The Levi Morgan Story.
Levi Morgan born 26 June 1766, in Morgantown, West Virginia was the
grandson of the first white settler of West Virginia, Colonel Morgan
Morgan. The Colonel was named Morgan Morgan (actually old world style:
Morgan ap Morgan or Morgan of Morgan) because he was the son of two
Morgan parent . The Colonel was born in Wales in 1688 and died in November
1766. Levi was born in June, 1766. The assumption was that Levi never knew
his grandfather, only his grandmother, Catherine Garrettson. She died in
1773 when Levi was seven years old.
Levi’s father was Colonel Zackquill Morgan, a man very prominent in the
history of Virginia, especially during the Revolutionary period. Colonel
Zackquill was born 1735, at Bunker Hill, Virginia (now Berkley County,
West Virginia) where his father (Col Morgan Morgan) was a colonial fur
trader and wealthy land owner. He is said by many to be the first white
settler in the West Virginia area. Col Zack’s wife (and Levi’s mother)
was Drucilla Springer; her Prickett-Springer family was also very rich in
the history of Virginia-West Virginia area. Col. Zack was an acquaintance
of General George Washington, who thought of Zackquill when a County
Lieutenant was needed to settle what became Morgantown, Monongalia County
West Virginia. The Colonel owned the land with rights to sell and settle
(there are many deeds found in various published books to prove this
statement). His wife and children each owned portions of this area, and
they were also found in the deed books of both Harrison and Monongalia
counties (found by Jae and Dr. Tom Breitweiser on trips to Virginia and
West Virginia.) After many years, most of this land is not owned by family
members, but there are many allied descendants living in this area.
Levi Morgan is one of my favorite ancestors in over 25 years of research.
Several “cousins” from this family line have worked to find the first wife
of Levi and as of this date, no avail.
The wedding date is known and the person performing the marriage is also
known. [The Justice of Peace William Haymonds (who married them) was with
Levi in the Militia, and his son wrote in his book that “Captain Levi
Morgan was married 10 th July 1793 by my father.”] The place was West
Virginia at possibly Fort Kerns, a stockade during the Indian troubles.
He was often called “Spy Man” in records.
My daughter, Anne had not been very interested in genealogy until several
years ago; she helped by entering data into the computer until this report.
The Morgan line (also on my father’s side) and Sheegog line really began
to interest me as I continued reading about the rich family history (most
interesting is the Colonial, Frontier, French, Indian and Revolutionary
Levi’s education was unknown; however, in the Draper Manuscripts (compiled
by Lymnan Draper and found by Jae Breitweiser) a letter survives which
Levi wrote and signed as “an Officer of the Government.” He informed the
local governor of some horse thieves and the pursuit of retrieving them;
this letter was well written. It was known that he, unlike the typical
frontiersman, could read and write. Therefore he had some sort of
education, possibly with tutors. I-Es grandfather, Col Morgan Morgan,
was educated in London, and it was obvious that all of his children could
read and write. There are wills, deeds and other public records that
survive this group as proof Levi (according to Draper’ information) could
fluently speak the Delaware (Indian) language.
Levi grew up around the Delaware Indians (his parents and grandparents
were from the Delaware area and this possibly was how he learned to speak
their language.) He was an Indian Fighter most of his adult life, and
several of his stories (including those crediting Simon Kenton in The
Frontiersman) were included in the Allan W. Eckert books about this era.
Eckert also used the Draper Manuscripts as one of his primary sources,
such as the story about Levi and his brother James, when their Uncle David
Morgan (an Indian Fighter) came to visit their father (Col Zack). In the
book The Frontiersman, Eckert adapted this story about Simon Kenton.
[We have the document directly from the Draper MSS about Levi, which
proves that this is the same story!]
Levi participated in many great battles and was also a Captain at Fort
Paw Paw in Marion County, West Virginia. In November of 1791, Levi was
with General St Clair when he was defeated by the Indians. Over 600 of the
1,400 General Harmer men were killed and 271 wounded. The frontiersman
(probably including Levi) tried to tell the generals how to fight the
Indians (which they had done for some time successfully) but they would
not listen. The formal British lines were used and of course, the battle
lines did not hold. In some cases the British soldiers panicked as the
Indians came at them howling loudly with painted faces and hatchets. Many
were hacked to death or beheaded and many of the woolen uniformed British
soldiers ran instead of retreating as a group. The result being the
greatest defeat in America at that time.
