John Morton, was related to, and probably the grandfather or
great-uncle of Roseanne Morton, wife
of Michael Baker (1760 - November 19,
1853). The true relationship has not yet been proven (we'll work on
it) but based on the dates known of each, these relationship lines are
Having found this article on another web site, I thought it
appropriate to include this little history of one of Pennsylvania's
Patriots and the Baker family's ancestor.
John Morton was a native of Ridley, in the county of Chester, now
Delaware. His ancestors were of Swedish extraction, and among the
first Swedish emigrants, who located themselves on the banks of the
Delaware. His father, after whom he was called, died a few months
previously to his birth. His mother was some time after married to an
Englishman, who possessed a more than ordinary education, and who,
with great kindness, on young Morton's becoming of the proper age,
superintended and directed his education at home. Here his active mind
rapidly expanded, and gave promise of the important part which he was
destined to act in the subsequent history of his country.
About the year 1764, he was commissioned as a justice of the peace,
and was sent as a delegate to the general assembly of Pennsylvania. Of
this body he was for many years an active and distinguished member,
and for some time the speaker of the house of representatives. The
following year he was appointed by the house of representatives of
Pennsylvania to attend the general congress at New-York. The object
and proceedings of this congress are too well known to need a recital
in this place.
In 1766, Mr. Morton was appointed sheriff of the county in which he
lived, an office which he continued to hold for the three following
years, and the duties of which he discharged with great satisfaction
to the public. Some time after, he was elevated to a seat on the
bench, in the superior court of Pennsylvania.
Of the memorable congress of 1774 he was a member, and continued to
represent the state of Pennsylvania in the national assembly, through
the memorable session of that body which gave birth to the declaration
of American Independence.
On the occurrence of the momentous subject of independence, in the
continental congress, Mr. Morton unexpectedly found himself placed in
a delicate and trying situation. Previously to the 4th of July, the
states of Delaware and Pennsylvania had voted in opposition to that
measure. Great doubts were therefore entertained by the other members
of congress, how the Pennsylvania and Delaware delegations would act.
Much was obviously depending upon them, for it was justly apprehended,
that should these two states decline to accede to the measure, the
result might prove most unfortunate. Happily, the voter of both these
states were, at length, secured in favor of independence. But, as the
delegation from Pennsylvania were equally divided, it fell to Mr.
Morton to give his casting vote. The responsibility which he thus
assumed was great, and even fearful, should the measure be attended by
disastrous results. Mr. Morton, however, was a man of firmness and
decision, and, in the spirit of true patriotism, he enrolled his vote
in favor of the liberty of his country. Considering his novel and
solemn situation, he deserves to be remembered with peculiar respect,
by the free and independent yeomanry of America.
In the following year, he assisted in organizing a system of
confederation, and was chairman of the committee of the whole, at the
time it was finally agreed to, on the 15th of November, 1777. During
the same year, he was seized with an inflammatory fever, which, after
a few days, ended his mortal existence, in the 64th year of his age.
Mr. Morton was a professor of religion, and a truly excellent man. To
the poor he was ever kind; and to an affectionate family, consisting
of a wife, three sons, and five daughters, he was an affectionate
husband and father. His only enemies were those who would not forgive
him because of his vote in favor of independence. During his last
sickness, and even on the verge of the eternal world, he remembered
them, and requested those who stood round him, to tell them, that the
hour would yet come, when it would be acknowledged, that his vote in
favor of American independence was the most illustrious act of his
Thanks go to John Vinci
who has tackled the task, and done a superb job, of scanning in and
editing the articles in:
Biographies of America's Founding Fathers
by Rev. Charles A. Goodrich
This page is taken from John's website and I urge you, if you have
interest in the biographies of other signers of the Declaration of
Independence, to use the link under his name to visit his site and
read the articles.
One other of our ancestors is included in those biographies and you
will find that article under the page for John