Harrison Co. pioneers to receive headstones

by Dianne Davis, Staff Writer
Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram
August 22, 2009

SALEM - Approximately 160 years following the deaths of early Harrison County pioneers George and Mary Shry Morris, their descendants will gather at the Point Pleasant Cemetery to mark their graves with a headstone.

Point Pleasant Cemetery is located behind the twin houses on U.S. 50 on Ten Mile Creek. 

As recorded in "Pioneer Families of the Ten Mile Valley," published in 1967 by Ollie and Eva Morris, George Morris and his son, Manley, surveyed "patent" lands for the newly arriving settlers of Harrison County.

Due to the absence of historic records during this period, there is very little documented evidence concerning George Morris until his marriage in 1801 to Mary Shry Morris in Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia.

His birth date is reported to have been around 1750.

Family tradition recounts that George Morris was a civil engineer and at one time survey lands for the king of England.

The tradition also holds that George and his son, Manley, were sent into the northwestern section of Virginia by the government.  They were sent to survey "patent" lands for the first settlers and they surveyed much of this section now known as Harrison County.

"People homesteaded in this area without legal basis," said David Houchin, curator and historian at Waldomore Annex, Clarksburg-Harrison Public Library.

"They came into the area in the 1770s to grab the land with the assumption that the law would follow facts on the ground and they could claim their homesteaded lands," Houchin said. "It turned out that way.  Had the war not gone the way it had, that might not have been the case.  It was assumed that the Indian rights would be disregarded."

"The surveying of those homesteads in this area started in 1784 and it continued ever after. The homestead claims were to be taken care of in short order.  But there was considerable delay and the surveys continued into the 1790s," Houchin said.

In 1822, George and Mary Morris landed a the head of Katy Lick at a place later known as Strother Hill.  The Morrises had three children, the oldest whom was Manley, who married Rebecca Williams.  Around 1832 Morris sold his holdings on Katy Lick and bought about 200 acres at Turkeyfoot (Wolf Summit).  He gave this property to his son, Manley, who built the Inn at Turkeyfoot.  This inn was located for many years along the Northwestern "Pike", which ran to Parkersburg.

George and Mary Shry Morris were originally buried near the log cabin church that lay in the B & O Railroad right-of-way at Turkeyfoot.  Their graves were then moved to the site of the Point Pleasant Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery.  Their new grave site was unmarked.

"We will place a stainless steel flat headstone, with a cement base, at the burial site at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning," said Hiram Lynch, a Morris descendant.  "There is no formal ceremony planned, just the satisfaction of marking the burial site of two wonderful Harrison County pioneers, George and Shry (sic) Morris."

Point Pleasant Cemetery is located at the intersection of Jarvisville Road and U.S. 50according to Lynch.  About 30 feet down Jarvisville Road, there is a bridge leading straight ahead to a former gas pumping station.  After crossing the bridge across Ten Mile, there will be several cars at 9 a.m. in front of the first farm gate.  The cemetery is on the right, up a flight of wooden steps, just before the gate.

As appearing on the HCGS Newsletter:

The 22nd day of August, 2009 a group of descendents placed a new
headstone at the burial site of George and Mary (Shry) Morris in the
1964 Methodist abandoned (restored 2004/5),  
Maken/Point Pleasant Cemetery. 

Pictured that day are: 

top row; Chuck Sadler, David Teter, Mary Sue Ritter, Bill Lynch, Irene
Van Reenan, Larry Ritter, Brandi Ritter, Greg Ritter and Alden Morris 
seated are: Bertha Webb and Marilyn Lynch 

Photograph by:  Hiram W Lynch, IV,
Donated by Bill Boggess