Charles Morgan (businessman)

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Charles Morgan
Charles morgan portrait.png
Charles Morgan
Born (1795-04-21)April 21, 1795
Clinton, Connecticut, U.S.
Died May 8, 1878(1878-05-08) (aged 82)
Resting place Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Occupation Entrepreneur (shipping)
Spouse(s) Emily Reeves (1817–1850), Mary Jane Sexton (1851–1878)
Children Emily Ann, Frances Eliza, Charles W., Henry R., and Maria Louise
Parent(s) George Morgan, Betsey Morgan

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.

Morgan started working in New York City at the age of fourteen. He managed both wholesale and retail before specializing in marine shipping. He invested in sailing vessels as early as 1819, while managing all aspects of the business from his office at the wharf in New York City. He started his first partnership for a packet company in 1831. During the 1830s, he held stakes in companies shipping to Kingston, Jamaica and Charleston, South Carolina from New York; and a stake in a company shipping between New Orleans and Galveston, Texas. During this time, he invested more in steamships than sailing ships. The Louisiana–Texas packets became so successful that he gradually withdrew from the Atlantic trade in the late-1830s.

In the 1840s and 1850s, Morgan expanded his shipping business in the Gulf of Mexico, expanding service to Mexico, Florida, and adding stops in Texas. Texas statehood and the Mexican War were boons to his business, shipping mail, troops, and war material. By 1846, he sold his last stake in sailing vessel. In the late 1850s, a lucrative business developed out of a segment of railroad running between New Orleans and Berwick Bay, Louisiana. The railroad terminated in a desolate part of the state, and Morgan's steamers enabled the railroad to create revenue from an expensive infrastructure investment. In return, the railroad shortened Morgan's Louisiana to Texas route by about 150 miles. In 1855, Morgan incorporated his assets for the first time, co-founding the Southern Steamship Company. With family and other close friends managing the company, Morgan accelerated his investments in steamboats.

During the Civil War, he lost some of his investments to seizures by the North and the South. However, most of the steamers seized were corporately owned by the Southern Steamship Company, which led to its liquidation in 1863. Morgan, however, prospered during the war despite these losses. He ran blockade runners for the Confederacy, but his most profitable venture during this period was the Morgan Iron Works. This shop built engines for thirteen ships sold to the Union Navy. At the end of the war, he repurchased some of these steamships at favorable prices.

During Reconstruction, Morgan sold his interest in the Morgan Iron Works. He also took advantage of the buyers market for steamships and expanded his fleet. He resumed his Gulf packet service between New Orleans and Texas, and between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. In 1869, he acquired his first railroad. Two more railroad acquisitions followed in the 1870s. He died on May 8, 1878 at his home in New York City. Just prior to his death, he incorporated Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company and distributed his shares to several family members.

Family life[edit]

Charles Morgan was born April 21, 1795 to George and Betsy Morgan. His native town was then known as Killingsworth, Connecticut, but is now known as Clinton.[1] Charles had a younger sister named Wealthy Ann (b. September 6, 1798) and older brothers Elias (b. September 26, 1790) and John (b. December 3, 1791).[2]

George Morgan was a successful farmer, and Charles had a comfortable upbringing in a rural area. However, a changing economy induced Charles to follow his brothers who had moved to New York City in 1809. He married Emily Reeves in 1817, several years after establishing himself as a merchant, and they had five children together: Emily Ann (1818), Frances Eliza (1823), Charles W. (1825), Henry R. (1827), and Maria Louise (1832).[2] They remained married until Emily's death in 1850.[3]

Morgan's daughter Frances Eliza married George W. Quintard in either 1843 or early in 1844. Like her father, Quintard grew up in Connecticut and left his hometown as a teenager seeking opportunity in New York City. Concurrent with his marriage, he opened a shop, combining a grocery and ship chandlery. In 1850, he partnered with Charles Morgan to take full-ownership of the company, which they renamed Morgan Iron Works. Out of Morgan's family, his sons-in-laws assumed the most active roles in his transportation businesses.[4]

Morgan's eldest daughter Emily Ann married Israel C. Harris of New Orleans. In December 1847, Harris founded a partnership with Charles Morgan's youngest son Henry, and the firm of Harris & Morgan assumed agency for all of Morgan's ships.[4]