The next year (1792) Kentucky became a state, and Levi and his two sons
(David and John) came to this area some time before the 1820’s. It seemed
that the first (and possibly a second) wife was killed or died in West
Virginia, Levi’s oldest son, David, was named after Colonel Zackquill’s
brother, David the Indian Fighter and is our ancestor who married Martha
Bunch. They later lived in Jeffersonville Clark Co. Indiana (about 1832.)
During the next several years Levi was in various military or militia
battles. He possibly trained under Samuel Brady and Lewis Wetzel and
became a “Spy” with General Anthony Wayne, who became known as “Mad
Anthony.” In 1795 his father Col Zackquill Morgan died. From both Harrison
and Monongalia Counties of West Virginia, various court recorders record
Levi in these areas as a bail bondsman; he owned a grist mill in Catawba.
Levi also testified in many court trials as a character witness; so
apparently, he was well respected in these communities. He did not move
from Monongalia to Harrison county; Harrison was formed from Monongalia in
One of the most interesting court cases (found by Jae and Tom is Morgan vs
Stealey, OS 82, NS28) in January 1802, this was the result of the entire
Morgan family (of siblings etc.) being sued by Levi to regain his
Morgantown, West Virginia, property and cabin. Levi (in 1799) had “gone
down the river to New Orleans” with some boats belonging to a friend, but
did not return until 1802. His family and others thought he had died. He
sued, but over several years of court battles, gave up the lawsuit and
eventually left West Virginia. He married Elizabeth Graham in 1815, They
moved to Kentucky, but in 19 13, he was in the Kentucky militia and in the
Battles in Vincennes.
In 1813 Levi’s mother, Drucilla Springer Morgan, signed a deed in
Morgantown, which was the last time a document with her signature appeared.
She may have died about this time. Levi left West Virginia soon after this
time. However, some documents show that he was still in West Virginia,
until 1818-22. His child with Elizabeth (Melinda, her first) but often
called Solinda in old records, was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in
1818, and the other two children (sons, Springer Newton and Elias Graham)
born within several years.
The last known record which concerned Levi was a marriage bond in
September 1825. He signed for his niece Catherine (daughter of his
favorite brother James) to marry her cousin John H. Morgan in Jefferson
County, Kentucky. John is the son of James, who’s father was David the
Indian Fighter, Levi’s cousin. A lot of the Morgans had come to the
Kentucky Indiana area by that time. Many other went to Illinois, others
later to Oregon.
Levi hunted and trapped most of his life and may have lived on 650 acres
near the Salt River and Ohio River. This was apparently one of his hunting
grounds. In 1825 (sometime after September) he was hunting in this area
and an early blizzard caught him unprepared. He was found some time later
“frozen to death in a favorite tree,” a camp hideout. In those days,
Sycamore trees were large enough inside for a person to make camp.
Levi was fifty-nine when he died. His last child, Elizabeth was born
nearly eight months after his death. According to our ancestor, David, in
the account he gave to Lymnan Draper in 1850, “Levi was 5’9″, stocky built
with black hair and had seven children.” In the various accounts, Levi was
buried near the spot he was found dead. Jae and I think this area became
a part of the “eminent domain land” in Fort Knox, Kentucky. [His actual
place of burial is not known. We do know he was not buried in the Fairdale,
Kentucky, churchyard where most of his wife’s descendants and their family
Levi has many descendants who are interested in the history of this
ancestor. Many live in the Kentucky area, the area where he settled in the
1800’s (near Louisville.) I think that his death is as interesting as his
life. He was always the frontiersman, hunter, government spy, militiaman
and Indian Fighter; and he died the way he lived, hunting and communing
with nature. I think Levi really is one of our most interesting ancestors
and because of him, we have been able to explore the time and history in
connection with his life.
Submitted by: Pat Sheegog-Vinson and Bill Cunningham
Please visit the original draft version below at Wetzel County site
At the site of the original draft, there are pictures of the Levi statue
in New Martinsville in the Court House Square and source documention for
the “Levi Morgan Story”.