Thomas Morgan | Weible Family History
The Morgan branch of our family has long been a fascination for me. A lot of it has to do with my personal association with their stomping grounds near Pittsburgh.
While on a college visitation trip, I had the pleasure of visiting one of my mom’s namesake relatives, Janet Louise Curtis. We’d gotten sidetracked, somehow, in all those hills surrounding the city, and Mom navigated by memory down Shady Lane in Mt. Lebanon, where we dropped in on an aging Janet.
She had been a graduate of Westminster College and, later, Penn State, and had taught for years in the Carnegie and Mt. Lebanon school districts. At 84, she was still a lively conversationalist, recalling, among other things, her fondness for the football exploits of the Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw, related in her Pittsburgh accent.
Later, during the April of my freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, I had the bittersweet privilege of attending Janet’s funeral and connecting with extended family. She is buried in the cemetery of her ancestors, Chartiers, in Carnegie.
Mom (Janet Louise (Ley) Foutz) had always enjoyed staying in touch with another Janet Louise, a niece of her favorite grandmother, Beatrice Ethel (Morgan) Weible. And that was the main connection for me — Mom’s beloved grandmother and confidante. I’d heard much about that branch’s Welsh ancestry, which ran through the namesake of all namesakes, Great-Great-Grandmother Jannett Louise Reese and her husband, Thomas W. Morgan.
So when I started digging into family history in August 2008, chipping away at the Morgan connection was an engrossing, and — as it has turned out — slow-going endeavor.
Marriage in Philadelphia, Family Life Near Pittsburgh
I won’t be sharing any new information on Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas W. Morgan in this post, except to recap what’s already been pieced together.
Oh, yeah — and share his portrait for the first time! This remarkable keepsake was graciously shared a month or so ago by Sarah Neely — niece of Janet Louise Curtis, daughter of Elizabeth Curtis Neely, granddaughter of Sarah Elizabeth Morgan Curtis and great-granddaughter of Jannett Louise Morgan. We’ll get to the matriarch Jannett Louise in the next post.
As for Thomas, we still don’t know anything of his origins, other than that he, too, hailed from Wales. What we do know:
* He came to America about 1870, marrying Jannett Louise Morgan in 1872, in Philadelphia, Pa.
* In 1880, we next find the family in Apollo, Pa., in Armstrong County, where Thomas Morgan works as a heater, probably in a mill or factory. The young couple has three children: William, Thomas and 1-year-old Sarah (Sally Neely’s grandmother).
* In 1884, the family moves to Carnegie, where Thomas finds iron work in the rolling mill there. He is elected to two terms as councilman, and in February 1895 begins running the Hotel Morgan.
* Sadly, Thomas dies at a young 50 years old in October, 1897. We don’t know the cause, we don’t gain any information as to his parentage or family, since the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary is stiflingly brief:
PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE – OCTOBER 18, 1897 – PAGE 5
MORGAN-On Sunday, October 17, 1897 at 5:10 a. m., Thomas W. Morgan in his 50th year.
Funeral services from his late residence, Hotel Morgan, corner of Fourth Ave. and Chartiers St., Carnegie, Pa. on Tuesday, October 19 at 2:30 p. m. Friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend.
[New Castle, Pa. papers pls. copy]
Now, there could be a clue to his origins in the instruction to copy the New Castle papers. But the number of Thomas Morgans who emigrated from Wales in the 1800s is staggering. And records at Ancestry.com which show his presence in Wales in 1871, 1901 and 1911 aren’t really helpful.
Probably an international records search or a detailed conversation with other branches of the family can help fill in the missing details. In the next post, I’ll pick up the Morgan story with Jannett Louise — and share her portrait.