Dartmouth and Plymouth Muster Rolls
For the purposes of researching our immigrant ancestor, Matthew Morry I, and his close relatives in Dartmouth prior to emigrating to Newfoundland, Muster Rolls have proven an invaluable source of information. I was put onto the existence of these British Board of Trade documents and their relevance to my line of research by frequent references to them in the Keith Matthews Name File for “Morry”. What I learned initially, and later was able to flesh out more definitely, was that, starting in the mid-1700s, all vessels sailing from British Ports were required to submit Muster Rolls which contained information on the Captain and crew such as their age, place of birth, port of residence, period with the vessel in question, previous voyage, port and date of discharge or occasionally date and cause of death.
The Maritime History Archive (MHA) has a fairly comprehensive set of microfilms (16 in total) for the ports of greatest interest to my research, primarily Dartmouth and secondarily Plymouth, for the years 1755 to 1808. Unfortunately, though an effort was commenced some years ago to create an index to these two sets of Muster Rolls, the effort was subsequently abandoned after only a few years of voyages had been enumerated. This meant that, apart from the guidance offered in the Matthews Name File, a through review of all the years of Muster Rolls in which Matthew Morry and his near relatives would be found necessitated reviewing the microfilms from start to finish, year by year. And like most microfilms of antique documents (parish registers being the most notorious) these microfilms are often incredibly difficult to read and, utilising the antiquated equipment available at the MHA, it is virtually impossible to make a clear copy of relevant records, either by printing or by photographing the screen. I nevertheless have spent many frustrating hours in this pursuit over several years.
On the occasion of one of my visits to the National Archives in Kew, near London, in April 2017 I did spend a considerable amount of time reviewing the original Muster Rolls which are found there and are available to researchers (BT 98 – Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Agreements and Crew Lists, Series I, 1747-1860). Unfortunately, these old documents were recorded on poor quality paper stock, not parchment paper, and have deteriorated badly over the centuries, though some are in better condition than others. Some are so badly deteriorated and mold-infested that they have been taken out of circulation pending restoration. Others are still available for viewing but should not be because they crumble in ones hands whilst being examined no matter how careful one attempts to be in handling them.
Despite these deficiencies, I have managed to extract most, though probably not all, of the available information on the marine careers of Matthew Morry I and his near relatives in Dartmouth. The information on the marine career of Matthew himself is presented in annotated form in a Word file, which draws not only on the Muster Rolls but the equally valuable and slightly easier to obtain and use Lloyd’s Registers and Lists of Shipping, which cover approximately the same time period.
To provide a visual representation of this information and similar information, though nowhere near as comprehensive, on Matthew’s near relatives (e.g. cousins George, Richard and Robert Morry/Mor[r]ey and brothers-in-law Christopher, Francis, Thomas and John Graham, as well as soon-to-be relatives in the Winser family, Peter and Jacob and the Tessier family, Peter), I have decided to present some of what I have collected here. I also include a few entries in which names of people associated with the Morrys but not necessarily related appear (e.g. Week[e]s, Ball, Silly, etc.). It should also be noted that some of the Mory/Morry/Mor[r]ey or Graham men whose appearance on Muster Rolls is demonstrated here may not be related, or at least they cannot always be proven to be related to my family line.
I apologize in advance for the poor quality of some of the images. This is a direct result of the deficiencies of the source material and the means of accessing them as described above. Transcripts in Word format of the names of people of interest only, not the full crew list, are presented for the muster rolls copied at Kew.
Dartmouth Muster Rolls
There are a number of general observations to make on the Dartmouth Muster Rolls, in particular in the manner that they have been preserved at the National Archives in England. For reasons that are unclear, the numbering system of the Volumes and Folios of the BT 98 Muster Rolls for Dartmouth at least have been jumbled over the years and there is no system to how they are found. A single volume (these are really bundles of loose pages for the most part) can contain Muster Rolls from the early 1770s right through to the early 1800s. The numerical order has no bearing on chronology and the numbering is therefor only useful for reference purposes.
Secondly, at the time of my visit to the National Archives in 2017, the earliest volumes of the Muster Rolls dating back to the mid 1750s were not available for examination because they had been sent for remediation and restoration, due to mold and their fragility. Therefore, the items selected to present here do not date back prior to 1770. This is a great pity because the period from about 1764 to 1770 is most likely the period when Matthew Morry first got his feet wet, so to speak, as a mariner, and his name would likely have appeared as first a ship’s “boy” and then an ordinary seaman on the Muster Rolls during this period, giving an indication of when he first went to sea. By knowing the name of the Masters under whom he served at that time, and more importantly the name of the vessels on which he served, it might then be possible to determine which ship owners and merchants first took a chance on him and gave him this opportunity to get into the trade. My suspicion from the ownership of some of the vessels on which he later served and his association with them in later life, is that it was the Holdsworth family who mentored him into the marine career he followed for a lifetime. When these early Muster Rolls once again become accessible for research purposes this may be possible to ascertain.
To simplify matters, these entries in the Muster Rolls will be presented in chronological order regardless of their filing number or the name or names of those appearing. In this manner it will be possible to see more clearly who were contemporaries in the Dartmouth/Newfoundland trade, or at least the Dartmouth shipping trade, along with Matthew Morry and his kin.
5 February 1771, Brigg INDUSTRY, Nicholas Gisley, Master, William Weeks, Seaman, From Viana to Dartmouth
This is one of several Muster Rolls pertaining to remotely connected individuals. The Weeks or Weekes family, as well as the Furneaux family seen here as well, had an association with both the Morrys and the Grahams in Dartmouth, their names occasionally appearing in marriages of family members. Richard Weekes (the spelling of the name appears to have been inconsistent in the same family, like Morry and Morey) married Esther Graham, a sister of Capt. Christopher Graham, who appears regularly in these Muster Rolls. Despite the difference in the spelling of their surnames, William Weeks was Richard’s brother.
Note that this cruise, which extended from May 24 1770 when the INDUSTRY left Dartmouth until her return on December 20 1770, visited Newfoundland and Portugal. William Weeks, then 17, disembarked in Newfoundland on 6 September 1770 but his movements after that are not known. His previous cruise also took him to Newfoundland, though as in the other Muster Rolls that follow, we seldom learn what part or parts of Newfoundland they visited. In general, however, in those days vessels sailing from Dartmouth were destined for some part of the Southern Shore.
