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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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Thomas Morgan

Source: "Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin" Chicago; J. H. Beers & Co. 1895

Thomas Morgan, one of the successful farmers of Lanark township, Portage County, has lived an eventful and active life. He was a brave soldier in the war of the Rebellion, and fought gallantly on many a hard-won battlefield. He has been actively interested in the lumbering interests of Wisconsin, and has in his time contracted a large quantity of timber. Now a prominent farmer, his station and standing in life have come to him through his own personal efforts.

Mr. Morgan was born in Ireland May 29, 1843. His mother, Elizabeth Reynolds, was the daughter of a Scotchman, and his father, William Morgan, born in June, 1818, was of Welsh extraction and a mason by trade. In his youth he had visited Canada, and returning to Ireland he there married Miss Reynolds, January 21, 1841. Three years after his marriage the young mason with his wife and son Thomas emigrated to Canada, five years later, in 1849, coming to Wisconsin. He followed his trade for a time at Sheboygan Falls, then bought forty acres of new land in Cato Township, Manitowoc County. There were no roads here, and Mr. Morgan carried provisions on his hack from Manitowoc, a distance of twelve miles. In the fall of 1860 he removed to Rantoul township, Calumet county, then a new county also, but with some improvements. In May, 1861, he enlisted at Chilton in Company K, Fourth Wis. V. I., and while on his way home on a furlough, died at Fond du Lac, September 25, 1863; he was buried at Chilton. The children of William Morgan were: Thomas; William, who was born in Canada July 24, 1845, and died in Los Angeles, Cal., December 5, 1890 (he was a member of Company E, Fourteenth Wis. V. I.); George, born in Canada, and died January 1, 1852, in Sheboygan county; Eleanor, who was born in Canada, August 2, 1849, married Frank Powers, and died in Wausau, Wis., October 26, 1876; David, born in Sheboygan County, April 1, 1852, a farmer of Farmington township, Waupaca county; Reynolds, born June 13, 1855, in Manitowoc county, Wis., and died in Wausau, Wis., December 19, 1875; Mary A., born September 16, 1857, married Ed Ross, and died January 2, 1894, in Farmington township, Waupaca county, Wis.; Elizabeth, born January 13, 1859, now Mrs. D. Alton Ross, of Waupaca. The death of Mr. Morgan left his widow and children in straitened circumstances. Heroically she struggled to keep the little ones together until her death, in February, 1866. Typhoid fever had entered the family, and the widow, worn down by her constant attendance at the bedside of her three children, contracted the disease and succumbed to its ravages She was buried by her patriot husband's side, at Chilton cemetery.

Thomas Morgan, the eldest child, began attending school in Canada, and later received some instruction in Wisconsin. In Manitowoc County his father and neighbors organized the first school in the neighborhood. When the Rebellion first broke out, Thomas, then nearly eighteen, was anxious to enlist, but the father had gone, and for a few months the entreaties of the mother prevailed; in September of that year, however, he went to Sheboygan Falls, and there enlisted in Company H, First Wis. V. I., which had served its three-months' term and was reorganized for three years. From Milwaukee the regiment proceeded to Jeffersonville, Ind. After a month's drilling there it crossed the Ohio into Kentucky, and first met the enemy at Salt River; then it participated in the desperate struggle at Perryville, Ky., October 8, 1862, and here he was slightly wounded by a bayonet thrust. Stone River and Chickamauga followed. In the latter severe engagement Mr. Morgan was three times captured, and each time he escaped, an incident that is in itself proof of the protracted and hand-to-hand struggle in which the First Wisconsin was engaged. The regiment, and with it Mr. Morgan, participated in all the battles of that campaign; it was at Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, and in the operations around Chattanooga and Nashville; it entered upon the Atlanta campaign, and took part in the engagements around that city. At Jonesboro, Ga., September 1, 1864, Mr. Morgan fired his last shot. His term of service had expired. His mother at home was a widow, struggling to support her family. He had been sending her his pay as a soldier, but he felt that she needed his personal assistance. In November he was honorably discharged at Milwaukee, and came to Chilton. For a year he engaged in farming. He then went South, to Clarksville, Tenn., and took a farm of 400 acres to work on shares. There he remained a year and a half, and was offered a good salary to stay longer, hut he did not like the country. The war feeling had not yet subsided, and his life was constantly endangered. Returning to Wisconsin in the spring of 1867, he took the contract for the building of twenty-five miles of fence along the Chicago & North Western railroad between Des Moines and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

In the fall he returned to Chilton, Wis., and there he was married, November 14, 1867, to Eunice Breed, a native of Sharon, Penn., daughter of J. H. and Olive (Lawton) Breed, the former of whom was a merchant and hotel proprietor in the city of her birth. After marriage Mr. Morgan rented a farm in Rantoul Township, Calumet County. A year later he gave up farming and entered the lumber woods, taking charge of a camp. He followed this life until 1890, and for nine years he worked for one firm. During the last winter he put in 14,000,000 feet of lumber. In 1880 Mr. Morgan had purchased a farm in Section 3, Lanark Township, and excepting the winter of 1884-85 the family has ever since resided there. A record of the names and dates of the birth of his children is as follows: John T., January 11, 1869; William G., September 1, 1872, died June 16, 1874; David H., April 29, 1877; Frank L., March 13, 1882; Olive E., July 25, 1885; Ray E., January 1, 1888. Mr. Morgan owns a farm of 180 acres, and has erected all the substantial buildings it contains. He is a stanch Republican, and is now serving his third term as chairman of the township. Himself and family attend the M. E. Church. As a thoroughly self- made man, as a representative citizen of the township, as an experienced lumberman, as a kindhearted father and husband, and as an obliging neighbor, Mr. Morgan is highly esteemed and respected by all who know him.

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