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Morgantown founder Zackquill Morgan was born in Berkeley County in 1735. He was the seventh of eight children of Catherine Garretson Morgan and Col. Morgan Morgan, traditionally considered the first European-American settler of West Virginia. Zackquill and his brother, David, fought during the French and Indian War in Braddock’s Expedition of 1755 and Forbes’s Expedition of 1758. He moved to Monongalia County about 1771, where he claimed by tomahawk right land along the Monongahela River and Deckers Creek.

Early in the Revolution, Zackquill Morgan was appointed county lieutenant with the title of colonel. He fought with General Gates at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777 and served with distinction throughout the war. Colonel Morgan’s 1771 claim was surveyed and deeded to him on April 29, 1781. On 50 acres of this land, Maj. William Haymond surveyed streets and lots during 1783 and 1784, and Morgan began selling parcels. In 1783, Morgan became the proprietor of an ‘‘ordinary’’ (a tavern or inn), and the Virginia General Assembly designated his home the Monongalia County courthouse until one could be built. He discussed possible locations of roads with George Washington, who visited in 1784. Morgan’s Town was established by the General Assembly on October 17, 1785.

Morgan and his first wife, Nancy Paxton, had three children. He and his second wife, Drusilla Springer, were the parents of 11 children. After his death January 1, 1795, Morgan was buried in the cemetery at Prickett’s Fort. Following a failed attempt in 1925 by Morgantown citizens to remove his remains to his hometown, a granite monument marking Morgan’s grave was erected in 1927.

This Article was written by Harold Malcolm Forbes

Last Revised on November 20, 2023

Related Articles


West Virginia University Public History Option. Morgantown: A Bicentennial History. Morgantown Historical Society, 1985.

Morgan, French. A History and Genealogy of the Family of Col. Morgan Morgan. Washington: 1950.

Descendants of First Lot Owners, Morgan's Town, 1785. Morgantown Bicentennial Descendants Committee, 1985.

Cite This Article

Forbes, Harold Malcolm "Zackquill Morgan." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 20 November 2023. Web. 24 July 2024.


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