26 February 1771, The Brigantine ST. GEORGE, Christopher Graham, Master
Evidence from many sources has shown that the man who would eventually become Matthew Morry’s father-in-law had already at this time had a long and lucrative career as a mariner and was a master mariner most likely long before this first available Muster Roll entry. But this cruise is not one of his. It pertains to his son of the same name, now 27 and also a full master mariner. On this particular cruise from Lisbon to Dartmouth he has as Mate, John Jellard. This is a familiar name in the family tree as later a famous global mariner named John Jellard from Shaldon married Eleanor Coulman, whose sister, Elizabeth, married Matthew Morry’s grandson, also named Matthew. This is not the same man, as he would not have been alive at that time, but it is almost certainly a close relation, either his father or grandfather. Christopher’s brother, Francis, is also on the crew as an 18 year old mariner or ordinary seaman. The crew shows the names of two “boys” learning the trade so Francis has already graduated from those beginnings.
Maritime History Archive Index of Cruise of Christopher Graham on the ST. GEORGE, 1770-1771
25 March 1771, The Brig PRUSSIAN KING, William Harvey, Master, Matthew Morey [sic], Sailor
This is the first evidence found so far of Matthew Morry I serving on an ocean-going vessel and the record does not stipulate that this voyage visited Newfoundland. It began in Dartmouth, where Matthew was both born and then residing, and terminated in Bristol. Matthew, who was then 21, had been on board for 9 months and 3 days and this suggests that the vessel did indeed go elsewhere, most likely Newfoundland and quite probably to Spain or Portugal to trade its cargo of salt fish for merchantable products at home before returning to England.The Master’s name was William Harvey and we will see him again and again in association with records pertaining to Matthew. He may have been the first Master under whom Matthew served, though obviously that would have been years before when Matthew would have appeared on the Muster Roll as a “boy”. Ownership of vessels is seldom given on Muster Rolls unless the owner signs off on the report. In this case, as in most others, the Master signed the report after returning to his home port.
7 March 1772, The Brig MOLLY, William Harvey, Master, Mathew [sic] Morry, Seaman
Since the previous year, Matthew has now advanced to the the top of the list of seamen, though he evidently has not achieved the formal rank of Mate. This would have required an accreditation with the Board of Trade and some day it may be possible to obtain a copy of the documentation pertaining to this qualification. But these types of documents are not readily available at the current time. His Master is again William Harvey, though they are serving on a different vessel, possibly with different owners. This should be possible to verify by referencing the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping. However, although it commenced to be published in 1764, there are major gaps in the records that have been preserved until later in the 1770s. And in its first published form it focussed largely on shipping owned and operated out of London. Indeed in the first published volume which covers, in part, the vessel movements from 1764 to 1767, there were no vessel movements reported for the port of Dartmouth. Similarly, the volume that exists for 1768-69 is spotty and contains little information on ports in the southwest. Still, by 1772 it should be possible to find these vessel movements and it is worthy of further examination.
This voyage commenced and ended in Dartmouth and there is no indication of where it was for the 8 months and 24 days from March to December 1791. Once again, I am certain that it was doing the Newfoundland run. The timing of the cruise corresponds with the normal movement of vessels on that run. This too could be proven by finding the corresponding reference in the Lloyd’s Register, if it exists.
17 March 1772, The Swallow, Richard Copplestone, Master, From Lisbon, Francis Graham, Mariner
This report, which follows close on the heels of that of Capt. Harvey above, shows that Francis Graham, Matthew’s soon-to-be brother-in-law is now serving under a Master other than his father as a mariner (same status as seaman or sailor) at the age of 19. The voyage lasted 10 months and 22 days from Dartmouth to Dartmouth and, though it is not stipulated, was almost certainly to Newfoundland, since this coincides with the routine dates of a cruise across the ocean. The final leg was from Lisbon back to England, having no doubt traded her cargo of salt fish for port wine, salt and other commodities of value in Portugal.
25 March 1772, The Brigg PROVIDENCE, Michael Foran and William Crowle Masters, From Lisbon, George Mory [sic], Mate
One week after the previous report, another Muster Roll is submitted for the Brig PROVIDENCE. She had two Masters during her lengthy voyage: Michael Foran and William Crowle. The reason is made clear in reading the details. Both Foran and his Mate, George Mory [sic] disembarked at Fermeuse after serving on board for 11 months and 20 days. Since this was late in the year (Oct. 10, 1771), there is a possibility that they may have disembarked with the intention of overwintering in Newfoundland, or they may have gotten a commission to take another vessel back to England. The reasons for this somewhat unusual turn of events are not made clear in the report.
The big question for us is, who was George Mory and what, if any, relationship, did he have to Matthew Morry? He was 29 at the time of the voyage and although he was born in Dartmouth as was Matthew, his abode was given as Kingsware, the sister town across the harbour from Dartmouth. Armed with this information we can offer up only one possibility. He must have been the Capt. George Morey married to Ann Hunt who was the second cousin of Matthew. He was eight years Matthew’s senior, which explains why he would have attained the rank of Mate by this time whereas Matthew as still shown as a Seaman, though obviously a leading seaman. It was known from church records that some of the Morry clan had chosen to live across the Harbour from Dartmouth, though it was not previously known that George was amongst them. His children were all christened in Dartmouth. at St. Clement Townstal, quite a hike for a resident of Kingsware. I suspect from the fact that he was also buried in Dartmouth that this residency must have only been for a brief period.
This was not his first voyage to Newfoundland. The previous year he shipped on the PROVIDENCE as well under Captain Edward Mayhall, seen elsewhere in these Muster Rolls as the Master of the PROVIDENCE with George Morrey [sic] as his mate in 1774. Masters did tend to pair up with the same crew members time after time if they had proven themselves.
His disembarking in Fermeuse and not Ferryland is of interest. There are no records of Morrys having spent any amount of time in that village until several generations later when a John Morry married to Judith O’Leary had business premises there as well as in St. John’s. This is more than likely a coincidence and does not explain what George was doing there.
6 April 1772, The Brigantine ST. GEORGE, Christopher Graham, Master
This time we find Christopher Graham as Master of the ST. GEORGE once again but without his brother Francis on the crew. As we have seen above, Francis was otherwise engaged as a Mariner on the SWALLOW. The dates of the cruise are April 29 1771 to 22 March 1772, almost eleven months. The final stage of the voyage is shown to be from St. Tubes but there was and is no such port, so we must assume that it was written incorrectly and that some other port, most likely in Portugal, was the place intended. Most likely it was Setúbal Municipality near Lisbon. There are two men named Stabb on the crew and one named Brand but I am unable to associate these men with the families of these two names which are closely associated with the Morrys in Newfoundland later on.
