Lt. Ephraim Morton

Lt. Ephraim MORTON (1623 – 1693) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather; one of 1,024 in this generation of the Miller line.

Lt.  Ephraim Morton was born in 1623 on the Ann on  the passage to Plymouth Colony.  His parents were George MORTON and Juliana CARPENTER.  Upon the death of his father, he was adopted by his uncle Governor William Bradford and raised at his home. He married his first cousin Ann COOPER on 18 Nov 1644 in Plymouth.  After Ann died, he married widow Mary Shelley Harlow on 18 Oct 1692. Ephraim died 7 Sep 1693 in Plympton, Mass.

Gov William Bradford adopted Ephraim and raised him after his father died

Ephraim was a prominent man, and served in the council of war, was prominent in the militia, appointed lieutenant in 1664, served in King Phillip’s War as Colonel of his regiment; was deputy to the general court for twenty-eight years, from 1657, and again under the new charter in 1692. He was deacon of the First Plymouth Church,

Ann Cooper was born in 1625 in Plymouth Colony.  Many claim that her parents were  John COOPER and Priscilla CARPENTER.  The Kempton Book gives her name as “Lydia Cooper”  Savage says Ann was his cousin and her mother was the latter widow of William Wright and sister of Juliana Carpenter. However, John and Priscilla’s marriage took place in 1634, 10 years before Ann Cooper married Ephraim Morton, which would make Ann an exceedingly young bride. Also John’s will written in 1676 mentions his sister Lydia and Priscilla’s sister Alice Bradford (Julianna) but does not mention any children, although Ann was alive at the point. Ann died on 1 Sep 1691.


Mary Shelley was born 2 Nov 1639 in Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass. Her father was Robert Shelly of Scituate.  She first married William Harlow.  After Ephraim died, she married for a third time to Hugh Cole in 1693.  Mary died 30 Jan 1694 in Plymouth.

Children of Ephraim and Ann:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Deacon George MORTON 1645 Plymouth, Mass. Phoebe was not the first wife of George Morton

22  Dec 1664
2 Aug 1727 Plymouth
2. Ephraim Morton 27 Jan 1648
Hannah Phinney (Finney)
c. 1666
18 Feb 1731/32
3. Rebecca Morton 15 Mar 1651 Samuel Wood
bef. 1 Jan 1675
10 Feb 1718
Middleboro, Mass
4. Josiah Morton 1653 Susannah Wood
8 Mar 1686 Plymouth
29 May 1694
5. Lt. Nathaniel Morton 1656
Mary Faunce 1709
6. Eleazer Morton 1659
Rebecca Dawes
11 Apr 1692 Boston
7. Mercy Morton 1663
Henry Rickard
22 Apr 1708 Plymouth
10 Jan 1729/30
8. Thomas Morton 1667
Mary Doty
23 Dec 1696 Plymouth
12 Sep 1748
9. Patience Morton 1669 John Nelson
4 May 1693
3 May 1715

Ephraim became a freeman June 7, 1648, and on the same day was chosen by the General Court constable for Plymouth. In 1654 he was one of the grand inquest; in 1657 was elected a representative to the General Court of Plymouth, of which he was a member twenty-eight years.  When, by King William’s charter, in 1691-92, Plymouth Colony was merged into that of Massachusetts, Lieutenant Morton was chosen one of the first representatives to the Massachusetts General Court. For nearly a quarter of a century he was at the head of the board of selectmen of Plymouth, and in 1683 was chosen a magistrate of the Colony. At the time of his death he was a justice of the court of Common Pleas.

In 1664, having previously served as sergeant, he was elected by the General Court lieutenant of the Plymouth Military Company, and in 1671 was chosen a member of the council of war, in which he was of ”much service” many years, including the period of King Philip’s war. In March, 1677, owing to the great distress consequent upon the war, he was appointed one of a committee of three to distribute to the people of Scituate the moneys contributed by divers Christians in Ireland for the relief of those who suffered during the war.

