Category Archives: Harrison

John Moore

Biographical Sketches of Members of Congress, Members of the Legislature,
Officers of the State Governement and judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals,
West Virigina, 1917

West Virginia Legislative Hand Book and Manual and Official Register, 1917,
Compiled and Edited by John T. Harris, Clerk of the Senate,
The Tribune Printing Co., Charleston, West Va.
pgs. 719 – 770



MOORE, JOHN. (Republican.) Address: Bridge-
port, West Va. One of the represensataives [sic] from Harrison
county. Born in Bridgeport, Harrison county, and edu-
cated in the public schools. At present is actively engaged
in farming; is also extensively interested in the hotel
business; served eight years as postmaster at Bridgeport;
was elected to the House of Delegates in 1916, and served
in the 1917 sessions, being a member of the following
standing committees: Federal Relations, Labor, Humane
Institutions and Public Buildings, Immigration and

Submitted by: Valerie Crook

Hugh B. Shinn

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 24, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 603-604

HUGH B. SHINN, a representative of the historic Shinn
family of Harrison County, was one of the founders and
has been occupied with the management for twenty years
of the Valley Grocery Company of Belington. This is one
of the prosperous wholesale concerns that add an imposing
volume to the commercial trade centered at this little city.

The Valley Grocery Company was founded by L. P.
Shinn, G. W. Shipman and Hugh B. Shinn. The company
was chartered with an actual capital of $61,000, and with
an authorized capital of $100,000. The first officers were
G. W. Shipman, president; H. B. Shinn, secretary and
treasurer, and L. P. Shinn, vice president. It was in the
fall 1902 that the house opened for business, with two trav-
eling salesmen representing the firm in the field. The
business has grown steadily, and now serves a large and
important section of West Virginia. There are three trav-
eling salesmen on the staff. The company has steadily
kept in touch within its original field, handling groceries and
feed. Hugh B. Shinn is a member of the State Wholesale
Grocers Association.

There is something said on other pages of this publica-
tion concerning the historic Shinn family. The Shinns of
West Virginia are descended from a remote Scotch ancestor
who came to this country and settled in Pennsylvania be-
fore the Revolution. The grandfather of Hugh B. Shinn
was Jeremiah Shinn, a substantial farmer in the Shinnston
community of Harrison County, where he spent his life
and where he is buried. He married Mahala Sturms, and
they had two sons and five daughters: Luther P. and Byron
Shinn; Mrs. Rose Tetrick; Caroline, wife of George F. An-
dall; Jane, who married Harry F. Randall; Florence, who
became Mrs. Bruce W. Boggess; and Allie, who married D.
L. Morrow. There were no politicians, ministers or other
professional men in this old family, and hardly with an
exception the men have been occupied either with farm-
ing or some line of commercial endeavor.

Luther P. Shinn, father of Hugh, was born in Harrison
County in 1850, acquired a country school education, and
has been a business man all his active career. He took up
merchandising at the age of twenty-five, and is still in
business at Buckhannon. The only office he ever held was
as a member of the City Council at Buckhannon. For many
years he has been an official in the Methodist Episcopal
Church. Luther P. Shinn married Virginia Boggess, daugh-
ter of John W. Boggess, of Lumberport, Harrison County,
an ex-soldier of the Union Army. She died in 1882, leav-
ing two sons, Hugh B. and Guy. Guy was associated with
the wholesale business at Belington until he died in 1906,

Hugh B. Shinn was born in Harrison County in Decem-
ber, 1874, but was reared at Buckhannon, Upshur County.
He attended the public schools and had a brief course in
Wesleyan College. His early life was spent in the atmos-
phere of his father’s retail store, and at the age of eighteen
he became an active helper in the business. He is still
associated with his father’s store at Buekhannon, although
his main time and attention are given to the wholesale house
at Belington. The management of this business, in which
he has been a factor for twenty years, constitutes a man’s
job, and Mr. Shinn has permitted himself no special share
in politics or other affairs. He was brought up a repub-
lican, and cast his first national ballot for McKinley in
1896. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church
and the Knights of Pythias.

In Upshur County in September, 1897, Mr. Shinn mar-
ried Miss May. Brown, who was born in Delaware County,
Ohio, daughter of F. W. Brown, but since childhood she
has lived in West Virginia and she finished her education at
Wesleyan College. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Shinn
are: Sherwood, a member of the class of 1923 in the elec-
trical engineering course at West Virginia University; Fran-
cois, of the class of 1925 in the Baltimore Dental College;
Virginia, of the class of 1925 at Wesleyan College; Kenneth
is a student in the Belington High School; and Frederick.
in grammar school.

