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Hon. Dick Thompson Morgan. When, in the elections of November, 1914, the Hon. Dick Thompson Morgan was sent to the United States Congress for the fourth consecutive time, there was evidenced eloquently the confidence of the people of the Eighth Congressional District of Oklahoma in his trustworthiness, his fidelity to the responsibilities incident to the holding of public office, and his entire capacity to promote the best interests of his constituents. A prominent legislator, Mr. Morgan is also a noted legist, a recognized authority in several branches of the law, and an author of no mean ability, and during his quarter of a century of residence in Oklahoma has done much and in many ways to promote the substantial growth of one of the nation’s most wonderful commonwealths.
Dick Thompson Morgan was born at Prairie Creek, Vigo County, Indiana, December 6, 1853, and is a son of Valentino and Frances (Thompson) Morgan, the former a farmer and native of Kentucky who died in 1880, at the age of sixty-five years, and the latter, a native of Indiana, who survived until 1913 and reached the advanced age of ninety-two years. Mr. Morgan received his early education in the public schools of the vicinity of his birth, following which he was sent to the Union Christian College, Merom, Indiana, graduating therefrom in 1876 with his degree of Bachelor of Science and receiving his Master’s degree from the same institution in 1882. He took his law course at the Central Law School, Indianapolis, where he was graduated in 1880, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, and in that same year began the practice of his profession at Terre Haute, Indiana. From the time he had reached his majority, Mr. Morgan had been a strong and active republican, and in 1880 was elected to his first office as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives, in which body he served capably during that and the following year. He then entered the newspaper field, in connection with his legal practice, and from 1882 until 1886 was editor and publisher of the Terre Haute Courier, which was a powerful influence in the ranks of republicanism in the Hoosier State at that time. In the latter year Mr. Morgan retired from journalism to accept the position of attorney for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company, at Garden City, Kansas, and retained that position until the opening of Oklahoma, April 22, 1889, at that time settling in the City of Guthrie. There he resided and continued in the practice of his profession until 1893, when ho removed to Perry, and in 1901 transferred his residence and field of practice to El Reno, He was residing at the latter city in 1904, when he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt to the position of register of the United States Land Office at Woodward, where he has since made his home. Mr. Morgan retained this position until 1908, when he was elected from the old Second Oklahoma Congressional District, as a member of the Sixty-first Congress of the United States. His services in that body were of a character that demonstrated Mr. Morgan one of the strong and able members of the House, and re-elections to the Sixty-second and Sixty-third congresses followed. In November, 1914, he again became the candidate of his party, and was elected from his district, the new Eighth, to the Sixty-fourth Congress, for the term from March 4, 1915, to March 4, 1917.
On January 25, 1912, Congressman Morgan introduced the first bill in the House of Representatives to create a Federal commission to supervise, regulate and control industrial corporations engaged in interstate commerce, and February 20, 1912, made a speech in the House advocating such a measure. In the initiative and advocacy of such a commission, Congressman Morgan was a pioneer. Later the republican and progressive parties endorsed the proposition in their party platforms, and President Wilson, in a special message to Congress recommended it. The Sixty-third Congress passed the act creating the Federal Trade Commission only about 2½ years after the same had first been proposed by Congressman Morgan.
The Woodward News Bulletin, referring to Congressman Morgan’s leadership in Federal Trade Commission legislation, says: “ The Federal Trade Commission Act recently passed by Congress, stands as a monument to the foresight, breadth of intellect, legislative skill and constructive statesmanship of Congressman Dick T. Morgan. The passage of this measure marks an epoch in the history of National legislation. Conspicuous among the names of those who have written this chapter in American legislative history will appear for all time the name of Dick T. Morgan. He initiated the measure in the House and followed it closely through every stage of its development and progress. In the conception, development and completion of this monumental piece of legislation, Mr. Morgan led the leaders in the Halls of Congress, moved in advance of his own party organization, and outlined a program and policy which was finally adopted and followed by a National Democratic Administration.