Maritime History Archive Index of Cruise of Christopher Graham on the ST. GEORGE, 1771-1772
9 March 1773, the Brig MOLLY, William Harvey, Master, Mathew [sic] Morry, Mate
This is the first Muster Roll in which Matthew Morry (his surname spelled correctly for once, though his Christian name continues to be spelled with one “t”) is shown as being a full-fledged Mate and not simply the leading Seaman. This cruise departed Dartmouth on the first of April 1772 and terminated in Newfoundland on October 10th, 1772. Matthew is still associated with William Harvey, who continues to be the Master of the Brig MOLLY. But not the only one. Matthew and William disembarked in Newfoundland. On the same Muster Roll covering the period immediately following this one, another Master, Dominick Bonett [sic], takes charge, returning the vessel to Dartmouth. On that cruise Matthew is not present but we do see another familiar name, Arthur Kemp, aged 25. This is not the Arthur Kemp who later married Matthew’s daughter, Mary, as he would be far too old by then. But it could very well be his grandfather, as the later Arthur Kemp was also a mariner. It could not be his father because, although he too was named Arthur Kemp, he was only born around 1765.
It is not made clear from this Muster Roll whether both Matthew and William Harvey had a commission to take charge of another vessel from Newfoundland, or that they were to overwinter in Newfoundland that year. But the next Muster Roll clears up that mystery.
15 March 1773, the PORT MERCHANT, From Oporto, William Harvey, Master, Mathew [sic] Morry, Mate
And now for the rest of the story. William and Matthew no sooner leave the MOLLY than they embark the same day for Oporto with Dartmouth the final destination in charge of the PORT MERCHANT. The voyage begins and ends October 10, 1772 and February 11, 1773.
There is a 36 year old man from Ireland on board serving as a seaman whose name is given as George Deberex. The surname was almost certainly Devereaux as it was later spelled in Newfoundland and this man could well have been the predecessor of the Devereaux family that first appeared with Michael in Ferryland.
15 May 1773, the Brigg ST. GEORGE, From Lisbon, Christopher Graham, Master
Christopher Graham Jr. continues to be the Master of the St. George on most of its cruises. Presumably he was given some time off, though the frequency and duration of the cruises under his command seems almost seamlessly to keep him permanently occupied over these years. His Mate is a man named Samuel Harvey, his same age (29), who has served with him on his last voyage as well. It is quite possible that he is the brother of the William Harvey who has been the Master under whom Matthew Morry served on multiple cruises and vessels since 1771.
It is noted that one of the seamen was disembarked at Bay Bulls, but we do not know if the vessel picked up cargo in only one Newfoundland port or more than one.
1 Dec 1773 the LYON, John Burgoyne, Master, from Milford, Mathew Morey [sic], Mate
This is the first Muster Roll that has been found to date on which Matthew Morry did not serve under William Harvey. The reason is not known. There could have been a falling out between them or they could simply have had different schedules. Arguing in favour of the latter explanation is the fact that Matthew had married Mary Graham in Dartmouth on March 1st, 1773. It is therefore possibly that, as a result, he missed the departure of William Harvey on whatever vessel he was commanding at that time.
The LYON was operating out of London and made port in Dartmouth, where Matthew joined. It does not appear to have gone to Newfoundland but rather “coasted” around Great Britain with one port of call being Milford, in Wales. Matthew was only on board from August 18 to October 30, apparently replacing another Mate who was with the vessel up to that time, though the Muster Roll was so badly completed that the dates of service of the other crew members are not shown. The Masters unfamiliarity with Matthew is shown in his misspelling of both of his names.
22 Jan 1774, Brigg ST. GEORGE, Christopher Graham, Master, From Newfoundland to Bristoll [sic] and Dartmouth
Christopher Graham continues in his role of Master of the St. George which makes me suspicious that he is also the owner. This can be verified by consulting Lloyd’s Register for these cruises. This one was a voyage from the 15th of July, 1773 to the 2nd of January 1774. Clearly in that period he did not go to Newfoundland and return but rather the voyage was considered to have commenced there. Since we see above that the previous Muster Roll was for a voyage that concluded on April 3, 1773, obviously the vessel did return to Newfoundland between April and July. But perhaps it returned without a cargo of trade goods and hence was not required to file a Muster Roll for that voyage.
On this cruise the Mate is a man named Richard Furneaux. The Furneaux and Week[e]s families were loosely associated with the Grahams and Morrys in Dartmouth in terms of marital relations and clearly also in business, as this reveals.
Maritime History Archive Index of Voyage of Christopher Graham on the ST. GEORGE, 15 July 1773 – 2 January 1774
(Note that William Harvey, with whom Matthew has frequently served, is here shown as the Master of the MARY, a vessel Matthew himself will soon command and later own)
12 February 1774, the Brig NAUTILUS, George Maddicks, Master, From St. Tubes [?], Francis Graham, Seaman
The details of this voyage are somewhat confusing. To begin with, whilst the Muster Roll was signed by George Maddicks and indeed he was the Master who completed the voyage, Francis Graham actually only took part in the first part of the voyage from Dartmouth on May 12 1773 to Bay Bulls on 17 June 1773 when both he and the Master at the time, a man named Joseph Foard, disembarked together. Others on the crew either left at that time or returned to Dartmouth with the new Master.
The heading is also confusing because it once again states that the cruise returned to Dartmouth via St. Tubes or St. Udes, neither of which is a name of a known port either then or now. As discussed above, this may have been an anglicizing of the name Setúbal Municipality near Lisbon. But this is irrelevant to this research since Francis was not on the vessel when it visited there. Being in Bay Bulls in mid-summer, it is logical to assume that he was transferring to another vessel for the return to Europe in the autumn of that year.
Note that Francis’s previous voyage was on the KENTON, a vessel for which I had not found a Muster Roll, but his Captain was familiar from an earlier voyage, Richard Copplestone, with whom he had served on the SWALLOW. Not surprisingly, Masters chose crew with whom they had prior experience.
18 Apr 1774, Brig PROVIDENCE, Edward Mayhall, Master, from Newfoundland, George Morrey [sic], Mate
Here we have another instance of a person whose name is spelled Morrey this time but who is evidently the same person as the George “Mory” seen above. Regrettably my photograph of the Muster Roll taken at the National Archives in Kew in April 2017 was blurred and this rendered a complete transcription including the dates of departure and arrival back in Dartmouth impossible. But it clearly took place some time in 1773 and the Muster Roll was filed on April 18, 1874, suggesting that the voyage was not completed until early in 1774. George Morey (the spelling of the name more commonly seen for his family) was previously the Mate on the same vessel but under a different Master in 1772. Because the image is so blurred it is impossible to determine where in Newfoundland the vessel visited though it does appear that a place or places are named.
7 Feb 1775, the Schooner COD FISH, George Morry, Master, from Newfoundland
1774 proved to be a particularly auspicious year for career advancement for members of the Morry family. We first see that George Morry [sic] has obtained his Masters ticket and been put in charge of the Schooner COD FISH on a voyage to Newfoundland and back from March 28 to December 15, 1774. He MAY have actually been made a Master prior to that because the Muster Roll reports his previous voyage as being on the ADVENTURE under Captain Morry. But as we will see below, that could also have been Captain Matthew Morry, as he too was given command of a ship in 1774.
