Wednesday, September 9, 2009

John Morgan's Brother James

John Morgan had a brother named James, eight years younger. In a letter to his mother, John asked about his brother and said, "[Jimmie] is a good boy and has the go aheaditiveness about him to make a man of himself one that will make his mark." That's about all we know about him.

James Morgan is a fairly common name. But, according to the 1880 census and other sources, there were just a few James Morgans born about 1850 (1848-1852) in Indiana. Of all those James Morgans, I can only find one with both parents born in Kentucky.

And ... [drum roll] ...

... he shows up in the 1880 census living in Manassa, Conejos, Colorado.


This brings up many questions. Is this really John Morgan’s brother? Why was he in Colorado? Did he join the church? Did he stay in Colorado? Will I ever be able to forgive the federal government which let the 1890 census go up in flames?

There are undoubtedly places I could look to find more information, but I can’t find any more answers in a reasonable amount of time in a search of the sources available online. He wasn't buried in Manassa. He doesn't show up in the usual locations for looking up church records. (Such as Old Family Search.)

James actually shows up twice in the 1880 United States Census. The first time living with his wife and child, the second time in a boardinghouse. Here are the entries with all the extraneous data such as page numbers removed:
Name: James Morgan
Residence: Manassa, Conejos, Colorado
Birthdate: 1850
Birthplace: Indiana
Relationship to head-of-household: Self
Spouse's name: Mary Morgan
Spouse birthplace: Illinois
Father's name:
Father's birthplace: Kentucky
Mother's name:
Mother's birthplace: Kentucky
Race or color (expanded): White
Ethnicity: American
Gender: Male
Marital status: Married
Age: 30 years
Occupation: Trav. Ag't For Nursery

Name: James Morgan
Residence: Ammas City, La Plata, Colorado
Birthdate: 1850
Birthplace: Indiana
Relationship to head-of-household: Other
Spouse's name:
Spouse birthplace:
Father's name:
Father's birthplace: Kentucky
Mother's name:
Mother's birthplace: Kentucky
Race or color: White
Ethnicity: American
Gender: Male
Marital status: Married
Age: 30 years
Occupation: Nursery

There were three other James and Mary Morgans not to be confused with John Morgan’s brother:
  • James Oliver Morgan (b 30 May 1851 Spartansburg, Indiana) married Mary Moore from Lynn, Randolph Indiana.
  • James Francis Morgan (b 11 Oct 1850 Jackson County, Indiana) married Mary Pittman from Ohio (I’ve seen them in the 1870 census in Brown County, Indiana).
  • James Riley Morgan (b 26 Nov 1851 Farabee, Indiana) married Mary Gordon from Washington County, Indiana.
More questions than answers! If someone decides to research more into this question, please leave a note in the comments with anything you find.

[Ed.—Bessie has done some wonderful work on James Morgan. See her posts here and here.]

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