Joshua Morris1

#998, (circa 1753 - circa May 1840)
Father*John Morris1 (c 1730 - c 1788)
Mother*Elizabeth Turner1 (s 1732 - 1783)

Family 1

Lucy _____ b. s 1755, d. b 1779
Children 1.Mary "Polly" Morris20 (1777 - )
 2.Robert Morris20 (c 1778 - )

Family 2

Sally Walton b. 1745, d. 1805
Child 1.John H Morris+21 (1780 - 1851)

Family 3

Margaret Pendleton b. c 1767, d. c 1867
Joshua Morris (c. 1753, James City Co. VA-ca. 1840) and Sally Walton (1745-ca. 1800). Both were previously married, Joshua to Lucy (-1778) with child Mary, and Sally to Thomas Watkins of Powhatan, who died in the Revolutionary War, killed by Indian allies of the British. They had one child, Robert Watkins, who later married Elizabeth Walton, his first cousin.

Joshua helped begin 4 churches in VA, including the First Baptist Church at Richmond, and 11 churches in 9 counties of KY. He probably attended William and Mary. The first church was James City (Smyrna) Baptist in 1773 (which met in the Powder Magazine). He went to KY in 1787, selling his home on Shockoe Hill (Main St.) and holding 9 slaves; four of his brother went with him and a sister. He lived first on Elkhorn Creek, then was recommended by William Hickman to the Brashears Church and then to Shelby County Church. He also founded the Ghent Baptist Church with Hickman.

After Sally died, he married Elizabeth and then Margaret Lightfoot. "Aunt Rose," a slave of his brother, noted that he "married rich every time" causing another family historian to say he "possessed more worldly wisdom than most pioneer preachers." He was described by Spencer as "below medium height, of stout build with the tendency to corpulency, and in later years became so unwieldly as to be unable to go far from home. He was scrupulously neat in his dress and elegantly dignified in a preacher, he "spoke rapidly, with great energy and boldness." He owned over 1500 acres on the Ohio River.

Children: John (1780-1856); Elizabeth; Samuel (1784-1791); George (1786.)2,3 
Birth*circa 1753He was born circa 1753 at James City Co., VirginiaG.1 
Baptismcirca 1773He was baptized circa 1773 at James City Co., VirginiaG.4 
Marriage*circa 1775He married Lucy _____ circa 1775 at VirginiaG.5 
between 1776 and 1780He was a member and later pastor of the Boar Swamp Baptist Church (now Antioch Baptist Church) between 1776 and 1780 at Sandston, Henrico Co., VirginiaG.6,7 
Marriage*say 1780He married Sally Walton, daughter of Robert Walton and Martha Hughes, say 1780.8 
between 1780 and 1786He was the first pastor of the First Baptist Church at Richmond, Virginia, between 1780 and 1786.9 
between 1786 and 1788He and Sally Walton removed to Kentucky (then western Virginia)G between 1786 and 1788.10,11 
between 1790 and 1793He was pastor of the Cedar Creek Baptist Church approximately between 1790 and 1793 at Bardstown, Nelson Co., KentuckyG.12,13 
between 1800 and 1803He was pastor of the Port William (later McCools Bottom and now Ghent) Baptist Church between 1800 and 1803 at McCools Bottom (now Ghent), Carroll Co., KentuckyG.14,15 
Marriage*2 July 1812He married Margaret Pendleton, daughter of Col. James Pendleton and Margaret Bowie, on 2 July 1812 at Nelson Co., KentuckyG.16 
1820He appeared on the census of 1820 at Bardstown, Nelson Co., KentuckyG.17 
1830He appeared on the census of 1830 at Eastern Dist., Nelson Co., KentuckyG.18 
26 September 1835He left a will on 26 September 1835 at Nelson Co., KentuckyG.19 
24 April 1840He wrote a codicil on 24 April 1840 at Nelson Co., KentuckyG.19 
Death*circa May 1840He died circa May 1840 at Nelson Co., KentuckyG.19 
Probate*8 June 1840His estate was probated on 8 June 1840 at Nelson Co., KentuckyG.19 


