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Morton, William (unknown–1833)

Biography Entry

William Morton, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists, sailed from Mobile, Alabama, with his wife and five children in 1822. After their schooner was wrecked on Galveston Island, Morton and his son, John V. Morton, encountered some passengers from the Lively who helped the family build a yawl to get to the mouth of the Brazos. They went up the river to the bend, where they planted a crop in the fall of 1822. Morton voted in the colony election in April 1824, and, as one of the Old Three Hundred, received title to 1½ leagues and one labor of land in what is now Fort Bend County on July 15, 1824. He built his house on the east bank of the Brazos on his land, which extended to Oyster Creek. When a stranger named Robert Gillespie died suddenly at his home in 1825, Morton built a brick monument to this fellow Mason and Alabaman. The census of March 1826 listed Morton as a farmer and stock raiser, aged between forty and fifty. His household then included his wife, Jane, three sons, two daughters, one servant, and two slaves. Austin recommended Morton as a regidor in January 1828. On May 4, 1829, the ayuntamiento appointed him to a committee to work out plans for an academy at San Felipe. He was granted a lot at San Felipe in February 1830 on condition that he build a brickyard on the land, and the same February session of the ayuntamiento appointed him to help choose the route for a road from his home to Harrisburg. In September 1830 he was appointed to the committee to superintend the building of the jail at San Felipe. Morton was drowned in a Brazos flood in 1833. Randal Jones was the last person to see him alive. Daniel Perry was administrator of the Morton estate.

Eugene C. Barker, ed., The Austin Papers (3 vols., Washington: GPO, 1924–28). Eugene C. Barker, ed., "Minutes of the Ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin, 1828–1832," 12 parts, Southwestern Historical Quarterly 21–24 (January 1918-October 1920). Lester G. Bugbee, "The Old Three Hundred: A List of Settlers in Austin's First Colony," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 1 (October 1897). Lester G. Bugbee, "What Became of the Lively?" Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 3 (October 1899). Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Notes and Fragments, January 1900. Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983). Telegraph and Texas Register, October 16, 1844. Texas Gazette, September 25, 1830. Clarence Wharton, Wharton's History of Fort Bend County (San Antonio: Naylor, 1939).

Time Periods:

  • Mexican Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Morton, William,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 16, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: