Elisha Morgan (1762 - 1796)

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Birthplace: Groton, New London, CT
Death: Died
Managed by: Steven Avery Kelley
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elisha Morgan

A Patriot of the American Revolution for CONNECTICUT. DAR Ancestor # A080374

Added by Elwin Nickerson II -Heroic Defenders of Fort Griswold- With many other Men of Groton,CT. Elisha Morgan - Escaped, Age 20

  HISTORICAL BACKGROUND:  
         "During the Revolutionary War, New London harbor on the Thames River was home port for many privately owned armed ships that preyed upon British supply vessels and merchant ships.  The privateers were licensed by the State of Connecticut according to the rules established by the Congress.  Each year they increased in number and captured more British shipping.  Their exploits peaked with the taking of the "Hannah" by the "Minerva" in the summer of 1781.  Seizure of the "Hannah's" rich cargo which included personal supplies for the British officers stationed in New York City; helped prompt the events that soon followed.
          "New London's bulging warehouses brought great wealth to adventurous ship owners and merchants, but they were a potential target for enemy reprisal.  From the earliest days of the war, Connecticut officials had seen the need for harbor fortifications, but construction had proceeded slowly.  By 1781, the largest structure on the New London side, Fort Trumbull, was still unfinished and vulnerable to attack from land.
          "East of the Thames River on Groton Heights, a completed work, Fort Griswold, commanded the harbor and the surrounding countryside.  It was somewhat square with protecting fortifications on two corners and a projection on the east side.  A deep trench surrounded the fort on three sides.  The lower walls were faced with stone and were topped with a barrier of cedar pickets projecting outward.  Above this was an earthen wall with openings (embrasures) for cannon.  A tunnel-like passageway (sallyport) led to a covered ditch which ended at a battery for cannon southwest of the fort.  The gate at the north end was protected by a V-shaped earthen mound.  Barracks for 300 men paralleled the innermost wall and the magazine was set into the southwest bastian near the flagpole.  The fort was in good condition and the magazine was full in 1781.
          "Late that summer the British generals were anxious to distract Washington who was then marching south.  They decided to create a diversion by attacking an important northern supply center, New London, and, with the same stroke, destroy the "Rebel pirate ships".  The command of the expedition fell to Benedict ARNOLD who had deserted the American cause the year before and who being a native of nearby Norwich, knew the harbor area well.
          "At sunrise on September 6th, 1781, the people of the town of New London were awakened with the news that a large force of British Regulars had landed on both sides of the river's mouth and were coming upon them fast.  They could do nothing but flee.  A number of rigged ships in the harbor caught a favorable breeze and escaped upstream, but the rest were trapped.  The 800 men led by Benedict ARNOLD met only scattered risistance as they set about the task of destroyng the immense stockpile of goods and naval stores kept at New London.  Ships, wharfs and buildings were set aflame.  One hundred and forty-three buildings were destroyed.
          "The British force of 800 men that landed on the east side of the Thames River was slowed by tangled woods and swamps.  A battalion of New Jersey loyalists responsible for moving the artillery could not keep pace with the Regulars who came within striking distance of Fort Griswold at 10:00 A.M.  Meanwhile, the fort had been garrisoned with about 150 militia and local men (including Hobart "Elnathan" MASON and Thomas GRIFFIN) under the command of Colonel William LEDYARD.  Colonel LEDYARD and his officers, expecting reinforcements momentarily, elected to defend the post against the superior force.  Colonel EYRE, the British commander, sent forward a flag demanding surrender.  LEDYARD refused.  The demand was made again and Col. EYRE threatened that if he were forced to storm the fort, no quarter would be given to its defenders.  Col. LEDYARD still refused to surrender the fort.
          "The British force immediately spread their ranks and advanced on Fort Griswold.  As they neared the ditch, they were met with an artillery barrage which killed and wounded many, but the seasoned and disciplined troops continued their charge.  Some tried to gain the southwest bastion, but they were repulsed and Col. EYRE, the British commander, was badly wounded.  Under heavy musket fire, another group dislodged some pickets and by hand to hand combat reached a cannon and turned it against the garrison, Another party led by Major MONTGOMERY charged with fixed bayonets.  They were met with long spears and the Major was killed.  A few of the Regulars managed to reach the gate and open it and the enemy force marched in, in formation.  Seeing this, Colonel LEDYARD ordered his men to stop fighting and surrender, but some action continued on both sides.
          "According to American accounts, after Col. LEDYARD gave up his sword in surrender, he was immediately killed with it and a massacre ensued.  Before the "massacre" it is claimed that less than ten Americans had been killed, but when it was over, more than eighty of the garrison lay dead and mutilated, and more than half of the remainder were severly wounded.  The American wounded were placed on a heavy artillery cart, which, as it was being moved down the hill to the river, broke away and smashed into a tree causing terrible suffering.  The bleeding wounded men were then carried to the nearby home of Ebenezer AVERY.  Prisoners who were able to walk were placed aboard ship.  As evening approached, the British troops embarked leaving a detachment behind for an (unsuccessful) attempt to destroy the fort." -
         From the pamphlet, FORT GRISWOLD STATE PARK (State of Connectucut Department of Environmental Protection, Parks and Recreation Unit, Hartford, Ct. 06115).  See also, Mather, Frederic G. THE REFUGEES of 1776  from LONG ISLAND to CONNECTICUT (1972 reprint of the 1913 edition), pp.234-236,passim; Eleanor B. READ, MYSTIC MEMORIES (1980), p.11-14. 
Gravestone Inscription:
       In Memory of
    Doc Elisha  Morgan
  who died on his passage
from Disintary to this place
   April 1st 1796 Aged 35
              and
        In Memory  of
      Ms Abigail Morgan
Relict of Docr Elisha Morgan
  who died April 22d 1796
           Aged 25

