Morgan, George, 1743–1810, American merchant, Indian agent, and land speculator, b. Philadelphia. In 1765 he went as his firm's representative to engage in the fur trade in Illinois, but the venture failed. Morgan, interested in a tract of land (2,862 sq mi/6,565 sq km in what is now West Virginia) that had been ceded by the Native Americans in repayment for property destroyed in Pontiac's War (1763), helped to form (1776) the Indiana Company, with a land office at Fort Pitt. The state of Virginia successfully contested the company's claim after several years of litigation. In the American Revolution, Morgan served as an Indian agent and as a colonel in the commissary until 1779, when he retired to his estate near Princeton, N.J. In 1789 he entered into a scheme with the Spanish minister to the United States for colonizing Spanish territory and established (1789) the colony of New Madrid in what is now Missouri. The project was opposed by the Spanish governor of Louisiana, and Morgan abandoned it. In 1796 he took up scientific agriculture on a large tract of land he inherited in W Pennsylvania.
See biography by M. Savelle (1932).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.