Surprisingly, since this was apparently his first or at most his second voyage as Master, there there no familiar names amongst the crew and none of them were reported to have shipped with him on his last voyage.
8 March 1775, the MARY, Mathew Morey [sic] Master, Francis Graham, Mate, From Caminha
So here is the rest of this story of career advancement. Sometime in 1774 Matthew Morry also obtained his Masters ticket. Only he did so a decade earlier in age than his cousin George as he was 23 or 24 at the time depending on what specific date he was given this distinction. Suffice it to say that for this voyage at least, from Dartmouth on 14 April 1774, to Newfoundland and Caminha and back to Dartmouth on 2 March 1775, Matthew was the Master of the MARY. His brother-in-law, Francis Graham served with him as Mate, which is not surprising, but what is interesting is that he chose to disembark in Caminha and apparently Matthew proceeded to short distance back to Dartmouth without feeling the need to appoint a replacement.
We know that Matthew was not previously a Master because he reports that his previous voyage was the one on which he served as Mate to Captain John Burgen [sic] (Burgoyne) on the “LION” (the LYON on the previous Muster Roll). The vessel dropped a couple of crew members in Bay Bulls but once again it is unclear if this was their sole port of collection in Newfoundland or if there were others.
Note that both of Matthew’s names are misspelled on the heading of this Muster Roll but that he signs the form with his correct names. This suggests that the forms were actually completed by someone else, either the owner or more probably his agent.
Maritime History Archive Index of Voyage of Matthew Morry on the Mary, 14 April 1774 – 2 March 1775
1775, BONETTA, Christopher Graham, Master, Dartmouth-Newfoundland
Unfortunately, for reasons I am at a loss to explain, I did not find this Muster Roll on my visit to the National Archives in April 2017. The only evidence of it is the MHA’s index of the Dartmouth Muster Rolls and a very poor image made from the microfilm reader presented below. Theoretically it should be easy to locate the referenced Muster Roll on a future visit to National Archives but unfortunately the deficiency cannot be addressed at present as the National Archives does not have images of these Muster Rolls in digital form available online.
This was a short one way voyage between Dartmouth and Newfoundland running between April 6 1775 and June 5 1775, suggesting that Christopher was going there to take over command of another vessel and return it to Europe. Another Master, Samuel Fox, took the Bonetta back to Europe.
Maritime History Archive Index of Voyage of Christopher Graham on the BONETTA, 6 April 1775 – 5 June 1775
5 Mar 1776, the ELIZABETH, Samuel Cole, Master, John Mory [sic], Seaman, from Bilboa
This Muster Roll presents us with a new challenge. Which John Mory is this who is working as an ordinary seaman on the ELIZABETH in 1776 at the age of 20? He was born and lives in Dartmouth, so clearly he is related to Matthew. But we have not seen his name as a mariner before. This is not Matthew’s son of that name, who was born that year. Matthew had an older brother of that name, but he evidently died in 1766.
My conclusion is that this is John Street Morey, the presumed son of Capt. George Morey/Morry who has figured in many of the Muster Rolls above. Very little is known of John Street Morey. I learned of his existence from the birth record of a girl named Ann Hunt Morey at St. Clement Townstal on 29 Sept. 1782. I have no information on the name of her mother or anything else about the family. I guessed that this John was a son of George Morey by the process of elimination but I am not at all confident that I made the correct judgement. There was already a John Morey in this family, born in 1760, who died in 1763. So it occurred to me that another son would eventually be given the same name, as was often the practice in those days. There is another son in the family with the same middle name: George Street Morey. And the wife of Capt. George Morry was named Ann Hunt, the same name given to the child of John Morey. But none of this is certain because if he was born after the first John died in 1763 he would be at most 12 at the time the Muster Roll was filed so something is wrong.
On this voyage, John only served from Dartmouth on May 2, 1775 until he disembarked in London on June 15, 1775. He previously voyage on the same ship under a Capt. Jackson, though whether in 1775 or earlier is not known.
6 Mar 1776, the MARY, Matthew Morry, Master, Francis Graham, Mate & John Graham, Sailor, From Lisbon
This cruise finds Matthew as Master of the MARY once again and with Francis Graham, his brother-in-law again as Mate, but this time they are also accompanied by Francis’ brother John, aged 19. All three had previously been on another voyage to or from Caminha on the MARY but there does not appear to have been a Muster Roll for that voyage.
It is also worthy of note that other information obtained from the Lloyd’s Register indicates that sometime the previous year Matthew Morry became the owner of the MARY, but then soon afterwards it appears ownership was taken over by his father-in-law Christopher Graham. Whether this was merely a short term aberration is not clear because Matthew Morry & Co. did show as the owner of this and other vessels subsequently.
The cruise lasted from March 30, 1775 until February 7, 1776 and, as usual, travel was to Newfoundland (port or ports not named) and Portugal (Lisbon). John stayed for the full duration of the cruise but his older brother Francis disembarked in Newfoundland on September 18, 1775, presumably to take over duties on another vessel.
Maritime History Archive Dartmouth Muster Roll Index of Voyage of Matthew Morry on the MARY, 30 March 1775 – 7 February 1776
13 January 1777, the Schooner FLY, John Temple, Master, George Morrey [sic], Seaman, From Newfoundland
George Morey’s career at 37 is taking a decided turn for the worse. He is now an ordinary Seaman whereas he was the Master of the COD FISH at one point. This cannot be put down to ageism as many of the skippers in those days were much older than this and with age comes experience. We can only assume that his performance was not meeting the expectations of the ship owners for some reason.
This is also a curious voyage for him because he begins it and ends it in Newfoundland, embarking on July 1, 1776 and disembarking on October 6, 1776 without having returned to England in the meantime. As we see below he was successful in obtaining a berth as Mate and thus left this vessel for the GREYHOUND to return to England.
NB: The numbers on the headings in this section represent the dates that the Muster Reports were signed and filed and not the dates of the specific term of the person or persons of interest on that vessel. Hence this report appears to be out of sequence with the next one but it is not.
16 Dec 1776, the Brig GREYHOUND, William Abraham, Master, George Morey, Mate, From Newfoundland
There is conflicting information on this form as to who actually was the Master of the GREYHOUND for this return journey from Newfoundland to Dartmouth, William Abraham, who signed the Muster Roll, or James Bulley whose name also shows as a Master over the same period of time. Regardless, George Morey seems to have only been on board from 18 October, 1776 to 13 November 1776, a curiously short period to time to make this crossing.
The vessel stopped in St. John’s, though possibly this was only one of several places where it took on a cargo of salt fish. For previous Muster Rolls from Dartmouth that identified their port of call in Newfoundland, they were always on the Southern Shore.
