As we approach Valentine’s Day during African American Month, there couldn’t a more appropriate story to reminisce, other then the “Love Story of the Morrey and the Montier families”.
A descendant of the families, Dr. William Pickens III, retold this love story in 2011 at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and it begins with Humphrey Morrey, a Quaker, who became the first mayor of Philadelphia in the year of 1691. As mayor, Humphrey Morrey received a grant of over 200 acres from William Penn, on May 23, 1683 . During the 1730’s, a son of Humphrey Morrey named Richard, while already married, fell in love with one of his father’s African American slaves, named Cremona. Richard and Cremona were very open about their international relationship. The two eventually got married and had 5 children together, one being named Cremona, after her mother.
Richard Morrey later inheriting his father land, then gifted this land to his love Cremona. The land was named Guineatown which is the town we call Glenside today. Richard Morrey was known to be one of the first Americans to free his slaves, and also the first to give the slaves land of their own, according to Elaine Rothschild article “Original Settlers and their Descendants”on genealogy.rootsweb.com.
In 1766, Richard and Cremona’s daughter referred to as baby Cremona, married a farmer who was a freed black man, named John Montier, hence the name Montier Road in Glenside. The Montier Estate was in the now Edge Hill section of Glenside.
Two of the earliest surviving portraits of an African American couple from 1841, were loaned to the Philadelphia Art Museum in a 2009 Exhibit by Williams Dickens III. This couple pictured above is Hiram Charles and Elizabeth Montier. Hiram is the great grandson of Richard Morrey.
You may find more information about the Morreys and the Montiers on the Historical Society of Pennsylvania site here.
Pictures from Afrigeneas.com