Morgan's eldest son Charles W. eschewed the shipping business and opened his own grocery in 1849.[5] On June 24, 1851, he married Mary Jane Sexton[1] who taught math and French in New York. Charles and Mary Jane Morgan commissioned the construction of a large mansion at 7 East 26th Street, where they resided from 1852 until both of their deaths. In 1853, Maria Louise Morgan married Charles A. Whitney, a shipping agent. His youngest son, Henry Morgan, married Laura Mallard of New Orleans in 1854.[3]

Early career[edit]

Morgan left home for New York City at age fourteen to work for a merchant, but he later started his own import business.[1] His arrival in the city and coming of age coincided with the growing importance of New York as a port. He conducted business as both a grocer and a chandler, but his early business activities included importer and exporter, retailer and wholesaler, and shipping merchant.[6]

Morgan owned stakes in eighteen sailing packet ships and fifteen sailing tramp vessels between 1819 and 1846.[6] In addition to equity shares, he acted as ship's husband for seven vessels of The Ship Line, and for nineteen sailing vessels in which he had owned shares. His duties as husband included bookkeeping, dispatching, maintenance, and outfitter. In 1831, Morgan partnered with Benjamin Aymars to establish the first packet service from New York to Kingston, Jamaica. He also served as line master, who was responsible for coordination of all ships within the shipping line.[7]

Shipping companies[edit]

New York and Charleston Steam Packet Company[edit]

The New York and Charleston Steam Packet Company was formed in June 1834 by Charles Morgan, James P. Allaire, and John Haggerty. Allaire owned an iron foundry which counted Robert Fulton among its clients, and he acquired Fulton's shop after his death and combined it with his existing foundry. He built the side-wheeler David Brown and dispatched it to serve New York and Charleston, South Carolina in November 1833.[8]

At this time, sailing vessels still dominated ocean navigation, even with the coastal trade, but Morgan and his brother-in-law John Haggerty joined with Allaire to develop coastal steam packets, focusing on the route between New York and Charleston. Morgan was the operation manager of the New York–Charleston line, as well as the Jamaica packet line.[8] By June 1835, he was dispatching two steamers per week to Charleston, the David Brown and the newly acquired Columbia. The packet company had won the bid for the United States Mail contract, worth $7,200 annually, and its ships were earning more than $1,000 per trip in profits.[9]

However, the risks faced by ocean-going steamers threatened the company. William Gibbons sank off the coast of New Inlet, South Carolina in October 1836, which caused a loss of public confidence in addition to the direct financial loss. Some of the investors sold the David Brown and then abandoned the company, leaving Morgan, Allaire, and Haggerty as the sole partners and Columbia as their only ship. But the partnership built new steamers of the line which they christened the Home and the New York, and they accomplished this despite the Panic of 1837. They also supplemented their packet revenue with contracts to carry mail along their line, and contracts to carry military troops to Florida.[9]

Another lost ship threatened the New York and Charleston Steam Packet Company. The Home started its last voyage—and only its third overall—on October 7, 2017. The Home had cost nearly $90,000 to build and included a cabin with luxury amenities to accommodate as many as 120 first-class passengers. She ran aground while departing New York Harbor but continued to the ocean without any apparent damage. However, a storm with rough seas battered the ship near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; she started taking on water and her engine failed, and her sails were not able to drive and control the ship. The storm pushed Home toward the shore and ran it aground, and 99 people died trying to reach land.[10]

Gulf coast packets[edit]

Advertisement for the Columbia, 1838
Advertisement for the New York, 1842

In 1837, Morgan started running steamboat service between New Orleans and Galveston, Texas, which was the first packet boat service running between these cities on a regular schedule.[1] However, this had not been Morgan's first foray in shipping in the Gulf of Mexico. The previous year, the New York and Charleston Steam Packet Company deployed the steamship David Brown to sail a route from New Orleans to Key West, Florida and Havana, Cuba. The Home catastrophe forced a reorganization of the partnership, with the new company shifting its emphasis to the Gulf trade, and Columbia sailed out of the port of New Orleans for Galveston on November 18, 1837, about five weeks after the Home wreck.[11]

