Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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MORGAN, Charles, merchant, born in Killingworth (now Clinton), Connecticut, 21 April, 1795; died in New York city, 8 May, 1878. His uncle, John Morgan, of Hartford, was the owner of the first ship that carried the American flag to China. Charles was entirely self-educated, and in 1809 went to New York, where he was a clerk, and afterward opened a shop in Peck slip for the sale of ship-stores and chandlery. Subsequently he imported goods from the West Indies and southern ports, and became sole owner of a line of sailing-vessels in the West India trade. He ran the first steamer between New York and Charleston, South Carolina, and built, with other merchants, the "William Gibbons," the "Columbia," and the "New York." In 1836 he sent the first steamer from New Orleans to Texas, and in that year he became the proprietor of a large foundry and machine-shop in New York, known as the Morgan iron-works, which manufactured steam-engines, boilers, and machinery for many of the heaviest marine engines in the American merchant and naval service. During the civil war the greater part of his fleet was chartered by the United States government. Subsequently he established the Morgan line of steamers in the Gulf of Mexico, and soon had almost a monopoly of the trade of the Gulf ports. He was also sole owner and director of the old Opelousas, afterward known as Morgan's Louisiana and Texas railroad, which he supplemented by building a road from Indianola to Cuero, Texas, and. in order to perfect his line of communication, he dredged a steamboat channel through Atchafalaya bay. He constructed at Indianola the finest wharf in the southern states, which was 2,500 feet in length. He also purchased and built steamers for the California trade, which were used on the Panama and Nicaragua routes. His enterprises were managed entirely by himself. Morgan City, Louisiana was named in his honor. Mr. Morgan gave $50,000 for the endowment of the Morgan school in Clinton, Connecticut, which was erected at a cost of $60,000, and dedicated on 7 December, 1871. His second wife gathered a large and costly collection of paintings and other art objects, which, after her death, was sold in New York city in 1886.
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