Scope and Contents
The papers of West Virginia’s 16th Governor, Ephraim F. Morgan, largely contain official correspondence originating in or received by the governor’s office, 1920-1925. Records types include newspaper clippings, reports, maps, proclamations, speeches, and other items. Topics include the State Police, prohibition, industrial unrest, the Mine Wars in southern West Virginia, public works and roadbuilding, and West Virginia University.
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
No special access restriction applies.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.
Biographical / Historical
Ephraim Franklin Morgan (January 16, 1869-January 15, 1950) served as West Virginia’s 16th governor, 1921-1925.
Governor Morgan was born on a farm near Forksburg, Marion County, and was a descendant of Morgan Morgan, the first white settler of western Virginia. He studied at Fairmont State Normal School and earned his law degree from West Virginia University in 1897. After establishing a law practice in Fairmont, he later served with the First West Virginia Regiment during the Spanish-American War. He held a number of public positions in Fairmont including city solicitor and judge in the Intermediate Court. He married Alma Bennett in 1902.
In 1915, he became a member of the state Service Commission, but resigned in 1919 to run as a Republican candidate for governor. He narrowly defeated Arthur B. Koontz in the 1920 fractious election.
The bitterly divisive Mine Wars in southern West Virginia consumed much of Morgan’s administration. During this time, he favored the state’s coal operators and sought to squelch the miners uprising and the formation of strong labor unions by sending the WV State Police to the coal fields. As the violence escalated President Harding eventually intervened by sending federal troops to Mingo and Logan counties.
Under Governor Morgan’s administration the legislature created a sinking fund to provide financial assistance to new programs, namely a new road system. He also oversaw the building of a state capitol and a Governor’s Mansion. The new Capitol was completed during the last month of his administration, and he and his family moved into the Mansion just days before his governorship ended.
Morgan continued public service after leaving the Governor’s Office. He worked as a solicitor for the U.S. Department of Commerce spending much of his time in Washington. In 1940 he ran for U.S Senate, not making it beyond the primary. He died at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.
[Adapted from an article "Ephraim Franklin Morgan" in The West Virginia Encyclopedia, accessed May 26, 2020]
12.5 Linear Feet (12 ft. 6 in. (30 document cases, 5 in. each))