Several years ago, a number of the theories regarding the potential parentage of General Daniel Morgan were compiled by J.R. Shelby and posted online. Hobby genealogists have picked up on these theories and have incorporated them into family trees that are posted on the internet without the proper historical scrutiny required to make such claims. This has led to further confusion and convolution of an already difficult historical issue. The following is a discussion of each one of these theories and their reasonableness. Before discussing these theories, it is important, I believe, to state what potential facts we know about General Morgan’s childhood and family. These “potential facts” are supported by statements made by Daniel Morgan’s family and close friends, which should be considered reliable. These are strictly my opinions based on my personal research into the statements made by his family and friends.
1. Daniel Morgan was from Welsh ancestry.
2. His parents immigrated to America between 1720 and 1730 and first settled in the Philadelphia area.
3. His father was a farmer and poor.
4. He was born in New Jersey
During the last couple of years of his life, Daniel Morgan found religion. His minister was Rev. William Hill. Rev Hill kept very good notes regarding the conversations he and the General had. Rev Hill’s testimony should be considered reliable based on his character. He would have no reason to fabricate these stories and gained nothing from them. Daniel Morgan and Rev. Hill were so close that Hill composed and delivered Morgan’s eulogy. It is well documented that General Daniel Morgan told Hill that he was Welsh and that his parents emigrated from Wales between 1720 and 1730 and first settled in Pennsylvania before moving across the Delaware River into New Jersey. The following is a direct quote from James Graham who was married to Daniel Morgan’s great granddaughter:
"General Morgan was of Welsh extraction. Between the years of 1720 and 1730, many emigrants from Wales arrived at Philadelphia, and, proceeding thence up the Delaware, settled on its banks. Among those emigrants were his parents. He was frequently heard to declare that his father and mother were Welsh and that they had emigrated to this country about the above mentioned period. It appears that after residing on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware for a year or two, they removed to the opposite shore, in New Jersey, where they lived in a small clearing, cultivated by the father, until all trace of them is lost........."
Michael Fackenthal, who served with General Morgan, told his grandson B.F. Fackenthal that:
“Morgan told him he was born in Durham, and described the house as standing in the corner of a field where the road from Easton crosses Durham Creek and where a small stream empties into this creek.”
5. He married Abigail Curry, not Bailey.
As further evidence that Abigail's maiden name was Curry or Currie, David Allison was a local merchant in Frederick County with whom Daniel did business. In his old ledgers as early as June 25, 1763 it is recorded under Daniel Morgan's account "Abbie Currie (sic) for various sundries by her."
6. They had two daughters, Nancy and Elizabeth
Nancy Morgan married Col. Presley Neville. He was the son of Daniel's good friend and reported "drinking buddy" General John Neville and his wife Winifred.
Elizabeth “Betsey” Morgan married Major James Heard of New Jersey, who had served with Daniel for a period of time.
7. He had an illegitimate son, Willoughby Morgan
From "What I know About Winchester, Recollections of William Greenway Russell 1800-1891" on page 178 is listed the following information:
"Willoughby Morgan: Natural son of General Daniel Morgan, born in Winchester about 1785; reared in South Carolina and studied law there; returned to Winchester and began practice; raised a company in Winchester in the War of 1812; distinguished himself at Fort George and rose to command of the 12th regiment; remained in regular army after the War; commanded troops in Yellowstone Expedition in 1820; died at Prairie du Chien in 1831."
It is thought Willoughby died of a stomach disorder. His will mentioned no wife or children as he never married. He directed T.A. Tidball of Winchester to free all of his slaves and pay his debts. He gave his watch to his friend General Henry Atkinson.
Presley and Nancy Morgan Neville's daughter, Winifred, first confirmed that Willoughby Morgan was Gen Morgan's son. She confirmed this in an interview with Lyman Draper in 1868. She told Draper that she visited her mother's half brother while he was in Prairie du Chien, Michigan Territory, now Wisconsin.
Proposed Lineages of General Daniel Morgan Posted by J.R. Shelby
Lineage 1: Edward>Joseph>Daniel MORGAN 1730:
Lineage 2: James 1640>Edward 1663>Joseph 1702>Daniel MORGAN 1736:
Comment: These two proposed lineages tie Daniel Morgan to Edward Morgan of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. Rev. William Hill was clear in his personal memoirs that Daniel Morgan told him personally that the General’s parents did not come to this country until the time period between 1720 and 1730. Edward Morgan and his immediate family were in this country decades prior to 1720, virtually eliminating lineages 1 and 2 as possible pedigrees for Daniel Morgan. In addition, Edward Morgan was literate and sound financially due to significant land holdings. Daniel Morgan was practically illiterate although he could read some and his father “cultivated” a small tract of land in New Jersey. This is not a likely circumstance for a son and grandson of Edward Morgan.
