John Morse

???? - 1781


Biography

John Morse, active as an attorney in Jamaica in the 1750s and a slave-owner in the 1760s and 1770s, dying in London in 1781. The efforts of his natural children with Elizabeth Augier to secure their inheritances from his estate [alleged by his nephew to have been worth £140,000] have been documented by Daniel Livesay.

  1. Sarah Charlotte, daughter of Elizabeth Augier alias Tyndall by John Morse, born 18/01/1748 and baptised 07/03/1748 in Kingston. Further baptisms with the same parents in Kingston: John, born 08/12/1748 and baptised 04/02/1749; Roger, born 15/02/1750 and baptised 11/03/1750; Robert, born 07/06/1752 and baptised 15/06/1752; Catherine, born 22/10/1757 and baptised 04/12/1757; Sarah, born 26/11/1759 and baptised 14/12/1759 (as daughter of John Morce Esquire and Elizabeth Tindall). Another Robert, son of John Morse Esquire and Elizabeth Tindal, born 08/12/1753 and baptised 21/09/1757 in St Elizabeth. Ann Frances, “base child of Elizabeth Tynedale”, born 12/11/1758 and baptised 31/01/1759 in St Elizabeth. Presumably the eldest Sarah Charlotte (born 1748) and the fourth, Robert (born 1752) had both died young.

  2. Will of John Morse of the City of London [made in 1777] proved 18/04/1781. He left or confirmed an annuity of £50 p.a. to Mrs Traner that she had long since bought of him; he left another annuity of £50 p.a. to his sister Mrs van Heelen of Amsterdam, £100 to his sister Catherine Royal and £2000 to his reputed daughter Frances Morse who had been boarding with Mrs van Heelen in Amsterdam. He left to his nephew Edward Morse a bond for the penal amount £5500 to secure the payment of £2750 by 1780 under a deed of 1775, which said bond and another of similar amount was given to John Morse by Thomas Smith 'towards the purchase of Fonthill plantation in Jamaica.' All the rest of his estates he left to five reputed or natural children, John Morse of the Horse Guards, Robert Morse of Lincolns Inn, Catherine the wife of Edmund Green (of Dyers Court Aldermanbury), Sarah Morse and Ann Morse.

  3. Of the heirs of John Morse, Ann married Nathaniel Middleton and the couple assigned their share of the estates in 1784, possibly to Robert Green, later bankrupt: she, Robert and their sister Sarah had all moved to India after their father's death, where they were painted by Zoffany. Catherine was the mother of Edmund Francis Green (q.v.).

  4. John Morse of Britain, merchant. Estate probated in Jamaica in 1782. Slave-ownership at probate: 490 of whom 242 were listed as male and 248 as female. 130 were listed as boys, girls or children. Total value of estate at probate: £138,574.85 Jamaican currency of which £27,480.25 currency was the value of enslaved people. Estate valuation included £0 currency cash, £100767.59 currency debts and £20 currency plate.

  5. John Morse was listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owner of 170 acres of land in St David, 500 acres in St Thomas-in-the-East, 100 acres in Portland and 7756 acres in St Elizabeth, total 8526 acres. Morse and Delap were listed in the Jamaican Quit Rent books for 1754 as the owners of 3008 acres of land in St Elizabeth. This may be John Morse and his brother-in-law Robert Delap (died 1767) who was Member of Assembly for St Elizabeth in 1761 and 1765-6 and married Catherine Morse, sister of John Morse (as Robert Delap’s widow she married Joseph Royall (q.v.) at St Elizabeth in 1768).

Sources

D.A. Livesay, Children of Uncertain Fortune: Mixed-Race Migration from the West Indies to Britain, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Michigan, 2010., [forthcoming as of March 2017 from the University of North Carolina Press or the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture], pp. 178-186.

  1. Familysearch.org, Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664-1880 [database online].

  2. PROB 11/1077/146.

  3. Caribbeana Vol. III: '1817, Jan. 30. Ind. between Peter Martineau the Younger of London, sugar refiner, and. Geo. Green of L., Merchant, assig. of estate of Robert Green late of L., Mt, bankrupt, and Rob. Green. Whereas John Morse late of L., Esq., decd, being seized of a plantation in J., made his will 29 Sep. 1777. His plantations or penns called Y. S., Ipswich, Unity and Sunderland in St Eliz. near the ports of Martha Brae and Montego Bay. Assignment of a share of 1/5 recites assigt of 11 Dec. 1784 betw. Nath. Middleton, Esq., and Ann his wife (f. A. Morse) assig. 1/2 of 1/5 to Rob. M. [=G for Green?], &c. Lease for a year.'; Livesay, Children of Uncertain Fortune pp. 253-261; for more on the Zoffany painting see https://vads.ac.uk/large.php?uid=91966 [accessed 09/10/2018].