Allaire and several investors divested themselves from the New York and Charleston Steam Packet Company, leaving Morgan and John Haggerty as the sole partners—and thus the Morgan Line was born and Columbia was its first ship, committed to the New Orleans–Galveston route. During this era, New Orleans was the main port for Gulf traffic, and the newly formed Republic of Texas attracted many immigrants and much demand for trade goods. On June 8, 1838, the owners of Columbia and the owners of steamship Cuba formed a cartel known as the New Orleans and Texas Line, which included coordination of rates and scheduling of shipping between New Orleans and Galveston. The New Orleans and Texas Line dominated transportation between the two cities after the last half of 1838.[12]

Gulf trade experienced seasonal cycles. June marked the beginning of the slack season, which lasted throughout the summer and part of the fall, and business picked up again in early October. Morgan would remove some of his ships from service during slack times and send them to New York for refitting and repairs. He continued to maintain New York City as his residence and the main location for shipbuilding and repair, even though his main shipping market was located on the Gulf coast.[13] He sold the last of his sailing vessels in 1846, while he increased his investment in T.F. Secor & Company, a builder of marine steam engines.[14]

Mexican War[edit]

During the Mexican War, Morgan accepted various contracts to move U.S. troops, deploying New York and Galveston for military transport, and collecting nearly $80,000 in less than six months in 1846. This compromised packet service, including its contract for carrying the U.S. mail. Morgan had won a contract to transport mail for the Republic of Texas, which he continued after Texas received statehood and the U.S. Mail Service took over in 1846.[15]

Morgan lost the New York in a hurricane in September 1846, and he required a larger steamship fleet to meet the demands of passenger service, civilian trade, mail service, and military transportation. He acquired five steamers in 1847, the first of which was the New Orleans, launched from New York on January 12, 1847. He paid $120,000 for the 869-ton steamship new, but it produced only $33,000 in revenue for moving troops. He sold it five months after its launch for $125,000. The other 1847 steamer purchases were for steamships already in use. Palmetto was built in 1846, and most of its interest sold to Morgan in March 1847. Captain Jeremiah Smith commanded the 533-ton steamer and spent about three months on charters for the United States Army. Afterward, Palmetto entered packet service for New Orleans and Galveston. Captain Smith maintained a small interest in Palmetto and became an investment partner with Morgan in the 249-ton steamship Yacht, a much smaller vessel better suited for navigating the sandbars of the Texas coast. Portland was a steamer built in 1835 which originally served the coast of Maine; she was brought into the Morgan fleet late in 1847 and assigned to move military troops and equipment out of New Orleans. The fifth and last acquisition in 1847 was Globe, which was placed immediately into packet service.[15]

After the war, Morgan obtained the charter business for taking troops home. Later, he deployed his steamers to expanded packet service. Service in Texas expanded to Indianola, Port Lavaca, and Brazos St. Iago. The last of these ports facilitated outbound shipments of precious metals, hides, and wool. Starting in 1850, the Morgan earned $15,000 annually for carrying mail in and out of Brazos St. Iago, and $12,000 for the mail route from New Orleans to Galveston and Indianola.[16]

Southern Steamship Company[edit]

Advertisement from the Weekly Telegraph (Houston), February 27, 1856.

The discovery of gold in California in 1848 spurred a new interest in transportation to the Pacific Coast of the United States. The distance from New York City to San Francisco via the eastbound route measured over 14,000 miles (23,000 kilometres) nautical miles. Crossing the Isthmus of Central America reduced the distance to less than 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometres). In addition to the overland crossing from Veracruz, Mexico to Acapulco, Mexico, alternative routes were also considered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.[17]

Morgan incorporated the Southern Steamship Company on March 14, 1855. Chartered in Louisiana, it opened some of his Gulf shipping interests to outside investors. Morgan was a minority shareholder, controlling only 500 of 4,000 shares. However, two of the members of the board were Morgan's New Orleans agents, Israel Harris (his son-in-law) and Henry R. Morgan (his son). Their partnership, Harris & Morgan, was also the largest shareholder, controlling 890 of 4,000 shares. So the triumvirate of Charles Morgan, Henry Morgan, and Israel Harris controlled 1,390 of 4,000 shares. A third board member, Cornelius B. Payne, was a junior partner of Harris & Morgan and owned 250 shares of stock in Southern Steamship Company. The October fourth board member was a close friend of Charles Morgan, a New Orleans grocer, E.J. Hart. Morgan completed his requirements to capitalize the corporation at $400,000 by transferring several assets on June 10, 1856. The assets received by the Southern Steamship Company were four steamships, the New Orleans–Galveston–Indianola mail contract, eight enslaved persons, and sundry equipment. Through incorporation, Morgan attracted new investors while still maintaining a large portfolio of assets apart from the Southern Steamship Company. Incorporation also represents a partial withdrawal from management of Morgan's interests and a new role as a passive investor.[18]

