Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Morgan 8 & 9: Garrard Morgan III and Eliza Ann Hamilton Morgan, Part 3

The Life and Ministry of John Morgan notes that Garrard and Eliza moved their young family to a farm at Summit, Coles, Illinois, which was about a mile outside Mattoon, Coles, Illinois, when John was ten years old (about 1852). The book notes that they moved to the area due to the railroad being located at Mattoon.

I cannot find any historical proof of the place name "Summit" in Coles County. There is a Summit Township about ten miles away in Effingham County, but that's quite a stretch to be "a mile."

Perhaps their neighborhood was briefly but never formally called Summit.

In 1853, surveyors from the Illinois Central Railroad and the Terre Haute and Alton Railroad realized that their railroads would cross at Mattoon, and a land rush began. This is when the Morgan family moved to the area, and young John Morgan would have seen the construction of the two railroads, and all the excitement surrounding which railroad would reach the Mattoon area first. This was undoubtedly the beginning of his lifelong love of rail travel.

The town site was mapped out in 1854, the railroads crossed in 1855, Mattoon became a village in 1857 and a city in 1861. Local farmers produced record amounts of corn and broom corn. Once again, the Morgans participated in the life of the community, including attending the Fourth Lincoln-Douglas Debate in nearby Charleston, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln's father and mother-in-law lived.

On August 2, 1861, John's older brother Will Morgan joined the 38th Illinois US Infantry. A year later in August 1862, John Morgan joined the 123rd Illinois US Infantry. John Morgan served for the duration of the Civil War, and Will probably did as well, although I cannot find his discharge record since he joined the Signal Corps in November 1863. Here are some posts on their Civil War service.

During their Civil War service, did John and Will Morgan have to fight any of their Kentucky cousins? John Morgan spent good parts of his Civil War service chasing Southern General John Hunt Morgan around the South, but I cannot find any proof of the two families being related.

John and Will returned home to their parents after the war with many tales to tell, but John left soon afterward for New York, and Will returned to live in Indiana. be continued...

Coles County Illinois Genealogy and History. Illinois Genealogy Trails.

Photo of the old train station in Mattoon from

1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful history, Amy. Thanks for your work. I look forward to each installment. And I really like the old Mattoon Railroad Station. It looks like the picture is actually vintage. I wonder if the lands are elevated about a mile out of Mattoon, thus "Summit"?