Back to Hannah (Bowen) Morgan
Dr. David Benjamin Morgan
1864-1930
Early life Immigration Obituary 1 Obituary 2 Obituary 3 I.O.O.F. Maggie
Picture obtained from Dr. Morgan's book "The Twentieth Century Horse Book", published by Fayetteville, Arkansas, 1902
Early life:
David Benjamin Morgan was the eldest surviving child of Daniel and Hannah Morgan (nee Bowen).  He was born on Thursday, 18th August 1864, probably at Pant Brynhynydd farm, Bettws in the Carmarthenshire parish of Llandilofawr.  This is present day Glanamman.  His father, Daniel, was the son of David and Mary Morgan (nee Griffiths) of neighbouring Brynhynydd farm.  Mother, Hannah was the daughter of Henry and the late Sarah Bowen (nee Howell), of Lletty'r crydd farm, Rhyndwyclydach, in the Glamorgan parish of Llangyfelach.  David's parents had themselves lived at Lletty'r crydd in the early days of their marriage and this is probably where their eldest 2 children had been born and later died in infancy.  Sometime after the census of 1861 the family had come to live in Bettws - probably with Hannah's widowed father, Henry and her youngest sister, Ann. At the time of David's birth, 3 of his grandparents were alive and living in close proximity.

David is first seen on the
1871 census of Bettws, where he is recorded as being 7 years old.  By this time he also had 2 younger sisters, Sarah (born 1866) and Mary (born 1869) and his mother was expecting her 6th child.  Although David's father, Daniel had previously followed the family profession of farming, he was now described as a collier.  It was often the case that the sons of farming families also worked seasonally as miners.  This was especially the case in the Amman Valley where the coal and metal industries had become the major employers in what were once mainly agricultural communities.

At the end of 1871, David's brother
Henry Bowen (named after his maternal grandfather) was born just prior to the family's planned emigration from Wales to Pennsylvania, USA.  At 7 years of age, David would surely have had close ties with his extended Welsh family and their way of life and woud have been aware of the huge upheaval (and adventure) that immigration to America represented.  He would also later have had some memories of the family's long journey via Liverpool, on the ship Batavia, to Queenstown and then New York, where they arrived to begin their new life on 13th November 1871.
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Immigration:
Although many Welsh families who immigrated to America chose the mining towns of Pennsylvania as their destination, the young Morgan family also had some family connections in the state.  Hannah's older sister,
Sarah had immigrated to Lackawanna County with her husband, Rees Phillips 2 years previously, in 1869.  Possibly, the 2 families made contact with each other during the year that the Morgans lived in Pennsylvania before they moved west to the Welsh, farming settlement of Arvonia in Osage County, Kansas.  In Arvonia - where they remained for 4 years - the family lived on a farm and David and his siblings would have attended the new, hilltop school built in 1872 to replace the school held in a private house.  Like so many other early schools in Kansas, this was a one room structure, which remains standing today, providing an insight into the early days of pioneer education.  The family were enumerated living at Arvonia in the 1875 Kansas State census. 

In 1876 however, the family moved again to
Superior Township Osage County, Kansas where David's father, Daniel again found work as a miner. Following the construction of the Acheson, Topeka and Sante Fe Railway which revolutionised transport in the state, the coal mining industry expanded in this part of Kansas.  The first mines were opened in the summer of 1870 by the Osage Carbon, Coal and Mining Company.  Superior Township itself no longer exists but has been absorbed into Osage City.  4 years later, in the national census of 1880, David, now aged 16 was described as being a labourer, but the nature of his work was not specified.  He was still living at home at this time, with his 3 younger siblings.  The family's neighbours - a mixture of many British, European and Scandanavian nationalities - were mainly employed as miners or labourers. 

The American census of 1890 was largely destroyed by fire and I haven't been able to find David in the following censuses of 1900 and 1910.  On the home front during this time, his mother, Hannah died at the age of only
50 in 1892.  His father, Daniel remarried only a year later, to a young, Welsh widow, Rachel Thomas who had 2 small daughters, Meriam and Nellie, aged 5 and 3 respectively.  David's 2 younger sisters, Sarah and Mary both married in 1888.  Sarah later moved with the first of her 3 husbands, Edward Fawcett to San Francisco while Mary went to live in Albuquerque, New Mexico with husband, John McCrea.

On
17th January 1898, David's stepmother, Rachel gave birth to twins Roy and Mae.  In the next census of 1900, only David's younger brother, Henry was enumerated at home with Daniel and his new family.  Daniel died on 15th March 1916 and by the census of 1920, Rachel and the twins had relocated to Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas.

