The Dever Historical Cemetery in Lucasville (though very old, yet well-maintained by Mr. and Mrs. Marty Locke) was the site of something likely never seen there before. On Saturday, October 7th, the Honor Guard of the American Legion Post #363, directed by Commander Ron Caldwell, descended upon the area with quiet, distinguished dignity as members of the Scioto Valley Volunteers (SVV) Chapter, National Society United States Daughters of 1812, Ohio Society, gathered around the headstone of Thomas Morgan to honor his service during the War of 1812 with a Grave Marking Ceremony.
It has been recorded that Captain Thomas Morgan of the Ohio Militia, was the Commander of the Second Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers Company; he oversaw 84 men from Ross and Scioto Counties. Morgan’s company served from July 28 to September 9, 1813 and then again from February 13 to March 18, 1814.
From the book, “Scioto County, Ohio, Newspaper Abstracts and Historical Reminiscences, 1866-1869,” (edited by Barbara Keyser Gargiulo, Little Miami Publishing Company, Milford, OH 2006), we learn the following: Thomas Morgan is believed to have been born about 1784 in Monongalia County, Virginia (now West Virginia); he came to Portsmouth about 1806 from Morgantown, VA (WVA). By 1808 he had purchased property on Front Street between Washington and Chillicothe Streets where he also opened a small shop making spinning wheels. Morgan was the first person to have a wheelwright business in Portsmouth. He also owned and commanded a keel boat where he would transport goods and merchandise up the Scioto River to Chillicothe and Circleville.
An early article in the “Portsmouth Times” reported that “he (Morgan) once made a trip to New Orleans and back in a keelboat he had built.” By 1820, Thomas had purchased 23 acres of land north of present day Gallia and Waller Streets. In the early 1830’s he bought a 276 acre farm and moved his family to northwestern Scioto County in what is now known as Morgan Township.
Thomas Morgan married Rachel McDougal (daughter of Joseph McDougal, who served in the Revolutionary War), and they were the parents of nine children believed to have been: Nancy born 22 November 1806, md David Noel; Michael birthdate unknown; Mary born 10 October 1810 md Adonijah Crain; Joseph born 10 July 1815 md Sarah Jane Wheeler; Thomas born 17 September md Rebecca Creamer (granddaughter of William Lucas); Rachel born 02 April 1820 md William Kendall Jones; Richard born 04 December 1824 md Eleanore Overturf; Maria Louise born 04 January 1827 md. Francis Henry and Margaret Ellen birthdate unknown md. Amaziah Thomas.
At the age of 62, Thomas Morgan died on 25 April 1846; his wife, Rachel, died shortly before on 24 February 1846. His estate was not settled until 1858 when all property was sold except one acre that is the family burial ground; now known as the Dever Historical Cemetery located north of the intersection of Rt. 348 and Rt. 104, Lucasville, Ohio.
At the start of the Grave Marking Ceremony, SVV Chaplain Ann Meyers gave the invocation which was followed by the “Pledge of Allegiance” led by Marilyn Schomburg, SVV Corresponding Secretary. Naomi Shewman, SVV Librarian, sang the “National Anthem.”
Commodore Bryan K. Davis (Scioto County Commissioner) was introduced by SVV.
President, Beth Normand, for his words of “Tribute” to Thomas Morgan. “Captain Morgan served his country and deserves honor and recognition,” Davis continued with “no matter how long ago someone might have served this great country, we will not, and do not forget their sacrifice for this nation.”
Portsmouth native and Iraq War Veteran, Dale King, former Army Captain, (aka the owner of PSKC CrossFit in Portsmouth) gave a memorable delivery of the poem by singer/songwriter Johnny Cash “Old Tattered Flag.”
President Normand recognized the proven lineal descendant “granddaughters” of Thomas Morgan: sisters Carla Dunham, Charlotte Dunham Jones, Dianne Dunham Wales, and Judy Dunham Fannin (who was not available to attend). A patriotic flower grave blanket (provided by The Flower Shoppe in Lucasville, Pam Brown Owner) was placed at the headstone of her ancestral grandfather by Carla Dunham, followed by the War of 1812 marker being “revealed” by descendant granddaughter Charlotte Jones.
A Proclamation recognizing Captain Thomas Morgan for his service in the Second Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers in the War of 1812, signed by Bill Johnson, United States House of Representatives, Member of Congress, was read by SVV President Normand and presented to Thomas Morgan’s descendants. Representative Johnson stated in the Proclamation, “….with great pride, I am honored to recognize Thomas Morgan for his commitment and service to the State of Ohio and to the United States, and graciously honor his memory.”
Following closing remarks by SVV President Normand, Chaplain Meyers gave the Benediction, and the American Legionnaires presented the Colors, TAPS and Firing Squad.
The Scioto Valley Volunteers Chapter is a non-profit, non-political women’s service organization. The SVV Chapter may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.