J. Ralph Jones

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 16, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 503-504

J. RALPH JONES, president of the Bridgeport Bank and
one of the principals in the Bridgeport Lamp Chimney Com-
pany, has exemplified in his business career the initiative
ability and vital progressiveness that make for definite
success, and he is one of the leading business men of the
fine little City of Bridgeport, Harrison County.

Mr. Jones was born in Lewis County, West Virginia, on
the 20th of November, 1876, and is a son of Samuel C.
and Catherine (Peterson) Jones, both of whom likewise
were born in this state, where the respective families were
founded prior to the creation of the new commonwealth of
West Virginia from the mother state of Virginia. The
father gave his entire active career to productive farm
industry, and he and his wife now reside near Weston,
judicial center of Lewis County, where he is living virtually
retired. Their children are eight in number, three sons and
five daughters.

That J. Ralph Jones profited well from the early educa-
tional advantages that were his is evidenced by the success
which attended his efforts when he initiated his independent
career by becoming a teacher in a rural school in his native
county, his service in the pedagogic profession having con-
tinued four years. For fifteen years thereafter he was a
successful traveling salesman for a leading wholesale sad-
dlery and harness house in in the City of Louisville, Ken-
tucky, and in 1908 he established his residence at Bridge-
port, where he became one of the organizers of the Bridge-
port Lamp Chimney Company, a partnership concern in
which his associates are John and William F. Duncan. This
company now represents one of the important industrial
enterprises of this section of West Virginia, and when the
plant is running at full capacity a corps of 175 employes is
demanded. The company manufactures virtually all types
of lamp chimneys of the best grade, and the trade has been
extended not only into all parts of the United States but
also into South America and Cuba. Mr. Jones has im-
portant interests also in farm enterprise and natural-gas
production, besides which he is president of the Bridge-
port Bank, which was organized in 1904 and which bases
its operations on a capital stock of $25,000, its surplus
fund being now $50,000. This is one of the solid and
well ordered financial institutions of Harrison County.
Mr. Jones is affiliated with both the York and Scottish
Rite bodies of the Masonic fraternity, as is he also of
the adjunct organization, the Mystic Shrine, and he holds
membership also in the Benevolent and Protective Order
of Elks and the United Commercial Travelers. He and
his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,

October 19, 1901, recorded the marriage of Mr. Jones
and Miss Mintie C. Horner, of Lewis County, her parents,
John and Lucy (Hammer) Horner, being deceased. Mr.
and Mrs. Jones have five children: J. Horner, Samuel C.,
W. Lyle, J. Ralph, Jr., and Pauline.

John Washington Fortney

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 277
Harrison County

JOHN WASHINGTON FORTNEY, a former member of the
House of Delegates from Harrison County, has been promi-
nently identified with the business and agricultural affairs
of the Lumberport vicinity for a number of years, and
on April 5, 1922 he was appointed postmaster of the Lum-
berport office, beginning his duties on April 15.

He was born on a farm in Eagle District of Harrison
County, July 2, 1865, son of Joshua D. and Mary J.
(Gifford) Fortney. The Fortneys were a very early family
in Harrison County, moving there from Preston County. His
paternal grandparents were Jacob D. and Mary (Shreve)
Fortney, the former also a native of West Virginia. Mr.
Fortney’s parents were born and reared and spent all
their lives in Harrison County. Jacob Fortney, who was
a farmer, enlisted in the Union army in 1861, and served
eighteen months in Captain Moffett’s company, until hon-
orably discharged on account of ill health. Mary J. Gifford
was a daughter of John and Malinda (Harbert) Gifford.

John Washington Fortney was one of eleven children.
He grew up on the farm, and finished the eighth grade in
the public schools at Lumberport. He engaged in farm-
ing, and about 1906 became a merchant and meat dealer
in Meadowbrook and later at Lumberport. This business
he sold in 1916, and then returned to the farm. In Sep-
tember, 1921, he again entered commercial affairs at Lum-
berport; as a merchant dealing in dry goods, groceries,
hats, caps and shoes.

Mr. Fortney has been one of the active republicans of
his county. He served several terms in the council of
Lumberport, and in 1918 was elected to the House of
Delegates and served one term with credit. In the session
of 1919 he was a member of the committee on railroads
and military affairs. Mr. Portney is a Baptist and is
affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

In 1888 he married Miss Minerva J. Bates, daughter
of Notley S. Bates of Harrison County. Mr. and Mrs.
Fortney became the parents of thirteen children, ten of
whom are living.

Lamar Cecil Oyster

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
September 26, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 277-278
Harrison County

LAMAR CECIL OYSTER, M. D. A busy physician with an
extensive country practice in Harrison County for twenty
years, Doctor Oyster eventually discovered a taste and
talent for commercial lines that brought him into the ranks
of merchants. To mention that he is proprietor of “The
Big Little Town Store” is sufficient to identify him with
West Virginia’s most successful country merchants.

Doctor Oyster since he was three years of age has lived
in Harrison County, near Lumberport. The accident of
birth makes him a native of Kansas. He was born at
Paola in that state December 14, i873, son of John H.
and Elizabeth (Denham) Oyster. His father was a native
of Washington, D. C. The grandfather, David W. Oyster,
went out to Kansas about 1859, and was a participant
in the great free state struggle there. The mother of
Doctor Oyster was born near Lumberport, August 17, 1848,
one of the six children of John B. and Elizabeth (Smith)
Denham, and granddaughter of David B. and Elizabeth
(Robinson) Denham, and her maternal grandfather was
James Smith of the Simpson Creek vicinity of Harrison
County. Mrs. Oyster was born and reared on her father’s
farm about a mile south of Lumberport. She is a Metho-
dist. Doctor Oyster has never married, and he and his
mother have always lived together, he being her only child.
They have been very much devoted to each other all the

Doctor Oyster was educated in public schools of Lumber-
port, in the Fairmont State Normal, and for four years
was a teacher. In 1901 he graduated from the Baltimore
Medical College, and for upwards of twenty years he prac-
ticed medicine at Lnmberport and vicinity.

In the meantime, December 8, 1911, he became a member
of Hedges and Oyster Company, general merchandise. In
the growing business of this concern he found his time
and interest more and more engaged until in 1919 he bought
out his partner and has since given his time almost ex-
clusively to this store. He carries a stock of general mer-
chandise, and only one other store in Harrison County
individually owned has a larger stock.

The business has thoroughly justified its name of “The
Big Little Town Store,” and that title has been widely
advertised. Doctor Oyster believes in advertising and the
principle that the “more you tell the quicker you sell.”
Few men are better equipped to conduct an advertising
campaign. He knows the community, he knows its needs
and its pace. he knows his business, and he has the art of
weaving into his advertising many matters of incidental
interest so that his business talks are as eagerly read as
the news columns of local papers. In the interest of his
business he publishes “now and then” a store paper known
as “The Oyster.” His was the first store in West Virginia
to publish such a trade paper, and in fact it was one of
the first store papers in the country. While its primary
purpose is to put before the public a timely account of the
merchandise, “The Oyster” is also a medium of community
news and contains many paragraphs of the Doctor’s wit
and philosophy. His store paper has been widely quoted,
and he has written a great deal for other trade papers.

Doctor Oyster through his business and through his per-
sonal interest contributes to the growth and development
of his home town. He is a stockholder and director in
several corporations, including the Lumberport Bank and
the Mound City Glass Company. In politics he is a re-
publican, and is affiliated with the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and the Benevolent and Protective Order of

James Edward Law

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Tina Hursh
September 29, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.
Chicago and New York, Volume 111
Pg. 365

James Edward Law. The educated, reputable lawyer is invariably ranked with the
worth-while citizens of a community, and this is true at Clarksburg, West
Virginia, as in other cities. An able representative of this profession here
is James Edward Law, formerly prosecuting attorney, who belongs by birth and
parentage to Harrison County.

James E. Law was born near Salem, Harrison County, West Virginia, April 27,
1872, a son of Jesse Daugherty and Nancy (Hooper) Law, and a grandson of
William Law and Nicholas Hooper, the paternal grandfather being a native of
Ireland, of Scotch-Irish lineage, and the latter of Harrison County. Jesse
Daugherty Law served as a soldier in the Union Army during the war between the
states, and afterward followed the peaceful life of a farmer and stockman. His
death occurred when sixty-eight years of age, his widow surviving to be
seventy-two years of age. They reared a family of two daughters and five sons. Mr. and Mrs. Law were highly esteemed in their neighborhood and were faithful members of the Methodist Protestant Church.

James E. Law had educational privileges in the public schools, then became a
student in Salem College and later matriculated in the West Virginia
University, where he took both a classical and law course and was graduated in
1899 and admitted to the bar in the same year. He located immediately at
Clarksburg, where he opened a law office and was elected prosecuting attorney
of Harrison County, serving as such from 1901, to 1904, inclusive. In 1918 he
formed a law partne[r]ship with Anthony F. McCue, under the firm name of Law
and McCue.

He helped to organize the Farmers Bank at Clarksburg in 1904, and has since
been one of its directors. He has been equally useful in other public
capacities, and served as county superintendent of schools from 1895 to 1899,
with the greatest efficiency. He had taught school in his younger years, and
thus had a personal understanding of the educational problems facing teachers
and boards of education.

In 1901 Mr. Law was united in marriage with Miss Edna Hustead, who was born and
reared in Harrison County. They have two children, a son and daughter, James
Edward and Carolyn Waldo. Mr. Law and his family belong to the Methodist
Episcopal Church. Like all broad-minded, intelligent men, Mr. Law takes a deep
interest in public affairs and to some extent in the local political field. As
was his father, he is a sturdy supporter of the principles of the republican
party. Fraternally he is an Odd Fellow, and on many occasions, as a foremost
citizen, is called on to serve, officially or otherwise, on boards and
committees concerned with the public welfare.

Clarence Wheeler Leggett

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
April 13, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 410

CLARENCE WHEELER LEGGETT, prominent Clarksburg
financier and business man, moved to that city more than
a quarter of a century ago, reaching here with a very
limited capital, and the large and important concerns
now associated with him and in which he is a vital and
responsible factor are a measure of his growing abilities
and personal achievements.

Mr. Leggett was born on a farm near Waterford, Wash-
ington County, Ohio, May 12, 1856, son of Samuel and
Rebecca (Cooksey) Leggett. The Leggett family was
among the first to enter the Northwest Territory beyond the
Ohio River. His great-grandfather moved from Baltimore,
Maryland, over the Alleghenies, for a time lived in an
Indian blockhouse on the site of the modern Waterford and
not far from the historic City of Marietta. Robert Leggett,
grandfather of the Clarksburg business man, was born in
this block house in 1796. The Leggetts are descended from
three brothers who came from England to the American
Colonies. Samuel Leggett and Rebecca Cooksey both
claimed a village named Waterford as their birthplace,
though the Waterford of Samuel Leggett was in Ohio, while
his wife’s birthplace was Waterford, Virginia. They had
two children, the only daughter Janie C. being deceased.
The parents spent their lives in Washington County, Ohio,
where the father was a farmer. He was an elder in the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Clarence Wheeler Leggett grew up on his father’s farm,
attended rural schools, and completed his education in the
Cumberland Presbyterian College at Beverly, Ohio. He
graduated in 1876 at the age of twenty from Duff’s Busi-
ness College at Pittsburgh. Then followed an experience
as a drug clerk in Ohio and subsequently in West Virginia
and from clerking he was made salesman and later manager
of the drug department of the J. N. Murdoch & Company,
wholesalers at Parkersburg. Still later he was city salesman
and finally assistant buyer for the wholesale grocery house
of C. C. Martin & Company of Parkersburg.

Mr. Leggett removed from Parkersburg to Clarksburg
in 1895, and here established a merchandise brokerage busi-
ness. This original line is still retained by him, though his
interests are now broadly divided. The merchandise broker-
age business is continued under the firm name of C. W.
Leggett & Company. Mr. Leggett in 1908 bought the
building occupied by the General Distributing Company,
and the business of the Central Storage Company, and he
still owns and operates this. He is chairman of the board
of directors of the Clarksburg Trust Company, a director
of the Empire National Bank of Clarksburg, president of
the Community Savings & Loan Company, is treasurer of
the Eagle Convex Glass Specialty Company.

Mr. Leggett arrived at Clarksburg, November 7, 1895.
The capital he brought for the purpose of establishing him-
self in business was less than $500. More important was
his determination to succeed, a diligent application of
subsequent years, and the energy and ability that have paved
the way to substantial success. Open and frank in his
business dealings, always maintaining strictest regard for
integrity of character and honesty, he has long enjoyed
the confidence of all with whom his varied and extended
affairs bring him in contact.

Mr. Leggett is a democrat, and that was the political
faith of his ancestry. He is a Knight Templar and thirty-
second degree Scottish Rite Mason, a Shriner, life member
of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, a Knight
of Pythias and a member of the United Commercial
Travelers. As a citizen of Clarksburg he has rendered a
constant public spirit and influence in behalf of sound
progress, though he has not been active in city politics.
He was one of the organizers of the Clarksburg Board of
Trade, now the Clarksburg Chamber of Commerce, and is
active in its membership.

