John Day Morgan, farmer and soldier, was born in London on May 15, 1819, the son of Thomas Frances and Sophia Elizabeth (Day) Morgan. He accompanied his family to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of eight, and later from there to Indiana, where he was apprenticed to a tradesman. He ran away to volunteer for service in the Texas Revolution but arrived in Texas in mid-July 1836, too late to see action in the war. In 1838 he moved to Bastrop County and made his home with the family of Wiley Hill. Morgan was a private in the artillery company of the Texan Santa Fe expedition. He was captured with Col. Hugh McLeod and the rest of his men and marched to Mexico City, where they arrived on January 1, 1842. He was transferred to Santiago on February 28 and released on June 14, made his way to Veracruz, and sailed for New Orleans on a United States ship on August 12, 1842. He took part in the repulse of Adrián Woll's campaign and volunteered for the Somervell expedition. He remained on the Rio Grande under Col. William S. Fisher after Brig. Gen. Alexander Somervell ordered his troops to return to San Antonio. In the reorganized command Morgan was a private in Capt. William Mosby Eastland's Company B. He was captured at the battle of Mier and, because he had been a member of the Santa Fe expedition, used an assumed name, John Day, with his Mexican captors. At Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Morgan was pronounced unfit to travel by a Mexican surgeon and was hospitalized, although his son later wrote that Morgan "was not as sick as he pretended to be." He escaped from confinement in August 1843. Early in the Mexican War Morgan drove a commissary wagon in Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor's army. After three months, however, he quit to return to his parents' home in Cincinnati, Ohio. There he married Rebecca Rogers, and the couple eventually had five children. After several years Morgan returned to Bastrop County and established a farm on Oscar Creek some twelve miles west of Bastrop. His wife died there on November 17, 1891, and he on June 30, 1899. In 1845 Morgan had been converted to the Methodist Church after hearing a sermon preached by Homer S. Thrall.
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Frontier Times, February 1927. Thomas J. Green, Journal of the Texian Expedition Against Mier (New York: Harper, 1845; rpt., Austin: Steck, 1935.). Noel M. Loomis, Texan-Santa Fe Pioneers (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958). Joseph Milton Nance, ed., Mier Expedition Diary: A Texas Prisoner's Account by Joseph D. McCutchan (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Thomas W. Cutrer,
“Morgan, John Day,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 16, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
May 1, 1995