Louisiana Revolutionary War Soldier and His Wife are
Finally Laid to Rest with Full D.A.R. Honors
young Sharon Fox, seventh grade student of the Broadmoor Junior
High won a history medal. given by the D.A.R. this year, she told
the ladies of the Shreveport Chapter that her great grandmother.,
Mrs. F. E. Morgan of Ruston is the only living granddaughter of an
American Revolutionary soldier, and that he is believed to be the
only one buried in Louisiana. Sharon's aunt., Mrs. W. A.
McLees, is a member of the Caddo
Chapter, and it is through her that Mrs. Morgan, who will be ninety-five years young in December,
was brought to Shreveport to tell the story of her grandfather to
Mrs. J. C. O'Neal the Shreveport Chapter's Historian, and to Miss
Lilian Polk, its Regent.
Morgan, a sparkling, spirited and gallant lady, born December 30,
1866 on her father's plantation "Safety Dale" near
Zachary, Louisiana, is now the last of the Penny
Civil War had only been over a year when she came into the world,
and she grow up during Reconstruction days, proud that one of her
brothers, James Smiley Penny had joined the Confederate at 13 and
served to the end. Her
two fighting brothers, she recalls, were dubbed the "Black
Pennies" because of their toughness in pulling through
Penny loves every memory of her childhood, and talks of them with
a twinkle. "I
fell in love when I was five or six years old with the son of
Judah P. Benjamin, whom I saw in the old Presbyterian church near
our home. My father
took us there because he never forgot that we were Scotch
Covenanters." He taught her Scottish history and Scottish
songs, and her favorite book was "Scottish Chiefs."
She received most of her education from her father who had
lost his eye-sight in his later years. He would take the children into the yard under the large
shade trees for their lessons. She pointed out that there were no public schools after the
Civil War, so that through Joseph and his sister-in-law, who used
a room in her father's large house for a little schools she
obtained an education. When
Zula was only 17 years old, Warren Easton appointed her to teach
in Port Hudson. "I
bad to pass a written examination to qualify," she said
smiling "but I passed with high marks a credit to my father's
Penny, her father, was born 1807 in Louisiana and died 1887.
He was a planter and raised, ground and refined his own
sugar cane. He
married (1) Annie White, daughter of another south Louisiana sugar
planter and (2) Zula's mother, Anne Carroll. Through her Mrs. Morgan is a direct descendant of the
"Carrols of Carrollten," Maryland, one of them the
famous signer of the Declaration of Independence.
were eight children in the family -- two boys and six girls.
Her sister, Alice, married Isaac Simpson Taylor. A very lovely young lady and favorite of the family, Alice
found herself mistress of a large plantation just north of Baton
Rouge known as "Ashland" so huge that it included the
property known as "Cordelia Oakes", on which is located
a celebrated oak tree said to be one of the largest living oaks in
Louisiana. Alice died
in childbirth and is buried there. A quaint verse is carved below her dates: January 28th 1840
- December 29, 1859.
nephew wrote the description of the Penny place as it was to be
found in his day, a description no longer true for the old 18th
century Penny mansion is gone. But the remarks about James, the Revolutionary soldier,
make it interesting:
you leave Baton Rouge, and drive North on the Scenic Highway, you
pass though the immense holdings of the Standard Oil
Company - their refineries, tank farms, etc. All this land was at one time a large cotton plantation,
which I an told was owned and operated by my uncle, Isaac Simpson
Taylor. His residence
stood almost where the present town of Scotlandville now stands.
There is nothing now to mark the place, save a single tree
that can be seen from the highway.
on some twelve miles, you turn abruptly to the left and follow a
diminutive little country dirt road for some half mile. You come upon an old residence almost hid among the trees
and shrubbery. This
is a very old home dating back to the early part of the 18th
century, and I was told by those living there that it was more
than a hundred years old. In
the yard of this old house there stand what is said to be the
"Henry Watkins Allen Oak" enrolled in the Louisiana Live
Oak Society. As
history goes this old place was once the home of James Penny,
father of Joseph Penny, and that the old gentleman is buried under
the spreading shade of this mighty oak.
