Friday, September 25, 2015

1846-1870 Farm Journal of John Morrell of Eliot, Maine; Mentions His Children and Neighbors

1846-1870 journal of the Morrell farm of Eliot, Maine, which includes many mentions of John Morrell and his son Benning Morrell, especially, and also of John's sons Andrew Jackson Morrell; Franklin Jefferson Morrell; and daughter Henrietta Morrell, as well as of other area folk.

The journal, with covers and spine, measures nearly 8-1/2" by 7".  A few smaller journal pages, measuring about 8" by 6-1/2" without the covers, are tucked in the journal and describe the farm's dealings in sheep, lambs and bees from the same time frame.

See images of the entire journal, and the pages tucked within, at the end of this post.

The first two pages are more narrative than the majority of pages.  They describe the establishment and improvement of the farm.  The majority of pages describe the weather and farm activities in a laconic fashion.

Sadly, no births, marriages or deaths are recorded, even of immediate family members.  Holidays mentioned in the journal:
  • Thanksgiving, mentioned each year, including during the Civil War Years, as "Thanksgiving in all Lincoln States".  In 1865 Thanksgiving was on December 7; as per the proclamation by President Andrew Johnson of October 28, 1865.
  • Lent, mentioned at least once,
  • Fast Day
  • White Sunday, by which I believe he meant Whit Sunday
Farm losses to the Morrells, and to their neighbors, were duly noted.
  • Mr. Joseph Farbush, presumably Joseph Furbush, lost an ox on August 29, 1859 when lightning hit the barn.  
  • Mr. James Jenkins lost his barn due to lightning on July 29, 1859.  
  • Sheep losses on the Morrell farm
1859 must have been an intense year for lightning, as evidenced by the above and an entry that indicates Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was struck by lightning five times on June 21, 1859.   Another interesting phenomenon noted was the occultation of Venus by the Moon on April 24, 1860, which was noted on the line for April 25.

Places mentioned in the journal:
  • Eliot,  Maine
  • Dover, New Hampshire, site of the Fair, where in 1859, the horse Draco won in two minutes and 41 seconds
  • Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  • Rocky Hills
  • River Pasture
  • Marsh
  • Portland,  Maine
People mentioned in the journal
  • Mr. Joseph Farbush, presumably Joseph Furbush - his ox was killed by lightning in the barn on August 29, 1859
  • D. Hersey
  • Levi Hersey; middle initial possibly T; who did sheep business with the Morrell farm
  • Mr. Daniel Jenkins, who did sheep business with the Morrell farm
  • Mr. James Jenkins; his barn burned on July 20, 1859
  • Benning Morrell; son of John Morrell
  • Franklin J. Morrell; Franklin Jefferson Morrell, son of John Morrell
  • J. Morrell; referring to himself, John Morrell
  • C. E. Morrell; Charles Edward Morrell, son of John Morrell
  • Henrietta Morrell, daughter of John Morrell
  • John Raitt
  • Miss H. H. Shapleigh, teacher; perhaps Harriet H. Shapleigh, daughter of Dennis and Ruth (Chase) Shapleigh
From brief online research, hopefully correct:  [corrections and additions requested!]

John Morrell was born October 17, 1797, the son of Joel and Hannah (Wilson) Morrell.    On November 15, 1821, at South Berwick, Maine, John Morrell married Sarah Jenkins, whose parents I haven't found, though it is tempting to think that the James Jenkins and Daniel Jenkins mentioned above were Sarah's relatives, or in-laws in case she had previously been married to a Mr. Jenkins.

John died November 26, 1881; and Sarah on November 13, 1865, unmarked in the journal.  They are buried in the Morrell Cemtery at Eliot, Maine.

John and Sarah had, I think, at least seven children, several of whom are mentioned in the journal:
  • Benning Morrell, born October 15, 1822 at Eliot, Maine; died April 7, 1879; buried there in the Morrell Cemetery.  Mentioned many times in the journal.
  • Mary Ann Morrell, born July 5, 1825 at Eliot, Maine; died May 31, 1909; buried in Morrell Cemetery
  • Franklin Jefferson Morrell, born January 2, 1828 at Eliot, Maine; died January 10, 1891; buried in Morrell Cemetery.  Mentioned several times in the journal.
  • Charles Edward Morrell, born May 1832 in Eliot, Maine; died September 15, 1865 at Eliot, Maine, and buried there in Morrell Cemetery.  Mentioned at least once in the journal, but no mention of his death.
  • Andrew Jackson Morrell, born November 16, 1834; died February 6, 1882; buried in Morrell Cemetery
  • Henrietta Morrell (twin of Horace), born November 2, 1838; died March 12, 1912; buried in Morrell Cemetery
  • Horace Morrell (twin of Henrietta), born November 2, 1838; died January 10, 1871; buried in Morrell Cemetery
If you have corrections and/or additions to the information above, please leave a comment or contact me directly.


  1. There is a Jedediah Jenkins household in Berwick Maine from 1800 on. In 1800 he had three daughters under the age of 10. He married Love Butler in Berwick on 18 Jun 1795 and died in 1867..
    There are a couple other Jenkins households that can be eliminated: "Widow Sarah" and Joshua. The ages of their daughter do not come close to matching that of John Morrell's wife.

    You know you're working on a tough family when you search at Google and your own website is one of the top hits. You were 3rd and 4th for 'Morrell Jenkins South Berwick Me'

    1. Thanks for your help, Ed. I've been more interested in the heirlooms and artifacts of hardscrabble, unsung folks, who may have left few traces, but this is sad indeed. Adding to the trouble: John Morrell's sons were not a long-lived lot. It's possible that the reason Sarah is hard to find is that Jenkins was not her maiden name, but the name of a first husband, even though Jenkins is cited on several family records. Or Sarah may have been a name she went by... Hoping that a reader with personal knowledge happens upon this post!