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David Morgan, US pioneer and revolutionary war hero
Morgan Society Home Page

History of the Descendants of David Morgan

By Wm. Allen Daily, Pub. May 1, 1909

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Quakers emigrate from Wales to Bucks County, Pennsylania, 1720, then Trenton, New Jersey in 1725

About the year 1720, the parents of David, Sarah and Daniel Morgan, with about twenty other Quaker families from Wales, emigrated to America and first settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. About 1725, they moved across the Delaware river a few miles above Trenton and settled near its banks and opened up a farm in what is now Hunterdon county, New Jersey. David was born in 1709 and Sarah 1711, while Daniel, the youngest child, was not born until 1736, a difference of twenty-five years. David and Sarah evidently were born in Wales. Squire Boone, who married Sarah Morgan in 1727, accounts for this difference (see annals of North Carolina by Petree) that three of their children died of scarlet fever, and a baby on ship board on voyage to America. Squire Boone, by his wife Sarah, had a large family, among whom was Daniel Boone, the father of Kentucky.

David Morgan married in the year 1735 and had two sons by his first wife; Charles Rolla, born in 1736 and Ralph in 1738. their mother died in the year 1743. After the death of his wife, David with his two sons, returned to his mother's house, his father having died in the year 1741. the two sons of David obtained a fair education; the youngest, Ralph, fitting himself for the vocation of a surveyor. In the year 1753, David Morgan and his brother, Daniel, had serious differences. The younger brother, Daniel, had grown up without a father's care, his father having died when he was but five years old and the boy had become incorrigible and became so incensed at his brother and mother that he left home and went to Virginia and hired out as a day laborer. By his industry and frugality, he soon became the owner of a wagon and team. His record from this time on can be found in all biographies and cyclopaedias, the best being by James Graham, 1856, written from information obtained from Morgan's private papers, etc., furnished by his grandchildren.

The Boones had, some years before this, all moved to North Carolina on the Yadkin river near Homan's Ford. In 1754, the mother of David and Daniel Morgan, died and the same year David Morgan married again - this time to a Mrs. Peperill, whose maiden name was Menafee, her husband having been killed by the Indians four months after her first marriage. The Morgans were at this time living at Will's Creek Settlement, a few miles from Fort Cumberland. The next year we find the two brothers, Charles Rolla and Ralph Morgan, joining Braddock's Expedition at will's Creek as scouts. Daniel Morgan as a teamster, also accompanied this expedition. On the 28th day of June, 1755, the two Morgan brothers and a companion named Hicks, were captured by the French and Indians in front of the advancing British army and taken to Fort Dequenne. On the 9th of July 1755, the three prisoners saw the French and Indians muster their forces and march out to meet the British Army, which they ambuscaded and defeated the same evening with terrible slaughter. The next morning they saw from their prison the Indians on the common, bedecked in British Officers' clothing, nearly every Indian with a redcoat on, and to their horror, saw five prisoners run the gauntlet and afterwards burned at the stake with all the attendant tortures. In February 1756, the two Morgans with their companion Hicks made their escape, securing but one rifle, and in attempting to cross the Monongahela river on a raft in the floating ice, Hicks was thrown from the raft and drowned. The two brothers arrived at Fort Cumberland in March after dreadful exposure, with frozen hands and feet, having to avoid the direct road and to use all their skill in woodcraft to evade pursuit. Their father, David Morgan, at this time, had taken refuge in the Fort. We can find no evidence that there was at this time any communication between David Morgan or his two sons and their Uncle Daniel.

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Daniel Morgan and the French and Indian War

Daniel Morgan to the day of his death, refused to even admit that he had any sisters or brothers. The most he ever said of his ancestry was to the Reverend Hill, who nursed him in his last sickness, and that was that his parents were Welch (sp.) and had emigrated, as stated, to Pennsylvania and to new Jersey, where he was born. But there can be no question as to his relationship.