In 1920 David was enumerated in
Neosho City, Missouri with a wife, Maggie - whom he had married fairly late in life, on 15th September 1914.  Maggie (born November 1875 in Neosho) was the daughter of an American farmer, W.H. Wright and an Irish mother, Catherine.  In this census, David is described as a veterinarian.  Evidence of his career as a vet is given in chapter 14 of the book "Past and Present of Greene Co. Missouri" written in 1914, where David is recorded as having practised in Greene county before relocating to Neosho.  According to author, Larry A. James, in his book "Neosho The First Century 1839-1939", David purchased a building at 121 West Spring St., Neosho to house his veterinary practice in September 1909.  However, he doesn't appear to be enumerated there in the following year's American census of 1910. 

Wherever he was during this "missing period" of his life, David was certainly not idle.  As his obituaries below demonstrate, it was a time of travell, studying and eventually establishing his expertise and reputation as a veterinary practitioner.   By 1891 he felt sufficiently proficient to write a book with the rather longwinded title of
"New system for educating the horse; Giving causes and symptoms of diseases, with valuable receipts, medical treatment, etc., together with chapters on ... dogs and sheep, giving diseases and remedies" (sic) which was published by the Democrat Steam Print House.  This was followed in 1902 by
"The Twentieth Century Horse Book.  Method of Handling and Education (sic) the Horse" published by Fayetteville, Arkansas.

The full story of David's adult life is probably best gleaned from his extensive obituaries:
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In the Neosho Times, Missouri, Thursday October 2nd 1930

DR. D. B. MORGAN PASSES AWAY AT NEOSHO HOME

Noted Veterinarian Dies of Heart Attack Sunday Evening Soon After Return from Professional Call

Dr. David B. Morgan, noted veterinarian and for more than 25 years a citizen of Neosho, died at his home on Hickory Street Sunday evening about seven o'clock within a few minutes after returning from a trip to McDonald County where he had been on professional business.  He was accompanied on the trip by his wife and Steel Rudy drove them the car for them.  Dr. Morgan had told several friends whom he met on the trip that he was feeling well but on the way back he complained of being sick and asked Steel to drive faster.  Mrs Morgan called Dr. Sale and Dr. Lamson as soon as they got home and the physicians came at once but could do nothing for him.  It is believed that a clot of blood in the aorta near the heart caused his death.

Dr. Morgan's body was prepared for burial by the Bigham Undertaking Co. and kept at the home until Wednesday afternoon awaiting the arrival of his relatives.  His sister, Mrs Sarah Zankert of San Francisco came by airplane to Kansas City and from there by train, arriving Tuesday night.  The funeral services were held at the central Methodist Church Wednesday afternoon at 2.30, the introductory service being conducted by Rev. J. D. Prater preceding the Rose Croix service of Scottish Rite Masonry conducted by the Joplin Consistory.  Neosho Commandery Knights Templar in uniform acted as an escort and the Neosho Blue Lodge conducted services at the grave.

The seating capacity of the large church auditorium was completely filled and many were compelled to stand during the service.  Many friends of Dr. Morgan in the veterinary profession from distant parts of the state were present as well as friends from the country for many miles around whom Dr. Morgan had probably befriended in his professional work.  It was the largest funeral that has been held in Neosho for a long time, indicating the wide friendship and high regard won by Dr. Morgan during his residence here.

David Benjamin Morgan was born in Carmarthenshire, South Wales in 1864 and came with his father, Daniel T. Morgan, and family to America in 1871, locating in Osage City, Kansas.  The family of three boys and four girls were raised there.  Young David went back to Wales to attend school and there got his first veterinary training.  He travelled extensively in his young manhood in England, Scotland, Ireland, France Spain, Central and South America, Mexico and Canada and most of the United States.  In the early nineties he made his home in Fayetteville, Arkansas and travelled over a wide territory lecturing on the care and diseases of the horse and teaching classes in veterinary diseases.  He made frequent trips to Neosho during those years with an outfit that always drew a big crowd on a street corner.  He had a beautiful team of large white horses hitched to a spring wagon with the skeleton of Bald Eagle, the noted southwest Missouri race horse articulated and mounted by himself, and from this wagon he would deliver his lecture on the horse.  One of these horses had a silver tube to his lungs which served instead of the windpipe which had been closed.  Dr. Morgan practiced as a veterinarian several years before the passage of the state law requiring examination and registration and as soon as the law was passed he took a course and graduated from McKillip Veterinary College, Chicago.  Later he was given an honerary degree by the Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Morgan located in Neosho about 25 years ago and established Morgan's Veterinary Hospital in a building which he purchased on west Spring Street.  He equipped this building with all the equipment necessary for the treatment of diseases of horses and other domestic animals.  A fire some years later destroyed his equipment and several hundred copies of his own book, The Twentieth Century Horse Book by Prof. David B. Morgan, V. S. M. D. V..  This was a great loss but he afterward replaced the equipment.

Dr. Morgan was appointed a member of the state veterinary board by Governor Gardner and he was reappointed by Governor Hyde.  He was at one time president of the State Veterinary Association and became widely known as an authority on veterinary diseases.  Dr. Morgan's original study and practice was on the care and diseases of the horse but when the horse was replaced largely by the automobile he turned his attention to cattle and hogs and dogs and other domestic animals and became an authority on their care and treatment also.  Dr. Morgan was a natural born veterinarian because he loved animals and his rule of teaching and practice was kindness and gentleness to all of them. 

