My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

LYMAN M. MORTON, one of Enfield’s prosperous farmers, was born in his present home, March 8, 1825, son of William and Mercy (Jourdan) Morton.

The first representative of the family in this country was Robert Morton. He came from England and settled in Salem, Mass., where William Morton, the grandfather of Lyman M., was born in 1740. William Morton removed from there to Enfield, May 26, 1764, a date in the early days of the latter town, and settled on the farm now owned by his grandson. His father had previously purchased the land with the intention of settling here himself; but, on his return to Salem to make the necessary preparations for removal, he was taken sick and died. When William Morton settled on this farm, which then consisted of a large tract over a mile in length, the forest which covered it had never resounded to the blows of the woodman’s axe. He was, undoubtedly, the first to clear any portion of the land. A sturdy pioneer, despite the danger from hostile Indians and the hardships incident to a newly settled country, he soon had a comfortable home and a portion of the land under cultivation. The house he then built is now occupied by his grandson and is the oldest in the town. Happily, the woods abounded with game of various kinds, and fresh supplies of meat were easily obtainable. He continued to live there throughout the remainder of his life, dying in 1818, seventy-seven years of age. In company with two of his brothers he served his country for three years in the Revolutionary War. Both his brothers were killed on the field of Trenton, and had a soldier’s burial on the ground where they fell. He married Miss Esther Thurston, of Pelham, who reared him a family of three children; namely, Robert, Margaret, and William. Both parents were attendants at the Congregational church.

William Morton, the younger son, was born on the old homestead, June 9, 1780. As soon as he was old enough he began to assist his father in the farm work, and continued doing so until the latter’ s death. Then he took full charge; and, besides carrying on the usual work, he continued that of clearing the land. He took much interest in whatever pertained to the advancement of the town, but declined to serve in office. He died May 21, 1856. His wife was born in North Brookfield in 1785. Five children were the fruit of their union, but Lyman M. Morton is now the sole survivor. Those deceased were: Bathsheba Rice Morton, born November 18, 1813, who died April 11, 1867; William Wells, born September 13, 1818, who died October 18, 1849; Esther Thurston, born June 30, 1820, who died September 5, 1866; and Mahalah Alma, born May 6, 1823, who died October 2, 1840. Their mother died August 2, 1858.

Both she and her husband were attendants of the Congregational church of Enfield. Lyman M. Morton, who grew to manhood on the old Morton farm, received his early education in the district schools. He was prepared for college at Williston Seminary, but his education went no further. After leaving the seminary he took up teaching. He followed this profession successfully for about forty terms. He then engaged in mercantile business for three years. In 1865 he purchased the farm of about one hundred acres on which he has since resided, and conducted general farming with profit.

On July 6, 1870, he was united in marriage with Miss Nettie Wells Scott, born in Enfield, November 5, 1832, a daughter of Charles and Lydia (Phephs) Scott. Mrs. Morton died on May 30, 1884, leaving no children. In politics Mr. Morton is independent of party. For a number of terms he has served as Assessor of Enfield. He is broad-minded and liberal in his religious views. He is held in high respect, an unusually well-read man, possessing a remarkably good memory, and is withal a very pleasant man to meet.

* * * *

This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.