"Dr Elisha Morgan born in Groton March 7 1 762 was one of the defenders of the fort who after the enemy gained possession, feigned dead among the dead and wounded so well that he was kicked and plundered without the deceit being detected. He heard the plans for blowing up the fort, and after the enemy had left aided in frustrating their plans. He died at sea in a voyage from Demerara in April 1 1796 leaving four children."

source: The Battle of Groton Heights: A Collection of Narratives, Official Reports ...

By William Wallace Harris, p 247-8

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  • Morgan genealogy : A history of James Morgan, of New London, Conn., and his descendants; from 1607 to 1869 ... With an appendix containing the history of his brother, Miles Morgan, ....
  • https://archive.org/details/morgangenealogyh00morg
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/17/mode/1up
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  • JAMES MORGAN, the common ancestor of a numerous family now scattered widely over nearly or quite, every state and territory of the United States, was born in Wales, in 1607, but in what precise locality our honest progenitor first saw the light is uncertain, though probably in Llandaff, Glamorgan Co. The family appears to have removed from Llandaff to Bristol, Eng. on the opposite side of Bristol Channel, a short time at least, perhaps a few years, prior to 1636. The name of his father is unknown, but there is some traditionary evidence that it was William.*
  • That year, 1636, in the month of March, he and two younger brothers, John and Miles, sailed from Bristol and arrived at Boston, Mass. in April following.
  • JOHN MORGAN, his next younger brother, who from tradition appears to have been a high churchman and to have exceedingly disliked the austerity of the Puritans, left Boston in disgust for more congenial society in Virginia, soon after their arrival. How far the Morgans of Virginia are descended from him I am unable to say.
  • MILES MORGAN, the youngest brother, born in 1615, on his arrival at Boston, or soon after, joined a party of emigrants, mostly from Roxbury, of whom Col. Wm Pyncheon was at the head, and founded the settlement of Springfield, Mass.
    • * See William, No. 46.
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  • He is said to have been under 21 years of age at the commencement of this settlement, and to have suppressed the fact of his minority in order to share in the drawing for house lots, which minors were not privileged to do. It is certain that he drew a house lot and afterwards built upon it ; and it was the homestead of himself during his life, and of his descendants for many years after. It was situated upon the south side of "Ferry Lane," and in 1845 was sold by the Brewer family to the Conn. River Railroad Co. ; their tracks now covering the original lot, and their repair shop standing upon the site of the old Morgan homestead.
  • He married, about 1643, Prudence Gilbert, of Beverly, Mass., who was a fellow passenger with him in the voyage from England. Of this courtship and marriage, an interesting and curious account is preserved. He had 8 children by this marriage, 4 sons and 4 daughters ; and his wife, Prudence, dying 14 Nov. 1660, he next married Elizabeth Bliss, of Springfield, 15 Feb. 1670, dau. of Thomas, by whom he had 1 son only. His children by Prudence were, Mary, b. 14 Dec. 1644; Jonathan, 16 Sept. 1646; David, 23 July, 1648; Pelatiah, 17 May, 1650; Isaac, 17 March, 1652; Lydia, 8 Feb. 1654; Hannah, 11 Feb. 1656; Mercy, 18 May, 1658 ; and by 2d wife, Nathaniel, 14 June, 1671.
