James H. Clement
Special Agent, Pension Bureau
Case of William Morris
Company G, 33rd USCT
January 9, 1877

Pension Records
New Orleans, La,
January 9 1877

Hon ? Bently
Commissioner of Pensions


I have the honour to receive the papers in Case No 171,336, James Bythewood, Guardian of the minors of William Morris, late Private Co. "G" 33 Regt U. S. Col Troops
with the evidence taken by me in said case.

The letter of instructions directed a thorough enquiry to determine cohabitation to date of enlistment, date of birth of children, correct names, identity of Widow and
children as the soldier, etc.

I have visited and examined all the witnesses I could find who were supposed to be able to throw light on the case, the mother of the Minors is dead, Clara Sanches, and
T. L. Haugleton, witnesses in the original papers are also dead, the eldest child of the former master of the soldier; wife and mother of the minor, is in Texas, but it is not
likely that he could give any more information than his two Sisters, Mrs. Alice Morague and Mrs. Elizabeth M. Houghton. I present a summary as follows,

Exhibit A., Frank Higgins, swears he was a Corporal in same regiment with and is own Cousin to William Morris, (decd soldier) said Morris was a free born man, and was
married before enlistment to a woman who was the slave of Gov. Moses (evidently a mistake) of
Palatka Florida, that soldier and said wife had two children, a boy and girl,
the boy about seven years old at death of soldier, and the girl born born after his enlistment, that he last saw the widow of said William Morris, about eight years ago, she
was living in Jacksonville Fla, was not married, and had the two children of the said Morris living with her.

Exhibit B., Ellen Middleton, swears that William Morris (decd Soldier) and Minerva the mother of the Minors lived together as husband and wife until the death of the
soldier, she thinks there was three or four children living when Morris died, swears to the death of Morris at Beaufort, and that Minerva, (the widow) soon afterward
married James Bythewood, moved to Florida and took the children with her, thinks the oldest child was a boy, and about ten years old when Morris died, is certain Morris
and Minerva were the Parents of the Minors, and that said Parents were married before the War, witness was not present at the wedding [in the original paper this witness
appears to have sworn that she was present at the marriage, there is also a discrepancy in her testimony in regard to the Children,
but she is an ignorant coloured
woman, probably a former fieldhand.]

Exhibit C., Nancy Madison
, swears she was a fellow slave with Minerva, the Mother of the Minors, was present at the Marriage between Minerva and William Morris
(decd Soldier) was also present at the birth of children, but can't give dates, was living in same house with said Minerva when the said Morris died, identifieds John and
Sarah as the Minors and the only living children of said William Morris, and thinks that John was about six or seven, and Sarah was between three and four years old when
said William Morris enlisted, Minerva the mother of the Minors died died two years ago, and the said children of William Morris are living in Florida with their relatives,
refers to daughter of old Master, and gives general paraticulars, but denies having given specific dates in her former statements in behalf of Minerva.

Exhibit D., William H McGill, swears he was a sergeant in same regt. with William Morris, and that Minerva the mother of the Minors was living with said Morris as his wife
at the time of his death, and that said Morris recognised the Minors as his children, the boy was about six or seven years old when Morris died, Minerva the widow
afterwards married James Bythewood, moved to Florida and took the said children with her, has not seen the children since, has heard that Minerva died about a year

Exhibit E. James Bythewood, swears that he was well acquainted with william Morris, who died a soldier in Co. G. 33 U. S. Col. Troops, and that said Morris had a wife
named Minerva, also two children, John & Sarah, and that said Morris recognized the said Minerva, John & Sarah as his lawful wife and children up to the day of his death,
and that they were so recognised by all acquaintances, that the boy was about six years old and the girl three or four years old when said Morris died, That about eleven
months after the death of said Morris, he (witness) married the widow, and was appointed guardian for said children, and has supported them up to the death of his wife
(the mother) in September 1874, and that since September 1874, John has supported himself, and Sarah has lived with Mary Wilson, the sister of said William Morris, (the
witness telegraphed to Beaufort S. C. for the Original Certificate of his marriage with Minerva Morris, and received it before the Agent left Florida, a correct copy is filed
with the paper.)