The biographical sketch of Daniel Morgan by Dixon, in his "Glory of America," published in 1838, mentions this relationship as given in this article. He also relates that Daniel, on his return from the Saratoga campaign early in 1778, visited his brother David near their old home in New Jersey; David having been compelled to flee from his home near Red Stone Fort owing to Indian depredations, where the year before he had engaged in a deadly combat with three Indians, and at that time was living in very straightened circumstances. He further relates that Daniel offered him a farm if he would remove to his Virginia home. David, though old and poor, had his pride and declined the offer. This, so far as can be learned, was the last intercourse between Daniel Morgan and his relatives. No inducement or questioning was ever able to elicit from him anything relative to his ancestry other than above stated. However, Squire Boone's statement in "North Carolina Annals" puts the matter beyond dispute, and as Boone was the husband of Morgan's sister Sarah, he evidently knew what he related.

Col. Frank Triplett who descended from the Pioneer Triplett that went to Kentucky in 1775, was intimate with the Boones and doubtless had correct data concerning them. He related David Morgan's encounter with the Indians in his "Conquering the Wilderness" published in 1883 and speaks of him as the brother of General Daniel Morgan. General Daniel Morgan's biographer (Graham) states that the General intimated that his difference was with his father, but this is not possible, as his father had been dead twelve years when he left his mother and home. The Morgans and Boones never at any time stated any other relationship than here given, but never, so far as can be learned sought any reconciliation with the General after he became rich and distinguished as a military leader. With the exception of the General's visit to his brother David in 1778 we have no evidence of any further intercourse of David Morgan or his sons and the General.

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David Morgan's encounter with the Indians at the Monongahela River. 1776

The following is a full account of David Morgan's combat with three Indians found in Col Frank Triplett's "Conquering the Wilderness" published in 1883, page 214:

The hero of our sketch was the brother of General Daniel Morgan, and settled upon the Monongahela about the beginning of the war of the revolution. Being fully as venturesome as his more noted brother, he disdained the protection of a frontier post, and built his cabin at some distance from any other, to have, as he expressed it, 'plenty of elbow room.' The Indians were continually prowling about these exposed settlements, and one morning, after sending the younger children out to a field at some distance from the house, he became uneasy, and taking his rifle, hastened to the spot.

Here he found nothing unusual, and giving them directions as to the method of conducting their work, he mounted the fence surrounding the field, and began a searching survey of the neighboring woods. While thus engaged he saw three Indians gazing at them from the opposite side of the field, and bidding the children to fly to the house and have their mother bar the door, he took a hasty aim at one of the Indians and fired.

The savage fell dead, although the shot was a long one, and Morgan immediately reloaded his rifle, and getting down from the fence, proceeded to cover the retreat of the children. The Indians, on the fall of their comrade, had started toward Morgan, but when his gun was loaded, became more circumspect, and took to the trees, advancing from one to another, and thus endeavouring to cut Morgan off from his house. Seeing that his children could now make good their escape, Morgan, a man of some seventy years, began his retreat, the two Indians pressing him closely.

In his flight he passed through a portion of the forest where most of the trees were too small to furnish shelter against a rifle ball,a and finding the Indians rapidly gaining upon him, he turned and ran back towards them to gain the cover of a large tree he had just passed. This movement took the Indians by surprise, and retreating, they took shelter behind some small trees, the largest they could find, but not of sufficient size to prevent Morgan from killing one of them, a part of the Indian's person being exposed.

His gun was now empty, and again he turned in flight, the last Indian coming on at full speed. had his aim been as good as that of the old borderer, the latter would have been doomed, for the Indian halted and fired, not even touching Morgan. they were at last on equal terms, and the white man stood at bay, clubbing his rifle, and awaiting the approach of the savage, tomahawk in hand. The weapon of the savage cut off two fingers from Morgan's left hand, and the breach of the white man's rifle was shattered against the skull of the Indian. Both men were unarmed and at close quarters. The savage attempting to draw his knife, and Morgan grappled with and threw him to the ground.

The struggle continued for some minutes, and the strength of the old white man began to fail, and the robust young Indian at last succeeded in turning him, and planting his knee on the breast of the under man The Indian began searching for his knife, in order to terminate the combat. In this he might have been successful but he had on an apron, which he had stolen from some white woman, and his hands became entangled in its folds. Morgan, who had graduated in the rough-and-tumble school of the Virginia pugilist, was more than a match for the Indian upon the ground, and getting the fore-finger of his foe's right hand into his mouth, Morgan held on like grim death. The savage howled with pain, and used every endeavour to release his finger, but in vain.

