Morgan, Kentucky

The Naming of Morgan: All the land in the hamlet of Morgan was once owned by the Stowers family. In 1852 when the Kentucky Central Railroad was first built, this hamlet was called Stowers Station. The old Atlas shows the old tobacco warehouse building which later became the Ewing Store, the stock pens along the railroad, the scale, the old school house, and the Christian Church. The larger land holdings belonged to James Hand and the Ewings. The first and original John Ewing was one of the first trustees of Falmouth. He was one of two owners of more than 10,000 acres of land, according to Campbell County tax records [Campbell then included what is now Pendleton]. John Ewing was occupying a farm of 424 acres of land on the South Fork of the Licking as early as October 1795. This john Ewing was married twice. The first time was on March 10, 1794, in Bourbon County, Ky. [also covering more territory then than now] and he had ten children, many of whom moved to Missouri.

Two sons stayed in Morgan: Taylor and Milton. His second wife was Mary McCann, the widow of Lanty McCann. John died April 19, 1832 at Morgan.

Milton Ewing married Nancy Brann, a sister of Rebecca Brann Mackemson. They had four sons: Samuel T., Newton, Joel, and Milton. All of these sons except John Milton Ewing served the cause of the South. The other Ewing family that lived at Morgan, on the west side of the river, was the Taylor Ewing family. His two sons, John J. and Ben, served under General John Hunt Morgan. When all these men, along with all the others returning in the community, dropped the name of Stowers Station, and named the hamlet Morgan.

John Milton Ewing was known as one of the finest true Southern gentlemen who ever lived. He was first leader of the Morgan Christian church, president of the Morgan Bank, and the largest land owner in the county. He was also a charitable Christian, and gave a large gift to Transylvania University. Ewing Hall there is named in his honor. His home was visited by a long line of presidents, ministers, and teachers from Transylvania, and the College of the Bible.

Life in the Morgan valley, after the War Between the States, and up until the late 1920’s was a different but grand way of living. There were large orchards and gardens. Chickens and turkeys were raised abundantly, hogs furnished the finest country hams and sausage, cows provided milk and butter, wheat provided flour, and corn supplied the corn meal, all grown on the local farms. Grains were ground at the local mills in Morgan. Salt and sugar had to be bought at the country store which was a wonder to behold. The people took time to talk and to visit with each other. All of this slowly changed after the automobile, radio and television came to erode away the quiet and grand way of living in the country.

At the country store food was sold, but so were shows, clothing, hardware, harness, fencing and small farm repair parts. The old post office was in the corner of the store.

Each local passenger train carried mail and had to be met by the one-man postmaster, who was Roger Ewing. The store was owned by Roger for approximately forty years, and by Roscoe Ewing for approximately forty years. The first store at the site of the Ewing Store was owned by a man named Channing, who encountered financial difficulties, and had to make an assignment for the benefit of creditors. The store building had first been built as a tobacco warehouse. Part of the time there was a second store which was owned by Frank Arnold, Tommie Thompson, Cleve Thompson, and the Cummins family.

The Morgan Cemetery was started by John M. Ewing, his first cousin, Joseph W. Makemson, Roger Ewing and Ambrose Ewing, who owned the ancestral Brann home, now owned by Jack Biehn. Before the Morgan Cemetery there had been people buried in the rear church yard of the Morgan Christian church and in family plots.

Morgan had its own bank. The old building still stands and is used for a residence. The old mill was just south of the bank and behind the mill was the village blacksmith. Mr. Northcutt, perhaps, was the first cashier. He later married Mary Gallagher, a school teacher. They lived on the land now owned by Roy Greene, just east of the railroad tracks.

In the later part of the nineteenth century the present Morgan-Cordova Road did not exist. There was an old road very near the river bank on the west side of the South Licking River. This was the only way tht Frank Garrard and Nick young had to go to Morgan. There was also a very old road on the top of the ridge of the farm owned by Risk Makemson. Old deeds indicated that this was considered an important State road from Cincinnati to Lexington. Each owner had to keep up a certain portion of the road through his property many years ago, and the road rock were hand napped (crushed).

Tollgates still existed in the late part of the nineteenth century. There was a toll gate and house at the forks of the road at the Morgan-Boyd Road, and the Falmouth Road one-half mile south of Morgan. The old house finally burned while occupied by Harold and Nora Greene about 1944.

For many years Morgan had its own doctors. There were Dr. Risk, Meek, Kendall, and T. c. Nichols. The last doctor in Morgan was Dr. Nichols who had married Hallie Garrard. They later built and occupied the house where Shay Engels now lives. The office of Dr. Nichols stood for many years between the railroad track and the house of Edna Ewing.

In 1897 there were two frame buildings which adjoined each other and formed the school house, one facing the river. The oldest building of the Morgan School which still stands was built in 1915 by Everett Aulick. Later the gymnasium was attached to this building and served until all the Morgan students were taken to the new consolidated school at and near Falmouth.

The Morgan Christian Church began in 1862. the land was deeded from Richard Stowers to Jeremiah Wells and William Kirkwood, trustees. A brick church was built in 1883. Both of the buildings faced the South Licking River.

Thomas D. Clark used the phrase “Lords of the Soil” to describe those who not only farmed to earn a living at Morgan, but loved and respected the land that they farmed and the unique and satisfying way of life that accompanied the farming community.


By Ewing O. Cossaboom, as re-printed in the September, 1996 issue of the Pendleton County Historical and Genealogical Society Newsletter.