He was prominent also in ecclesiastical matters, holding for many years the deaconship of the Plymouth church, in which he was succeeded by his son George. “The church having not then a Deacon, the Elders called upon them to choose some to that office; Accordingly, after a church-meeting in Private some being Nominated, every brother speaking his mind man by man. On August 1, 1669 Robert Finney & Ephraim Morton were chosen Deacons in the public Assembly on the Sabbath, & then ordained by the Elders.” He served as Deacon served until his death, September 7, 1693.

Plymouth Records: pg: 173: At the Towne meeting held att the meeting house att Plymouth 27 May 1681: The towne have Granted unto Leift: Morton twenty five acres of land on a place called Warrens Wells Plaine; He was also chosen at the same meeting to be a Select Man.

Will of Ephraim Morton, senr. of Plymouth, dated 27 Sep 1693, proved Nov 1693 he being weak of body through sickness

To my wife Mary Morton £10 out of the personal estate; to son Nathaniel £10; to daughter Patience, wife of John Nelson, £5; to daughter Mercy Morton £20; to son George 30 acres given me by the town of Plymouth on the south side of the Eele River, also the best of my wearing apparell; to son Josiah one fourth my lands in Sagaquash; to my two sons Nathaniel and Thomas : all my right to a tract of land in Middleboro; to son Thomas lands; to son Eliezer lands in Middleboro; when the legacies are paid, the rest of my personal estate, whether at Plymouth or elsewhere, shall be equally divided between my three sons, Nathaniel, Thomas and Eliezer, “I having disposed already unto all the Rest of my children such a part to each of them of my estate as I have thought fitt to be their full portion;”
son Nathaniel to be sole executor

This will was witnessed by Ephraim Morton Junr., Thomaa Fannce and Joseph Fannce, who all made oath to said will Nov. 2, 1693.

The inventory of the estate of Lieut. Ephraim Morton, late of Plymouth, taken Nov. 1, 1693, by Eliezer Churchill and Thomas Fannce, was sworn to in court by Nathaniel Morton, Nov 2 1693.

The marriage covenant between Ephraim Morton, of Plymouth, and Mrs. Mary Harlow, widow of Mr. William Harlow, deceased, of said Plymouth, dated Oct. 11 and acknowledged Oct. 19, 1692, provided:
She is to have her right of dower in the estate of her late husband, and is to quitclaim her rights to the estate of said Ephraim Morton if she survive him. Witnessed by Thomas Faunee and Jon Faunce.


1. Deacon George MORTON (See his page)

2. Ephraim Morton

Ephraim’s wife Hannah Finney was born 2 Sep 1657 in Barnstable, Barnstable, Mass. Her parents were John Finney and Elizabeth Bailey. Hannah died 18 Feb 1734 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

His son Ephraim Morton III married his first cousin Susanna Morton. Their fathers were brothers – Ephraim b. 1648 and Josiah b. 1653.  Ephraim III died of smallpox 29 Dec 1729.

Ephraim Morton Headstone Burial Hill Plymouth, Plymouth,  Mass   “‘Here lyes ye body of Mr. Ephraim Morton who deed Febry ye 18th L731-2 in ye 84th year of his age.”

3. Rebecca Morton

Rebecca’s husband Samuel Wood was born 25 May 1647 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Mass. His parents were Henry Wood and Abigail Jenney. Samuel died 3 Feb 1718 in Halifax, Plymouth, Mass.

4. Josiah Morton

Josiah’s wife Susanna Wood was born 1661 in Middleboro, Plymouth, Mass. Her parents were Henry Wood and Abigail Jenney. Susannah died 1673 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

5. Lt. Nathaniel Morton

Nathaniel’s wife Mary Faunce was born 2 Jun 1681 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.  She was Nathaniel’s first cousin once removed. Her parents were Joseph Faunce and Judith Rickard. Her grandparents were  John Faunce and Patience Morton.    John and Patience came to New England aboard the Anne, 1623.  They married in 1633. In addition to being a planter, John was a businessman, designated as one of the Purchasers for the colony. John was not a member of the original Scrooby group, but was a “stranger” recruited by the merchant adverturers who financed the colony. His great grandparents were George MORTON and Juliana CARPENTER.  (George and Juliana were  Nathaniel’s grandparents) Mary died 31 May 1761 in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Mass.

