Sunday, August 22, 2010

James Morgan, brother of John Hamilton Morgan. Part 1 of 2.

James Morgan
b. June 12, 1850, Greensburg, Decatur, Indiana
p. Garrard Morgan, Eliza Hamilton
m. Mary, Irene [June]

In 1863, while John Morgan, was serving in Alabama in the Civil War, he wrote his mother. The letter is posted here at The Ancestor Files and illustrates John’s concern for each of his siblings. It is the earliest mention of his brother James, “Jimmie,” other than the 1860 Census, that I’ve found.

Sunday Evening
Maysville, Ala
Dec 21st 1863
Mrs. E. Morgan
Dear Ma:

“... I get letters frequently from Will. Reced one from Lu last evning also one from Morg. Kiss Jap for me. I would give a thousand dollars to see. Is Lon studying any now. Tell him to improve his time above everything else. Let novels and such trash alone. Let him have something solid and something that will give him information to read. Knowledge is more than gold and silver. Poor Jimmie. I am sorry his jaw troubles him yet. He is a good boy and has the go aheaditiveness about him to make a man of himself one that will make his mark.

“Tell Pa that I wish I was home to help him but as long as there is an armed foe to my country at large, I will be found in the ranks of the Patriot army. It is getting late and I must close. Goodby John”

The entries below are from the 1880 Manasa, Conejos, Colorado census. Interestingly enough James Morgan appears on another census in Colorado that year, where he is living in a boarding house in Ammas City, La Plata, Colorado. James’ occupation is Nursery.

In 2008, cousin Flora Lee, and her mother, took a road trip to Manassa, Colorado, and thereabouts. They made acquaintance with some friendly residents, who shared some histories that Flora Lee was able to copy.

From Manassa, Colorado, A history of its Growth from Early Days by Donald L. Haynie, with an account written by his maternal grandfather, Gervacius Wayne Rogers. The Rogers history was published in The La Jara (Colorado) Gazette about 1934.

"Among some of the very early conveniences established was a post office. Peter Allen was the first postmaster and Miss Jane Elledge (now Mrs. Stephen A. Smith) was his assistant. It was located in the Allen home; later, it was moved to the Dillingham H. Elledge residence. The colonists had a tri-weekly mail at first, and Ashbury Huffaker was the first carrier. He packed the mail on foot from Conejos. Later, George Elledge carried it on horseback. The carrier got 40% of the cancellation at the Manassa Post Office, the balance going to the postmaster to pay for upkeep and maintenance of the office.

“A co-operative store sprang up on the Elledge lot. This store was owned principally by Silas S. Smith and the Elledge people. James Morgan, a brother of President John Morgan, was the manager, as well as clerk. He was succeeded by Silas S. Smith, Jr."

There are entries in John Morgan’s journal of his interest in purchasing, and shipping trees to Colorado. Throughout his journal entries he mentions writing to his brother, and meeting him on some of his travels. For example:

On November 10, 1885, from Kansas City, he wrote: Had a horse and buggy and rode out to Blair and Kauffman’s Nursery four miles from the city to see about some fruit trees …

On January 25, 1881, from Salt Lake City, he wrote: In the office today … Wrote a letter to Brother Jimmie.

On June 5, 1887, after arriving in Kansas City, he wrote … Met Jimmie, his wife during the evening. Left for Memphis at 9 p.m.

(To be continued.)
Picture of James (Jimmie) Morgan from Nicholas Groesbeck Morgan's Gray pamphlet. Additional references will appear at the conclusion of Part 2.


  1. Although his siblings and parents did not share his religious views I feel he loved them dearly.

  2. Thank you Flora Lee. I wholeheartedly agree.