“ When Mr. Morgan entered Congress, March 4, 1909, he recognized the fact that the trust question was the one great unsolved National problem. He at once began a careful and systematic study of the question. While others were talking, Mr. Morgan was working. He searched the Congressional Library, studied the Constitution, examined Federal Statutes, read Supreme Court decisions, and sought light and inspiration from every available source. In the Campaign of 1910 he told his constituents that he was in favor of creating a Federal Corporation Commission. Entering upon his second term, he immediately began the preparation of a Bill for this purpose. It was finally completed and introduced in the House on the 25th day of January, 1912. It covered 14 pages of printed matter, every section, paragraph and line of which had been prepared with the utmost care. On the 21st day of February, 1912, Mr. Morgan delivered in the House the first speech advocating the creation of such a Commission. The leaders of the Republican party recognized merit in the proposition and at the next Convention of the party, held at Chicago in June, 1912, the platform declared for a Federal Trade Commission. A month later the Progressive Party, in its first platform did likewise. When the 63rd Congress convened in special session, April 7, 1913, Mr. Morgan promptly reintroduced his Bill. Other Representatives followed his leadership and introduced similar bills. But the climax was reached when President Wilson went before Congress with his message recommending the creation of such a Commission. He thereby committed his party in Congress to the proposition. Thereafter, it was only a question of working out the details and determining what power should be conferred upon the Commission.”
One of the most important subjects to come before Congress in recent years has been that of Rural Credits. Recognizing how deeply his own constituents were interested in better credit facilities and the many benefits that would accrue to the farmers generally of the United States through more abundant credit and lower interest Mr. Morgan as a representative in Congress immediately became a deep student of the subject and an enthusiastic supporter thereof. The question was conspicuously before the Sixty-third Congress. In the discussion of the subject Mr. Morgan attracted attention by the force in which he presented his views as well as by the knowledge he displayed of the subject. But that Congress adjourned, March 4, 1915, without action on the subject. Between the adjournment of the Sixty-third Congress, March 4, 1915, and the meeting of the first session of the Sixty-fourth Congress, December 7, 1915, about nine months had intervened. This was to be a vacation for members of Congress. Instead of taking a vacation, however, Mr. Morgan devoted his time to the writing of a book entitled “ Land Credits: A Plea for the American Farmer.” In the preface of this book Mr. Morgan says:
“When the Sixty-third Congress adjourned, March 4, 1915, I was confronted with a situation entirely new to me. Apparently I had nine months’ vacation in sight; for, barring an extra session, Congress would not meet again until December 6, following. Farm-credit legislation had been conspicuous before the Sixty-third Congress. The whole subject was postponed for the action of the Sixty-fourth Congress.
“I was disappointed in the recommendations of the Commissions which went abroad to study Rural Credits and I had reached the conclusion that Congress should not enact into law the Commission Bill, the Sub-Committee Bill, or the Senate Committee Bill. I, therefore, decided I could best serve my constituents, my State, and my country by devoting the greater part of my vacation to the further study of the principles of land credit, and in preparing the result of my investigations for publication in book form.”
Some idea of the character of Mr. Morgan’s book may be gathered from comments thereof by his colleagues in Congress. Hon. Duncan U. Fletcher, United States senator from the State of Florida, and chairman of the United States Commission sent abroad to study the subject of Rural Credits in a personal letter to the author referring to the book, says:
“You have given a most valuable contribution to the discussion of the problem. You show a thorough grasp of it–particularly as to its importance and the need of a proper solution of it. You express clearly and forcibly the reasons calling for a sound system of Rural Credits and your historical tracing of the movement and the work on it is the most accurate and fairest yet given. I differ with you in some views and arguments but that does not lessen my appreciation of the industry and skill you have shown, manifesting your patriotic interest in a great national question, nor my respect of your opinions.”
Hon. John W. Kern, United States senator from the State of Indiana, in a personal letter to Mr. Morgan, referring to his book on Land Credits, says:
“It is a most creditable piece of work and you are to be congratulated. You have collected and presented a mass of pertinent facts and statistics and set forth so fairly the arguments in favor of the several systems proposed, that all men in public or private life who desire to investigate the main question will find their labors greatly lessened by an examination of your work.”