Mr. Leggett in 1895 married Miss Mary G. Coleman
They have one child, Frances H.

Jesse G. Lawson

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 23, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 531-532

JESSE G. LAWSON, president and the organizer of the
First National Bank of Bridgeport, Harrison County, has
been one of the world’s constructive workers, has enjoyed
his work and has found life full of compensation. He has
shown a fine sense of civic and personal stewardship, and
has been specially interested in educational affairs.

Mr. Lawson is a native son of Harrison County, his birth
having occurred on the family homestead farm on Bushy
Fork of Elk Creek, seven miles south of Bridgeport, on
the 17th of February, 1856. He is a son of Abner and
Magdalena (Nutter) Lawson, who passed their entire lives
in Harrison County, where the respective families were
founded in the early pioneer days. Abner Lawson was one
of the substantial farmers and honored citizens of Harrison
County, and was influential in community affairs of public

After receiving the discipline of the rural schools Jesse
Of. Lawson was for two terms a student in West Virginia
College at Flemington, Taylor County. Later he continued
his studies in well conducted “pay schools” in his native
county and in Lewis County, and he put his acquirements
to practical test when he became a teacher in the rural
schools, his first term of school having been taught in
Lewis County, in 1877, and he having later been a successful
teacher in the schools of Harrison County. He continued
his activities in the pedagogic profession for twenty years,
was progressive in his attitude, broadened his studies to
meet the requirements of the advancing standards in local
educational affairs, and did a service of enduring value
as is ever true when practical aid is given in teaching the
youth of any locality in any period. Mr. Lawson’s deep
appreciation of the value of popular education has caused
him to maintain at all times a deep interest in the further-
ing of educational work in his home county and state.

In 1896 Mr. Lawson was elected assessor of what was
then known as the lower assessment district of Harrison
County, of which office he continued the incumbent four
years, besides which he served four years as deputy asses-
sor. While engaged in teaching he maintained his home on
his well improved farm on Bushy Creek, a property which
he still owns, though Bridgeport has been his place of
residence since March 17, 1898.

In 1920 Mr. Lawson became one of the leading promoters
in the organization of the First National Bank of Bridge-
port, and through his vigorous and well ordered campaign
was effected the sale of all of the stock of the new institu-
tion, which received its charter on the 19th of October of
that year and which bases its operations on a capital stock
of $50,000. He was elected president of the bank, and as
its chief executive has directed its policies with character-
istic discrimination and ability. In politics Mr. Lawson
gives staunch allegiance to the republican party, he is af-
filiated with the Masonic fraternity, and he and his family
hold membership in the Methodist Protestant Church at
Bridgeport, he being a teacher in its Sunday School and
the leader of the parents’ class in the same.

On the 8th of September, 1897, was solemnized the mar-
riage of Mr. Lawson and Miss Minnie C. Henry, of Tyrcon-
nell, Taylor County, she being a daughter of John H. and
Eliza (Marker) Henry. Mr. and Mrs. Lawson have three
children: Marion G., who remains at the parental home,
is a musician of exceptional and well developed talent;
Magdalena H. is, in 1922, a student in Western Maryland
College at Westminster, Maryland, where she is preparing
herself for teaching; and John H. Abner is a member of
the senior class in the Bridgeport High School.

Levi Morgan

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
are buried.)

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”.

Louis Arthur Johnson

Biographical Sketches of Members of Congress, Members of the Legislature,
Officers of the State Governement and judges of the Supreme Court of Appeals,
West Virigina, 1917

West Virginia Legislative Hand Book and Manual and Official Register, 1917,
Compiled and Edited by John T. Harris, Clerk of the Senate,
The Tribune Printing Co., Charleston, West Va.
pgs. 719 – 770



dress: Clarksburg, West Va. One of the representatives
from Harrison county. Born in Roanoke county, Vir-
ginia; educated in the public schools and in the University
of Virginia, receiving from that institution the degree of
B. L.; a lawyer by profession. Before entering upon
active practice, he served as assistant instructor in the
University of Virginia; elected to the legislature in 1916;
in the sessions of 1917 was made chairman of the Judiciary
committee, serving, also, on the following committees:
Virginia Debt, Elections and Privileges, Game and Fish,
Forfeited and Unappropriated Lands, Forestry and Con-
servation and Printing and Contingent Expenses.

Submitted by: Valerie Crook