to state this James Morrison marries a Mary Wallace in Ireland, and has two sons, Halbert and Samuel. Mary dies in Ireland, James comes to America and marries a Janet Steele and had five children. The five children by James and his 2nd wife, Janet Steele were, Janet who married Samuel Steele, of Londonderry, Katreen, John, born in Londonderry16 Aug 1722, Thomas, born in Londonderry 15 May 1724, and James born in Londonderry 24 Sep 1728.”

Harvey Morrison, a descendant of our Brother William’s line, who lives in New England, traveled to Londonderry, NH in May of 2001, to satisfy his own mind about this particular line of Morrisons. The following is some excerpts from a letter sent after his visit.

“Charter James Morrison died in New Hampshire and his will was executed in New Hampshire. It is without question that he never left New Hampshire. Charter James most certainly was not the James Morrison who sired the brothers who established the North Carolina Clan. The names of the Morrisons in this New Hampshire settlement, along with all their children, are well documented. During my visit to Londonderry I reviewed numerous documents in the Londonderry genealogical library that clearly documents the lives of these Morrisons. I looked at birth records, death records and marriage records. I saw wills, land deeds, read early histories and diaries. I believe, without exception, the first generation of New Hampshire Morrisons all died in New Hampshire. Their children spread into western New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York State. This is also well documented. All of the above convinces me that there was no connection between the PA and NH Morrisons. I do not believe that Charter James is the father of our North Carolina settlers. Nor do I believe that John Morrison and Jean or Janet Steele are the parents of our Immigrant James Morrison.” – Harvey Morrison (Line of Brother William of Morrison-Q)

The final, and possibly the most objective reason James is not the son of John Morrison & Janet Steele, is the DNA record. If you go to the Morrison Y-DNA Surname project website: https://www.familytreedna.com/groups/morrison/about under Group L, subgroup L1 Northern Ireland, there are two people stating they descend from John Morrison (b. ca 1628) to Londonderry NH. Son James; grandson Samuel. M157. The other is M178 John Morrison (b. ca 1628) Son Charter John Morrison of Londonderry, NH. Both are from Group L, we are Group Q – not blood kin to each other.

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