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In the New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library
Charles Waln Morgan was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1796. By 1818, he had moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he entered into business as a partner of William Rotch Sr. and Samuel Rodman Sr. in their merchant shipping firm. Morgan later became an independent merchant and whaling agent. From 1819 until his death in 1861, he owned all or partial interest in various whalers, such as the ship Hector, ship/bark Hesper, ship Maria and several merchant vessels, including the brigs Parthian and Troy. In addition, he invested in an iron works in Duncannon, Penn., with his wife's brother-in-law, William Logan Fisher (1781-1862); owned a candleworks in New Bedford; supplied United States lighthouses; and was active in civic affairs. In 1819, he married Sarah Rodman (1793-1888), daughter of Samuel Rodman Sr. Their only son was Samuel Rodman Morgan (1824-1891).
Samuel Griffitts Morgan (1816-1893) was employed as a clerk by his uncle, Charles Waln Morgan, until about 1836. At that time, he formed a partnership with William G. E. Pope (1815-ca. 1869) known as Pope & Morgan. This New Bedford, Mass., firm acted as agent for such vessels as the bark Braganza and ship Chandler Price.
The bulk of material in this collection consists of ship's papers for twenty whaling and merchant vessels which Charles Waln Morgan owned or had an interest in or for which he acted as agent from 1817-1850. These records encompass correspondence from the vessels' captains; agent/owner accounts for outfits, disbursements and settlements of individual voyages; crew papers, including Whalemens' Shipping Papers; consular and customs records; bills and receipts; and similar material. Another significant portion of records reflect Morgan's activities supplying United States lighthouses from 1834-1837. These materials include correspondence; accounts; a bill of lading and an invoice; financial records of the ship Gazelle which carried lighthouse supplies; and bills and receipts, the majority of which concern supplies for and repair work done at the Isles of Shoals Lighthouse, White Island, N.H. Additional materials, dating 1817-1866, encompass legal documents, including his marriage certificate; financial records; incoming and outgoing business and personal correspondence, including a letter from Benjamin Rotch concerning the failure of the Davis Strait, Greenland, whale fishery, 1836; and a handwritten copy, with later additions, of a lecture on whales and whaling which Morgan delivered at the New Bedford Lyceum and a list.
The papers of Samuel Griffitts Morgan consist of ship's papers for the bark Braganza and ship Chandler Price, 1840-1862, for which Pope & Morgan acted as agent; and a letter to Charles Waln Morgan, 1839. Loum Snow (1810-1871), took over as agent for the Chandler Price about 1861 and his accounts conclude the last voyage in the ship's account book. Another member of the Morgan family, Samuel Rodman Morgan, is represented by a business letter to Lindley Fisher, 1849, and a bill, 1853.
Members of the Fisher, Rodman, and Wister families, related to the Morgans by marriage, are represented by outgoing correspondence, 1838-1864, the bulk of which is addressed to either Charles Waln Morgan or his wife, Sarah Rodman Morgan. These letters primarily concern the finances of the iron works in Duncannon, Penn., or family news from Wakefield, Penn. Of particular note are the letters of Elizabeth Rodman Fisher (1810-1875) and William Logan Fisher which describe the area around Duncannon and production at the iron works. John Wister (1829-1900) is represented by newspaper clippings, including his obituary, ca. 1895, 1900.
Researchers should note that additional material concerning the Morgan, Fisher, Rodman, and Wister families can be found in the following collections: Mss 2, Rotch Collection; Mss 4, Rodman Collection; Mss 56, Business Records Collection; and Mss 64, Biographical Collection. In addition, material concerning William G. E. Pope can be found in Mss 56. A printed work which can provide additional information is The Rotches (1947) by John M. Bullard.
Arrangement of Collection
Access to the Collection
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New Bedford Whaling Museum Research Library Mss 41 [sub-group, series, sub-series, folder/volume as appropriate], [item]
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This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if fulfillment of the order is judged in violation of copyright or federal or state privacy law. This institution also places restrictions on the use of cameras, photocopiers, and scanners in the research room.
Portions of the material in this collection were given to the Old Dartmouth Historical Society by Emily M. Hussey in September 1904; Harold R. Sweet on 5 September 1936; Mrs. E. B. Kresge on 24 August 1937; William L. R. Gifford on 31 October 1940; Charles R. Phillips Sr. on 30 April 1965; William Tallman on 29 June 1966; and by Mary Hussey Mandell on 28 August 1974.
Processed by: Barbara E. Austen, ca. 1982
Encoded by: Kermit Dewey, 24 November 2011
Funds for processing this collection were provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Please Consult Research Library for Detailed Description of Collection
Account books--New Bedford, Mass.--1834-1862
Business records--Mass.--New Bedford
Commercial agents--Mass--New Bedford
Domestic relations--Mass.--New Bedford
Duncannon Iron Works, Duncannon, Penn.
Fisher, Elizabeth Rodman, 1810-1875
Fisher, Sarah Lindley, 1785-1865
Fisher, Thomas Rodman, 1803-1861
Fisher, William Logan, 1781-1862
Iron industry and trade--Penn.--Duncannon
Isles of Shoals Lighthouse, White Island, N.H.
Lectures and lecturing--Mass.--New Bedford
Marriage licenses--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchant marine--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford
Merchant seamen--Mass.--New Bedford--Salaries, pensions, etc.
Merchant ships--Mass.--New Bedford
Morgan, Charles Waln, 1796-1861
Morgan, Samuel Griffitts, 1816-1893
Morgan, Samuel Rodman, 1824-1891
Morgan, Sarah Rodman, 1793-1888
Nail makers--Penn. --Duncannon
New Bedford, Mass.--Commerce
Pope & Morgan, New Bedford, Mass.
Pope, William G. E.1815-ca. 1869
Rodman, Benjamin, 1794-1876
Rodman, Thomas Rotch, 1825-1905
Snow, Loum, 1810-1871
Whales--Addresses, essays, lectures
Whaling--Mass.--New Bedford--Addresses, essays, lectures
Wister, John, 1829-1900
Wister, Sarah Logan Fisher, 1806-1891
Chandler Price (Ship)
Charles W. Morgan (Ship)
Emily Morgan (Ship)
Frances Henrietta (Ship)
George and Martha (Ship)
William Brown (Schooner)