  1. [S2083] Damaris Knobe, The Ancestry of Grafton Johnson (Indianapolis, Indiana: Hollenbeck Press (Printers), 1924), p. 167.
  2. [S118] Damaris Knobe, Ancestry of Grafton Johnson : with its four branches, the Johnson, the Holman, the Keen, the Morris (Indianapolis: Hollenbeck Press, 1924), to be verified.
  3. [S119] Boone/Morris [rootsweb], online
  4. [S1101] J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists from 1769 to 1885, revised and corrected by Mrs. Burrilla B. Spencer (Cincinnati: self-published, 1886), I:24.
  5. [S878] Morris Ancestors (Boone/Morris Files), online, Lucy's surname unknown.
  6. [S1103] Antioch Baptist Church, online, The history of Antioch Baptist Church begins in the year 1772 when the Henrico Parish of the Established Church of England built a Chapel at Boar Swamp. The Chapel was abandoned at the beginning of the Revolutionary War until Elijah Baker, an itinerant Baptist preacher along with Joseph Anthony, began to use the facility to call people together for worship. In 1776 the Church was constituted as the Boar Swamp Baptist Church.

    In 1780 Joshua Morris, who had been baptized by Baker in James City, became the first pastor of Boar Swamp Baptist Church when Baker returned to the Eastern Shore to continue ministry there. In 1780 Joshua Morris left Boar Swamp with fourteen members to establish the First Baptist Church of Richmond.

    Boar Swamp joined other areas Baptist Churches in establishing the Dover Baptist Association. In 1790 the Association met at Boar Swamp and drew up a plan of government to follow.

    In 1846 the Church changed it's name to Antioch Baptist Church. It was used as a hospital by the Union Army during the Civil War, who burned it upon their retreat. The building was restored, but burned again in 1870. That same year they rebuilt our present sanctuary.
  7. [S1104] Henrico County, Virginia, online, Antioch Baptist Church
    3868 Antioch Church Road
    Henrico, VA
    Geo Coordinates: 37.510581, -77.245992

    Description: A chapel, built in 1772 at Boar Swamp, was used by Elijah Baker to gather people for worship. In 1776 the church was constituted as Boar Swamp Baptist Church, with Joshua Morris as the first pastor. In 1780 Joshua Morris and fourteen members from Boar Swamp Church established the First Baptist Church of Richmond. In 1846 the church changed its name to Antioch Baptist. The chapel burned twice and the present sanctuary was built in 1870. The church ordained numerous people and brought several people into the ministry, including Charlie Bradley, Pastor, 1957 – 1997.
  8. [S48] Gerald Ray Lewis Family Tree, Gerald Ray Lewis, owner, online
  9. [S1100] Richmond's First Baptist Church, online \\, On a June evening in 1780, one year before Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown and two years before Richmond was incorporated as a city, Joshua Morris conducted a prayer meeting in the home of John Franklin at Carrington and Pink Streets on Union Hill. This group of Christian believers organized the Richmond Baptist Church, the first Baptist church to be constituted in a Virginia city and the first church of any denomination to be organized in Richmond. The beginning was modest; there were fourteen charter members. In 1786 Morris sold his Richmond property and followed the great migration West.". Hereinafter cited as Richmond's First Baptist Church.
  10. [S1101] J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, I:24, moved from Richmond to Kentucky in 1788, stopping for a time at Elkhorn.
  11. [S1102] Roland Stuart Carlton, "History of Richmond Baptists 1780–1860" (Theses submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the University of Richmond, Virginia, 1967), 12, moved to Kentucky in 1786.
  12. [S1101] J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, I:25, "From Shelby county, he moved to Nelson, and became a member, and the pastor, of Cedar Creek church. He was, at this time, about fifty years old, a strong, able-bodied man, with a large and varied experience, and was eminently useful among the young churches of that region. He preached to Mill Creek in Nelson county, and Severns Valley in Hardin, and perhaps to some other churches, at different periods, while he lived on Cedar Creek. Under his ministry at Severns Valley, in 1801, a revival prevailed, which resulted in 101 additions to the church."
  13. [S1106] Baptist History Homepage, online, The First Cedar Creek Baptist Church, Nelson County, Bardstown, Kentucky, By Bob Compton .
    Little is known of the Cedar Creek Church and its activities from 1785 until 1793. It was probably sometime during these years that Joshua Morris became pastor. Morris had come to Kentucky from Virginia where he had been born in approximately 1750. Even as a child he was not a stranger to hardships, for he was the son of a Baptist preacher in Virginia when persecution of anyone who was not an Anglican was so harsh there.