On October 1, 1856, the Southern Steamship Company secured a mail contract serving Brashear, Louisiana (now Morgan City) and Galveston. Brashear was located at the western terminus of the New Orleans, Opelousas and Great Western Railroad (NOO & GW), navigable from Berwick's Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. The NOO & GW was planned to span from New Orleans to the Pacific Coast, but higher than expected construction costs prevented the company from building beyond this swampy, inaccessible, and sparsely populated area of Louisiana. After fending off a serious challenge from Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Southern Steamship Company forged an mutual freight agreement with the NOO & GW. The eastern terminal of the NOO & GW was located in Algiers, Louisiana, directly across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Freight delivered to the railroad at Algiers avoided New Orleans taxes and wharfage fees. In addition, transferring western-bound freight to the railroad eliminated both navigating the Mississippi River and shortened the western route to Galveston by about 160 miles (260 kilometres).[19]

Morgan himself had negotiated the complex freight deal between Southern Steamship Company and NOO & GW. Southern Steamship Company agreed to transport freight for the railroad from its Brashear terminal to Galveston (via Sabine Pass, Texas), and to Indianola, Texas (via Galveston). The Southern Steamship Company received a percentage of NOO & GW's freight receipts based on a multiple-tiered formula. NOO & GW also agreed to move freight for Southern Steamship Company at a discount, and provide its ships with a wharf at Brashear. The steamship service not only carried mail and other freight, but carried over 16,000 passengers from Brashear to Texas in 1859, and over 28,000 passengers in 1860.[19]

American Civil War[edit]

Morgan Iron Works
USS Onondaga James River

Morgan was a lifetime resident of the northeast. He grew up in Connecticut and he maintained a primary residence in New York City his entire adult life. However, he was "a more-than-casual slaveholder,"[20] acquiring no fewer than thirty-three enslaved persons through the start of the American Civil War. In a very early action of the Civil War, one of Morgan's steamships, the General Rusk transported Texas troops. The State of Texas, having already adopted its ordinance of secession on February 4, 1861, appointed E.B. Nichols as its Commissioner and Financial Representative on February 7th. Nichols had already been serving Morgan as his shipping agent in Galveston. He booked Morgan's General Rusk to transport troops for $500 per day. Shortly later, this Texas force captured the United States Army Base at Brazos St. Iago. Yet, Morgan's agent in New Orleans, his son-in-law Israel C. Harris, chartered ships to transport the recently removed Union troops from Brazos St. Iago to Key West, Florida.[21]

Morgan kept his fleet in the Gulf ports, even after the attack on Fort Sumter. Louisiana Governor Thomas O. Moore mandated a seizure of three ships from the Southern Steamship Company, viewing Charles Morgan as a northerner and a threat to the Confederacy. While Morgan never sided with the Confederacy, Israel Harris did. The ships were allowed to travel on a limited basis, but with many inspections at the ports of New Orleans and Galveston. At Galveston, the ranking officer Sidney Sherman, seized two of Morgan's vessels. Nichols interceded on Morgan's behalf, and Sherman agreed to allow the Morgan steamers passage off Texas waters. However, he did keep the General Rusk for the Confederate fleet. With the United States mail service discontinued and the effective Union blockade of southern ports, Morgan's steamship empire was idled. The situation was dire for the Southern Steamship Company, which had entered the Civil War with thirteen steamships, sold two of them, and lost the other eleven when General Mansfield Lovell expropriated them on behalf of the Confederacy on January 16, 1862. The company was left without a fleet and without compensation for its seized assets, thus it folded in 1863.[22]