Morgan now took a part in the search for the Indian's knife and both reached it at the same moment. Morgan obtaining a slight hold on its handle, while his opponent caught it firmly by the blade. The Indian's hold was much the best, but Morgan neutralised this advantage by grinding the Indian's finger between his jaws with greater force than ever, and while he was raving and squirming with pain, the white man gave a sudden jerk, and got possession of the weapon. The savage now sprang to his feet, drawing Morgan after him, and made the most frantic efforts to break away.

Morgan, however held on with his teeth, and made a quick stroke at the Indian's side with his knife. Striking a rib, he was compelled to make another stroke, this time penetrating the abdomen, into which Morgan thrust the knife, blade and handle. The Indian fell, and Morgan made his way to the house, where he dropped exhausted upon the floor. The neighbourhood was speedily aroused, and going in pursuit of the wounded savage, they found a broad trail of blood, from where he had fallen, to a tree-top near at hand.

Here he was found. He had succeeded in withdrawing the knife from his wound, which he was dressing, at their approach, with the stolen apron, that had proven so fatal to him. With the hypocrisy of his race, his lips were drawn into a pleasant grin, and putting out his hand, he exclaimed, 'how do do, brudder, glad to see you brudder!' A borderer, slipping up to him, refused his hand, and sank his tomahawk into his brain, after which he was promptly scalped.

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Morgans in the Revolutionary War

David Morgan by his last wife, had nine children, the oldest named Zachariah, also David and Daniel that we have an account of, also a sister, Sarah, who married Robert McIlvaine, who in turn had eleven children, and large numbers of this name are found in West Moreland and Washington county, Pennsylvania, descendants from this family. We find Zachariah, the oldest, commanding a small company in the Battle of Point Pleasant in October 1774. The son, David went to Kentucky, and at the time of his death, 1813, represented Floyd county in the State Legislature. The son Daniel emigrated to North Carolina and thence to Alabama. It is probable that General John H. Morgan of confederate fame, who is said to be a distant relative of General Daniel Morgan, descended from one of the sons of David Morgan, very probably from the son Daniel, as he emigrated to the locality where the confederate chieftain was born. Zachariah Morgan emigrated to Madison county, Kentucky, in 1786 (See Collins Ky. Vol 2). Charles Rolla Morgan served under General Clark in the Kaskaskia, and Vincennes Expedition, with the rank of Sergeant, and was allotted land in the Clarke Grant (see English's History N.W.)

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Ralph Morgan, early settler of Lexington, Kentucky

Ralph Morgan, from whom the writer's family descended followed the vocation of surveyor after the peace of 1763. He was with Captain Bullitt's party that was sent out by Governor Dunmore, of Virginia, in 1773, and assisted in large surveys near the present sites of Covington and Louisville, Kentucky. Owing to the impending Indian war, this party at the request of Governor Dunmore, was escorted by Captain Daniel Boone and others through the interior of Kentucky and the Clinch River settlements back to Williamsburg, Virginia, in August 1774.

The writer has no official record, but it is certain (see Western Annals, Perkins, 1847) that both Ralph Morgan and his cousin, Daniel Boone, participated in the battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774. After this battle, the army at once crossed the Ohio river and joined the main army under Lord Dunmore, and advanced to the Indian towns, where the treaty was made, at which Logan, the Mingo chief, delivered his celebrated speech. At the close of this war, Ralph Morgan returned to his father's home who, by this time, was living on the Monongahela river, near Red Stone Fort, in what is now West Moreland county, Pennsylvania, where he died in the year 1791, and is buried in an old family graveyard on the land once owned by him. a rough flat stone at the head of a tomb with the name, Morgan, only on it, is still standing.

We cannot locate there whereabouts from this time of Ralph Morgan, until 1778, when he went to visit his relatives in North Carolina and journeyed from there to Boonesborough, Kentucky, via Cumberland Gap, arriving at Boonesborough January 17th, 1779. During the early spring, he assisted his relatives in planting the spring crops, nearly everyone at the Fort being in some way related to him. He joined Captain John Holder's company and took part in Colonel Bowman's Expedition against the Indian town of Chilicothe, that started April 13th, 1779, returning and dispersing May 27th 1779. As is well known, this expedition met with defeat, but killed twenty-seven Indians and captured one hundred and seventy-six horses and other valuable plunder consisting of kettles, robes, etc.

