JENNIE A. MORGAN From time immemorial it has been the custom of all nations to extol, in story and in song, the valor of those who have performed gallant deeds in time of war, but it has been left to civilized nations to commemorate that truer manliness, that nobler courage, which enables men to live uprightly and deal justly, seeking no preferment or approval save that of God and their own consciences. In heat of battle, men long trained in the grim trade of war, without forethought oft achieved most daring deeds. Shall the soldier hero receive a greater tribute of respect than one who silently, uncomplainingly takes up his burden and fights back the thousand adverse fates that seek to block his path way to success? Shall we wreathe the laurel and rear the beautiful arch for the one, and bury the memories of the other in the tomb that enshrines his mortal dust? Civilized---Christianized humanity cries out against it. The deeds of a good man should live after him, and in these days of wide dissemination of thought, the transmission of the story from father to son is inadequate. Perpetuate his deeds, and thus perpetuate his influence. The pioneers of Washington county possessed such noble characteristics that not one whit of their lives' record should be lost. The old residents of Washington County look back over a long and uniformly prosperous period which is attributed to the mode of life of the people. No county in the State has been more favored, and no county in the State can exhibit better public institutions than this; and this condition of affairs can be traced to the efforts of the people who first settled the county, founded and fostered its religious and educational institutions, and directed its political career. It has been said that the pioneers of Washington county were a God-loving people, whose first thought upon entering the wilderness was to erect an altar to His worship, and from whose cabins rose at morn and eve the voice of praise, thanksgiving and appeal. Such were the founders of Washington county, and such were the ancestors of the subject of this sketch.
Miss Jennie A. Morgan's (of West Middletown, Penn.) maternal grandfather, William Greer, came to America when western Pennsylvania was still a wilderness. William Greer was born and reared in Ireland. Emigrating about the time he became of age, he settled in Lancaster county, Penn., where he was afterward married to Jane Graham. About the year 1805 William Greer and family (a child having been born in Lancaster county pushed westward into Washington county, locating near Noblestown, where they remained until 1836. They removed to Hopewell township, and in 1845 settled in West Middletown, where he died in 1852. William Greer is described as a man of medium height, and of delicate rather than robust form His constitution being shattered by the effects of fever and ague, he was an invalid for many years, but was cheerful and patient, having a kind disposition and a pleasant word for all. He was very modest in demeanor, and withheld himself from publicity, but was very active in promoting Church matters, holding membership in the Grove United Presbyterian Church. He was a man of unusual intelligence, and an insatiable searcher for information. Being for many years unable to work, he found his chief diversion in books and his solace and comfort in his family and Church. Five children were born to William and Jane (Graham) Greer: Margaret (married James Maxwell, and resided in Hopewell township until her death in 1870); Jane (lived in west Middletown until her death, which occurred in 1890); Elizabeth (mentioned below): John (left home and died when a young man), and Mary wife of James France, of West Middletown, where she died in 1866). Of these children, Elizabeth Greer was born February 5, 1810 on the home place and in 1832 was married to Billingsley Morgan, a native of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
Billingsley Morgan was born in 1811. He was a son of Hugh Morgan, who came with his parents to western Pennsylvania, settling on the old Morgan tract about twelve miles below Pittsburgh, when the county was very new, and secured their land by "tomahawk right." The times were unsettled, and the Indians were hostile, the settlers having to take refuge in the forts and blockhouses to escape being massacred. Billingsley received a common school education, and after his marriage, in 1833, opened a shoe store in West Middletown, Penn., where he remained until his death in March, 1886. He left two daughters---Jane A. (the subject of this sketch) and Margaret (deceased at the age of three years). At the time of his death Mr. Morgan was too young to have obtained great prominence his community, yet he was regarded as a young man of extraordinary promise and enjoyed the esteem of those with whom he was associated, possessing a bright, cheerful disposition, and fighting the adversities of life with smiles. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mrs. Morgan was a member of the United Presbyterian Church at West Middletown. She was left alone to care for and educate her children while yet very young but she performed every duty toward them, and at the same time her influence was felt in every department of church work. Her devotion and piety were remarkable, and she was ever ready to assist in every plan for forwarding the course of morality. She passed away August 14, 1872, her death being a severe blow to the entire community, and it was said of her that "a true Christian woman had gone home."
The ladies of the Greer family have all been noted for their piety, and Miss Jane Greer (an aunt of our subject) was no exception to the rule. Having no family depending upon her she adopted the sick, suffering and distressed; wherever such were to be found, Miss Jane Greer appeared, nursing the sick, comforting the distressed and serving her Master as best she could. Her labors were not for glory or gain, but "she saw her duty and performed it and counted it naught." Miss Jennie A. Morgan, like the other member of her family, is a devoted member of the Church, and none of the precepts and examples of the others have been lost on her. Though frail in form and an invalid during much of the time, her influence is felt in the community, and while prevented by her infirmity from following the philanthropic example of other members of her family to the same extent, she "hath done what she could" and none could do more. She is a member of the Grove Presbyterian Church, and, following the rule long established in her family, contributes the tenth part of her income to the support of church work, in addition thereto responding liberally to appeals for other worthy projects. Miss Morgan resides in West Middletown, Penn, where she has a pleasant home, and is much esteemed.
Text taken from page 865:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).
Transcribed January 1997 by Judy & Lee Schaeffer of Pittsburgh, PA as part of the Beers Project.
Published January 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at http://www.chartiers.com/.
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