Despite the losses borne by the Southern Steamship Company, Morgan continued to operate other ventures by playing both sides. Morgan placed orders with Harlan and Hollingsworth for five large steamers between 1862 and 1864. These ships were frequently booked on charters for the Union during the war. Morgan also profited from his ownership of Morgan Iron Works, which was producing engines from its shops in New York City for commercial enterprises in the United States and abroad. Beyond civilian production, Morgan Iron Works built engines and other marine equipment for thirteen ships in the Union Naval fleet. In one case, they built a warship from scratch: the USS Onondaga. These naval contracts accrued over $2 million in revenue to Morgan Iron Works. For the Confederates, Morgan ran his steamship Frances to evade Union blockades between Havana and the southern ports.[23]


Sale of Morgan Iron Works[edit]

After the Civil War, demand for steamships flagged and the federal government placed some of their vessels on the market. Morgan had already anticipated the buyers market for steamships as early as the fall of 1865. In 1867, Quintard and Morgan sold their interests in the Morgan Iron Works to John Roach, realizing a combined profit as high as $450,000. Morgan bought four steamers from the U.S. Navy. Morgan had sold two of these to the Navy during the war: Austin and Wiliam G. Hewes. In another case of making money on both ends, Morgan sold three steamships to the federal government for $495,000, then repurchased them a year later for $225,000. Including in this expansion of his fleet, he ordered eight new ships from Harlan and Hollingsworth between 1865 and 1867.[24]

Quintard proposed a new investment idea to Morgan in 1867. This resulted in the formation of the New York and Charleston Steamship Company (not to be confused with the New York and Charleston Packet Company). The new company started by acquiring Manhattan from Charles A. Whitney and his defunct Central American venture. They also purchased two large steamers, Champion (1,452 tons) and Charleston (1,517). They chartered the steamer James Adger.[24]

Morgan forged a rate deal with the Ponchartrain Railroad on April 17, 1866. He received 75 percent of the revenue for their freight traveling on his steamships between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. At first, Morgan faced open competition from other carriers on the route, but in 1868, he paid $250,000 in exchange for being the exclusive carrier. However, after 1870, Morgan competed for business with a railroad running between the two cities.[25]

On May 3, 1866, Morgan signed a new contract with the NOO & GW railroad. This deal contained many of the provisions of the eight-year contract they implemented before the war. Morgan received a percentage of the freight receipts based on multiple-tiers, received a fifty percent discount moving his supplies on the railroad, and the railroad would provide wharfage at the western terminus at Brashear. As before, Morgan's steamship transported freight from the western terminus of the railroad at Brashear to the Texas ports of Galveston and Indianola.[24]

In the late-1860s, Morgan's steamships carried much of the eastbound freight for a growing coastal Texas cattle industry. He offered new service in 1867 to Rockport, Texas hauling outbound hides and beef products. The new port on Aransas Bay exported over 2 million pounds of hides and over 1.7 million pounds of wool by 1869. The port of Indianola served the area around Matagorda Bay, where five meatpacking facilities were located by 1870. Indianola exported cattle, hides, wool, cotton, and processed meat.[26]

There was a major managerial re-alignment in 1867. Preceded by the departure of George Quintard and Henry Morgan, both who pursued new paths as independent financiers, his agent in New Orleans, Israel C. Harris, retired on April 1 before dying on Christmas Eve. Morgan hired a new agency for the Crescent City, headed by another one of his son-in-laws, Charles A. Whitney. Whitney & Company's other partner was another Morgan associate by the name of Alexander C. Hutchinson. Morgan granted them total authority over the Morgan Line, which operated between Louisiana and Texas.[27]

Railroad ownership[edit]

Advertisement for Morgan Line, May 11, 1878
Advertisement for International & Great Northern Railroad, May 11, 1878

To this point, Morgan had invested in the first-tier mortgage bonds of the NOO & GW, but had not yet held equity in any railroads. The NOO & GW had fallen behind in its coupon payments. The Illinois Central Railroad, a large bondholder, filed suit on June 10, 1868. The following year, William S. Pike approached Morgan to join a group of 26 NOO & GW bondholders to force a court-ordered sale of the railroad. Morgan refused to join the suit, and Pike dropped the plan. Several months later, in September 1868, Morgan offered a complex counter-proposal to act as an operator and lessee of the NOO & GW. Morgan agreed to buy all of the NOO & GW's debt, while taking responsibility for two-thirds of the debt for building the railroad to Sabine Pass, Texas. In Pike's opinion, the bondholders would be offering as much as a fifty percent discount on their assets, thus he declined the offer. Morgan predicted a bankruptcy in the NOO & GW's near future. Shortly later, Morgan retained Miles Taylor as legal counsel, who filed a series of legal actions against the railroad. One of these suits competed against an earlier lawsuit filed in federal court by the Illinois Central Railroad, which was attempting to force the NOO & GW into liquidation. This was inimical to Morgan's financial interests since he was a major bondholder, and Taylor's suit asked for a court-ordered sale of the railroad. The Illinois Central's suit was dismissed in Federal District Court, and Morgan won his suit, sending the NOO & GW into an auction at the New Orleans Custom House. Through an agent, Morgan purchased the NOO & GW on May 25, 1869 for $2,050,000.[28]

Morgan, for his more than $2 million, owned the entire NOO & GW. He renamed it Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad. At the time of purchase, the assets included a terminal each at Algiers and Brashear, and eighty miles of single-track in between. The Algiers terminal included forty acres with 370-feet of frontage on the Mississippi River, directly across from New Orleans. The Brashear terminal included coal yards, warehouses, and wharves, with 330-feet of frontage on the Atchafalaya River. Along its track, the NOO & GW had built many miles of trestles over the watery right-of-way, and also maintained depots and rolling stock.[29]

Morgan purchased a large share of equity of the San Antonio and Mexican Gulf Railway (SA & MG) on May 25, 1870. His steamers had long served the Texas port of Indianola, and he met the competition of railroad transport to Indianola by his own railroad investment. Morgan, and the other owner, Henry S. McComb, renamed the company the Gulf, Western Texas, and Pacific Railroad. Morgan acquired McComb's interest in the railroad in May 1872.[30]

With steamboat service from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama discontinued, the Louisiana–Texas service accounted for most of Morgan's marine business. High taxes and fees increased the costs for doing business in New Orleans. The city's access to the Mississippi River was less important in light of Morgan's Texas and Louisiana Railroad. After the dredging of the Atchafalya River in 1872, Morgan moved all of his Louisiana steamboat operations from New Orleans to Brashear, relying on the ferry from New Orleans to Algiers, and his railroad from Algiers to Brashear to convey his westbound passengers and freight. He also shifted investments from wharfage at Lake Ponchartain and in New Orleans to expanded facilities in Brashear. By around 1875, Morgan's payroll included about 800 workers in Brashear, with the wharf spanning over 2,600 feet. In February 1876, the town's name was changed to Morgan City.[31]

By the 1870s, the Southern Steamship Company had expanded its geographical reach through new assets and alliances. For example, a Morgan agent in 1873 was able to sell a single ticket for passage between New Orleans and San Antonio, Texas which employed several modes of transportation. Starting on rail from Algiers, Louisiana, the journey included coastal steamboat passage combining two packets, another rail segment, and finally the passenger reached San Antonio via stagecoach.[32]

Meanwhile, in Texas, Morgan started withdrawing from Galveston as a port. The Galveston Wharf Company no longer gave his ships favored treatment. In addition, the only railroad from that city—the Galveston, Houston and Henderson—could not run any of its rolling stock north of Houston. Morgan also adapted to the progress of the railroad networks. First, in 1873, he changed his freight tariffs from rates by container volumes to rates per hundred pounds of weight. Second, he had started a plan to bypass Galveston as a logistics center in favor of Houston.[33] Around the same time, he also forwarded his passengers and freight through the Direct Navigation Company, which transferred between coastal steamers to Buffalo Bayou packets in Galveston Bay, thus avoiding the port of Galveston, along with its regulations and fees. The Direct Navigation Company ran its steamers from Galveston Bay to the wharf at Houston. Later he bought enough stock in the company to become its largest shareholder, further aligning his interests with Houston and against Galveston.[32]

