JOHN and PRISCILLA MORRIS FAMILY of Cedar Hill

John Morris, son of Anderson and Millie (Clayton) Morris of Hickman County, Tennessee, was born September 6, 1851. He married Priscilla Angeline Sharp on September 2, 1873. She was born December 9, 1857, the daughter of Mary Mathis and Green Sharp, and they were second cousins, his maternal grandmother being a Sharp.

John and Priscilla Sharp Morris Family

John and Priscilla Sharp Morris Family

They had a family of seven children when they arrived in the Cedar Hill area of Dallas County about 1886-1887. Bruce, child number eight, born October 1887 and died October 1888, was buried in the old Vincent family cemetery in what is now DeSoto. The last two children were born here: Julia Florence on August 3, 1889 and my grandmother, Jettie Mae on January 7, 1896.

About 1898 the family moved to Callahan County and later to Jones County. Before moving, three of the children had married in Dallas County. Willis Anderson married Lilly Smithon on August 13, 1896; John Henry married Lilly Pearl Oliver on September 22, 1895; and Mary Della married Samuel Stansbury on July 9, 1897. The other children were Robert Green, James Wesley, Hugh, and Arsney.

John had come to Dallas County following other Tennessee relatives. There were several waves of migration from Tennessee spanning late 1870s to the early 1900s of these Sharp relatives. His sister, Millie Elizabeth, and her husband, Daniel Monroe Baker came in 1893 with children Walter and Docia, who married Cleve Haggard in Grand Prairie. Six more Baker children were born in Texas: Mamie, March 8, 1894; Mitchem, February 1, 1896; James, January 10, 1898; Vesta, April 13, 1900; Loma, August 23, 1903; and an infant born and died November 27, 1904, buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery. Daniel died in 1913 and was buried in Pleasant Valley. This family moved to the Texas Panhandle afterwards.

Another sister, Mary Ellen and Husband William Whiteside, lived in Dallas County. On a visit back to Hickman County William died, July 29, 1895; Ellen returned to Cedar Hill and in 1896 married Oscar Leonidas Harwell. Their three children were Roddy, born November 25, 1897 and Verna, born February 21, 1899 both in Cedar Hill, and Brown, born February 24, 1901 in Farmers Branch. This family also moved to the Panhandle.

John Morris had several other relatives who moved from Tennessee to Dallas County. His uncle, Elias “Green” Greenville Clayton, born September 29, 1833 in Hickman County, was the son of Baze Clayton and Margaret Sharp. He died November 18, 1896 and was buried in Vincent Cemetery, as were his wife, Sirvilla in 1894 and his daughter Margrett in 1893. His other children, all born in Tennessee, were: John, who married Mary Jane Stansbury on November 1, 1895; James William, married Elizabeth Worley on February 14, 1894; and Martha, married William Stansbury on August 26, 1895. William and Elizabeth, the only ones to remain in Dallas, were both buried at Laurel Land. Green’s old-maid sister, Martha Clayton, was also buried in Vincent Cemetery. She was born in 1822 in Tennessee and died July 26, 1896. She had come to Dallas with her niece, Sophronia (Whiteside) Vincent.

Other family members to come to Texas were Jethro Simpson Mayfield, second cousin once removed to John Morris; James Thomas Clayton, a second cousin through his father and a double cousin to both John and Priscilla through his mother; George Clayton, a second cousin; and William Lee Johnston, a brother-in-law to George Clayton. Priscilla’s first cousin, Fletcher Sharp, came in about 1896, as did his mother, Ellen (Aydelott) (Sharp) Rawdon. Colonel Upton Clayton and his sister, Dorothy “Dollie” Campbell, were distant cousins to John and Priscilla. A second cousin to both, John Gardner Sharp, came in 1882 with his sister, Harriet, wife of Harvey Sims. Another sibling was Thomas Sharp, whose son, John Frank, married Emma “Etta” Vincent, a cousin, and lived in Dallas County. A half sibling, Locrattus “Crat” Sharp, born in Lewis County, Tennessee, died February 9, 1934, was buried in Rhodes Cemetery on Cockrell Hill Road. Crat worked in a Dallas County wagon yard in the 1880s.

Lidy Jane Sims was divorced from William Sharp, who was a double second cousin to John Morris. A first double cousin once removed was Mary Sharp, wife of George Vincent, Jr., who never came to Texas, but her surviving children and daughter-in-law did. Her son, John Vincent, was the first that I knew of to arrive in Dallas County about 1877. His brothers, Robert Jones and Willis followed, as did a sister-in-law, Lucinda Pugh, widow of Nehemiah Vincent.

Other distant cousins came after 1900. Most are buried in Little Bethel Cemetery or Rhodes Cemetery.

By Merle Stevens for Dallas County Pioneer Association‘s Proud Heritage.

Photo: Morris family in 1895.