Robert & Catharine (Morgan) Dean


Robert Dean

Photo courtesy of Beulah Mosley Smith


Catharine Morgan Dean

Photo courtesy of Beulah Mosley Smith


We have photos of just 3 of Robert & Catharine's 9 children.


Mary Ann Dean Coker
daughter of
Robert and Catharine (Morgan) Dean

mother of 16 children

Photo courtesy of Lynn Jackson & John Carter

Robert Burton Dean Family
son of
Robert and Catharine (Morgan) Dean

L to R: Calvin, Theresa,
Almira Wilson Dean, (child) Gladys,
Elsie, Robert Burton Dean,
Robert Bernard "Jack" Dean

Photo courtesy of John C. Carter


Anna Elizabeth Dean Mosley
daughter of
Robert and Catharine (Morgan) Dean

mother of 12 children

Photo courtesy of Mae Collins


Robert DEAN (Jesse3, Jesse2, James1), born 24 Apr 1830 in Cheswold, Kent, Delaware; died 30 Sep 1874 in Delaware. He was buried at Manship Cemetery, Cheswold, Kent, Delaware. His grave marker is engraved with his age at death, 44 5 6. He married Catharine MORGAN, the daughter of John MORGAN, on 27 Feb 1851 in Kent County, Delaware. She was born on 27 Dec 1833 in Kent County, Delaware. She remarried, after Robertís death, to William A. Carney. She died on 23 May 1894. She was buried at Manship Cemetery, Cheswold, Kent, Delaware, next to Robert Dean.

Robert4 Deanís father, Jesse3 DEAN, born about 1808 (Manship Cemetery grave marker: died 1868 in 61st year), is buried next to Robert Dean. The Orphans' Court file of Robert Dean contains an accounting of the sales of Robert Deanís estate assets, mentioning the children of William DEAN, Robertís brother:

May 17, 1875. "To this sum retained in hand by this accountant to pay to Ellen Dean, granddaughter of Jesse Dean: deceased, her to Mary Dean, granddaughter of Jesse Dean:, deceased, her share....

In addition, a will made by Jesse Dean, father of Jesse, grandfather of Robert, dated 1839, mentions land he intends to leave to his sons Jesse and William and daughter Sally Ann Cott. Dean family connections have been elucidated via their ownership of lands recorded in the Kent and Sussex County deed books as they were bought and sold over the years.

What is known of the life of the Robert Dean family is contained in the official lists and files compiled during their generation. Robertís marriage to Catharine Morgan is recorded in the marriage volumes at the Archives in Dover, but, unfortunately, without mention of their parentsí names. They were born into the ďMoorishĒ community in Kenton Hundred, Delaware.

C.A. Weslager, the historian, interviewed Cheswold folks on several occasions in the early 1940's. Decades later he was asked about the genealogy contained in these interviews. He spoke of this genealogy at a meeting in Bridgeton, New Jersey, before the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Indians of New Jersey in 1980, based on his notes taken in 1941-1942-1943 in and around Cheswold, Delaware. From this tape we learn that Catharine Dean's father was John Morgan and her mother "was a white woman." It is unfortunate that, 1) he had not recorded John Morgan's wife's name, 2) there are a number of John Morgan's extant in the community in the early 1800's, precluding easy identification and 3) John Morgan's family grew during the period when the federal decennial census did not record the name of each family member.

From whence sprang the ancestors of the members of the group of people called the Moorish community has been lost in the mists of time. Late in the 1800ís, perhaps because Cheswold was then named Moorton, a tradition arose ascribing the origins of this people to a Moorish birthplace in north Africa, which would also account for their physical characteristics, chiefly tan skin coloring of various shades. The results of studies of the history of the residents of Cheswold (nee Moorton) and of related communities in southern Delaware, southern New Jersey and eastern shore Maryland have been disappointing. As with most racial isolate groups in the United States, records were kept mainly in the Bibles and memories of individuals and rarely (and then only poorly) by governmental offices.

Excerpts of an interview with John Sanders of Cheswold, reported in the Philadelphia Times, 1892, follow.: His story is the memory of one who lived in the area of Cheswold throughout the 1800ís. (The full article, as well as other articles which try to answer the many questions about the origins of the Moors of Delaware, may be read by clicking here.)

"We are Indians, and we belong to a branch of the great Delaware Nation, which used to hold all the country from New York to Cape Charles. Down in Sussex county, on the backbone ridge of the Peninsula, the head waters of two rivers rise close togetheróone of them, the Nanticoke River, flows west into Chesapeake Bay, and Indian River, the other, flows east and empties into the ocean; and it was at the place where these two rivers rise that our clan had its chief seat, and it is still the centre for our people.

