Charles Morgan (businessman)

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Charles Morgan (April 21, 1795 – May 8, 1878) was a U.S. railroad and shipping magnate. He played a leading role in the development of transportation and commerce in the Southern United States through the mid- to late-19th century.


Charles Morgan was born in Clinton, Connecticut. He began working at his uncle's store at age 14, and later launched his own import business. As his business grew, he invested in a steamship line which traded in the West Indies. By the 1850s, he was engaged in the steamship business on a full-time basis. He later began constructing his own ships, and was one of the first ship builders to switch from wood to iron construction.

The New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad ( N.O.O. & G.W.R.R. ) began construction in New Orleans in the 1850s. New Orleans was a major port for Morgan's steamship company and he saw this new railroad as an opportunity to move his goods to Texas, so he invested more than $2 million in it. Much of the railroad's equipment was commandeered by the Confederate forces during the Civil War, and the railroad was sold after the war due to economic problems. Morgan purchased the entire assets and renamed it the Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company.

Tomb, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

The railroad continued to expand westward, reaching Lafayette by 1879. Unfortunately, Morgan died a few weeks before the railroad reached the city. He is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. The company continued to operate under the goals that he established, and it was finally acquired by Southern Pacific Railroad in 1885.

The Morgan School in Clinton, Connecticut is named after Charles Morgan. Morgan City, Louisiana is also named in his honor.[1]


  1. ^ Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Brothers of the Sacred Heart Historical Marker". 

Source: Southern Pacific Bulletin - May 1936