The History of John Hunt Morgan
John Hunt Morgan was born in Huntsville, Alabama, the eldest of ten children of Calvin and Henrietta (Hunt) Morgan. He was an uncle of geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan and a grandson of John Wesley Hunt, an early founder of Lexington, Kentucky, and one of the first millionaires west of the Allegheny Mountains. He was also the brother-in-law of A.P. Hill and of Basil W. Duke.
Morgan’s father lost his Huntsville home in 1831 when he was unable to pay the property taxes following the failure of his pharmacy. The family then moved to Lexington, where Calvin Morgan would manage one of Hunt’s sprawling farms. Morgan also attended Transylvania College for two years, but was suspended in June 1844 for dueling with a fraternity brother. In 1846, Morgan joined the Freemasons, as had his father before him.
In 1846 Morgan enlisted in the U.S. Army as a cavalry private during the Mexican-American War, and saw combat at the Battle of Buena Vista. On his return to Kentucky, he became a hemp manufacturer and eventually took over his grandfather’s prosperous mercantile business. In 1848, he married Rebecca Gratz Bruce, 18-year-old sister of Morgan’s business partner. Morgan raised a militia artillery company in 1852, but it was disbanded two years later.
In 1853, Morgan’s wife delivered a stillborn son. Rebecca Morgan contracted septic thrombophlebitis, an infection of a blood clot in a vein, which eventually led to an amputation. Relations with his wife’s family suffered over different views on slavery and with her health problems. In 1857, Morgan raised an independent infantry company known as the “Lexington Rifles,” and spent much of his free time drilling them.
Excerpts taken from Wikipedia.