It is also worthy of note that he is back to being a Mate after having previously commanded the COD FISH in 1775 and then taking an assignment briefly as an ordinary Seaman on the Fly. Whether this was simply because there were too many Masters already on this vessel or whether it represents a setback in his career is not known, but it is certainly preferable to being a Seaman.
1 March 1777, BONETTA, Christopher Graham & Samuel Fox, Masters, From Newfoundland
This is a Muster Roll like many others in which the Master who began the voyage is not the same as the man who returned the vessel to Dartmouth from Newfoundland and the Continent a year later. There is a slight difference in this one in the form of a partial role reversal. Christopher Graham was the Master and Samuel Fox the Mate on the outward journey from the 1st of April to the 15th of May. He remained with the vessel until the 5th of June but Samuel Fox took charge upon arrival and for the return journey ending on the 5th of November, 1776. The Muster Roll was therefore signed by Samuel Fox on the 1st of March 1777.
It is noted that Christopher Graham’s previous voyage was as Master on the BONETTA to Newfoundland as well (see above). The fact that Samuel Fox was only 21 at this time suggests that he was being mentored by the more experienced Christopher Graham and this may have been his first voyage as Master.
It is worthy of note that this is the last Muster Roll on which the name Christopher Graham appears. From my experience in researching Matthew Morry’s maritime career, this most likely means that he became a ship owner and engaged others to do the dangerous work of Captaining his vessels from this time forward. He was still a young man at this time and did not die until 1800.
20 March 1777, Brig BETSEY, James Webber, Master, Nicholas Weeks, Youngster, To Newfoundland
I include this Muster Roll because of the mention of a familiar name, Weeks. As mentioned above, the Weeks or Weekes family of Dartmouth was associated with the Grahams and the Morrys in intermarriage as well as in business. That said, this Nicholas Weekes (as he was more commonly known) was not married into either family, nor was his mother a daughter of either family. But there would have been common blood just the same and they would all have known one another.
At the time of this voyage, Nicholas was signed on as a “Youngster”. This term did not always mean a young man, referring more pertinently to a lack of previous experience at sea. He was 19, not particularly young to be engaged for a voyage to Newfoundland.
Evidently this was the beginning of a lucrative career for young Nicholas because there is a memorial to he, his wife and their infant son on an interior wall of St. Saviour’s Church in Dartmouth. Not everyone was accorded this honour.
Memorial to Nicholas Weekes, his wife and infant son found inside St. Saviour’s Church, Dartmouth.
For reasons unknown there is a hiatus in the records of the people whose names appear above in the Dartmouth Muster Rolls for the next decade. I suspect that this indicates that the relevant muster rolls are no longer in existence, either in the National Archives in Kew, the records of which I scoured carefully for this time frame in April 2017, or on the microfilm of the original Muster Rolls at the Maritime History Archive which I also scoured with equal care on several occasions over the years.
9 January 1788, The CAPLING [sic] BAY, John Downing, Master, John Graham, Mariner, For Newfoundland
John Graham, at 26, has not yet graduated above the rank of Mariner. This is unusual, coming from a seafaring family as he did, with both a father and two brothers who were Masters. There is no explanation for this. One can speculate, that is all.
On this voyage he disembarks in Newfoundland, having been on board from March 15 to October 11, 1887. The CAPLING [sic] BAY, as well as the PRISCILLA on which both he and the Master, John Downing, previously voyaged, are believed to have been vessels owned by Matthew Morry and Company.
John C. Downing, the Master who signed this Muster Roll, was not related by blood or marriage to Matthew Morry. But his sister, Mary, married Matthew’s first cousin, Capt. Richard Morrey (see records of his voyages from Plymouth below).
13 January 1789, The CERES, William Ball, Master & Richard Ball, Mate, From Newfoundland
I am including this Muster Roll because of the names of the Master and Mate, though I do not know with certainty if they are the same people associated with the Morry family indirectly. Years later, on October 1, 1799, a Capt. William Ball married Elizabeth Ann Hill in Ferryland. Elizabeth was the daughter of Anne Carter, who would become Matthew’s second wife, by her first husband, Capt. Samuel Hill. That William Ball was from St. Marychurch according to his marriage license and so is this William Ball according to the Muster Roll. He gives his age as 23 on the Muster Roll, meaning he would be 33 at the time of his marriage to Elizabeth.
I have not researched the Ball family and only knew of one brother, John, not Richard. But on balance I believe that these two are brothers and this is the man who was to marry Elizabeth Ann Hill.
21 March 1789, The Brig CYNTHIA, Aaron Atkins, Master, Robert Morry [sic], Mate, From Cadiz
We have not previously encountered Robert Morry, strange to say since he is already a Mate on the CYNTHIA. One would have thought that we would have seen him as a Mariner or Seaman. The Muster Roll shows he served on the FRIENDSHIP to Newfoundland previously, though in what capacity we do not know.
To give him his full name, this is the Robert Stone Morry, another cousin of Matthew Morry, the son of Capt. George Morry and Ann Hunt. We have seen the father before. He was Matthew’s second cousin and rose through the ranks to be Master of a number of vessels including the COD FISH and ADVENTURE, on none of which, so far as we know, did his son serve.
On this tour he is discharged in Newfoundland in October 1788 in order to take his next assignment on the LARK back to Dartmouth (see below).
Robert was later to attain the rank of Master in his own right.
27 February 1789, The LARK, Robert Morrey [sic], Master
This is Robert’s return journey from Newfoundland. He is now a Master, making up for lost time!
Regrettably, I did not find the original Muster Roll at the National Archives and so only have these poor quality photos taken from the screen of the microfilm reader at the MHA.
Note the closeup of his signature below. While the form incorrectly identifies him as Robert Morrey, it is clear he goes by the spelling Morry.
Also note that these two Muster Rolls are shown here in the order the voyages occurred, not of the date on which the Muster Roll was signed off, which would seem to indicate they were out of chronological order.
Maritime History Archive Dartmouth Muster Roll Index of Voyage of Robert Morrey [sic] on the LARK, 21 November 1788 – 14 January 1788 [NB. Should be 1789]
11 Apr 1789, The ADVENTURE, George Morry, Master, From Figueroa
And speak of the devil, here is Robert’s father filing a Muster Roll for the ADVENTURE having just returned from a long voyage beginning on the 28th June 1788 and finishing back in Dartmouth on the 27th of March 1789. They have been to Newfoundland and Portugal doing the normal triangle run in the meantime.
7 Jan 1790, The LARK, Robert Morry, Master, From Newfoundland
Here is Robert again, and once again he is the Master of the LARK, this time going from Dartmouth on March 1st 1789 and returning there from Newfoundland (and the Continent?) on November 13th 1789.