One striking incident, very interesting to the writer, was the price obtained for the plunder. Three-gallon kettles brought at this sale, one-half as much as a horse, 327.50 in continental money and $12.00 in Apanish Milled Dollars; one 2 1/2 gallon cast-iron tea kettle brought at this sale, $18.00 Spanish Milled dollars. all the plunder was sold at public vendue and the proceeds divided among members of the Expedition. a member of this Expedition related that 'we were allowed only a peck of parched corn each and received some public beef at Lexington, we were all volunteers and found ourselves.'

For an account of the expedition and names of Kentucky people who participated see Collins' Kentucky History. This proved to be the most disastrous to the early Kentucky settlers of any they had theretofore engaged in. While it gave a momentary respite to Indian depredations, it made it impossible to make the Detroit Campaign, projected by General Clark, who depended on this force to enable him to capture Detroit, which would have at once put an end to the Indian war and saved thousands of lives and seven years of Indian massacre in Kentucky. This force had been ordered to reinforce Clark's forces, but in disobedience of command, made this raid.

We can find no trace of Ralph Morgan being in Kentucky from September, 1779 until 1782. The writer's grandfather, Abel Morgan, always claimed to the writer that his father, Ralph Morgan, served under General Greene in the Campaign of 1781, which is no doubt correct. The nearest and most official data is that one Captain Morgan, of Virginia commanding the pickets at the opening of the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, April 25th, 1781 but neither the War Office at Washington, D.C. nor the records in Virginia Library at Richmond can identify this person other than just 'Captain Morgan of Virginia.' The writer remembers having seen in the possession of his grandfather, Abel Morgan, a land warrant for 1440 acres of land, which contained a recital that said land was granted to Ralph Morgan, of Virginia, by that State, in consideration for military services. This warrant was given by Abel Morgan to James H. Lane, M.D. at that time, from the Fourth Congressional District of Indians. Said warrant was never returned. Congressman Lane was to endeavour to obtain some congressional action on it, but on repeated inquiries from the writer's father to him, after he had removed to Kansas, claimed that it had been lost. There are quite a number of descendants of Abel Morgan, who remember having seen this warrant, now living, this April 1909.

We next find Ralph Morgan in Kentucky in July 1782. His name appears as serving under Colonel Logan, who was with this command, as visiting the Battle Ground of Blue Licks, August 23rd, 1782, and assisting in burying the dead. This battle was fought August 19th, 1782.

Sometime in 1784, Ralph Morgan was married to Mrs. Priscilla Douglas, whose maiden name was Bryan. She is said to be a niece of Mrs. Daniel Boone. Her husband, William Douglas, was killed by Indians, August 15th, 1782, in a cornfield adjoining Bryan's Station, in attempting to enter the Fort with the reinforcements from Boone's Station. The newly married couple made their home for the next seven or eight years at Boone's and Holder's Stations, he following his vocation of surveying, locating large tracts of land on the percentage or contract basis, usually getting one-half. In this way, he acquired large tracts of land in Montgomery, Bath and adjoining counties. Six or seven Kentucky histories contain accounts of Surveyor Morgan, of Boonesborough, while Collins refers to s. Morgan as being employed by Simon Kenton to locate some large warrants for him in March, 1786, and of his applying to Kenton for supplies for his crew and receiving the laconic reply, that he had no supplies for him, and that he would give him a sound flogging the first time he saw him. We have no data as to whether he kept his promise or not. The last mention of Ralph Morgan in history is an account of his appearance as a witness in a land contest in 1804, involving the title to the land on the present site of the city of Lexington, Kentucky.

Ralph Morgan had four children as far as the writer can ascertain: Abel, Rolla, Sarah and Priscilla. Priscilla and Sarah married brothers - John and William McCullough, and from these have sprung large numbers of descendants of this name, a number of whom reside in the vicinity of Westport, Indiana.

