Wednesday, April 13, 2022

American Stars #4: The Morgans


American Stars #4 
Prosperity's Star by Becky Brown

 Prosperity's Star recalls the Morgan family who've been prosperous for generations.

Prospect Farm, Princeton, New Jersey

The couple under the tree must be Mary Baynton and George Morgan who built this home in the 1780s. George (1743-1810), born in Pennsylvania, was a Colonel in the Revolutionary Army, an agent to the Lenape tribes. His family benefitted from the privilege he passed on. Many threads in the Morgan genealogy reveal impressive achievement (and a good deal of gossip.) 

Born in New Jersey, George's grandson Thomas Gibbes Morgan (1799-1862) found prosperity as an attorney in antebellum Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He married his second wife Sarah, born in colonial Guyana in South America, and they raised 9 children including Sarah Ida (1842-1909).

Duke University
Sarah Ida Morgan Dawson (1842-1909)
The Morgans' home on Church Street when the Civil War began
 & and their idyllic life began to crumble

Son Henry was killed in a duel; father Thomas died six months after war was declared and the Union Army occupied Baton Rouge in 1862. Several Morgan men joined the Confederacy and the Morgan women became refugees.

Sarah's diary, published in 1913, chronicles their war, which changed her from a careless girl to a heart-broken woman. Her first enthusiastic accounts of brothers George, Gibbes and Jimmy joining the Southern troops reflected dreams of battlefield glory but hopes for Morgan heroics soon became anxiety for their safety and vain prayers for their survival. In the last months of the War both Gibbes and George died within a week.

#4 Prosperity's Star by Denniele Bohannon
Nine years ago we did a B.O.M. based on Sarah's Diary.

Dixie Diary from American Homestead

In the words of Sarah's son: "The war over, Sarah knitted together the threads of her torn life and faced her present." She began writing for the Charleston News & Courier and married editor Francis Warrington Dawson. 

Frank Dawson (1840-1889)
This happy interlude in Charleston ended when Frank was murdered by a vengeful neighbor.

Sarah sought refuge from memory in France where son Warrington worked for the American Embassy and established a reputation as a novelist, newspaper reporter and interpreter of French life for Americans.

  Francis Warrington Dawson II (1878-1962)
The expatriate was friends with Josef Conrad and Rudyard Kipling.

Warrington accompanied Theodore Roosevelt on a 1909 
African trip as photographer.

The Block
Prosperity's Star
The block is adapted from BlockBase #1256, July's Summer Sky designed in the 1970s by Evelyn Brown who published a little magazine devoted to quilts. For Prosperity's Star I erased a few lines in Electric Quilt to make the center triangles simpler.

Print the pattern on an 8-1/2 x11" sheet of paper. Note the inch square for scale.

The Next Generation

Philip Hicky Morgan (1825-1900)
Sarah's half-brother attorney Philip Hicky Morgan was a Union
 sympathizer in Civil War, one of only two of the five Morgan boys 
to survive the war years. He served as Minister to Mexico in the 1880s.

Henry Hays Morgan I (1860–1933),

His only child Harry Hays Morgan was also in the diplomatic corps, consul to several foreign cities including Berlin, Havana and Buenos Aires. He married the daughter of a diplomat, Chilean heiress Laura Kilpatrick.

 Laura Delphine Kilpatrick Morgan (1877–1956)
And here, you might guess by her portrait, the tone of the tale changes.

Gloria and Thelma or vice versa.

Harry and Laura Morgan had four children including twins Gloria and Thelma, who grew up to be international socialites---Thelma famous for her affair with the Prince of Wales in the 1930s.

Wallis Simpson broke up Thelma and the P.O.W.

Jeanne Arnieri is setting her blocks on point side by side
with a narrow sash between them. Here are blocks 2,3 & 4.

Sister Gloria earned international headlines for marrying and divorcing a Vanderbilt and for a sensational custody battle in the mid-30s over their daughter Gloria Vanderbilt II.

Readers (especially those suffering a Great Depression)
 love to hear about the misery of the super-rich 
to remind them that fur coats cannot buy happiness.

Gloria Vanderbilt Cooper (1924-2019) 
Little Gloria in 1970

Gloria Vanderbilt married and divorced Wyatt Cooper. Here she is with their sons
 in the 1970s. The boy on the right is Anderson Hays Cooper (b. 1967), who
informs us evenings on CNN.
UPDATE: See the comments for Bella Pink's correction to Gloria's marriages. (I know a lot more about Sarah than the 20t- c Morgans.) Wyatt died during heart surgery when he was 50. Poor Gloria, poor boys.

Anderson Cooper and eldest son Wyatt.

Anderson Cooper recently published a book on his family heritage with Katherine Howe. 
Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty traces his mother's father's family. If you see him tell him he picked the wrong line. His mother's mother's family the Morgans are much more interesting!

Here's one post about about Sarah Morgan's life after the Civil War:

Twelve of Becky's blocks photoshopped into an
impressive quilt.


Bella Pink said...

I"m thinking that Gloria Vanderbilt had a ton of other husbands before Wyatt Cooper but was not divorced from him. He died young in 1978; they were married at that time.

I love your stories and your humor....thanks,

Denniele said...

What a fascinating story of the Morgans.
And Becky's block is wonderful. Such great fabric placement.

sue s said...

I so enjoy the research you put into these BOMs. What entertaining families here! I really like Becky's block also.

Barbara Brackman said...

Bella Pink, I guess I know more about Sarah Morgan and Thelma than I do about Gloria V. Thanks for the correction.