Named, in part, after Joseph Morris

Brother Doug has been doing some digging into our family history. This is a tidbit of interest he sent me.
In the battle of the Morrisites, north of Salt Lake City, on June 15, 1862, the sheriff shot Joseph Morris in cold blood AFTER he had surrendered. Mrs. Isabella Bowman rushed forward and said, “Oh, you horrible, blood-thristy murderer, what do you want to kill him for?” The sheriff said, “no one shall call me that and live”, then he shot Mrs. Bowman and killed her. The sheriff later stood trial and was acquitted, probably with an all Mormon jury. When W.W. Davies and his wife moved to Deer Lodge, Montana and had a child on June 17, 1866, they named him Joseph Bowman Davies. I believe he was named after Joseph Morris and Mrs. Bowman, who were murdered seconds apart almost exactly four years earlier.
As you know, you were named after your two great-grandparents. Thus I believe you were in part named after Joseph Morris.

More context:
The Morrisite War. Our family history of this is different than the official history. The family history is based on interviews of our great grandfather Joseph Davies, son of W.W. Davies. W.W. Davies was a witness to the shootings of Joseph Morris and Isabella Bowman.
W.W. Davies was the leader of a Latter Day Saint schismatic group called the Kingdom of Heaven, which was located near Walla Walla, Washington from 1867 to 1881.
W.W. Davies believed himself to be the reincarnated archangel Michael, and the biblical Adam, Abraham, and David. And after his sons, Arthur and David (reincarnated Jesus Christ and God the Father) were born, according to family lore, he declared himself to be the holy spirit* as well. Therefore, I am a direct descendent of God, the holy spirit.

Update: Brother Doug just sent me this from Grandma’s autograph book:
Autograph book of Charlotte Davies given to her by Joseph Bowman Davies (1)
The book was given to her by her father, Joseph Bowman Davies.
Also this (the story about the kidnapping would be a complete blog post):

Lace Mother made on petticoats I was wearing when Dad kidnapped me

* The truth of this claim was disputed after both Arthur and David died of diphtheria and W.W. was unable to resurrect them.


8 thoughts on “Named, in part, after Joseph Morris

  1. Interestly, at least to me, Joseph Davies’ wife, Bonita Carter, is a distant cousin.*

    * Go back far enough, we’re all related. In this case, the 1670’s. Makes you, I think, a 10th cousin.

  2. I’m a direct descendant of God. To funny!
    The really funny part of the Bible most pass over is the “heal thyself, oh physician” part.
    Strange the believes of our forefathers sometimes. A true puzzlement, but no stranger than some of the things people believe today. Even with world history and current events at their literal fingertips.
    Your families dogged determination to rise above themselves seems to have paid off in the long run though, in spite of the blasphemy. Good on’em!
    God bless and keep their souls.

  3. Neat.

    Have you looked in That’s a free genealogy database, interestingly enough run by the LDS. It would be interesting to know if your ancestors have been erased from those records, or not.

    • I have not.

      My brother probably has. And I know Mom and her brother both went to Salt Lake City to search the genealogical records in the 1970’s or 1980’s and found lots of stuff. So, unless there was a purging when the records went online, they did not try to rewrite the genealogical portion of history.

      It would be a difficult decision for them. I think it was my great-great grandmother, W.W.’s wife (it could be a different ancestor I’m thinking of), who pushed a handcart from someplace back East to Utah to join the church. The individuals who survived have a high place in LDS history.

      • Regardless of all the issues that have arisen from the foibles of we mere mortals and our often questionable decisions, the LDS church is committed to providing accurate genealogy for anyone who desires it and at no charge, unencumbered by what may have transpired during our ancestors lives. I, myself, am a descendant of John D. Lee who was accused of fomenting the Mountain Meadow Massacre. He was acquitted at trial but then made to stand trial later in a clear case of double jeopardy (there was no new evidence), convicted and executed. My mother has many personal records of family members from before and after this incident and the records available on are consistent with hers. That does not mean, however, that there was no persecution or prejudice directed at family members for some time afterward. I don’t think you should have any concerns that any family records were changed or deleted but I am sure your family also experienced prejudicial actions related to the incident you referenced.

      • There was a disaster associated with the handcart people who got trapped in Wyoming by early blizzards. This was substantially more lethal than what happened with the more famous Donner party because the Mormons refrained from cannibalism which accounted for a lot of the fame of the Donner party. A relief expedition rolled out of SLC a couple of days after word got through. Still took weeks to accomplish the rescue and many died. There is a historic site at Martin’s Cove near Casper that commemorates this.

Comments are closed.