"In time they adopted the names of their white neighbors. They settled all over the country in squads in the same way. You can find them almost anywhere if you know how to look for them, and in Accomac and Northampton counties, Va., at the extreme lower end of the Peninsula, there are any number of them. And down there they have kept more to themselves than they have elsewhere, and they look and live more like the Indians did when I was a boy.

"I am 80 years old, and I can remember a good way back. I was born in 1811, not two miles from here. My father, while a boy, was bound out to a man named Jefferson, who brought him up here from Sussex, so that I claim kindred with the old families down there. He settled here and lived here all his life; so did I....

"My father and mother and all my foreparents were Indians. There are not many of the pure blood about here now, though there used to be a great many. It is strange how people have forgotten about us. Sixty years ago (about 1832) everyone knew who and what we were; there never was any question about it....

"I really donít know how we came to be called Moors. I have heard, though, that a good many years ago a family of genuine Moors settled somewhere in this part of the country, but I have never seen them, and never heard anything more about them. They certainly had no connection with our people, who are the ones usually known by that name. But if the story is true, the newcomers about here, whom I spoke of, may have got us confused with them, or attached their story to us.

"There are quite a number of families by the name of Moor or Moore living about here, and this village used to be called Moorton until a few years ago. But the Moore families are mostly white people and none of them have ever been connected with us in any way, and I never heard whether the village was so named on their account or ours. Probably it was on theirs, for the settlement, the original one, is a pretty old one and have got its name long before we were ever called Moors, and while our descent was well known. In my young days we were called ďplanters.Ē We belonged to the Delaware Tribe of Indians, but I donít know what was the name of our clan, probably nobody does now. But I know that our last chief was buried somewhere in the neighborhood of Millsborough, in Sussex County...."

Children of Robert DEAN and Catharine MORGAN were as follows:

1. Mary Ann5 DEAN, born 26 May 1854 in Delaware. She married Moses COKER.

2. John T.5 DEAN, born 16 Dec 1855 in Delaware. He married (1) Sarah (---). He married (2) Matilda (---). 1870 Census age Orphans' Court file of Robert Dean, John T. Dean's petition to receive funds from his father's estate when he becomes age 21 on 16 Oct 1876. (Delaware Archives, Dover, Kent, DE). Kent County Deed Book Z, Vol 7, 21 Feb 1888 mentions wife Sarah. (Sale of land once owned by Robert Dean.) John is living in Kenton Hundred. Kent County Deed Book U, Vol 7, 17 Dec 1895 mentions wife Matilda. (Sale of land once owned by Robert Dean.) John is living in Burlington County, NJ.

3. Lucinda5 DEAN, born about 1856 in Delaware. She married William C. JOHNSON. + 33 iv Jesse5 DEAN, born 20 Jul 1858 in Cheswold, Kent, Delaware. He married Sarah A. SEANEY.

4. Jesse5 Dean, born 20 Jul 1858 in Cheswold, Kent, Delaware. He married Sarah A. SEANEY. He died 12 Aug 1931

5. Robert Burton5 DEAN, born 16 May 1861 in Cheswold, Kent, Delaware. He married Almira WILSON.

6. William F.5 DEAN, born about 1863 in Moorton, Kent, Delaware. He married on 3 Jun 1883 in Kent, Delaware, Elizabeth MOSLEY, born about 1862 in Moorton, Kent, Delaware, daughter of Wingate MOSLEY and Nancy H. or A. (---). 1850, 1870, 1880 Federal Census, Kent Hundred, DE. Marriage record Vol 90, p 130, Kent Co Marriages 3 Jun 1883 gives ages, birth places, parents. Orphans' Court file of Robert Dean, guardian appointed at age 13, Sep Term of the Court, 1876. (Delaware Archives, Dover, Kent, DE) Kent County Deed Book U, Vol 7, 17 Dec 1895. (Sale of land once owned by Robert Dean.) William is living in Cumberland County, NJ. 36

7. Hester5 DEAN, born about 1865 in Delaware. She married Frederick H. SEENEY. 1870 Census age 7. Orphans' Court file of Robert Dean, guardian appointed at age 11, Sep Term of the Court, 1876. (Delaware Archives, Dover, Kent, DE)

8. Anna Elizabeth "Annie"5 DEAN, born 30 Jan 1870 in Cheswold, Kent, Delaware. She married Charles Henry MOSLEY.

9. Ulysses Grant5 DEAN, born about 1872 in Delaware. He married Flora ---. 1880 Census age Orphans' Court file of Robert Dean, guardian appointed at age 4, Sep Term of the Court, 1876. (Delaware Archives, Dover, Kent, DE) Kent County Deed Book U, Vol 7, 17 Dec 1895 mentions Ulysses and wife Flora. (Sale of land once owned by Robert Dean.) Living in Camden County, NJ.


Ancestry of daughter Anna Elizabeth Dean Mosley





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