Thomas Jefferson Papers

Katherine Duane Morgan to Thomas Jefferson, 10 January 1822

From Katherine Duane Morgan

Washington—Washington County—Penna—1 January 10th, 1822


In addressing you a feeling of reverential respect almost intimidates me to silence, till reinspired with confidence by a recollection of your polite condescension even to trifles, when brought to your notice by persons whose intentions are pure and upright, and of your truly republican deportment during the period of your holding the exalted station of President of the United States, at which time I had the honor of being presented to your acquaintance by the kindness of your esteemed daughter Mrs Tho’s M. Randolph, when on a visit at Washington City with my father Wm Duane, Editor of the Aurora—

The enclosed paper will explain the cause of my stepping out of the beaten way assigned by custom for females, and of encountering the prejudices and habits of my sex, respecting what unfortunately, generally they consider tantamount to the possession of a multitude of blessings—

From the success I met with in obtaining signers many of whom are the wives of some of our most enlightened and worthy citizens I have been encouraged to endeavour to gain the names of the women throughout this county. In this attempt I have been greatly aided by the politeness of some of our most distinguished and influencial inhabitants, among whom are the only judge of our court whom I have since seen, and all our County Commissioners

It has been my wish for many years that a plan of this kind might be carried into execution, but being anxious to avoid even the appearance of taking a place which more properly belonged to the wife of one in a more public station than that of my husband, Thomas Morgan, (son of the late Col. George Morgan, who I understand communicated to you, sir, the first intelligence of Col Burr’s conspiracy) he being till lately, except whilst transiently a member of our State Legislature, a private citizen, but who at present holds an office under this State Government. I have had seven quires of the annexed Circular printed, and distributed through this County.

I have presumed to mention these circumstances to you sir, knowing the early, decided, constant, and highly distinguished part you took in effectuating the Freedom and Independence of your Country—and therefore concluding that any effort intended to perpetuate the happy result, would be gratifying to you.

The method taken, I conceive will be more effectual than any thing of the kind attempted by the gentlemen; as the mothers are generally the purchasers of clothing for their families, and the husbands not wishing to restrain their wives in what appears to come more immediately within their province—

Accept Sir for your happiness and health, the most fervent wishes of one early inspired with respect and esteem for the noble qualities of which you are possessed.

Katherine Duane Morgan

RC (CtY: Franklin Collection); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqr Late President of the U. States Monticello Virginia”; franked; postmarked Washington, Pa., 12 Jan.; endorsed by TJ as received 20 Jan. 1822 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosure: Address printed in Washington, Pa., Reporter, 31 Dec. 1821, given by Morgan on 17 Dec. 1821 “AT a public examination of the Franklin School, lately established in this borough,” lamenting that girls are taught by their parents “an idolatrous love of extravagance and show in dress” rather than encouraged to obtain morals and knowledge, and that too many people spend more on their outward appearance than they can afford; invoking the names of a number of women of ancient Greece and Rome as models of patriotic virtue; urging the women of Washington County to “add our small portion of encouragement to the manufactures of our country by the exclusion of all articles imported for clothing” and “agree not to make any new purchases of dimities, muslins, bombazetts, and other articles sent here by that many-headed enchantress, England”; advising boys and girls to pursue not only education but honor in preparation for their future adult roles; outlining the methods of examination and discipline that will be followed in the new school; encouraging parents to take a larger role in overseeing their childrens’ education at home and supply them with adequate educational materials; and ending with the resolutions and list of signatories that conclude the other enclosure, printed below.

Katherine Duane Morgan (b. ca. 1787), was born in Ireland and moved to Philadelphia in 1796 with her father, William Duane, and family. In 1807 she married Thomas Morgan and lived thereafter in Washington County, Pennsylvania. By 1821 Morgan had seven children and served on the board of superintendence of the local Franklin School. She established the Jackson Juvenile Auxiliary Total Abstinence Association in 1845, named in honor of Andrew Jackson, with whom she had been acquainted since the mid-1820s. Morgan still resided in Washington County in 1860 (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends , 6:935; New York Public Advertiser, 3 Oct. 1807; Washington, Pa., Reporter, 31 Dec. 1821; Jackson, Papers description begins Sam B. Smith, Harold D. Moser, Daniel Feller, and others, eds., The Papers of Andrew Jackson, 1980– , 11 vols. description ends , 6:72–3, 7:5, 92; Morgan to Jackson, 22 Mar. 1845 [DLC: Jackson Papers]; DNA: RG 29, CS, Pa., Washington, 1860).

Morgan’s husband, Thomas Morgan, had been appointed to the office of county prothonotary in 1821 (Boyd Crumrine, ed., History of Washington County, Pennsylvania [1882], 469).

1Remainder of dateline at foot of text.

Index Entries

  • clothing; imported search
  • clothing; manufacture of search
  • clothing; women purchase search
  • Duane, William; as editor of PhiladelphiaAurora search
  • Duane, William; family of search
  • education; female search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; as president search
  • manufacturing; encouragement of in U.S. search
  • Morgan, George (Col.); and A. Burr conspiracy search
  • Morgan, Katherine Duane; Circular on the Encouragement of Domestic Manufactures search
  • Morgan, Katherine Duane; family of search
  • Morgan, Katherine Duane; identified search
  • Morgan, Katherine Duane; introduced to TJ search
  • Morgan, Katherine Duane; letter from search
  • Morgan, Katherine Duane; visits Washington search
  • Morgan, Thomas; family of search
  • Morgan, Thomas; public service of search
  • Randolph, Martha Jefferson (Patsy; TJ’s daughter; Thomas Mann Randolph’s wife); introduces K. D. Morgan search
  • textiles; domestic search
  • Washington County, Pa.; Franklin School of search
  • women; education of search
  • women; letters from; K. D. Morgan search
  • women; role of search