James Morgan
James Morgan is my great-great-great grandfather. James Morgan was born about 1808-1809 in Virginia. His marriage certificate to Mary Ann Blackburn has him born about 1810 in Berkeley County, Virginia. We believe that he was the son of Benjamin Morgan and Ann Ellis (m. July 18, 1783, Hagerstown, Washington, Maryland). On October 7, 1830, James Morgan married Mary Ann Blackburn in Clark County, Ohio.
On November 15, 1831, they had their eldest son, Joseph William Morgan (b. November 15, 1831, d. October 20, 1863) in Virginia. From the 1850 Census from Henderson County, Illinois, there is a Jacob Morgan, born August 20, 1833 and died September 12, 1845 before they made the trip overland to Santa Cruz.

In Clark County, Ohio, they had Margaret Mariah “Maggie” (b. July 17, 1935-36, m. March 28, 1854 – Thomas J. Weeks, d. June 16, 1918). In Iowa, they had James Abner Morgan (b. May 18, 1838, d. January 6, 1859). Daniel Blackburn Morgan (b. 1840, m. Mary Augusta, d. February 11, 1905), John Smiley Morgan (b. 1842, m. Kate), Mary Jane Morgan (b.August 10, 1844, m. July 17, 1867 – William H. Rulofson), Samuel Morgan (b. July 29, 1849, d. January 3, 1874 died of “acute mania” — served in Army), and Salome Morgan (b. October 15, 1848, m. December 19, 1877 – Alonzo Fridley, d. August 27, 1927) were born in Oquawka (on the Mississippi River), Henderson County, Illinois.

Supposedly there was another son John G. Morgan who in 1897 sued for a quarter of the estate of James H. Blackburn, who died unmarried in 1888. Another source has a John H. Morgan of Santa Cruz suing for a quarter of a million dollar estate left by his uncle, James A. Blackburn. Could this be John Smiley Morgan?

On May 5, 1852, James Morgan took his wife, Mary Ann, mother-in-law, Margaret Blackburn Bell, sister-in-law Aminda Short (Jacob A. Blackburn’s wife), and his children Joseph W. (21 years old), Margaret M.(abt. 16 years old), James A. (14 years old), Daniel B. (12 years old), John S. (10 years old), Mary J. (8 years old), Samuel (6 years old), and Salome (4 years old) overland from Illinois to Santa Cruz. Eldest son, Joseph W. kept a diary of the trip.

Joseph W. Morgan is listed as coming over to California in 1849, but his own diary has him coming in 1852. J.W. Morgan was a member of the SCPS in 1881. He apparently owned a hardware and tin store in Watsonville. His brothers John and Dan lived in Corralitos, California.


Obituary circa 1883/4:
“James Morgan, who died in San Francisco, aged seventy-five years, was a native of Virginia. He came to California in 1852, settleing in Santa Cruz, where he resided till 1878, when he moved to the city where he died. The deceased brought to Santa Cruz a wife, now deceased, and eight children, five of them who still live. He was a brother-in-law of Judge Blackburn, having the Judge’s mother in his family at the time he made the 5-months ox-team trip across the plains. Mr. Morgan never held office, belonged to a secret order, or participated in partisan politics. He did not drink, smoke or swear, and the first cars he ever saw were the ones that operated between this city and Watsonville. He was simple in his habits as the soil he tilled. He denwas one of the few who lived without enemies among his fellow men, and the large procession which followed his remains to the tomb was an evidence of the position he held in the hearts of the old pioneers and the large circle of relatives that came from the country round about.
Twenty-five years ago Mr. Morgan owned the present home ranch of L.K. Baldwin, his sons tilling it. His home was the present residence of Mrs. C.W. Waldron (Charles Westbrook Waldron – proprietor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel and prominent member of the Odd Fellows), which has been greatly enlarged and changed since it fell into her hands.
The surviving members of the family are Daniel and John Morgan, Mrs. T.J. Weeks, Mrs. M.J. Rulofson, and Mrs. Fridley.”