Pennys were Scotch, and from all I can glean, James and his father
(also named Joseph) were both born in Scotland. The family immigrated to Pennsylvania, where he resided for
some time. From there
they moved to Louisiana, coming by flatboat or covered wagons
bringing all their possessions, together with their slaves. James said that he was a large lad before he could realize
that he was living in America. But he had a vivid memory of a lovely lady and a beautiful
park-like place where he had lived and was cared for by servants
of some kind. It
seems there was a mystery about it all, somehow, that he never
Daughters of the American Revolution of Washington, D. C. wrote to
Edinburgh, Scotland, and received a statement that the Coat of
Arms of the Penny Family was a Ducal Crown on an ermine background
with the motto, 'I trust the hostile, but fear the friendly",
in Latin, and
referred us back to the days of David Bruce son of Robert Bruce,
and to Sir William Wallace, the Scottish hero.
Long Leaf Pine Chapter of the D.A.R. presented Mrs. Morgan with a
beautiful replica of the above coat of arms. It also carried a greyhound meaning "Swift to do the
to the official D.A.R. records, Zula Penny Morgan's Revolutionary
grandfather, James Penny, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on July
14, 1762 and came with his father Joseph Penny (born 1732) to the
colonies in the spring of 1775, settling in Pennsylvania. His place of residence during the war was Chester County,
Penny had been in the colonies only a year and a half, and was
only 14 years and five months old when he enlisted in Captain
James Morrison's Company of the 3rd Battalion in the militia of
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, commanded by Colonel Thomas
Porter. His name
appears on a company muster roll of that organization covering the
period December 17 to 26th, 1776 (as per the Adjutant General
Washington, D. C.
1780, when he was only 18 years old, the name of James Penny now a
veteran soldier, appears on the roll of the War of the Revolution
as a private in Captain James Clarke's Company, 6th Battalion,
Chester County militia, under the command of Colonel James Taylor.
(The information obtained from the Pennsylvania State Library and
Museum at Harrisburg is found on page 707 of vol. 5, Pennsylvania
excerpt from American State Papers, Vol. 3 by Duff Green, 1834.,
shows that James Penny was already in Louisiana by 1785, only four
years after the surrender of Cornwallis. For he received and worked land grants given him by two
different Spanish governors. (In 1785 Louisiana belonged to
(1) Section 89 amounting to 105 acres was granted him by
Governor C. de Grandpre and was cultivated 1785 to 1814.
(2) Land described as being located in Section 71 and having
426.15 acres was occupied and cultivated 1785-1811 was surveyed
February 14, 1798, and granted James Penny officially by Governor
G. de Lomas February 14, 1799. This land is the exact section on which James Penny who
died in 1845, aged 83, and his wife, Lucy, are buried.
and Lucy Kennard were married near New Orleans 1790. Lucy was born 1769 and died 1839.
She kept 500 snow white chickens says Mrs. Morgan. Of their nine children (two girls and seven boys), the line
of Joseph, the father of Zula Penny Morgan of Ruston alone
remains. The others
have died out.
the library at Louisiana Tech in Ruston a copy of the 1840 census
records the Penny family, including names of wives, and lists the
number of slaves belonging to each. In those days every horse and mule as well as the land, was
1935-6 the Decker family bought the Penny property and removed the
old 18th century house, replacing it with a modern residence.
It is some 300 yards to the left of the great old Henry
Watkins Allen Oak under whose spreading shade lies James Penny
beside the unmarked grave of his beloved Lucy. Mrs. W. J. Decker now owns the property on which the grave
and the oak rest.
Gilmer C. Reeves of Baton Rouges Regent of the John James Audubon
Chapter, D.A.R., which will share with the Shreveport Chapter the
placing and dedication of the Markers recently visited the
neglected little cemetery. To
Mrs. O'Neal she wrote: "It is truly a lovely spot, but in
serious need of fencing, as the animals now roam over the place.