  • This family of Miles Morgan* has numerous ....
    • * See Appendix.
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/19/mode/1up
  • Pg.19
  • JAMES MORGAN, the elder brother, and our lineal ancestor, may have settled first at Plymouth ....
  • Wherever he settled at first, he is found in Roxbury, near Boston, before 1640. That year, Aug. 6, 1640, he married there, Margery Hill, of Roxbury. His eldest daughter, Hannah, was born there 18 May, 1642, and all his 5 other children, except perhaps the youngest, who d. in infancy, were also probably born there. He was made a freeman there 10 May, 1643. He is named as a resident there in the inventory of John Graves, 1646, and was a freeholder there as late as 1650, the same year that he removed to Pequot, (now N. London,) and had a houselot assigned him there.
  • It has been heretofore supposed, by myself as well as others, that James Morgan was one of the party of emigrants called the "Cape Ann Company," who came ....
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/22/mode/1up
  • Pg.22
  • 1. JAMES, born in Wales, 1607, m. Margery Hill, of Roxbury, Mass. 6 Aug. 1640, died 1685, age 78. He was settled in Roxbury at first, and all his children except the youngest dau. were probably born there.
  • CHILDREN. ....
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/23/mode/1up
  • Pg.23
  • Capt. JAMES, (3) b. 3 Mch, 1644, s. of James, m. "Mary Vine of Old England," Nov. 1666, died 8 Dec. 1711, age 68. His wife Mary died in 1689, of the throat distemper," so called, a terrible epidemic which prevailed throughout the country that year, especially in the months of July and August, visiting nearly every family and carrying consternation and death in its trail. She was born in England in 1641, and was 48 years old when she died. After her death he married 2d wife Hannah --- , born in 1640, who d. in 1711, aged 71, a few days only before his own death, but after the date of his will, in which he calls her his "dear and loving wife." ....
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/24/mode/1up
  • Pg.24
  • CHILDREN, ALL BY MARY VINE.
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/30/mode/1up
  • Pg.30
  • Deacon WILLIAM, (9) b. 4 March, 1669, s. of James 2d, m. Margaret Avery, dau. of Capt. James, of Groton, 17 July, 1696. Both were members of the church at New London before the church at Groton, then New London, was founded, and their four elder children were baptized there by the Rev. Gurdon Saltonstall, afterwards governor of Connecticut. When the first church was established in Groton, 8 Nov. 1704, he was chosen one of the deacons, and the births of his later children are recorded there on the first records of the town. He died 25 Dec. 1750, aged 82, and his widow, Margaret, died in 1755, and her estate was settled that year.
  • CHILDREN. ....
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/38/mode/1up
  • Pg.38