Exhibit F, John Morris, swears he can scarcely remember his Father, that his Mother was Minerva Bythewood, wife of James Bythewood, and his said Mother had
previous to her death in September 1874 told witness that his Father, {Editor's note: In 1992 I made a mistake.] in the Army at Beaufort Witness has a sister Sarah, about
sixteen years old who lived with she has lived with Mary Wilson, sister to deceased soldier, witness supports himself, and never had any name except John Morris.

Exhibit G, Mary Wilson, swears that she is the sister of William Morris, late Private Co "G:" 33rd U.S. Col Troops, that said Morris was married before the war to Minerva
Masson, slave of ? Gove W. D. Mosely, they were married by a Methodist Minister named Johnson (since dead) at time of Morris enlistment his wife had two children who
are now living, the boy (John) was five or six years old, and the girl (Sarah) three or four years old when said Morris enlisted, Witness don't believe that said John (who
was born before marriage) is the son of said Morris, and dont consider him a relative, Sarah the youngest child was born after the marriage and was recognised and
regarded as the child of said Morris, that about one year after the death of William Morris, Minerva his widow, marrie dJames Bythewood, with whom she lived until
September 1874, James Bythewood and Minerva had charge of the Minors until her death, since which time witness has had charge of Sarah and John has taken care of
himself, witness is certain Sarah is the child of William Morris, but does not so consider John, She refers to Mrs. Morague and Mrs. Haughton, the daughter of the former
owner of Minerva,

Exhibit H, Dennis Cooper, swears he was a fellow soldier with William Morris, knew him before the War, and that Minerva Masson a former slave of Gov. Mosely was the
wife of said Morris, he identifies the Minors John and Sarah as the children of Said Morris and Minerva who were living together as husband wife when said Morris died,
after the death of Morris, his widow married James Bythewood with whom her and the said children lived until she died, died over two years ago, since which time John the
eldest has lived in
Jacksonville, and Sarah the youngest has lived with Mary wilson, her Aunt, Sonny Morris and William Morris was the same person.

Exhibit I, Alice H. Morague, swears she is the daughter of the late Wm D. Mosely, the former owner of Minerva Masson, that three or four years before the War said
Minerva married Sonny Morris, and had two children by said Morris, one of which was a girl, In the early part of the War the Negroes all left the Plantation, and witness
never saw Sonny Morris afterwards, Minerva his wife returned after the war, as the wife of James Bythewood, she brought back with her two children who she claimed were
the children of said Sonny Morris, the two children were named John & Sarah, witness believes that Sarah is the child of said Morris, but John was born before Morris and
Minerva were married, she thinks Morris and Minerva were married in the Episcopal Church, but is not certain, she has no record and don't know what became of her
Father's record, has heard that Morris died in the U.S. Service. (This witness as well as her sister, although intelligent women find great difficulty in remembering the
actual facts though both are positive that Morris and Minerva were married by a Minister, and before the War, and that Sarah is their legimate child,).

Exhibit K, Sarah Morris, swears she don't remember her Father, her mother's name was Minerva Bythewood. don't remember her mother's marriage to James
Bythwood, her mother always spoke of her father as Sonny Morris, understood Sonny to be a nickname and that his real name was William Morris, always heard her
father died at Beaufort S. C., in the U. S. Army, she has a Brother named John Morris, and has Sisters and Brothers named Bythewood, thinks her Brother John Morris is
about nineteen years old, she has never had any name but Sarah Morris, and never heard her Brother call anything but John Morris, has heard her Aunt Mary Wilson,
say that her Brother John was born before her Mother was married to William Morris, and that he was not said Morris' child, never heard her mother say anything on the
subject, her mother called him John Morris and treated both children alike, she would prefer another Guardian in place of James Bythewood, her Aunt has supported
since the death of her mother, understands the nature of an oath but cannot write or read.