On July 1, 1874, Morgan forged an agreement with the Ship Channel Company (Houston) to improve navigation of Buffalo Bayou. Morgan agreed to dredge to a depth of nine feet and at least 120-feet in width in exchange for company stock. Less than two years later, he completed a channel through Galveston Bay to an existing channel through the Red Fish Bar, and the final segment terminated about six miles east of Houston, at a place he named Clinton, Texas. He next commissioned the construction of a short line railroad of just over seven miles to network his wharves at Clinton with two Houston railroads: the Houston and Texas Central and the International and Great Northern. When this line started operation on September 11, 1876, Morgan gained access to most of Texas and no longer needed Galveston within his transportation network. Next, he engineered a takeover of the Houston and Texas Central, ousting the all-Texas management, and installing himself as a director with Charles A. Whitney as president.[33]

Death and legacy[edit]

Article about Morgan, Galveston Daily News, May 11, 1878
Tomb, Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Morgan died on May 9, 1878 at his home in New York City after an extended illness as a consequence of Bright's Disease.[34] The railroad continued to expand westward, reaching Lafayette by 1879. 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 1883.[35] His incorporation of Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company (ML & TRSC) facilitated a division of his estate, delegated to the administration of Charles A. Whitney. In April 1878, just a few weeks prior to his death, Morgan conveyed shares of the company to Mary Jane Sexton Morgan, Maria Louis Morgan Whitney, Frances Eliza Morgan Quintard, Charles A. Whitney, George W. Quintard, and Richard Jessup Morgan (a grandson). Whitney was the president of the company; Alexander C. Hutchinson was the vice-president. Both held proxies from the Morgan family shareholders to manage the company.[34]

The ML & TRSC persisted though 1885. Development of the railroads severely diminished the role of coastal steamships. The railroad part of the enterprise remained valuable. However, Collis P. Huntington and Jay Gould were the dominant railroad developers in the region. Though Texas law prohibited interstate railroads, Huntington leased Texas railroads to bring them into the Southern Pacific Railroad system. Some of these included segments of the ML & TRSC in Texas and Louisiana.[36]

Morgan donated money in 1869 and 1870 for the land and the construction of new high school on Main Street in his native town of Clinton, Connecticut.[37] The Morgan School in Clinton, Connecticut is named after Charles Morgan. Morgan City, Louisiana is also named in his honor.[38]


  1. ^ a b c d James P. Baughman (June 15, 2010). "MORGAN, CHARLES". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November 6, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b James P. Baughman (1968). Charles Morgan and the Development of Southern Transportation. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press. pp. 5–8. 
  3. ^ a b Baughman (1968), pp. 111–112.
  4. ^ a b Baughman (1968), pp. 53–56.
  5. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 53–56.
  6. ^ a b Baughman (1968), pp. 8–9.
  7. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 9–11.
  8. ^ a b Baughman (1968), pp. 12–15.
  9. ^ a b Baughman (1968), 15–17.
  10. ^ Baughman (1968), 17–18.
  11. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 19–21.
  12. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 23–27.
  13. ^ Baughman (1968), p. 31.
  14. ^ Baughman (1968), p. 39.
  15. ^ a b Baughman (1968), pp. 40–47.
  16. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 49–52.
  17. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 59–65.
  18. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 94–96.
  19. ^ a b Baughman (1968), 97–103.
  20. ^ Baughman (1968), p. 113.
  21. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 113–117.
  22. ^ Baughman (1968), 117–120.
  23. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 121–122.
  24. ^ a b c Baughman (1968), pp. 124–128.
  25. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 130–131.
  26. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 128–130.
  27. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 131–133.
  28. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 148–154.
  29. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 155–156.
  30. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 187–189.
  31. ^ Baughman (1968), pp. 174–177.
  32. ^ a b Andrew W. Hall (2012). "Morgan Moves In". The Galveston–Houston Packet: Steamboats on Buffalo Bayou. Charleston, SC: The History Press. 
  33. ^ a b Baughman (1968), pp. 198–205.
  34. ^ a b Baughman (1968), pp. 210–211.
  35. ^ George C. Werner (20 March 2017). "Houston and Texas Central Railway". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 20 November 2017. 
  36. ^ Baughman (1968), 212–231.
  37. ^ "A Shipping and Railroad Magnate Remembers His Connecticut Roots". Connecticut History. Retrieved November 26, 2017. 
  38. ^ Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Brothers of the Sacred Heart Historical Marker".