  4. Trevor Burnard, Database of Jamaican inventories, 1674-1784.

  5. 'A List of landholders in the Island of Jamaica together with the number of acres each person possessed taken from the quit rent books in the year 1754', TNA CO 142/31 transcribed at http://www.jamaicanfamilysearch.com/Samples2/1754lead.htm; email from Paul Hitchings 01/08/2018.

We are grateful to Paul Hitchings for his assistance with compiling this entry.


Further Information

Absentee?
Transatlantic

Associated Estates (22)

The dates listed below have different categories as denoted by the letters in the brackets following each date. Here is a key to explain those letter codes:

  • SD - Association Start Date
  • SY - Association Start Year
  • EA - Earliest Known Association
  • ED - Association End Date
  • EY - Association End Year
  • LA - Latest Known Association
1755 [EA] - 1760 [LA] → Attorney

Under the care and direction of John Morse, inferred to be the same man as the slave-owner of the 1770s.

1753 [EA] - 1760 [LA] → Attorney

Under the care and direction of John Morse and the Baylys. Inferred to be the same man as the slave-owner of the 1770s.

1753 [EA] - 1760 [LA] → Attorney

Under the care, direction and management of John Morse and the Baylys. Inferred to be the same man as the slave-owner of the 1770s.

1757 [EA] - 1759 [LA] → Executor

Acting executor. Inferred to be the same man as the slave-owner of the 1770s.

1753 [EA] - → Attorney
1754 [EA] - 1757 [LA] → Attorney

Under the care and management of John Morse

1757 [EA] - 1759 [LA] → Attorney
1757 [EA] - 1759 [LA] → Executor

Acting co-executor

1757 [EA] - 1758 [LA] → Attorney

Under the care and direction of John Morse. Inferred to be the same man as the slave-owner of the 1770s.

1782 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Previous owner
1761 [EA] - 1780 [LA] → Owner
1755 [EA] - 1757 [LA] → Attorney

Under the care and direction of John Morse.

1752 [EA] - 1760 [LA] → Attorney
1775 [EA] - → Mortgage Holder
1757 [EA] - 1759 [LA] → Executor

Acting co-executor

1770 [EA] - 1780 [LA] → Owner
1807 [EA] - 1807 [LA] → Not known

Registered by Edmund Francis Green as attorney for William Mitchell executor and trustee of John Morse. Morse the was the previous owner or previously mortgage-in-possession: 1817, Jan. 30. Ind. between Peter Martineau the Younger of London, sugar refiner, and. Geo. Green of L[ondon], Merchant, assig. of estate of Robert Green late of L[ondon], M[erchan]t, bankrupt, and Rob. Green. Whereas John Morse late of L[ondon]., Esq., decd, being seized of a plantation in J[amaica], made his will 29 Sep. 1777. His plantations or penns called Y. S., Ipswich, Unity and Sunderland in St Eliz. near the ports of Martha Brae and Montego Bay. Assignment of a share of 1/5 recites assigt of 11 Dec. 1784 betw. Nath. Middleton, Esq., and Ann his wife (f. A. Morse) assig. 1/2 of 1/5 to Rob. M [=G for Green?]., &c. Lease for a year.

1807 [EA] - 1807 [LA] → Not known

Registered by Edmund Francis Green as attorney for William Mitchell executor and trustee of John Morse. Morse appears to have been the co-owner by assignment since 1777: 1777, Feb. 5. Ind. between John Serocold & John Jackson of London, merchants & co-partners, of the one part, & John Morse & Thomas Smith of London, merchants & co-partners, of the other part. Whereas by Ind. of mortgage made 10 April 1775, between Wm. Stevenson of St. James, J., & Mary his wife, & John Serocold & John Jackson, Wm. S. sold to the latter all that sugar plantation in the parish of St. James called Unity, containing 943 acres, & Pleasant Penn of 300 acres, subject to redemption for £24,023 & £21,034 is still due. Assignment now to John Morse & Thomas Smith. (Caribbeana III).

1753 [EA] - → Attorney
1757 [EA] - 1759 [LA] → Executor

Acting co-executor

1789 [EA] - 1839 [LA] → Previous owner
1761 [EA] - 1780 [LA] → Owner

Legacies Summary

Cultural (1)

Paintings
The Morse and Cator Families, group portrait by Zoffany c. 1784 painted in India, of Ann[e] Frances and Sarah Morse, their brother Robert Morse and Sarah's husband William Cator. Now in Aberdeen Art... 
notes →
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Relationships (6)

Executor → Testator
Grandfather → Grandson
Grandfather → Grandson
Father-in-law → Son-in-law
Brother-in-laws
Business associates
Notes →
John Morse advanced money to Thomas Smith for the purchase by Smith of the Fonthill estate c. 1775. Part of the debt was outstanding at the time Morse made his will, proved in 1781. An indenture of...