Old Orange County
The purpose of this discussion is to organize or sort the major lines of these groups into categories for future research and discussion. The report has been prepared using previously published genealogical research and the latest DNA testing of the Morrow DNA Project. The discussion will be updated on a periodic basis as new DNA results become available.
The term “Orange Co. NC” in this report geographically refers to the county as it existed in 1770…the area covered by current day Orange, Caswell, Person, Durham and Alamance Counties.
After much research, which is now confirmed by DNA results, it can be ascertained that the Morrows who lived or passed through Orange Co. NC between 1750-1820 fall into 4* distinct groups. Those groups and their characteristics will be described below within each group section. (*assumes the "Snow Camp Morrows" will not be a DNA match)
"the Flat River Morrows"
This is perhaps the earliest pioneer Morrow family who moved into Orange Co. NC. A Benjamin Morrow is known to have settled on the North Fork of the Flat River in the early 1750s. He died there about 1758 (administration of estate exists). After that time, petition signatures, deed and tax records confirm that there were several generations of Morrows living in and around the North and South Forks of the Flat River near Richland Spring Creek and Deep Creek. This area of Old Orange Co. would become Caswell Co. in 1777 and then Person Co. in 1792.
Families in this matching DNA group were allied with other families such as Caddel, Hargis, Jay, Scoggins, Suttle, Winstead, and others. The identical DNA results leave no doubt that the entire group descended from a common ancestor who was not too far removed. It is logical that this entire group was descended from or related to either pioneer Benjamin Morrow, a brother or a cousin who has not been identified yet. The pioneer Benjamin Morrow, who died ca 1758, is the only Morrow of his generation that we have specifically identified by document in the area during that early period. However, there still could have been other relatives of his generation who settled there.
Descendants of this group have an identical 37 marker DNA Haplotype. That means the Flat River Morrows all descend from a common progenitor who shared that same Haplotype. This group does not match DNA with nor are they related to any of the other tested and discussed Orange Co. NC groups. They are unique.
It can be specifically documented that several of these families (allieds and descendants) settled in Rutherford Co. NC for a time (1790-1810) before "pressing on westward" into KY, TN, MO, etc. Many of the descendants of James Morrow 1743-1826 still live in Rutherford Co. NC.
Research and study of the “Flat River Morrows” currently revolves around records from Orange Co. NC prior to 1780, Caswell Co. NC 1777-1795, Person Co. NC 1792-1820 and Rutherford Co. NC 1780-1840.
"the Crossroads/Oaks Morrows"
William Morrow and his wife Jane Parks and at least two daughters came from Ireland to PA with his father-in-law John Parks in about 1760, settling in either York or Cumberland Co. (later Franklin Co.). The family removed to Orange Co. NC ca 1767, settling at what became known as the Oaks community in southern Orange Co. A great grandson reported that William came along with his father and several brothers, one of whom (James, by tradition) “settled in the Cross Roads section in the northern part of the same county, Another settled in Mecklenburg Co.. Another went to Georgia”. The Crossroads refers to an area north of the current town of Mebane, Alamance Co., centered culturally and geographically about the Crossroads Presbyterian Church.
Early Crossroads Morrow descendants intermarried with the Scot-Irish Blackwood, Lasley (Lapsley), & Mebane families, as well as Vincent, Cresswell and English Thompson families. The Oaks branch also intermarried with the English Thompson family, as well as the Pickard, Scottish Andrew, and Scotch-Irish Bryan, Gattis & Graves families.
Two descendants* of this group have an identical 25 marker DNA Haplotype. Once the tests are extended to 37 markers and if all 37 markers match, it would mean that the Crossroads/Oaks Morrows all descend from a common progenitor who shared this same Haplotype. This identical match coupled with oral tradition surely confirms that William and James were brothers. This group does not match DNA with nor are they related to any of the other tested and discussed Orange Co. NC groups. They are unique.
William Morrow’s male descendants mostly remained in Orange and Alamance Cos. for generations. The first Morrow from William’s line to leave NC was a great grandson who settled in Refugio Co. Texas in 1860. Many of William’s descendants are still in the Alamance and Orange Co. NC area.
Research continues in PA in an effort to pinpoint when the family came from Ireland and identify William’s other brothers before they scattered. The closeness of kinship to Thomas Morrow reportedly b. ca1745 in Halifax Co. VA could indicate an earlier emigration by a closely related Morrow family and may help define which county in Ulster was the Morrow’s ancestral home.
"the Rattlesnake Creek Morrows"
From land deeds, the “Rattlesnake Creek Morrows” appear to be the only Morrow family residing within the current-day boundaries of Caswell Co. NC during the 1777-1800 period. They lived in the Richmond Dist. of NW Caswell County on the Rattlesnake Creek. Other Morrow families in Caswell during the period (the Flat River Morrows) lived in areas that became Person Co. and have been previously discussed.
Neighboring and allied families to this matching DNA group were Hurley, Miles, Slade and Roper and others. It seems this group descended from the deed-named William Morrow Sr. and his wife Mary. The following marriages are all from members of this group.
Oct 15 1782 Robert Morrow marries Ann Hurley, bondsman William Morrow,
witness Archibald Murphey [son of Wm Sr.]
Oct 8 1790 Daniel Morrow marries Fanny Hall, bondsman James Wallis, witness Archibald Murphey [son of Wm Sr.]
Jul 10 1793 William Morrow to Mary Burns, bondsman Robert Sanders, witness Archibald Murphey. [son of Wm Sr.]
The 1793 marriage of William Morrow to Mary Burns would seem to logically be a re-marriage of most likely William Morrow Jr. or less likely William Morrow Sr.
"the Snow Camp Morrows"
The family of William Morrow and Rachel Reed. Not tested yet.