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Notes for Nathaniel Morton

Nathaniel Morton, "Born at Leiden ca. 1613 (he died at Plymouth 28 June 1685 in his seventy-third year—Ply. Ch. Recs. 1:160), the son of George and Juliana Morton, Nathaniel Morton arrived with his parents at Plymouth in 1623. Following his father's death in 1624 he was taken into the home of his uncle, William Bradford. He became a freeman on 3 January 1636/37 (PCR 1:48). He married (1) on 25 December 1635 Lydia Cooper (PCR 1:35), the sister of John Cooper, q.v., of Scituate and Barnstable, who had married Nathaniel's aunt, Priscilla (Carpenter) Wright. He married Hannah (Pritchard) Templar (PCR 8:35), daughter of Richard and Anne Pritchard, and widow of Richard Templar (Pope) on 29 April 1674. He was a grandjuryman in 1639 and 1646 (PCR 1:126, 2:102). In 1647 he became Secretary (title later changed to Clerk) of the Plymouth General Court (PCR 2:120), a position he kept until his death. Since he was custodian of the records, and also probably had access to the papers of his uncle, William Bradford, he was able to write some of the history of Plymouth Colony, especially in his 1669 New Englands Memoriall and his A Breife Eclesiasticall History of the Church of Christ Att Plymouth Anno Domi 1680 (see text, and also appendix D, which shows indications that he probably rearranged the sequence of signers of the Mayflower Compact to suit his own purposes). In his writings he showed himself to be a very orthodox member of his community, and he was most intolerant of anyone holding views different from his own.

He dated his will 22 April 1685, inventory July 1685, and specified that he wanted to be buried near his first wife, Lydia Morton. He named his second wife Ann Morton; his daughters Remember Jackson, Lydia Elliston, Hannah Bosworth, and Joanna Prince; his sisters Patience and Sarah; his grandson Nathaniel Bosworth, son of Nathaniel Bosworth; his grandsons Eleazer Dunham and Nathaniel Dunham; his kinsman Nathaniel Harlow; his brother Lt. Ephraim Morton; and his kinsman Sgt. William Harlow [p.331] (Ply. Colony LR 5:350). Children who had predeceased him were Mercy, who had married Joseph Dunham (PCR 8:17); Eleazer (PCR 8:8); a stillborn daughter (PCR 8:11); Nathaniel (PCR 8:31); and Elizabeth, who had married Nathaniel Bosworth (PCR 8:33). [1]


[1] Eugene Aubrey Stratton, Plymouth Colony: Its History and People 1620-1691 (Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Incorporated, 1986), 330, [GoogleBooks].