There is no mention of the usual diversion to Portugal to trade their load of salt fish. Sometimes this did not occur. The product was either consumed in England or reserved for trade at a later date when prices were more enticing.
1 March 1791, The Brig NODDY, Richard Aylward, Master, Richard Weeks, Mate
Another member of the nautical Weeks/Weekes family. Because he is shown as being 28 years old we can take a stab at which of several Richard Weeks or Weekes there were in Dartmouth at this time that fit the bill. I believe that he is the man who married Esther Graham, the sister of Capt. Christopher Graham who appears many times in the Muster Rolls as this would approximate his age better than the other possible candidates.
We know that the NODDY went to Newfoundland because many of the crew were discharged there sometime between March 15th and December 23rd 1790 when she departed and returned to Dartmouth. But again there is nothing to tell us if she also visited the Continent to trade her cargo.
28 March 1791, HENRY & CHARLES, Richard Goodridge, Master, Richard Morrey [sic], Seaman, From Dartmouth
In two previous Muster Rolls chronologically but presented below because they were found in the Plymouth Muster Rolls rather than those for Dartmouth, we learned that a Richard Morrey was also involved in the Newfoundland salt fish trade. Here we see a young man of the same name operating out of Dartmouth, but it is not the same person. This fellow is only 17 years of age, and the fact that he is not referred to as a “Youngster” implies that this was far from his first voyage, though we have not seen him before, though indeed no information as such is given on the Muster Roll.
I have several people in my family tree whose surname is some variation of Morry and whose Given name is Richard. But not one of these was born in or around the year that this young man was supposed to have been born. Which means that he is a son of one of these families that I have not previously identified. The key to his parentage probably lies in the location of his birth and residence as given in the Muster Roll. He is said to belong to Kingsware, across the harbour from Dartmouth. And so was George Mory [sic], the Mate on the PROVIDENCE and also Master of the COD FISH and the ADVENTURE. His other sons, Robert and John, also were found in Dartmouth Muster Rolls. So it would not be surprising if there were other members of this seafaring family found on Muster Rolls. The fact that I had not previously discovered the existence of a son named Richard in this family does not deter me from hypothesizing that one existed until further proof one way or the other turns up.
Regardless of which specific Morry family this young man was a part of, it is certain that he was a relative of Matthew Morry, as were all people of a similar name in Dartmouth in those days.
This voyage was incredibly long — over 21 months — and visited: Waterford, Newfoundland, Alicante, London, Peter’s Bay Ch. Islands, Bay of Fundy, Newfoundland, Alicante, Denier then London. But young Richard only served from the beginning in Dartmouth (June 9th 1789) until it first reached London on January 11th 1790. During that period the port of call in Newfoundland was given as St. John’s (there may have been others) but on the second leg of the voyage after Richard was discharged she is show to have visited Bay Bulls.
The name of the ship’s Master, Goodridge, is also one associated with Newfoundland to this day and he may have been an ancestor of the present family of that name.
28 April 1792, The Brig CUMBERLAND, Richard Morry, Master, From Dartmouth
Now we are back to the other Richard Morry, the one who earlier served on vessels sailing from Plymouth (see below). In this and the following Muster Roll he has signed off on the same day for two voyages of the CUMBERLAND to Newfoundland, one in 1790 and the other in 1791, he being the Master in both cases.
As mentioned above, this is a different Richard than the one found on the previous Muster Roll, a fact made clear not only from the different spelling of the surname, which is largely irrelevant since it varies so much from document to document, but more so because of his age — 32 — and thus his mature status as a Master. There is also no question of his place of birth and residence being Dartmouth.
On this voyage he left Dartmouth on March 9th 1790 (corrected from 1789 on the Muster Roll) and returned again on December 12th 1790. Between these dates we know he voyaged to Newfoundland but we don’t know if they also travelled to the continent to trade their cargo.
One item of interest is the remark pertaining to a crewman who was discharge on June 29th, presumably in Newfoundland. His name was Ned Head from County Down and the reason for discharge was given as “Good for nothing”! This was probably the case for many crewmen taken on as casual hands, so he must have been particularly bad to have earned this record.
28 April 1792, The Brig CUMBERLAND, Richard Morry, Master, Of Dart. 1791 from Newfoundland
And here is the second Muster Roll filed by Richard on the same date but for a cruise a year after the previous one. It appears he was falling behind with his paper work.
This was a longer voyage from the 31st of March in 1790 to the 9th of January in 1791. Once again, we only know that she travelled to Newfoundland but not whether there was a stop on the continent to trade her cargo before returning to Dartmouth.
On remark on this Muster Roll is surprising not so much for the hazards it reveals but rather for the fact that it is not seen more frequently. Seaman Richard Mullis [?] of Brixham did not complete the voyage because he drowned on July 5th.
It is tempting to conclude that the reason Richard has been able to find vessels to captain out of his home port of Dartmouth rather than having to continue working out of Plymouth is that he now has much less competition from other Morry men operating as ships’ Masters in Dartmouth.
A gap in relevant Muster Rolls for 1793 and 1794 more than likely pertains to the aging of the persons of greatest interest to this research more than an absence of the appropriate forms. The fact that only one relevant Muster Roll was found in both 1795 and 1796 (below) and then no others until 16 years later reflects this, I believe. As will be seen in the Muster Rolls beginning in 1812, a new cast of characters of interest is on the stage by then. These are primarily secondary characters from the point of view of Morry family history.
19 February 1795, The Brig LIVELY, Thos. Codner, Master, Thomas Graham, Seaman, From Leghorn
Here is a cautionary tale concerning the use of Muster Rolls. They must be read in their entirety to be sure that you are grasping the details of the people involved. This Thomas Graham is in no way related to the Graham family of Dartmouth who are associated with the Morrys through the marriage of Mary Graham to Matthew Morry. This man was born in London and lives there. While there is a possibility that he is serving out of Dartmouth because of some more distant relationship to the Graham’s of that town, there is no necessity to believe this is so. Graham was not that uncommon a name.
I am including this Muster Roll here solely for this reason. But the name of the Master, Codner, may be of more relevance to Newfoundland since it was the name of one of the two founding families of Torbay (Goss being the other).
11 February 1796, The Brigantine PHILLIPPA of Dartmouth, Thomas Silly, Master, Robert Silly, Chief Mate, From Oporto
In one respect, this is a less informative Muster Roll because it gives no indication of the intermediary ports which I am presuming were in Newfoundland, from the length of the voyage and the fact that it also visited Oporto, one of the major ports of call for trading salt fish for Port wine.
In another respect, it, like one of the earlier Muster Rolls, is revealing in regard to the fate of at least one of the crew members.
