Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Face of Genealogy

In response to an offensive photo that accompanied an LA Weekly article on 5 June 2011 the genealogy community has collected true Faces of Genealogy.  I am proud to share the face of my genealogy, the ancestor that sparked my curiosity, Wiley J. Morris (Tobe). Share your Face of Genealogy. 

Who was Wiley J. Morris (Tobe) ?
Cousin Morris Porter called him Grandpa Tobe but never knew that his real name was Wiley.  Morris was the last known relative to actually see Great-Great Grandpa Tobe, but was not the last to know him. (Morris Porter passed away in 2009.)

Wiley Morris' Bio
Born 19 Dec 1838, in Rutherford County, North Carolina, Wiley Morris, nicknamed Tobe, was born as a free-colored.  He was short in stature, with blue eyes, and although he appeared to be a white man he never passed for white.  Morris Porter remembers Tobe's long beard and eight (8) of his eleven (11) children.

Tobe's parents were mulattoes. His father Wiley was born a slave 6 Oct 1807, and was emancipated in 1855. He was the son of James Morris, Ireland (DNA confirms).  His mother Louisa Griffin, born 1817, was a privileged free-colored from North Carolina. Louisa's father also free, owned land by 1811, and educated his children.  Louisa continued the tradition by educating her five free-colored children; Tobe being the eldest. 

Tobe was a skilled Master Blacksmith (Coldwater Review, 1894) and an active member of the Republican party in North Carolina and Tennessee. He married Martha (presumably surname Carson) 17 Feb 1860 in Rutherford NC, and later married and divorced Peggy Frances.  His third wife was Mary A. Robinson. He died at the ripe old age of 86 on 3 Aug 1924 in Anthony Kansas. 

Please note all of the following documents and full citations are in author's file: 
  • Birth dates and 1st marriage dates taken from family bible of Louisa Griffin Morris.
  • DNA results in author's file.
  • Griffin NC land transactions in author's file.
  • Education records verified via newspaper clippings, written samples in Family Autograph book, and obituaries.
  • Republican Party involvement from Rutherford newspaper clippings from 1866-1868
  • Marriages of Peggy Frances from  Dawes Records
  • Marriage to Mary A. Robinson from Nowata, OK newspapers
Kathleen Brandt

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