E. Morgan, M.D.
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Dr. James Ethelbert Morgan,
Emeritus Professor of Materia Medica in the Medical Department of
Georgetown University, died in the city of Washington, June 2, 1889. James Ethelbert Morgan, M. D., an
eminently successful physician of Washington, was a descendant of the
Morgans of Monmouthshire, in Wales, and of the Cecils of Kent, England.
The Morgans, being Catholics and adherents of James I., were, upon a
change of rulers, compelled to leave Great Britain and seek an asylum
with Lord Baltimore in Maryland. James E. Morgan was the son of George
and Maria (Cecil) Morgan, and was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland,
September 25, 1822, and received his education at St. John's College, at
In 1845, he graduated in medicine
from the Columbia Medical College, and settled in Washington as a
practitioner, soon securing a large and lucrative practice in all
branches of his profession. He also collected around him a considerable
number Of young students, to whom he gave clinical lectures in his
office. In 1848 he was appointed demonstrator of anatomy in the National
Medical College, and in 1852 he accepted the chair of physiology in the
medical department of the University of Georgetown. In 1858, he was
transferred to the chair of materia medica and therapeutics, which he
continued to fill until 1876, when he retired from active duties, but
continued as emeritus professor.
He took charge of the Soldiers'
Rest, an institution for the reception of sick and disabled soldiers on
their way from the Union armies in the South.
He was appointed, in connection with Robert King Stone, to investigate
the National Hotel disease, which, while it lasted, caused such an
excitement throughout the United States. He was president of the Medical
Society of the District of Columbia, and was one of the earlier members
of the American Medical Association. He filled numerous offices, civil
and professional, all of which serves to indicate the character of the
man. He died June 2, 1889.
Dr. Morgan was born in St. Mary's County, Maryland, September 25, 1822.
In 1845 he settled in Washington, and continued in the active practice
of his profession until within a few months of his death. Coming to the
city in the earlier days of its history, he grew up with the place,
becoming widely known, and possessing for years the highest confidence
and esteem of the oldest and best residents, many of whom have been his
devoted friends. Although mainly distinguished in the line of general
practice, he contributed numerous articles upon medical topics to the
literature of the day. His " Defence of Medicine and of the Medical
Profession," an oration delivered before the Medical Society of the
District of Columbia about five years ago, was a powerful and philosophic plea for the value of drugs in the curing of disease. He had been
President of the Medical Association, and of the Medical Society of
the District of Columbia. He was consultant in the Columbia Lying-in
Hospital, and in the Central Dispensary, and for many years was a member
of the Judicial Council of the American Medical Association.
With Dr. Robert King Starr, he was appointed to investigate the causes
of the celebrated National Hotel disease, an epidemic of historical
importance, which occurred in 1859, as will be well remembered by our
He leaves a widow and six children — three daughters, one of them the
wife of the Hon. Emory Speer, United States Judge for the Southern
District of Georgia, and three sons, two of whom, Dr. Ethelbert Carroll
Morgan and Dr. J. Dudley Morgan, are physicians practicing in
(The personal edited research
notes of Michael Echols, the source of which may or
may not be completely documented)