Sergeant William J. Morgans

Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry

"One of the beautiful rural abodes of Dubuque County is known as 'Maplehurst.' It is situated amid beautiful surroundings in Dubuque Township. The residence is a neat and comfortable house, suggesting by its interior arrangements the refined tastes of the family. The outbuildings and other improvements are equally well adapted to their varied uses. Here Mr. Morgans and his amiable wife make their home and hospitably entertain their hosts of friends who come thither." Thus begins the picturesque description of the home of Sergeant William J. Morgans, who enlisted on August 25, 1861, as First Corporal of Company E. The description comes from the 1894 Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa.

Sometime after joining the regiment, Morgans ("Morgan" in the Official Roster) was promoted to the Regimental Band. In June of 1862 he joined his fellow musicians in returning to their regular companies and on New Years Day, 1863, he was promoted to Fifth Sergeant. He was promoted to Company Commissary Sergeant on August 1, 1863 and served in that position until he was mustered out of the regiment on October 25, 1864. He had completed his three year enlistment and was prepared to return home.

Returning to Dubuque, he resumed his former occupation as a miner. On October 26, 1865 he married Priscilla Bonson. They had four children: Richard, William, Priscilla and Samuel. The family was quite respected in their community and the biographical entry notes: "His private duties have been so engrossing as to preclude participation in public affairs, but notwithstanding this he takes a commendable interest in matters of local and general importance, and advocates the principles of the Republican party." The Republican party was, of course, the political party of Abraham Lincoln which was committed to the emancipation of slaves and the prosecution of the war to the end that the Union was restored. It was the political persuasion of the large majority of Iowa veterans. The Fifth Iowa Regimental website is pleased to have a GAR photo of Morgans available for his descendants to view.

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