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Morgan, T. J. (Thomas Jefferson), 1839-1902


Thomas J. Morgan was the Commissioner of Indian Affairs selected by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889. He was born in Franklin, Indiana on August 17, 1839 and was the son of Reverend Lewis Morgan, one of the founders of Franklin College. During the American Civil War, he was a brevet brigadier-general and the commander of the 14th United States Colored Infantry.

After the war, Morgan served as the Corresponding Secretary for the New York Union for Ministerial Education for two years (1869-1871). He was also ordained as a Baptist minister in 1869. In 1871, he served as a pastor in Brownsville, Nebraska, and the following year he became the principal of the Nebraska State Normal School. This would lead him to take similar job positions around the country at such Normal Schools as Potsdam, New York and Providence, Rhode Island. He published books on education and was seen as a supporter of the public school movement after the Civil War.

When Benjamin Harrsion was elected president, he appointed Thomas Morgan as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. Morgan held this position from 1889 until 1893. Morgan oversaw the reformulation of indigenous education policy. In 1890 the United States Congress allocated funds to establish a boarding school to serve the Hualapai and Mojave Indians. On August 22, 1890 Commissioner Morgan formally turned Fort Mojave over to his choice for superintendent, Samuel M. McCowan. In his retirement after Comissioner of Indian Affairs, he became a member of the anti-Catholic League for the Protection of American Institutions and the American Protective Association. He worked at thease associations until his death in Rochester, New York in 1902.


Smith, Burton. "Anti-Catholicism, Indian Education and Thomas Jefferson Morgan, Commissioner of Indian Affairs." Canadian Journal of History/Annales Canadiennes D'Histoire 23, no. 2 (1988): 213-234.

"Department of the Interior. Office of Indian Affairs. Fort Mojave Indian School: 1917-1931. Organization Authority Record," The National Archives Catalog, accessed April 12, 2018.

VerStreate, Daryl. "Thomas Jefferson Morgan." Find A Grave. February 10, 2009. Accessed June 5, 2020.