Lineage 3: James 1640>John 1670>James 1710>Daniel MORGAN 1736:
Lineage 4: James>Daniel MORGAN 1735:
Comment: There are several things related to these lineages that make them problematic. First, both claim Daniel’s father was James Morgan b.1710 who ran the furnace at Durham and was married to Eleanor Bryan Ryan and then Sarah Heinlein. Daniel Morgan was known to have told Rev. Hill and others that his father was a farmer, not the Ironmonger of Durham Furnace. James Morgan, by virtue of his position at Durham Furnace, would have had financial means and likely literacy that we not a part of Daniel Morgan’s upbringing. The timeframe is also relevant. James Morgan was born in America, not Wales. Daniel Morgan told Rev. Hill that his parents were Welsh and that they came to this country along with a large group of Welsh immigrants between 1720 and 1730. In addition, lineage 3 claims that James Morgan’s father was John Morgan, son of James Morgan b.1640. Recent research has determined this to be false and that this James Morgan was the son of a Thomas Morgan and Jenet of Providence Township Philadelphia, not John Morgan, son of James of Radnorshire Wales.
Lineage 5: ____ MORGAN>[David 1709, Sarah 1711, Daniel 1736]:
Comment: This particular line presumes that General Daniel Morgan is the brother of David Morgan the Indian Fighter and Sarah Morgan, mother of Daniel Boone.It mentions no name for the father, which may be the only thing that this one is right on. First, Daniel Boone’s mother was Sarah Morgan, daughter of Edward Morgan of Gwynedd. This is a fact that is well documented in the Friend’s Meeting Minutes and by the research of Stewart Baldwin. This is also documented in the Daniel Boone biography, “Boone”, written by Cornell professor Robert Morgan. David Morgan the Indian Fighter was not a brother of Sarah Morgan, Daniel Boone’s mother. David Morgan the Indian Fighter was the son of Col. Morgan Morgan of Morgantown, West Virginia. DNA testing has proven that Col. Morgan Morgan and Edward Morgan of Gwynedd are not in the same family group, so Sarah Morgan and David Morgan were not even related.Daniel Boone’s mother did have a brother Daniel Morgan, however he was a Quaker minister, not General Daniel Morgan of the Revolution.
Lineage 6: John>Thomas c1482>John 1519>William 1575>Edward 1600>James 1643>Edward H. 1670>Edward J.>James 1710>Daniel MORGAN 1736
Lineage 7: Rhys>James>Morgan C1550>Lewis MORGAN c1580>Morgan L. c1610>James>John 1669>James 1702>Daniel MORGAN 1736:
Comment: Lineages 6 and 7 again try to tie Daniel Morgan to James Morgan of Durham Furnace and do not pass muster for the same reasons as Lineages 1 thru 4.
Lineage 8: Capt. Richard Morgan>Daniel Morgan:
Comment: Captain Richard Morgan and his wife, Jane Taylor, had, according to Richard Morgan’s will, seven (7) children, none of them Daniel Morgan. Also, Richard and Jane Morgan were already living in New Jersey in 1713, which does not satisfy the date of 1720-1730 when Daniel Morgan stated his parents arrived in America from Wales.
Frederick County, VA, will book 3
Last Will and Testament of Richard Morgan d. 1763, probated Winchester, Frederick County, Virginia 6 December 1763.
Will Book Vol. 3, page 159:
Legatees: Dau. Mary Swearingen; Dau. Sarah Morgan; Dau. Olive Stockdon; Son, William Morgan; Son, Isaac Morgan;
Samuel Stockdon, son of John; Richard and John Morgan, sons of Jacob; Jean Morgan, dau. of Jacob Morgan; Son Jacob,
Son Abel, Robert Pearis; residue divided among seven children; Executors son William Morgan and son in law, Thomas
Lineage 9: ____ MORGAN>Peter c1710>Daniel 1736:
Comment: This lineage presumes that General Daniel Morgan was born in Ireland. This is contradictory to the documented testimony by Rev. Hill and other family members that Daniel stated on numerous occasions that his parents were Welsh.
I am not sure that we will ever know who Daniel Morgan’s parents were. All of these theories seem reasonable but collapse under historical scrutiny. Perhaps DNA testing will help narrow down the family group he belongs but the Morgan families that settled in the greater Philadelphia and New Jersey areas are so interconnected that any sort of specific revelation is not likely.