Woman of the Century/Maria Morgan
MORGAN, Miss Maria, widely known as "Middy Morgan," journalist and authority on horses and cattle, born in Cork, Ireland, 22nd November, 1828, and died in Jersey City, N. J., 1st June, 1892. She was a daughter of Anthony Morgan, a landed proprietor, and one of a large family of children. he received a thorough education and became an expert horsewoman. Her father died in 1865, the oldest son succeeded to the estate, and the other children were left dependent. Maria and a younger sister went to Rome, Italy. There Maria went to the court of Victor Emanuel, king of Italy, by whom she was engaged to select the horses for his Horse Guards and have entire supervision of his stables. That place she filled with credit and to the complete satisfaction of the king. After five years spent in the service of the king she decided to come to the United States. On parting from the king of Italy, he gave her his ring from his finger, a pin from his bosom and a handsome watch of great value. The watch was heavily set with jewels, and the case bore his initials set with diamonds. When she came to America, she bore letters of introduction to Horace Greeley, James Gordon Bennett and Henry J. Raymond. For the "Tribune," the "Herald" and the "Times" she wrote more or less, and recently she did the live-stock reporting for the "Times," the "Herald," the "Turf, Field and Farm " and the " Live- Stock Reporter." In addition she wrote the pedigrees and the racing articles for the "American Agriculturist." Weekly letters were also sent to Chicago and Albany papers. Miss Morgan was six feet two inches tall. She wore heavy, high-laced walking boots, and a clinging woolen skirt. Her hat was always plain and conspicuous for its oddity. All her clothes were bought in Europe. She walked with a limp, for a horse once crushed one of her feet by stepping on it. She was proud and self-contained and never made an effort to gain new friends, but a friend once acquired she never lost. She frequently attended the races and bet moderately at times, as her judgment of horses was exceptionally good. The "copy " which she wrote was difficult to read, and special compositors on the "Times" set it. She lived in Robinvale, N. J., and took care of the Pennsylvania Railroad station in that place, for which she received house rent and free transportation. In her absence she employed a woman to sell tickets for her. In the last eighteen years of her life she made three trips to Europe, but never visited her family near Cork. Her first trip was made on a cattle-boat, and alter her return she wrote a series of articles on the treatment of cattle on ocean steamers, which resulted in kinder treatment for the cattle. When Victor Emanuel died, she had a mourning chain made for his watch and wore the watch and ring for one year, taking them from the safe deposit company, where she always kept them. Soon after coming to America she adopted a German boy, but he displeased her by his marriage, and she never recognized him again. She made the acquaintance of William H. Vanderbilt, by whose advice she made several fortunate investments in New York Central Railroad stock. Other investments equally fortunate increased her savings to fully #100.000. She intended to retire when she was sixty-live years old, and a house which she had been building for ten years on Staten Island was nearly completed. The cost was over $20,000. It is entirely fire-proof, three stories high, and has one room on each floor. The floor is tiled and the wainscoting is of California redwood; the second story is finished in inlaid wood brought from different parts of the world; the third floor is finished in ash. The dining-room is finished in inlaid shells. Her sister Jane did most of the decorating. A chimney and fireplace are situated in the center of the house, the chimney running through each floor.