The press throughout the country has given most favorable comment on this book. The Nation, of New York, one of the most discriminating magazines published in the United States, in its issue of February 17, 1916, prints a lengthy review of this work. Among other things it says:
“ Mr. Morgan has produced a work of many excellencies and one which students of a pending political question will find exceedingly useful. He would have done well if he had eliminated certain expressions which seem to imply that the farmer is a ill-used person. * * * With this allowance the reader will find the present work one of the most helpful that has yet appeared in this country on the subject of rural credits. * * * Despite the unfortunate mannerism to which he alluded at the start, he has presented us with a work which will command general respect if not universal approval.”
The Globe-Democrat of St. Louis, Missouri, discussing Mr. Morgan’s book on Land Credits, says:
“ Persons prone to look upon Oklahoma as a Nazareth out of which nothing of value in the discussion of great economic problems might be expected to come, may fail to read the book on Land Credits written by Representative Dick T. Morgan. * * * But such as persevere will find in it one of the fairest, most illuminating and convincing discussions of land credits to appear since President Taft began to press this neglected question upon the attention of Americans.”
Hundreds of newspapers have published highly complimentary notices of this book. The work is in the hands of practically every member of Congress and its influence will be a potent factor in the moulding of legislation by the National Congress on the subject of Rural Credits.
Mr. Morgan prepared a number of elaborate bills on the subject of rural credits and introduced them in Congress. At this writing, April, 1916, Congress has not taken any final action on the rural credit proposition. But whatever may be the final character of the legislation enacted Mr. Morgan will always be given great credit for the service which he rendered in his effort to secure for the farmers of the United States a system of land credits that would furnish equal and adequate credit facilities for all of the farmers of the United States at uniform rates of interest to the farmers in every section of the country.
In addition to the foregoing book Mr. Morgan is the author of several other works. Among them are “Morgan’s Manual of United States Homestead and Townsite Laws,” (1890) ; “Morgan’s Digest of Oklahoma Statutes and Supreme Court Decisions,” (1898) ; and “Morgan’s School Land Manual,” (1901).
In the territorial days of Oklahoma, Mr. Morgan was president of the Oklahoma Free Homes League, a society organized to aid in securing to the settlers of Oklahoma Territory the benefit of the free homestead law. The movement was successful, resulting in saving the settlers of Oklahoma about $12,000,000. From 1899 until 1908 Mr. Morgan was president of the Oklahoma Christian Missionary Society and he was one of the original committee which founded and located at Enid, Oklahoma, Phillips University and has been from its organization one of its trustees.
On May 30, 1878, Mr. Morgan was married to Miss .Ora Heath, daughter of Rev. A. R. and Mary (Maxwell) Heath, of Merom, Indiana. Rev. A. R. Heath was a minister of the Christian Church, was one of the founders and for many years the secretary and treasurer of the Union Christian College at Merom, Indiana, and died in November, 1914, at the age of eighty-nine years. One son has been born to Mr. and Mrs. Morgan: Porter H.
Porter H. Morgan, leading attorney of Oklahoma City, and a member of the firm of Morgan & Deupree, was born at Terre Haute, Indiana, October 12, 1880. He was nine years of age when he accompanied his parents to Oklahoma, and after some preparation entered the University of Oklahoma, which he attended from 1896 to 1900. In the latter year he entered Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa, where he was graduated in 1903 with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy, and this was followed by a law course at the Chicago University Law School, where he graduated in 1906 with the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence. On September 1st of that year, Mr. Morgan began the practice of his profession at Oklahoma City, and in 1910 formed a partnership with H. T. Deupree, the firm of Morgan & Deupree now being considered one of the strong legal combinations of the city. Offices are maintained at Nos. 421-423 American National Bank Building. Mr. Morgan maintains membership in the various organizations of his profession, and is also connected with the Masons and the Delta Phi Fraternity.
Mr. Morgan was married September 15, 1903, to Clemmer Deupree, daughter of William T. and Martha (Wilson) Deupree, of Bloomfield, Iowa, and three children have been born to this union: Dick Deupree, Merle and William Maxwell. Mr. and Mrs. Morgan and their children reside at their pleasant home, at No. 2228 West Fourteenth Street.