James Morgan Papers now online
James Morgan was a Texas settler, merchant, land speculator, and commander at Galveston during the Texas Revolution. He first came to Texas in 1830, visiting Brazoria, and decided to open a mercantile business. In 1835 Morgan was appointed agent for the New Washington Association, organized in 1834 by Lorenzo de Zavala and a group of New York financiers to develop Texas real estate. Morgan purchased land for the company around the mouth of the San Jacinto River and established the town of New Washington. He also operated one of the company’s ships, which were often used by the Texas government during the Texas Revolution. Morgan supplied the war effort with merchandise from his store. From March 20, 1836, to April 1, 1837, he was commander of Galveston Island. After the revolution, Morgan returned to New Washington to live and continued working for the New Washington Company. He ran unsuccessfully for one of the congresses of the Texas Republic and was charged with the secret sale of the Texas Navy.
UTSA Special Collections maintains the James Morgan Papers, a small collection of Morgan materials that were in private hands until their sale at auction in 1997. The collection is comprised of 28 documents and letters, with the bulk written before 1841. Most of the documents are related to Morgan and the establishment of the New Washington Association and many of the documents bear Morgan’s own notes and docketing; some of them are his drafts or retaining copies. Due to a recent increase in photocopy and scan requests the entire collection has now been digitized. All 28 documents can be found in UTSA’s digital repository.
UTSA Special Collections is not the only Texas repository to maintain a James Morgan collection: