Morgan Lines

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 7, 2017

The Morgan Lines, the first steamship line in Texas, was originated by Charles Morgan. Its first recorded voyage was of the steamship Columbia, which arrived at New Orleans on November 18, 1837, and made its inaugural voyage to Galveston on November 25, 1837, thus introducing Morgan into the economic life of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1849, rebelling against port charges at Lavaca, Morgan built Powderhorn, which grew into Indianola and was for a time a chief port of the line. In 1858 the Morgan Lines had three sailings a week from Galveston and two from New Orleans, and by 1860 the company had a monopoly of coastal shipping. During the Civil War all of the vessels of the line were commandeered, either by the United States or by the Confederate States. The Morgan Steamship Company took an active part in building railroads after the war to feed the ship lines. In the 1870s pooling agreements were worked out among Morgan's Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company, the Louisiana Western Railroad Company, and the Texas and New Orleans Railroad. In the late 1870s Morgan worked with E. W. Cave to make Houston an inland port with better facilities for the line. In the late 1870s or early 1880s the Morgan Lines were sold to C. P. Huntington of the Southern Pacific Railroad but continued to operate as the Morgan Line. The fleet was sold to the United States Maritime Commission in 1941.

Jessie Beryl Boozer, The History of Indianola, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1942). Galveston News, April 11, 1942. S. G. Reed, A History of the Texas Railroads (Houston: St. Clair, 1941; rpt., New York: Arno, 1981).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Morgan Lines,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 7, 2017