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	   'Farmer's friend' Morgan was active in politics

Inability to win an election to the Indiana Senate induced Vigo County
native Dick Thompson Morgan to relocate in the West.
 It was the only election Morgan lost. In Oklahoma -- where he was a six-term
Congressman between 1909 and 1920 -- he was unbeatable.
 Morgan was one of 10 children raised by Valentine and Frances Ann (Thompson)
Morgan on a farm 2 miles northeast of Middletown, now Prairie Creek. The
family's elaborate two-story white frame home, with spiral staircase, was
called "The Big House" before it succumbed to fire five years ago.
 Valentine Morgan operated the general store in Middletown and founded the
Christian Church there. Before 1825, Aaron Thompson -- Frances Thompson's
grandfather -- owned the land where Merom is now located and operated
Thompson's Ferry. Descendants still reside in the area.
 Born in Prairie Creek Dec. 6, 1853, Dick T. Morgan became known as "The
Farmer's Friend." He graduated from Union Christian College in Merom in 1876
and was superintendent of schools in Hagerstown. Then he attended Central
Law School in Indianapolis. On May 30, 1878, he married Ora Heath.
 Upon being admitted to the bar in 1880, Morgan returned to Terre Haute to
practice law and become involved in Republican politics. In November 1880,
he was elected to the Indiana House. After serving one term, he taught
mathematics at his college alma mater while earning a master's degree.
 Like older brother Cassius, Dick T. was erudite about agriculture, drainage,
soil conservation and cooperative marketing. The family was active in the
early Grange movement.
 In 1884, Morgan sought the sole Vigo County seat in the Indiana Senate. In
order to facilitate his campaign, he purchased the Terre Haute Courier,
serving as publisher and editor. Nevertheless, popular clothing manufacturer
Philip Schloss, a Democrat, defeated him.
 The next year, Morgan became counsel for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
Railroad, sold his interest in the newspaper and situated in Garden City,
 He moved to Guthrie, Okla., in 1889 to practice law. He also published
several law books. Beginning in 1897, brother Cassius H. Morgan -- Vigo
County farmer, cattle dealer, merchant, clay tile manufacturer and expert on
drainage -- was elected to a single term in the Indiana House.
 In 1904, Morgan was named Register in the U.S. Land Office in Woodward,
Okla. Though remaining active politically, he did not seek elective public
office until embarking on a congressional campaign in 1908.
 Winning the first time was the most demanding; he had little difficulty
repeating. Oklahoma histories do not expound on his legislative work but
they validate his invincibility. Republicans could count on the voters
returning Morgan to the U.S. House of Representatives every two years.
 During trips by rail between Washington and Oklahoma City, Dick visited his
Indiana family frequently. Valentine Morgan died in 1880 but Frances Morgan
lived until Nov. 13, 1913, when she was 91 years old.
 In November 1911, Morgan compiled an extensive family sketch based upon
interviews with his mother. In 1915, Morgan's book, "Land Credits -- A Plea
for the American Farmer," was issued by a New York publishing house.
 Maintaining a lifelong allegiance to the Christian Church, Morgan was
elected first president of the Oklahoma Christian Missionary Society and a
trustee at Phillips University.
 Morgan contracted pneumonia and died July 4, 1920, in Danville, Ill., while
serving his sixth term. He was interred in Oklahoma City where his only
child, Porter Morgan, practiced law. There were 60 honorary pallbearers at
the funeral, including four fellow congressmen.

Published in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star 27 Jun 1999.
Found at:  message 50.
From: Kim Holly  
Date: Mon Oct 18, 1999 9:54am
Subject: FW: Morgan
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