    Young Morris began preaching in Virginia shortly after his conversion in about 1773. He traveled widely and preached in many different places in Virginia. His most notable accomplishment as a preacher in this state was the establishment of the First Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia in 1780.

    Eight years later, Morris left his native state and came to Kentucky. He soon became the pastor of Brashears Creek Baptist Church in what is now Shelby County. Some years later he moved to Nelson County, settled at Cedar Creek and became pastor of the church there. He gave stability to the work through his many years of service with this congregation. It appears that during this tune the church had preaching once a month and extended an annual call to its pastors. At least W. E. Chambliss of Bardstown indicated that this was the practice. He wrote that in "January, 1804, Elder Warren Cash was invited to fill the pulpit once a month, and remained in the service of the church one year until January, 1805, when Elder Joshua Morris again became pastor."

    Both the annual call and the monthly preaching service help explain Spencer's observation that "he (Morris) preached to Mill Creek in Nelson county, and Severn's Valley in Hardin, and perhaps in some other churches, at different periods, while he lived on Cedar Creek."
  14. [S1105] Northern Kentucky Views, online, Includes excerpts from Jean Young Houston, "Ghent Baptist Church Records, Carroll County, Kentucky," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 65 (June 1977): 123-134. The back issue can be orderd from
    The organization of the Ghent Baptist Church is recorded in the oldest of three record books as follows: "April 5, 1800 a day of fasting and prayer for the constitution of a Baptist Church at Port William. The business was proceeded to and the church constituted by William Hickman and Joshua Morris on the Doctrine and Discipline of the Holy Scriptures. The church is constituted of ten members, viz., Benjamin Craig and Nancy his wife, John B. Barnard and his wife, John Ramey and Catherine, his wife, Mary Lindsay, Elizabeth Bledsoe, Sary Price, and Robert Scanland's Cloe." Joshua Morris, who served as the first pastor, was received by letter into membership immediately after the organization. Along with him were received twelve other men and women, six of whom were Negroes. Port William, which was a village located near the mouth of the Kentucky River, is now the city of Carrollton.
    After meeting in the homes of the members for some months, the first log meeting house was constructed by male members of the congregation on land owned by Isaac Bledsoe in McCool's Bottom. Several houses of worship were erected during the early years of the church, and in 1814 the Baptist Church of Port William became known as the McCool's Bottom Baptist Church.
    The present church building located on U. S. Highway #42 in Ghent, Kentucky, was built in 1843 on land donated by John Scott, the second pastor of the church. In May 1844 the owners of the steamboat Pike presented her bell to the church. A suitable belfry was to be built to house it. "In October 1844 the old meeting house and lot were sold for $100 each and six of the old benches were given to Brother James L. Griffith for the school house in his neighborhood. The church name was again changed in 1845 when it became the Baptist Church of Christ at Ghent. At that time the membership was comprised of 200 people, 50 of whom were Negroes."At one time there was a cemetery on the church grounds, but the gravestones were all removed prior to the year 1936, and the ground was used for other purposes. The three books of church records are in excellent condition and are stored in a bank vault on Carrollton, Kentucky. The Reverend Floyd N. Baker now serves as pastor."