In the summer of 1792, two forts or stockades were built on Slate Creek, named Morgan's and Gilmore's Stations respectively, and were occupied and corn raised in what is now Montgomery County, Kentucky, but owing to prowling bands of Indians and the remoteness to other forts, three men being killed, they were abandoned in September of the same year, the settlers returning to Boone's and Bryan's Stations. In February, 1793, six families, in all twenty-seven persons, again occupied Morgan's Station; Ralph Morgan's family being one. During the last days of March, Ralph Morgan and wife took four packhorses and went to Boonesborough to get their household goods, leaving their two oldest children, David Douglas and Abel Morgan, at the fort. On April 1st, Easter Monday, say the Historians, at 10 a.m., 1793, the men all being out looking after the planting of their crops, no man about the fort except one, and he old and infirm, the gates wide open, thirty-five Indians rushed in and captured the fort, killing the old man above named, and one woman who was unable to travel, and carried off the remainder, nineteen persons, as prisoners, after setting fire to the fort. David Douglas and his half-brother Abel Morgan, the former twelve years of age and the latter less than eight, at the time the rush was made on the fort, were playing in Slate Creek, and on hearing the yells of the Indians and the screams of women and children, at once fled for their lived pursued by four Indians. They boys knew of a large standing sycamore tree, hollow at the bottom, which they ran to and quickly entered, and there hid, standing on rotten portions of the tree until their pursuers had passed and repassed to their party, when they came out and made their way to Boonesborough and rejoined their parents. On the alarm being given, pursuit was made, which the Indians discovered, and massacred such of their prisoners as were unable to keep up in their rapid retreat. The pursuit was abandoned, but the captives were restored after Wayne's Treaty two years later.

The two brothers lie buried side by side in a country graveyard, not more than eight feet apart, about five miles west of Greensburg, Decatur County, Indiana. The writer visited their graves in February 1909, and copied the following inscriptions from their headstones:

David Douglas, Born Nov. 9. 1781. Died Jan. 23, 1861. Abel Morgan, Born March 14, 1786. Died July 16, 1863.

In 1796, at the close of Indian hostilities, Ralph Morgan rebuilt the block house and stockade, and in addition, a large stone house inside the stockade, in which he lived until the time of his death. The exact time of his death is not known, but was about 1809. He and his wife are buried in a graveyard near his old fort. I am informed by George W. Ewing, of Greensburg, Indians, one of his descendants, that the old stone house is occupied and still standing where it was built by Ralph Morgan in 1796.

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Col. Daniel Morgan's Rifle Regiment, Continental Troops, Revolutionary War

About the year 1807, Abel Morgan, the writer's grandfather, was married to Sarah Howard, daughter of James Howard. Said James Howard was a soldier of the Revolution, as the following will show:

War Department, Adjutant General's Office,
Washington, D.C., Feb. 11, 1909.

The records show that one James Howard, of Maryland, served as a private in Captain William Henderson's Company, Col. Daniel Morgan's Rifle Regiment, Continental Troops, Revolutionary War. His name first appears without remark on the Company Pay Roll for July 1777, and is last born on an undated Pay Roll of a part of the Company for the period from December 1, 1777, to expiration of service, fifteen days being allowed for going home, the Roll showing he served six months. This Regiment was organised about June, 1777, and was composed of men selected from the army at large. The records of this office also show that one James Howard served in Captain Archibald Anderson's Company, 2nd Maryland Regiment Continental Troops commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Woodford, Revolutionary War; his name first appears on a Company Muster roll for December, 1777. Dated Jan. 5, 1778, which shows him sick in hospital. And it appears on the Company Muster Roll for Feb. 1778, with the remark, 'Sick in Maryland.' He is shown to have enlisted for three years, or during the war, but neither the date of his enlistment, nor the termination of his service, has been found of record, but he evidently served until the close of the war. (Signed) A. Ainsworth,
The Adjutant General