Exhibit L, Elizabeth M. Haughton, she is the eldest daughter of the late William D. Mosely, who was the owner of Minerva Masson, who married Sonny Morris, about a
year before the War (1861) before her marriage to Morris, Minerva had two children by other men, After her marriage to Morris she had one child before shew was carried
away from Florida on the U. S. Gunboat, said child was a girl and was named Sarah, said Sarah is now living with Mary Wilson. Sarah was certainly Minerva's oldest child
by Morris, witness never saw Morris after he went away during the War, and don't know what became of him, Minerva returned after the War and had another husband,
heard Morris was dead but had no particulars, did not know he died in the Army, thinks Sonny was a nickname and right name of decd soldier was William, thinks Minerva
and Morris was married by a coloured Preacher, witness, Father kept a record of births but not of marriages, can't give the date of events, thinks Sarah the child of
William and Minerva Morris is about sixteen years old, is certain that Sarah is the child of William Morris, John is not the Son or Morris, but is the son of a coloured man
named Payton, her elder Brother is in Texas.

I did not present to the last witness the affidant said to have been made by herself and deceased husband jointly, and which is in the original papers, I overlooked the
paper at the time, and did not notice the fact until I had left Palatka, there is considerable discrepancy in the two papers.

After taking the testimony of the last witness I made many enquiries, but while many seemed to know that William Morris and Minerva Masson, were husband and wife and
had children yet they could make no statement on their own personal knowledge.

There is no record of the marriage in the Episcopal church, and no record of coloured marriages was kept in the Methodist Church before the War, there was a Methodist
Church before the War, there was a Methodist Minister named Johnson about that time in the neighbourhood but I could get no definite information of him except what is
stated in the testimony.

Bythewood is the regularly appointed Guardian the appended certificate being a genuine document, but his own children are in South Carolina, and he told me he thought
of moving back to South Carolina himself.

Joseph D. Lee, local Agent, is a coloured Lawyer and member of the Legislature, he was at Tallahassee, I learned nothing against his character, I present the testimony
as the best I could obtain.

Very respectfully
James H. Clements
Special Agent

P. S. I paid particular attention to the manner and appearance of the Minors, they favour each other except that the boy is small for his age, I would judge the boy to be
just about nineteen years old, and would put the age of the girl at sixteen.

James H. Clements
S. A.

* * *
Time Line for James H. Clements
January 1831 - James H. Clements is born in Washington, D.C., the son of Eliza B. Clements and John Thomas Clements.
1850 - By this year, James H. Clements is a machinist and lives in Baltimore.
1860 - By this year, James H. Clements has moved to the city of Norfolk, where he works as a machinist.
August 15, 1860 - James H. Clements marries Margaret Catherine Jarvis. They will have at least seven sons and five daughters. Six of their children will not live to
1861–1865 - James H. Clements remains loyal to the Union during the Civil War. He may be the same James Clements who serves with the 2nd Dragoons of the regular
army or the 1st Battalion, District of Columbia militia.
October 22, 1867 - James H. Clements is elected to represent Norfolk County and Portsmouth at the Convention of 1867–1868.
April 17, 1868 - Delegates to the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1867–1868 vote in favor of the new state constitution, which includes such reforms as universal
manhood suffrage, the establishment of a public school system, and popular election in a greater number of local offices.
May 1868 - James H. Clements is elected president of the Republican Party's state nominating convention. Henry Horatio Wells and James H. Clements are chosen as the
Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, but the statewide elections of 1868 are canceled.
April 8, 1869 - James H. Clements is appointed postmaster of Portsmouth, although he continues to also work as a machinist. He will serve in this position until February
1877 - James H. Clements begins working as a United States pension agent.
March 1881 - James H. Clements seeks William Mahone's endorsement for reappointment as postmaster in Portsmouth, but is denies the post.
January 1882 - James H. Clements writes his will in New Orleans.
July 1883 - By this month, James H. Clements is appointed a clerk in the division of special examinations of the federal pension office.
1887 - James H. Clements is appointed a clerk in the principal examiner's office.
August 16, 1900 - James H. Clements dies at his residence in Washington, D.C., and is buried three days later in Portsmouth.

Deal, J. G., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. James H. Clements (1831–1900). (2013, September 5). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.
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