Even with that it has mellow and appealing looks that draw
one's attention at once. The
graveyard lies beneath an extremely large and spreading oak, and
is grown over with weed, vines and briars. It will have to be cleared before the dedication of the two
markers. Though the
grave is enclosed in a very dilapidated fence, the ground is
covered with a thick growth of periwinkle. The entire area is resplendent with mighty oaks of a very
great vintage, and present a cool, comfortable and dignified
vault of James Penny and his wife Lucy will be provided with white
marble markers fitting the grave of Louisiana's only known
Revolutionary War dead. The
dedication exercises are being arranged by the Shreveport and John
James Audubon Chapters of the D.A.R. and will be announced later.
Mrs. Zula Penny Morgan,
accompanied by her son Frank and others of her four surviving
children plan to attend the ceremonies at the burial ground. Mrs.
Morgan hopes that this will be before her ninety-fifth birthday
which is only six months away. The diamond studded D.A.R. pin which she wears in the
picture was a gift of her beloved husband who passed away December
23, 1937, a year after their Golden Wedding.
Morgan lives in her lovely home on Highway 80 East in Ruston and
enjoys flowers, watching the birds in her patio, entertaining her
friends, and learning to play "sol' without a little
cheating. She is a
greatly beloved and distinguished lady known for her hospitality
and warmth of character.
of the American Revolution Magazine", December 1961, page 697
James Audubon (Baton Rouge, La.) and Shreveport (Shreveport, La.)
held a joint dedicatory service, Saturday, Sept. 9, for a DAR
Revolutionary marker to the memory of James Penny (1762-1845).
The program was held at 10 o'clock at the Penny Graveyard,
west of Highway 61, about 10 miles north of Baton Rouge on the
plantation of J. W. Decker.
Keller McKowen, vice regent of John James Audubon Chapter,
presided over the dedication. The pastor of the Plains Presbyterian Church, Rev.
C. J. Matthews, gave the invocation and the benediction. Music was provided by Johnnie Mayfield, Past President,
C.A.R., while the marker was unveiled by Mrs. James C. O'Neal,
historian of Shreveport Chapter. The marker was dedicated by Mrs. James B. Shackelford,
State Regent, and Mrs. Edward J. Schneider, Vice President
presentations were made by Sharon Ann Fox and Judith Lil Morgan,
descendants of the Revolutionary soldier, James Penny, and
great-granddaughters of Mrs. Frank E. Morgan.
Revolutionary soldier was eulogized by Charles A. Perrileaux, Past
Commander, Veterans of Foreign Wars. Taps, sounded by the bugler, brought the program to an end.
Attending the services,
to which the public was invited, were the 95-year-old Mrs. Frank
E. Morgan of Ruston, granddaughter of the Revolutionary soldier,
and members of her family.
dedication of the DAR marker, John James Audubon Chapter honored
Mrs. Morgan with a beautifully appointed luncheon in the
Industrial Room of the Capitol House Hotel. For the occasion the dining room was fragrant and colorful
in autumn flowers. Honor
guests included, in addition to Mrs. Morgan, Governor Jimmie H.
Davis; Mayor John Christian; Mrs. James B. Shackelford, State DAR
Regent; Mrs. R. J. Holzer, State Vice Regent; Mrs. Ralph E. Lewis,
Historian; Mrs. Emile A. Carmouche, Chaplain; and Mrs. James H.
Galloway, Membership Chairman.
honoree was presented with an orchid corsage by Miss Eugenia
Smith, Long Leaf Pine Chapter, Ruston, with keys to the city of
Baton Rouge by Mayor John Christian; and with a commission on his
staff by Governor Davis. Dr.
T. Harry Williams, Louisiana State University Department of
History, gave a witty resume of events in Mrs. Morgan's long and
colorful life. The
luncheon was presided over by Mrs. Gilmer C. Reeves, regent of the
John James Audubon Chapter who presented Mrs. Morgan with a
booklet, tied in DAR colors, containing James Penny's
Revolutionary record, his will, and other data on the family. -
Mrs. Gilmer C. Reeves.