PRICKETTS FORT —
Instead, she took reservations for 570 Morgan descendants from 27 states and two countries — Canada and Belgium — and estimates, via a count of catered dinners, that about 540 of them actually showed up.
She attributes the success of the reunion to a number of factors, including the festivities being held at Pricketts Fort and the subsequent plaque that will be made featuring each attendee’s name and displayed at the fort.
“And then they started hearing how big it was going to be, and they wanted to be a part of that,” Laishley said.
A growing interest in genealogy also influenced some attendees. Bob Leonard, a cowboy-hat wearing rancher from Pawhuska, Okla., learned of his family’s heritage from a Texas cousin who works in the genealogy department of a public library.
He is a direct descendant of Zackquill Morgan, the colonel’s son and the founder of Morgantown, and decided that the 1,100-mile car trip to West Virginia would be worth meeting some next of kin. He found the reunion to be very informative in learning more of his family history.
“I’ve learned a lot of specifics that filled in the gaps,” he said.
And on the hot day that prompted a couple of people to not feel their best, Leonard was reveling in cooler weather than the 102- and 103-degree temperatures he had been experiencing back home.
“The climate is the biggest difference, the clean mountain atmosphere,” he said. “This is wonderful weather here.”
Activities began Saturday morning with a general assembly, a group photograph and a walk to the Pricketts Fort Cemetery, where Zackquill Morgan has been laid to rest.
After lunch, an auction of West Virginia and Morgan-related items proved successful, with one out-of-print book called “A History and Genealogy of the family of Col. Morgan Morgan, the first white settler of the State of West Virginia” — written by the other, non-Californian French Morgan — fetching $3,100.