Dr. Morgan was married in 1914 to Miss Maggie Wright of Neosho who survives him.  Of his own family he leaves two brothers, Dr. Harry Morgan of Muskogee and Roy B. Morgan of Kansas City; and four sisters, Mrs Sarah Zankert of San Francisco, Mrs C. E. Pearson of Linden, Kansas, Miss May Morgan of Topeka and Mrs John McCrea of Albuquerque, N.M..  The latter was the only one who could not attend the funeral. 

The death of Dr. Morgan is a great loss not only to the veterinary profession to which he devoted his whole life but also to the city and county where he had lived and laboured as a public spirited citizen for nearly a quarter of a century.  He was a man of broad views and took a leading part in all public enterprises, giving liberally of his time and money for the upbuilding of the community.  He has been president of the Newton-McDonald County Harvest Show Association for many years and took an especial interest in making the livestock show a success.  Dr. Morgan was a 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Central Methodist Church.
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Another, shorter obituary and funeral notice appeared in the Joplin Globe on Tuesday 30th September

ROSE CROIX FUNERAL TO BE HELD WEDNESDAY FOR DR. DAVID MORGAN

Neosho, Mo., Sept. 29 - Rose Croix funeral rites for Dr. David B. Morgan, nationally known veterinarian who died suddenly at his home here at 7 o'clock last night, will be conducted at 2.30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church.

Knights Templar will form a funeral escort to the cemetery, where burial services will be conducted by the Masonic Blue lodge, assisted by the Rev. James D. Prater.

Dr. Morgan had maintained his home here for twenty years, but had travelled widely.  For many years he travelled throughout the country with a medicine show.  His wagon, drawn by two white horses, was known in almost every section of the United States.  He formerly was a member of the state veterinary board.

Surviving are his widow; two brothers, Harry Morgan of Muskogee, Oklahoma and Roy Morgan of Kansas City; his mother, Mrs. D. T. Morgan of Topeka, Kansas; three sisters, Mrs Mary Morgan of Topeka, Mrs Carl Pearson of Linden, Kansas and Mrs Sarah Zankert of San Francisco, California.
and in the same newspaper, after the funeral:

Dr. Morgan Rites Held

Neosho, Mo., Oct. 1 - Rose Croix funeral rites were conducted here this afternoon by members of Joplin chapter, Knights Rose Croix for Dr. David B. Morgan, nationally known veterinarian, who died Monday at his home here.  Services were conducted at the Central Methodist Episcopal Church of Neosho and many friends from throughout the district attended.  Knights Templar of Neosho commandery No. 57 formed an escort to the grave in I.O.O.F. cemetery where Blue lodge burial rites were conducted.  The Rev. James D. Prater assisted with the services.
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From the evidence of his obituaries it can be seen that David lived a very full and adventurous life, based around his love and knowledge of animals in general and horses in particular.  Following his extensive travels, he appears to have settled and become a well known and respected member of his local community in Neosho.  As well as his association with the Freemasons, his obituaries mention his membership of the I.O.O.F, i.e. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  This fraternal body is derived from the British, Odd Fellows Friendly Society established for the mutual benefit of it's brotherhood of members and mankind in general.  It's name derives from the "odd" notion that ordinary, mainly working class men would intentionally band together to provide a network of care and support for those in need.  The movement crossed the Atlantic to America with some unofficial groups meeting in New York in 1806, from where it spread and expanded.
A tragic footnote to David's story is the revelation that 13 days after his death, his widow, Maggie committed suicide by jumping from the window of a room she had taken on the 8th floor of the Connor Hotel at Joplin City, Missouri.  She had been known to be despondent after David's death and her body showed evidence of previous, unsuccessful attempts to take her own life.  Maggie, who was aged about 55 apparently had no close living family, but was not without financial means - being relatively wealthy and a property owner in her own right.  Some intimation of her intentions might have been indicated by her instructions to her husband's undertakers that she wished them to take charge of her own funeral arrangements.  She left a note in her hotel room which read:

       
"I want my property to go to H.B. Morgan, Muskogee, Oklahoma (David's brother, Henry);
          Mrs Paul Zankert, San Francisco
(his sister, Sarah); Mrs John McCrea, Albuquerque, N.M.
         
(his sister, Mary).
          Divide to suit themselves
          Mrs D. B. Morgan"


It's interesting to note that she did not mention David's stepsisters, Meriam and Nellie or half siblings, Roy and May, although they had attended David's funeral. 

Maggie's own funeral was held on the afternoon of
October 14th.  The service at the Central Methodist Episcopal church was conducted by the Rev. James Prater who had officiated at David's funeral and her pallbearers were the same men who had carried her husband.  She was buried with David at the I.O.O.F. Hazel Green cemetery in Newton County, Missouri.
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Name summary
Copyright © 2008 Rina Callingham