Moss (Morse, Morss,
By Mildred Mignon Matthews
The Moss family has been traced back to 1521 in Cotheridge,
by members of the Morse (Moss, Morss,
) Society. This group of family
members, most distantly related, has been working together on the family history
since 1892. They publish a
newsletter, have annual reunions and actively continue the search for more
connections and information about the family.
While there may be more variations of the name, these are the names that
I know are being used by the same family.
The Morse Society traces four lines of descent.
The subject of this Moss Family Biography is the lineage of John Moss.
John was my ancestor and I have researched the line from him to my own
family. Although this is a very
small piece of the Moss history, I hope that it may shed some light on the story
of this American family.
John, the emigrant, was born in Cotheridge,
to John Moss (1572) and Elizabeth Browning (1576).
I have found no siblings, but in the Memorial of the Morses,
by the Rev. Abner Morse, the author, speculates on
some other emigrants who may be related to him.
From the above reference: “Of the
time and place of John Moss' birth and the date of his arrival in
, we have no certain information. If
he had attained his majority when admitted a member of the General Court,
1639-1640, he was born as early as 1619, which would have made him 89 years old
in 1708, when he, as is alleged, removed from
. But as his removal at that age is
improbable, and as none of his children or grandchildren is known to have
attained so great an age, he was probably born earlier than 1622.”
Again, from the Memorial of the Morses:
“He doubtless arrived in
(sometime) in 1638. The first
record of him was dated
February 18, 1639/40
, when he signed a social compact as one of the proprietors and planters, and
was admitted as a member of the General Court.
At this time, he was probably a minor.
Upon the formation of the government he took an oath,
July 1, 1644
, to support the same. He resided
in New Haven thirty years. Perceiving that the
time had arrived for enlargement of her settlements, he was one of the foremost
to undertake the settlement of
as it appears from the following record of New Haven
, originating the plantation at that place.”
Clearly, it was difficult to pin down exact dates in those days, but Rev.
Morse is considered to be one of the experts on the Morse/Moss clan during those
King Philip’s War started in 1675 and lasted many years.
John Moss, the emigrant, fought in that war and received a land grant as
an award. Later in life, he served
on the committee for fortifications, according to Families of Ancient
It is well documented that he was one of the founders of the Colonies of New
Haven and later
Connecticut. The Memorial of the Morses
also states that “John Moss was a godly Puritan”.
1st Generation in the
Moss married Abigail Charles on
January 18, 1639
and they had ten children. The
children are John, John,
Samuel, Abigail, Joseph, Ephraim, Mary, Mercy, Elizabeth
and Isaac. I think it likely that
the first John (b. 1637/38) probably died in infancy.
In those times, it was common to name a newborn after a deceased infant.
2nd Generation: John
Moss (b. 1650), son of the emigrant, and Martha Lathrop (b. 1656/57), also of
, were married on
December 12, 1677
. Martha was the granddaughter of
the Rev. John Lathrop, founder of Barnstable, Cape Cod,
MA. They had ten children, and the
children were Isaac,
Mary, Ester, Deacon Samuel, John, Martha, Solomon,
3rd Generation: Isaac
Moss (b. 1692) lived at 10 Mile River,
Connecticut. He married Hannah Royce in 1717
and they had eight children. The
children were Elihu,
Herman, Hannah, Orwell, Jesse, Mehetabel, Isaac and
Herman. The first Herman only lived
to be three years old.
4th Generation: Elihu
(b. 1731) married Ester Clark on
February 23, 1758
and they had eleven children. The
Elihu, Thankful, Ester, Eunice, Elvira,
Justice, Job, Perse, Manly, Diantha,
and Royce. Elihu
changed his name to Morse for reasons unknown.
His father was Isaac Moss and his son was Elihu
Moss; but, he chose to use Morse. He
fought in the French and Indian Wars, serving the 4th Company, 4th
Connecticut Regiment. He also
served as Lieutenant over a company of 38 Volunteer Minute Men, raised in the
town of Farmington, Connecticut, on January 15, 1777, in the War of the Revolution.
