Today (June 19, 2019) I am beginning to address a deficiency that has existed on this website since its inception – the lack of information on other important families from Devon and Newfoundland which had close ties to the Morry family. This oversight was perhaps forgivable initially, since the focus of the site is admittedly the Morry family itself. But the more I have researched the Morry family the more I have become familiar with these other families with close business and family ties (through marriage) to the Morrys during various periods of their migration and development and come to realise that they formed an equally, if not in some cases more important role in history than did the Morrys themselves and are therefore worthy of being highlighted here.
Obviously the level of detail that I am able to provide on these other families is commensurate with the extent of my previous research. In some cases, where this is insufficient to provide a worthwhile contribution, further research may be needed over the coming years. I will focus primarily on families, members of which intermarried with the Morry family. But passing reference will also be made with those substantial business partners that contributed to the advancement of the Morry family.
Finally, it should be noted that, even though some families mentioned below were more closely connected to the Morrys during the years when the Morrys were residents of England while others did not become closely associated with them until they moved to Newfoundland, all of these families had roots in Devon and a greater or lesser association with Newfoundland.
The first family that comes to mind when thinking of the important families in Devon associated with the Morry family is of course the Grahams. Although they are not the first family, chronologically, to have played an important role in the lives of the Morrys, they are the most important in terms of the Morry family association with marine careers and the Devon-Newfoundland codfish trade.
The first wife of Matthew Morry I, our immigrant ancestor, and the mother of all of his children, was Mary Graham, the second child and eldest daughter amongst the five sons and six daughters of Capt. Christopher Graham and Mary Churchwill.
The extent of our knowledge of this family is limited to this one generation. No one knows from whence or when Capt. Christopher Graham first came to Dartmouth, except that it must have been sometime in the mid-1700s. The couple were not married before 1743 when their first child, who also alter became a sea captain plying the Newfoundland trade, and who bore his father’s name, was Christened at St. Saviour’s Church. At the time of his christening on 14 December 1743 he was recorded under the name of “Christopher Graham Churchwill” with no father’s name given and only later, presumably after his parents’ marriage, did he reverse the two surnames and become “Christopher Churchwill Graham”.
There is no record of the marriage of Christopher Graham the elder and Mary Churchwill, even though her family is well represented in the parish registers of St. Saviour Church of England in Dartmouth before they bore their first child together. That said, it seems likely that Christopher senior was a “Dissenter”, as Protestants who did not adhere to the Church of England beliefs were then known. After their first son, all other children’s christenings were recorded at the Flavel Congregational Meeting House. And Dissenters were not exceptionally good at recording their Births, Marriages and Deaths. Hence the absence of a marriage record at the Flavel Meeting House does not necessarily imply that this couple was not married there; it could simply have not been recorded. On the other hand, the Christening of their first son took place at St. Saviour’s Church of England in Dartmouth, yet there is no record of their marriage at that church either. It is possible that they dispensed with a formal marriage and lived common law. Due to the fact that he was likely Presbyterian (with a Sottish surname this would have been most common), and the fact that the christenings of all of their later children were recorded at the Flavel Meeting House, it is most likely that they did not actually attend services at St. Saviour’s, even though it was in that churchyard where they were both eventually buried. In those days, only the Anglican churches had consecrated ground for burials.
The Le Messuriers
The Wheelers and Bishops and Their Kin