6. Eleazer Morton

Eleazer’s wife Rebecca Dawes was born 25 Feb 1666 in Plymouth, Mass. Her parents were Ambrose Dawes and Mary Bumstead. Rebecca died 6 Nov 1730 in Plymouth, Mass.

Eleazer Morton received from his father by will shown in the Plymouth records, dated September 27- October 6 1693, all his interest in the 16 shilling purchase, so-called, in Middleborough, and one-third of his residual personal estate.

7. Mercy Morton

Mercy’s husband Henry Rickard was born 1666 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass. His parents were Giles Rickard and Hannah Dunham. Henry died 17 Sep 1726 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

8. Thomas Morton

Thomas’ wife Mary Doty was born 9 Jul 1671 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.  She was Thomas’ first cousin once removed. Her parents were Edward Doty and Sarah Faunce. Her grandparents were  John Faunce and Patience Morton.     His great grandparents were George MORTON and Juliana CARPENTER.  (George and Juliana were  Thomas’ grandparents)  Mary died 6 Apr 1742 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.

9. Patience Morton

Patience’s husband John Nelson was born 8 Jun 1647 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass. His parents were William Nelson (1615 – 1680) and Martha Ford (1621 – 1683). He first married 28 Nov 1667 Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass to Sarah Wood (1644 – 1675).   John died 29 Apr 1697 in Plymouth, Plymouth, Mass.


Hudson-Mohawk genealogical and family memoirs: a record of …, Volume 2 By Cuyler Reynolds

Representative men and old families of southeastern Massachusetts …, Volume 3

George Morton of Plymouth Colony and some of his descendants (1908)

This entry was posted in 11th Generation, First Comer, Historical Monument, Immigrant - England, Line - Miller, Public Office, Veteran and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Lt. Ephraim Morton

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  9. Gordon Morton says:

    I would like to compliment you on your research and presentation. I recently started looking for my family’s ancestors, and to my surprise, found that we also are direct descendants of Ephraim; still with the Morton surname.
    My paternal grandfather, another George, passed away when I was only 9 or 10. Neither I, nor my older brothers, have any recollection of any stories of this history.
    With your permission, I would like to take advantage of your work and include words and images to my family tree history.

    With kind regards,
    Gordon Morton

  10. William Kempton says:

    Deacon George Morton did not marry twice and have a first wife named Phebe as so often cited. This error is best found in Torrey’s compilation “New England Marriages” where there are two marriages listed for Deacon George3 (Ephraim2 George1) Morton in Volume 2, page 1065 of most recent edition which lists the citation reference sources. The big advantage of Torrey is that it contains a very large amount of marriage information from a multitude of sources in a single reference. However the big short coming of Torrey is that the all the extracted marriage data was never verified for accuracy against any original historical records and so it contains many errors. Such is the case for George Morton having a first wife named Phebe.

    No primary record of a marriage of a Phebe to George Morton or a death of a Phebe Morton, the alleged first wife of Deacon George Morton, can be found in the original records of Plymouth Colony or the Town of Plymouth records. The original erroneous marriage reference can be traced back to John Savage in his 1861 “Genealogical Dictionary” which is well known to contain many published errors. John Savage stated in Volume 3, page 244: “MORTON, GEORGE, Plymouth, perhaps son of the preceding [George] at least, how the record of Plymouth that mentioned death Phebe, wife of George, 22 May 1663, can otherwise be explained.” The true explanation was Savage did not transcribe last names from the original Plymouth Colony record correctly.

    The Plymouth Colony record actually stated: “Phebe Watson the wife of Gorge Watson, died the 22nd day of May 1663” (“Records of the Colony of New Plymouth,” Volume 8, page 23 or The Mayflower Descendant, Volume 17, “Plymouth Colony Vital Records,” page 184). Therefore it was Phebe Watson who died on 22 May 1663 and not Phoebe Morton. So the husband of the deceased Phebe was George Watson and not George Morton. Ironically, Savage did correctly publish the 1635 marriage of George Watson to his wife Phebe Hicks and Phebe’s death correctly in his Volume 4, page 437.

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