The official statement that these men were selected to serve in Colonel Daniel Morgan's Rifle Regiment from the army at large led the writer to think he was in the army at the time the Regiment was raised. On applying to the Honorable Commissioner of Pensions at Washington, D.C., his conjecture proved correct. Besides his continental service as above stated, he served six months in 1775, in James Clinton's New York Regiment; in 1776, he served five months in Captain Jackson's Company, James Clinton's New York Regiment, and in 1777, he served six months in Captain Potter's Company, Colonel Smith's Virginia Regiment, which brought him up to June 1777, when he went into the Continental service, first in Morgan's Rifle Corps and then in 2nd Maryland until the close of the war. This Regiment when discharged, was naked, penniless, and without food, and the men were only enable to reach their homes in Maryland by keeping together and impressing or rather seizing subsistence to keep from starvation. James Howard was in the following battles: Long Island, Trenton, Princetown, Demis Heights, Stillwater, Stony Point, Monmouth, Camden, Cowpens, Guilford, Hobkirk's Hill, Ninety-six and Utaw Springs. He applied for pension December 3rd, 1818 and his claim was allowed. Residence, Montgomery County, Kentucky. He died October 1st, 1835, aged eighty years. He married a second wife in Montgomery county, Kentucky, Mrs. Rhoda DeBoard. She was allowed a pension on an application executed December 24th, 1858. While a resident of Bath County Kentucky, she died in 1891, aged 104 years. (James Howard, cxf, Number 6953 - issued February 10th 1819, under Act Mar. 18th, 1818. Kentucky Agency.) In 1787, James Howard came to Kentucky and made his home at Estill Station until March 17, 1796 and located his military land warrants on Slate Creek, where he afterwards built Howard's Mill. He was a weaver by profession. Here he lived until his death.

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Abel Morgan and his cats

Abel Morgan, by his wife, Sarah Howard Morgan, had five children, to-wit: Lydia Morgan, Ralph Morgan, Julia Morgan, Olevia Morgan and Martha Morgan. Lydia married Patrick Ewing; Ralph never married; Julian, born April 18th, 1815, married Samuel Gates Daily; Olevia married, first Killis McGinnis, second, Jesse Green, and third, Abel Anderson; and Martha married James King.

Abel Morgan's wife, Sarah Howard, died about the year 1821. Later he married a second wife, but they disagreed and he became dissipated and squandered his entire means left him by his father, Ralph Morgan. He hadn't the slightest idea of values, but bartered his lands for mere trifles. He came home late at night after one of his foolish land sales, and the next morning, his wife arising to get breakfast, discovered cats on the gate-posts, smoke-house and on the eaves of the house -- in fact, cats everywhere. Becoming alarmed, she aroused him and told him the whole place was covered with cats where dogs had treed them. He calmly explained to her that he had sold a piece of land the previous evening and had taken the first payment in cats.

The writer has listened to Abel Morgan by the hour narrating his early life and that of his father. His hatred of the Indian race was intense. He invariably called them savages and many times he emphasised the statement that 'the only good savages were the dead ones.' No wonder, for anyone who searches the early annals of Kentucky, as the writer has for the past eight months, must be fully convinced that it was rightly termed the 'dark and bloody ground.'

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This completes the article undertaken by the writer. The continuation of the Daily Genealogy will be found in the Gates History. The following volumes were examined and data taken therefrom in the preparation of this article: "Daniel Morgan" by Graham, 1856. Marshall's "Kentucky" 1822. Collins' "Kentucky" 1874. "Glory of America" Dixon, 1838. "Annals of North Carolina", Petree, 1804. "Sketches of Western Adventures" McClung, 1832. "Ye Olden Time", Neville, 1846. "Sketches of History in the West" Hall, 1835. "Events in Indian History" 1842. "Boone and the Hunters of Kentucky" Bogart, 1854. "Pioneer Biography" McBride, 1869. "Lee's Memoirs" R.E. Lee, 1851. "History of Valley of Ohio" Butler, 1806. "History of Indiana and Northwest Ter." English 1897. "Conquering the wilderness" Triplett, 1883. "Battles of the American Revolution" Carrington, 1876. Bancroft's "history of the United States" 1870. "Western Annals" Perkins, 1847. Records in the Adjutant General's Office of the War department, Washington, D.C. and the Records of the Commissioner of Pension's Office, Washington, D.C. The writer has also incorporated herein incidents and facts narrated to him by his grandfather, Abel Morgan, and his descendants.

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(Document donated by Roger Wyatt, Redington Shores, Fla. 1998. It was left to him by his Aunt Ethel Wyatt, County Librarian for Harland County Kentucky who researched the Morgan family in the 1950's. David Morgan (1681-1741) was Roger Wyatt's Gr-Gr-Gr-Gr-Gr Grandfather. He is also a direct descendant of Abel Morgan (1786-1863), Zachariah Morgan (1760-1841) and David Morgan Jr. (1709-1791)

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created by Cheryl L. Morgan, last modified: 3 January 2000