NOTE: We have looked at the actual handwritten name change record and it appears to be HENBY, not HENLY. See more about that here.
In 1810, Laban MORRIS of Craven County changed his name from Laban HENLY, along with the names of his two oldest sons, John and William. (They were presumably the only sons who’d been born at the time he made the petition.)
I originally learned about this in the North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal 1983 Edition, Issue 2, but was able to see the original record as it was enacted by the General Assembly in the year of 1810.
Sadly, after spending hours poring through the General Assembly Session Records in Raleigh, I was unable to locate Laban’s original petition for the name change, so we have no firm explanation as to the details, but we know already that he was not a MORRIS by legitimate birth. His father was a LEDBETTER. Considering his legal name prior to the change was HENLY, we can probably assume that was his mother’s last name, and the MORRIS name would likely be from either his mother having married a MORRIS, or from a MORRIS family raising him and him having a strong kinship with same.