Biography of John H. Morgan

Born in Wales in 1862, John H. Morgan made a name for himself as a loyal citizen in Cambridge, Ohio, contributing to its industrial growth. A self-made man, Morgan held various positions in the iron and glass industries before entering politics. As a Republican, he served in the Ohio Senate and later as chief inspector of the Department of Workshops and Factories. A passionate advocate for labor rights, Morgan’s work transcended party lines, earning him widespread respect.

The name of John H. Morgan is well-known to the people of Cambridge and Guernsey County, where he has long been identified with important interests and has proved himself a loyal citizen, although he comes to us from foreign shores. Having been born in Wales, February 14, 1862, he is the son of David T. and Elizabeth (James) Morgan. The father was an iron worker in the mills and furnaces of his native country, and he came to America with his family in 1869 and located in Newark, Ohio, where he was employed in the iron mills for several years. This family then moved to Cleveland, where Mr. Morgan also found employment in the iron mills, remaining there until he retired from business, and both he and his wife still reside in Cleveland and are people of high character and sterling Welsh integrity.

John H. Morgan, of this review, was first employed in the glass works of Newark at the early age of thirteen years, and his education was obtained in the public schools of that city before the age mentioned. When the family moved to Cleveland, he went into the iron mills with his father in the sheet mill department. He began at the very bottom of the business and persevered until he became a sheet roller. In 1885, he left Cleveland and found employment as a sheet roller in the mills of Bridgeport, and in May 1890, he came to Cambridge when the sheet mill was started here. He was one of the original rollers of this plant, and in 1899 he began working in the sheet mills of Niles and Pittsburgh, continuing for several years, although retaining his residence in Cambridge.

Mr. Morgan was married, October 6, 1890, to Emma Wilson, daughter of Samuel I. and Sarah E. (Moore) Wilson, of Bridgeport, Ohio, where they were born and spent their lives. Mr. Wilson was a farmer in early life and later became a carpenter and contractor. He and his wife are both deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. Morgan, four children have been born, namely: Laura E.; John H., deceased; Edna and Ethel; all the daughters are at home.

Mr. Morgan is a Republican in politics and has been active in party affairs. He has served as a district member of the Republican state central committee and frequently as a member of the county committee, and a delegate to county, district, and state conventions. In 1895, he was elected to the Ohio Senate from the eighteenth and nineteenth districts, serving two years in a manner that reflected much credit upon himself and to the entire satisfaction of his constituents, making his influence felt in that body. He held membership on several of the important Senate committees. He was chairman of the labor committee, and most of the legislation affecting labor was enacted during the sessions of which Mr. Morgan was a member of the Senate and chairman of the labor committee.

In December 1901, because of his eminent fitness, he was appointed by Governor George K. Nash as chief inspector of the department of workshops and factories, and having performed his duties in a very faithful and able manner, he was reappointed after four years of service, which everyone deemed most efficient, his last appointment being by Governor Myron T. Herrick, and he served with his usual fidelity to duty until June 15, 1909. During this time, the department grew from a force of eighteen persons, clerks, and deputy inspectors, to forty people, the scope and efficiency of the department being greatly extended. The child labor bill was passed and put in force, and during his term, women district inspectors were placed in the department, having a supervising inspection over factories employing women and children. The inauguration and passage of a law regulating the sale, use, and storage of light explosives are credited to Mr. Morgan. He was an efficient and painstaking official and gave the state such high-grade service that he won the esteem of men of all parties throughout the commonwealth. While he has always been an ardent Republican, his work for his fellows has probably been more ardent in behalf of labor organizations than in any other line. He is an unswerving advocate of better conditions for the laboring masses and an indefatigable worker to these ends. He is widely known as an uncompromising worker in trades union movements, his reputation along these avenues of commendable endeavor having far transcended the boundaries of the Buckeye State. For several years, he was vice-president of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers. He gave up the vice-presidency to accept a trusteeship in the same organization, and he served until he was appointed chief factory and workshop inspector, then retired from the board of trustees. He was a member of the conference committee of the organization continuously for fifteen years. He took an active part in the organization of the Guernsey Valley Trades and Labor Assembly and was the first secretary of the organization. He has been active and prominent in all movements having in view the betterment of the condition of the laboring classes.

He is a member of the Masonic Order, having taken the Knight Templar and Shrine degrees, and he is prominent in Masonic work, well known in state fraternal circles, and judging from his daily life, he endeavors to carry out the noble precepts taught by this old and time-honored order in all the relations with his fellow men. Mr. Morgan is a member and liberal supporter of the Baptist church, while his wife and children are members of the Presbyterian church, all being active church workers. He has been resting since his retirement from state office, and on July 1, 1910, he opened a grocery store in Cambridge, which is being well patronized. He carries a large and carefully selected stock of staple and fancy groceries and has a neat, up-to-date store.

Although Mr. Morgan’s school advantages were very meager, yet he is a fine type of that class of men who deserve to bear the proud American title of self-made man. He has always been an ardent student and is well-advised on current events, profoundly versed in the world’s best literature. A broad-minded, cultured, generous, hospitable, genteel gentleman with high ideals and noble aspirations, whom to know is to respect and admire.


Sarchet, Cyrus P. B. (Cyrus Parkinson Beatty). History of Guernsey County, Ohio. Vol. 2, B.F. Bowen & Company, 1911.

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