A Merchant Family's Story
The Central Heritage Society purchased the Morgan House in 1995 as headquarters for the Central History Museum. Several of the rooms are almost exactly as Jessie and Jennie Morgan left them, while others focus on Central, South Carolina history. Local artifacts include everything from textiles produced at Issaqueena Cotton Mill to the merchandise counter from the Morgan Store.
The Morgan Family
In 1885, Jeptha N. Morgan opened a merchandise store in Central and had this house build in 1893 in anticipation of his marriage. Jeptha and Minnie Morgan had two daughters, Jessie and Jennie who participated in the family business by keeping the books for the store. "Miss Jessie" and "Miss Jennie" never married and lived in the house most of their lives. Jessie occupied the house until 1994.
For over 100 years, members of the J.N. Morgan actively participated in the social, religious, and civic life of Central. Jeptha Morgan was one of the founders and President of the Bank of Central. Minnie Morgan was a founding member of the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The family was involved in Mt. Zion Methodist Church. Jessie and Jennie held dances at the house for local young people, hanging Japanese lanterns in the backyard and playing the piano for them.
In addition to social activities and bookkeeping for the store, Jessie and Jennie practiced domestic arts typical of women of their era. Canning and preserving food was a family tradition, as well as sewing and knitting. A tour of their home, which still holds most of their furniture, clothing, dishes, and decorative pieces, provides a sense of what visiting with Miss Jessie and Miss Jennie must have been like. Visitors can imagine that the occupants went to town and never returned.
The lives of Jessie Morgan and Jennie Morgan reveal a bygone era, but their values and activities are still relevent. Involvement in church and school and a myriad of social activities that preserve the past and better the community are alive and well today in Central.