  15. [S1101] J. H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, II:341: "Morris was probably the first preacher that settled within the present limits of Carroll county. He aided in gathering the first church in that region, and became its first pastor. This church was located at the mouth of Kentucky river, and Mr. Morris was aided in constituting it, on the 5th of May, 1800, by William Hickman. It was at first called Port William, afterwards, McCools Bottom, and finally took the name Ghent, from the village in which it is now located. Mr. Morris served the church about three years, and then gave place to the more gifted John Scott. The time of his death has not been ascertained. Some of his posterity still live among those of his successor, in that region of the State."
  16. [S1530] Kentucky County Marriages, 1797-1954, online, Film 4705518, img. 951/1060. Bond of Joshua Morris and Atkinson on 2 Jul 1812 for the marr. of Joshua Morris and Mrs. Margt. Lightfoot, wid. of John Lightfoot. Film 4705582, img. 72/530, Marr. Reg. of Nelson Co. Book 1. Joshua Morris and Margt Lightfoot, marr. 2 Jul 1812 by M. Pierson.
  17. [S115] 1820 U.S. Federal Census. Joshua (45+); F (45+); m (10-14); ten slaves.
  18. [S116] 1830 U.S. Federal Census. Joshua (70-79); F (60-69); seven slaves.
  19. [S1099] Joshua Morris will (26 Sep 1835), Nelson Co. Kentucky Will Records 1839–1842 Vol. 3: WILL OF JOSHUA MORRIS
    Probated June 08, 1840-Nelson County, Kentucky
    "I, Joshua Morris, of Nelson County and state of Kentucky make this my last will and testament in manner and form as followeth:
    First, I give to my wife, Peggy Morris, my two negroes, Caroline and Milly Ann, also the bond or note on Samuel Carpenter for forty five dollars annually, bearing date of eighteen hundred and thirty four, June the tenth.
    Second, I give to my daughter, Mary Boone, one dollar.
    Thirdly, I give to my son, John Morris, one dollar.
    Fourthly, I give to my daughter, Elizabeth Craig, one dollar.
    I further desire and direct that my household and kitchen furniture be sold and the amount it brings added with the money and notes I have at the time of my death, before the discharge of the five hundred dollars due to my wife ten days after my decease.
    I further direct that my black man be hired out until John Warner Lightfoot [son of Pendleton Lightfoot, deceased] comes of age or marries, at which time black John to be sold and the amount of his sale added to the money he hires for from the time of my death, and the amount to be divided equally between John Warner Lightfoot and Joshua Pendleton Lightfoot. If either of them dies before he marries or comes of age, the survivor is to what is here given to both, but if it should happen that they both die before they come of age or marry, in that case I give what is here above designed for them unto my grandson, Morris Boone, living in Missouri, [the eldest son of my daughter, Mary Boone], to him and his heirs forever.
    I appoint Peggy Morris, my wife, executrix of this my last will and testament, September 26, 1835
    Test. Thomas Speed
    Mary Speed     
    [Codicil] April 24 1840 Joshua Morris this day stated in our presence that he wished one hundred dollars to go to Joshua Boone his grand son.
                                                      John D. Strother
                                                      Robert S. Strother

    Proved 8 Jun 1840, Nelson County Courthouse, Bardstown

    Image from, Kentucky Probate Records, 1727-1990, Nelson Co., Will records, 1839-1842, Vol. 3, Image 68 of 344. Volume cover is labelled “Will Book 3, Nelson County, RDP.
    , Nelson County Kentucky Courthouse, Bardstown, Kentucky.
  20. [S878] Morris Ancestors, online, His first wife was Lucy, last name unknown; who died before 1789 [should be 1779]; mother of two children.
  21. [S2083] Damaris Knobe, Grafton Johnson, p. 183.