Edwin D. Morgan

For the American businessman, see Edwin D. Morgan (businessman).
Edwin Denison Morgan
United States Senator
from New York
In office
March 4, 1863  March 3, 1869
Preceded by Preston King
Succeeded by Reuben E. Fenton
21st Governor of New York
In office
January 1, 1859  December 31, 1862
Lieutenant Robert Campbell
Preceded by John Alsop King
Succeeded by Horatio Seymour
1st Chairman of the Republican National Committee
In office
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Henry J. Raymond
5th Chairman of the Republican National Committee
In office
Preceded by William Claflin
Succeeded by Zachariah Chandler
Member of the New York Senate
from the 6th district
In office
January 1, 1850  December 31, 1853
Preceded by William Samuel Johnson
Succeeded by Erastus Brooks
Personal details
Born (1811-02-08)February 8, 1811
Washington, Massachusetts
Died February 14, 1883(1883-02-14) (aged 72)
New York City, New York
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Eliza Matilda Waterman (c–1883; his death)
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Union Army
Years of service 1861 - 1863
Rank Major General
Commands Department of New York
Battles/wars American Civil War

Edwin Denison Morgan (February 8, 1811  February 14, 1883) was the 21st Governor of New York from 1859 to 1862 and served in the United States Senate from 1863 to 1869. He was the first and longest-serving chairman of the Republican National Committee. He was also a Union Army general during the American Civil War.

Early life

Morgan was born in Washington, Massachusetts on February 8, 1811 to Jasper and Catherine Morgan. The family moved to Windsor, Connecticut, where Morgan received his early education.[1] Edwin Morgan was a cousin of Morgan G. Bulkeley, the Governor of Connecticut from 1889 to 1893.


He began his business career as a grocer in Hartford, Connecticut. He became a partner with his uncle and served on the city council. In 1836, he removed to New York City and became a successful wholesaler, broker and banker.

In 1843, Morgan organized E.D. Morgan & Company, an import house, in partnership with George D. Morgan, his cousin, and Frederick Avery, who left the firm a year later and was replaced by J.T. Terry. Solon Humphreys was taken in as a full partner in 1854 after working several years as an agent in St. Louis, Missouri. Largely through his connections, the firm became the principal agent for Missouri securities. Nearly two-thirds of the bonds issued by the State of Missouri from 1835-1860, plus a large share of securities of St. Louis, were sold through the house of Morgan - in all perhaps thirty million dollars worth. All the while the firm maintained its wholesale grocery trade.[1]

Political career

Gubernatorial portrait of New York Governor Edwin D. Morgan.

In 1849, Morgan was elected as a member of the New York City Board of Assistant Aldermen. He made a name for himself as chairman of the Sanitary Committee during the cholera epidemic of 1848.[1] He was also a member of the New York State Senate from 1850 to 1853, and State Commissioner of Immigration.[2]

Morgan became highly influential in Republican politics of his time and twice served as chairman of the Republican National Committee, 1856 to 1864 and 1872 to 1876.[2]

From 1859 until 1862, he served as Governor of New York, elected in 1858 and 1860. He was appointed major general of volunteers in September 1861 and commanded the Department of New York until he resigned on January 3, 1863, serving simultaneously as governor and head of the military department.[3]

In February 1863, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and served one term until 1869. In January 1869, he sought re-nomination, but was voted down by the Republican caucus of State legislators who instead nominated Ex-Governor Reuben E. Fenton. In 1876, Morgan ran again for Governor but was defeated by Democrat Lucius Robinson.

In 1881, Morgan was nominated by President Chester A. Arthur as Treasury Secretary and was confirmed by the Senate, but declined the position.[4]:255

Personal life

In 1833, he married Eliza Matilda Waterman (b. 1810), daughter of Henry Waterman (1782–1854). Together, they had:

Known for generous contributions to charities and causes, he contributed large sums to the Union Theological Seminary.

Morgan died in New York City on February 14, 1883.[3] He was buried at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford.[3][5]


His 2x great-grandson was Edwin D. Morgan (1921–2001), businessman and Pioneer Fund director from 2000-2001.[6]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Edwin D. Morgan Papers, 1833-1883 (finding aid)". New York State Library Website. New York State Library. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 Reeves, Thomas C. (1975). Gentleman Boss. NY, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 19. ISBN 0-394-46095-2.
  3. 1 2 3 Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8047-3641-3. p. 397
  4. Reeves, Thomas C. (1975). Gentleman Boss. NY, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0-394-46095-2.
  5. Edwin Denison Morgan, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  6. "The Founders". Retrieved 6 November 2012.


New York State Senate
Preceded by
William Samuel Johnson
New York State Senate
6th District

Succeeded by
Erastus Brooks
Political offices
Preceded by
John A. King
Governor of New York
Succeeded by
Horatio Seymour
Preceded by
Preston King
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from New York
Served alongside: Ira Harris and Roscoe Conkling
Succeeded by
Reuben E. Fenton
Party political offices
New title Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Henry Jarvis Raymond
New title Chairman of the New York Republican State Committee
Succeeded by
James Kelly
Preceded by
William Claflin
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
Succeeded by
Zachariah Chandler
Preceded by
Alonzo B. Cornell
Chairman of the New York Republican State Committee
Succeeded by
Alonzo B. Cornell
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