  • Deacon SOLOMON, (107) b. 5 Oct. 1708, s. of William, m. Mary Walworth, 1 July, 1742, settled in Groton, and died 22 Nov. 1791, age 83. His will, dated 12 July, 1790, proved 5 Dec. 1791, in Stonington Probate, names his wife, Mary, and all his children except Mary and William, as then living. His widow, Mary, was living, and signed a deed as late as 31 March, 1796. His father, William, in 1749, just before his own death, gave this son, Solomon, a deed of the family homestead in Groton, containing 250 acres of land, and he probably lived and died upon the place. It passed again by deed from him to his oldest son, Rev. Solomon, of Plainfield, in 1783, who never occupied it, and who afterwards conveyed it to his brother, Nathan. His tomb stone in the old family grave yard on the original patriarchal homestead bears this tribute to his memory: "Esteemed for his integrity, peaceableness and fidelity, and his Christian life and character."
  • CHILDREN.
    • 209. William, 23 Nov. 1743, died three months old.
    • 210. Solomon, 4 Feb. 1745, m. Eunice Avery; 2d, widow Haskell.
    • 211. Mary, 7 Aug. 1749.
    • 212. Anna, ab. 1751, m. Rev. Aaron Kinney, 31 May, 1770.
    • 213. Nathan, 2 Jan. 1754, m. Hannah Perkins, 8 Sept. 1774.
    • 214. Lucy, 26 Sept. 1756, m. Thomas Fish, 12 Nov. 1778.
    • 215. William, 7 Sept. 1758, m. Lucy Avery, 1 Jan. 1784.
    • 216. Elisha, 7 March, 1762, m. Abigail Morgan, (499) Oct. 1790.
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/52/mode/1up
  • Pg.52
  • JOHN, (184) born 1735, son of James 4th, m. Dorothy Avery, 11 Sept. 1759, dau. of Elder Park Avery, of Groton. He died 8 Nov. 1799, age 64, and his widow, Dorothy, died 19 Oct. 1828, age 92. In his will in Stonington probate, dated 2 June, 1798, proved 7 Jan. 1800, he names wife, Dorothy, and five of the following children, as living, but Hannah, Stephen, and Abigail, as deceased, and bequeaths to their children. The share of his "son David, weak in mind, bereft of reason and faculty to govern and care for himself," is left in trust to his eldest son, John.
  • CHILDREN.
    • 495. John, 28 March, 1761, died unmarried, 17 April, 1840, age 79.
    • 496. Hannah, 5 Sept. 1764, m. Ebenezer Avery, 25 Sept. 1783.
    • 497. David, 14 April, 1766, died unmarried, 10 June, 1805, age 39.
    • 498. Stephen, 19 Nov. 1768, m. Sally Barber, of Groton.
    • 499. Abigail, 26 Oct. 1771, m. Elisha Morgan, (216) vide E. M.
    • 500. Amos, 13 Oct. 1774, m. Jemima Stoddard, 16 Dec. 1804.
    • 501. Experience, 13 May, 1778, m. Elisha J. Stoddard, d. 11 May, 1819.
    • 502. Jasper, Jan. 1784, m. Clarissa Holdridge.
  • https://archive.org/stream/morgangenealogyh00morg#page/58/mode/1up
  • Pg.58
  • Doct. ELISHA, (216) born 7 March, 1762, son of Solomon, m. Abigail Morgan, (499) daughter of John, of Groton, Oct. 1790. He never practiced very steadily as physician, but made several voyages to sea, and died 1 April, 1796, age 34, on his passage from Demerara home to Groton, and John Morgan, sen. was appointed guardian of his three children, and John, Jr. administrator on his estate. His wife, Abigail, d. 22 April, 1796, age 25.
  • CHILDREN.
    • 555. Frederick, b. 6 Sept. 1791, m. Caroline Watrous, 20 May, 1823.
    • 556. Elisha, 28 Feb. 1794, m. Caroline Morgan, (711) 3 Jan. 1819.
    • 557. Abigail, 13 April, 1796, m. Abel Fish, 24 March, 1819 ; resides in Salem, Conn. ; has 3 sons ; — 558 George Frederick Fish, 2 March, 1820, resides Ann Arbor, Mich. — 559 Lorenzo Fish, 4 March, 1825, Vineland, N. J.— 560 Albert Fish, 1 Feb. 1828, Salem.

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Elisha Morgan's Timeline

1762
March 7, 1762
Groton, New London, CT
1796
April 1, 1796
Age 34
????
????
Morgan-Avery Cemetary, Groton, New London, CT