The Master on this voyage was Thomas Silly. He was the grandfather of another Thomas Silly, who married Priscilla Sweetland, the daughter of William Sweetland and Matthew Morry’s daughter, Priscilla. The Chief Mate on board was Robert Silly, whom I judge from their ages and the fact that they are serving together, was a brother of Thomas the elder.
We learn from the Muster Roll that Robert did not make it home again. He drowned on December 13th, just three days prior to returning to Dartmouth. Coincidentally, like his presumed granduncle, Priscilla Sweetland’s husband, Thomas Silly, was also lost at sea nearly seventy years later.
Ca 1812-1814, The HIPPOCAMPI, Peter Tessier, Master, From Leghorn
The Tessier family assumed importance in Newfoundland as merchants only after 1800. They were not amongst the early West Country merchant families. They were Huguenots who had fled France for Switzerland and eventually England in earlier times, but they were originally a part of an ancient family that came from Italy.
The Tessiers by the late 19th Century had a shipping and supply business which was the largest in Newfoundland with 54,000 tons of ships and 325 employees. When quitting time came the flow of Tessiers workers blocking traffic on Water Street became known as Tessier’s Army. (Ref. A Seaport Legacy, Paul O’Neill). However, like many Newfoundland merchants involved in the fish and shipping business, their fortune was wiped out in the Great Fire of 1892 and the terrible bank collapse of 1994.
In Newfoundland, the first to settle was Capt. Peter Tessier, who married Joan Carter, a daughter of Robert Carter and Ann Wylly ca 1780. Thus he was a contemporary of Matthew Morry who took Joan’s sister, Anne, as his second wife. I know from the microfilms and the index of Muster Rolls at the Maritime History Archive that this Peter Tessier did serve as Master of a ship called the OLIVE BRANCH sailing several times to Newfoundland between 1786 and 1789, but I did not find the Muster Rolls pertaining to these voyages when scanning the originals in the National Archives for some reason. The only photos I have of the MHA microfilms are too poor to provide details of these voyages and therefore are not shown here.
But it was his son, Capt. Peter Weston Tessier, whose Muster Rolls are found at the National Archives from 1812 to 1814. These voyages did not involve Newfoundland. They were more than “coasters”, since they visited the Continent and Ireland, but they were not taking part in the Newfoundland salt fish trade, which was already in decline by this time and was no longer a major source of income to Dartmouth based ship owners. This was at least in part responsible for the collapse of Matthew Morry and Company and the dissolution of Matthew Morry’s partnership with Walter Prideaux of Dartmouth beginning in 1813.
NOTE: The bottom part of this Muster Roll is incorrectly associated with the top part and pertains to a different voyage and a different Master.
10 Feb. 1816, The Schooner RESOLUTION of Dartmouth, Peter Winser, Master, From Newport
Surprisingly, this is the first Muster Roll we have seen on which the name Winser or Winsor is found. This is surprising because we know that this family which settled in Aquaforte in the late 1700s was a well established family of mariners before they came to Newfoundland. However, they were from Denbury and it is possible a different group of Muster Rolls for another port or ports would have revealed more voyages under the guidance of members of this family.
This Muster Roll is a particularly fertile one for providing information on people of interest. Not only does it include Capt. Peter Ford Winser (later to be the Honourable Peter Ford Winsor, Member of the Newfoundland House of Assembly), but also serving as his Mate is his brother, Jacob Winser (later to be a Captain himself), and John Weeks and Thomas Graham as seamen, both of families associated with the Morrys. Once in Newfoundland the Winsers changed the spelling of their name first to Winsor and then to Windsor, though not all of them adopted the final spelling.
On this eleven month voyage from February 29th 1815 until January 28th 1816 we can see that they travelled to both Newfoundland (St. John’s) and Lower Canada (Miramichi) but there is no mention of a port of call on the Continent.
I cannot be certain how John Weeks is related to others in the family who show up in Muster Rolls. But from his stated age and place of birth and residence, this Thomas Graham would be the nephew of Mary [Graham] Morry, the son of her brother John and his wife Eed Heath. Note that he is not the same person as the Thomas Graham from London who was found serving as a Seaman on the LIVELY in 1795.
28 Feb. 1816, The Schooner ANN of Dartmouth, Thomas Cowle, Master, Francis Graham, Mate
We haven’t seen the last of Matthew Morry’s kin, at least by marriage. Here we have a Francis Graham, at 40, still serving as Mate on ocean going vessels, albeit, as in this case, only for the portion of the voyage from Bristol to Dublin. The ANN had already travelled to Newfoundland and back, but Francis was not a part of the crew for that voyage. This is not Matthew Morry’s brother-in-law, Capt. Francis Graham. He was still alive but much older than that and probably retired by now. Francis had a son named Thomas Francis, but he would have been too young to be the Mate on the HIPPOCAMPI. So for now the identity of this man remains a mystery. He was from Dartmouth, so there is little doubt that he was a member of that seafaring family into which Matthew married.
3 April 1816, The PRISCILLA, Richard Weekes, Master, From Bristol
This Muster Roll actually consists of the records of two voyages starting on the 24th of June 1814 and finishing up on March 15th 1816. Yet nowhere on the form does it tell us where, other than Bristol and Dartmouth, the PRISCILLA has been all of that time. I believe it voyaged to Newfoundland twice, judging by the lengths of time at sea for each of the two segments, but that is strictly a guess. Certainly Capt. Richard Weekes [sic], 28 at the beginning of this assignment and 30 at the end, is a different person than the Richard Weeks [sic] who was 28 when he served as Mate on the Noddy in 1791. In fact, this is Capt. Richard Graham Weekes, the son of the other man and his wife Esther Graham. The close association between the Week[e]s and the Graham family is made even closer when we learn that This Richard Weekes married Sarah Graham, his first cousin, who was the daughter of Capt. Christopher Graham Jr. and his wife Mary Penhey. So the seafaring tradition continues.
27 February 1817, The Schooner RESOLUTION belonging to Dartmouth, Peter Winsor/Winser, Master, from Vigo
Here we have once again Peter and Jacob teaming up as Master and Mate respectively of the RESOLUTION. This is at least their third voyage together on this vessel in three successive years. John Weeks, the unknown member of that seafaring family is back as a Seaman once again as well but there is no sign of Thomas Graham this time.
The vessel returned to Dartmouth via Vigo, another one of the ports in northwest Spain frequented by vessels wishing to trade salt cod from Newfoundland for wine, salt and other commodities common in that part of the world and much desired in England. Note that one of the Seamen choose to disembark in Vigo, presumably to begin an assignment on another vessel.
28 April 1817, The Priscilla, Richard Weekes, Master, From London
Richard Weekes continues to command the PRISCILLA. There are no other familiar names on the crew. This is a different type of voyage because it only begins on August 28th and finishes up on April 7th. It is highly unlikely that they ventured across the Atlantic during this time of year so it is possible this was a trading voyage disposing of salt fish collected on previous voyages and selling the resulting products in ports such as London where they would fetch the highest price.