5th Generation: Elihu
Moss (b 1767), the son of Elihu Morse, married
Hannah Tyler about 1789 and they had ten children.
The children were Elihu,
Emma, Justin, Thankful, Jesse, Justin, Reuben, Jesse, Diantha
Elihu and Hannah emigrated to West Durham,
Greene County, NY, probably before 1797, which would have made the son, Elihu,
five or six years old at the time. One
writer has speculated that the emigration occurred after a son died.
I don’t have all of the death dates, but it appears that one Jesse and
one Justin died in infancy.
From Beers' History of
Moss came from Connecticut
soon after and settled where Mrs. Daniel Ingraham
lives. The house stood where the
stone blacksmith shop is. His wife
was Hannah Tyler and they had three sons and five daughters.
Elihu, the eldest son, bought the farm now
occupied to Mrs. Reynolds. He had
two sons: Orwell lives in
and Reuben lives at Cornwallsville.
Both are farmers by occupation and both are active in church and
Sunday-school work. Orwell has a
son, Elihu, who is worthy heir to the favorite name,
other members of both these families are worthy young people.”
6th Generation: Elihu
Moss (b. 1791) married Betsy Warriner and they had
five children. The children were Orwell
Alonzo, Olive Warriner, Marinda,
Reuben, and Emme Bascom.
7th Generation: Orwell
Alonzo Moss (b. 1822) married Sophronia Lathrop
October 9, 1845
and they had five children. The
children were Eunice Loretta, Alice Elizabeth, Mary Ellen, Elihu
Allen, and Carrie Sophronia.
Orwell and Sophronia had a farm on Cochrane Road
off the Susquehanna Turnpike. Their
home is still standing and inhabited. Sophronia
December 26, 1864
and Orwell married her sister, Eliza Lathrop Brand of Durham, on
October 7, 1866. Orwell and Eliza had only two
children and they were Minnie
Cordelia and William (known as Willie).
Willie died at the age of three. There
has been some confusion on the part of family researchers about the mother of
Minnie Cordelia Moss.
Sophronia died in December of 1864 and Minnie
was born in October 1868; therefore, she could not have been Minnie’s mother.
Eunice Brand, Moss Homestead
Minnie Cordelia Carrie Sophronia
nee Wattles on Cochrane
mother of Sophronia
and Carrie Brand
8th Generation: Minnie
Cordelia Moss married William Tompkins Matthews on
October 11, 1895
and they had three children, according to the 1910 census, with only two
living. They were Harry Allen
Matthews and Hattie Rosalia Matthews.
Since the third child was not named, nor is a birth date known, it is
assumed that it was stillborn. William
Matthews purchased property in 1902 on what is now known as
in Jewett, which is where he probably brought his bride, Minnie Moss, and where
their children were likely born. It
is also the house in which Minnie died in 1925.
The house went to Harry Allen when William remarried on the death of
Minnie, so three of their grandchildren were born there too.
The house is no longer there, but some of the families remain on the
property in other dwellings.
Minnie Moss Matthews’ children, Hattie Rosalia
and Harry Allen, married and had children, but the Moss name only remained as
the middle name of Wallace Moss McLain, son of Hattie Rosalia
Matthews McLain. Hattie and Lester
McLain, her husband, had three other children; Minnie, Anna and Donald.
Harry Allen married Mildred Lois Finn and they had three children, Harry,
Nellie and Mildred Mignon. Needless
to say, many of the children married and had children of their own.
The Moss name disappeared from our line at this point in time, but the
DNA continues and the Moss blood runs though our veins.
Many descendents of this illustrious family still reside in Greene County,
New York, even though they do not all share the surname of Moss; but, the
extended family can probably be found in every one of the United States.
Our Moss ancestors were among the founders of America; they were farmers and tradesmen, they served as civic officials, they fought
in various wars, and some of them died in the service of their country.
They worked hard to make a good life for their families and they
certainly did “go forth and multiply”.
We have good reason to be very proud to be descended from such people.
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