2 January 1819, The STAR, Richard Weekes, Master, From Lisbon
This is a particularly interesting Muster Roll because, even though it does not specifically state that it was primarily a voyage to Newfoundland (the dates, March 21 1818 to December 21 1818, pretty well make this obvious), the list of those on board contains, in addition to Richard Weekes, two other names of interest: Daniel Jennings (Mate) and Henry Winser (Boy, no age given).
These are both close relatives of the Morrys and ultimately residents of Aquaforte. Daniel Jennings’ sister, Anna Sarah, married Captain Jacob Winser in 1816 in Dartmouth. It was almost certainly because of this that he was able to find a berth on vessels operated by another relative of the Windsors, Richard Weekes, and it is also quite likely that in his capacity as Mate he had a hand in choosing the crew of the STAR for this voyage and included young Henry Winser, later to be a famous sea captain himself. He was born on August 18, 1804, in Denbury, where all the Winsers/Winsors came from. So he would have been 14 when this voyage began. Thus the term “Boy”, which was meant to imply a green recruit, was particularly apt for him. Hi parents were Peter Ford Winsor (Capt. and later Member of the Legislative Assembly) and Sarah E. Payne.
May 5 1819, The Schooner RESOLUTION of Dartmouth, Jacob Winser, Master, From Neath
We last saw the RESOLUTION two years prior in charge of Peter Winser. Here we have another Jacob Winser, not the brother who sailed with him as mate on that voyage. This is a younger man, 27 at the time of this voyage. Unfortunately, although there were many Jacobs in this family, it is not possible to associate any of them with this person since their dates of birth do not closely coincide.
After an exhaustive search of all the Denbury families of Winser in the register of St. Mary the Virgin I have concluded that there was no child in any of these families christened Jacob anywhere near this date. However, it should be noted that many little villages in Devon other than Denbury also served as residences of Winser families who may or may not have been related to the Denbury Winsers. Thus I found, for example, a Jacob Winser, the son of a Jacob and Mary Winser, christened in Ilfracombe on March 1, 1795, making him 24, not 27, at the time of this voyage. Perhaps this was a simple error on the part of the person who filed the report. It seems too far fetched to imagine that this Jacob Winser was in no way related to the Jacob and Peter Winsers who previously captained this ship. But I have no way of definitively proving that this was the Jacob from Ilfracombe nor that, if it was, he was related to the Denbury Winsers.
The other likely possibility is that this was the same Jacob Winser who commanded the RESOLUTION previously and the person who filled out the muster roll simply entered his age incorrectly. He would have been 34 at the time.
The constant association of Winsers as masters of this vessel is somewhat suggestive of the possibility that the family actually owned it. However evidence found in the files of the Dartmouth history group show that it actually belonged to Walter Prideaux, Matthew Morry’s partner, before the collapse of their partnership in 1916. This presumably means it was owned as a joint asset of Matthew Morry and Company. In 1816, Prideaux transferred his ownership share to two of his grandsons, Walter Were Prideaux and Robert Were Prideaux. This was a shrew move on his part to deprive Matthew Morry of control of the vessel when the partnership was dissolved.
The voyage in 1818-1819 was a short one — June 20th 1818 to February 7th 1819. We only know that it was in Neath (Wales). Most likely this was a coasting voyage. There are no other familiar names on the crew.
Plymouth Muster Rolls
I found only three relevant Muster Rolls in the Plymouth listings at the Maritime History Archive and I did not search these records on the occasion of my visit to the National Archives in April 2017 because I believed, and research at the MHA has borne this out, that it would not be very fertile soil to furrow. The evidence suggests that most Dartmouth men remained Dartmouth men and seemingly did not go seeking assignments from other ports, not even from Plymouth, which was fairly close by. Richard Morrey, Matthew Morry’s first cousin, seems to have been one exception to the rule, taking assignments in Dartmouth and in Plymouth as the opportunity arose.
The only other name I found in the Plymouth Muster Rolls that rung a bell was Thomas Skinner, who was the Master of the MARY JEMIMA from Plymouth to London to Plymouth again from the 25th of November 1755 to the 13th of February 1756. But Thomas Skinner is too common a name to be sure whether or not he was in any way associated with Col. Thomas Skinner who was the original commander of the Newfoundland Regiment.
Perhaps when time permits I may be proven wrong about the generality of this “rule” through an examination of other Muster Rolls, such as those for Bristol and London.
20 March to 18 October 1787, The Schooner HELFORD, Richard Morrey, Master, To Newfoundland
This is the first Plymouth Muster Roll that I was able to locate on the microfilms at the MHA in St. John’s. Unfortunately it is one of those which I did not find during my review of Dartmouth Muster Rolls at Kew since I only examined Dartmouth Muster Rolls, and hence I only have very poor quality photos that I made from the microfilm reader at the MHA.
Richard Morrey (this is how his surname was most often seen), was a first cousin of Matthew Morry. His father, also named Richard, was the son of, John Morey and Elizabeth Stone, the parents of Matthew’s father, John Morey.
I have visited the grave of his widow, Mary [Downing] Morey and several of their kin in the St. Clement Townstal Churchyard in Dartmouth. But Richard is not buried there because he died in a French prison in 1807 after having been captured by French privateers whilst Captaining the DORSETSHIRE, owned by his cousin Matthew.
This voyage took Richard from Plymouth to Newfoundland. But his previous voyage had him in charge of the HELFORD when she went from Cape Broyle to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. This is the first instance of a vessel noting that it was employed in the Grand Bank fishery, a trade more commonly exploited by Schooners such as the HELFORD than Brigantines like most of the vessels above, which were primarily so-called “Sack Ships” — collector vessels for the shore fishery.
Maritime History Archive Plymouth Muster Roll Index of Voyage of Richard Morrey on the HELFORD, 5 April 1787 – 5 October 1787
5 May 1788-20 Dec 1788, The HELFORD, Richard Morrey, Master, From Plymouth
Although Richard Morrey only took the HELFORD from Plymouth to Newfoundland in 1787, another Master taking control for the return voyage, we see him once again the following year doing the reverse and taking the HELFORD from Newfoundland to Plymouth. Perhaps he spent the entire year in between in Newfoundland. Again, the Muster Roll stipulates that he is bringing her back from the “Banks of Newfoundland” and not from a port, implying the HELFORD was once again in use as a Banker and not a collector or “Sack” ship.
Once again, I only have poor quality photographs made from the microfilm at the MHA since I did not examine the original Plymouth Muster Rolls on my last visit to the National Archives.
Maritime History Archive Plymouth Muster Roll Index of Voyage of Richard Morrey on the HELFORD, 5 May 1788 – 20 December 1788