Morgan W. Morgan – Machinist

In the early years of Black Diamond there were two men with similar names: Morgan Morgans and Morgan Morgan. One was the mine superintendent and de facto leader of the company town. The other was the master mechanic who worked at the former’s Mine #14.

Though separated in age, by 20 years, both emigrated from Wales, where Morgan was a popular first and last name.  Each first came to the anthracite coal fields of Pennsylvania before migrating to California to work quartz mines and later coal. Both spent most of their working lives in and around coal mines in Nortonville California and later in Black Diamond.

Morgan Morgans was the mine superintendent. Morgan W. Morgan was the machinist shown in the far right of this photo taken circa 1900 at Mine #14. His boss of similar name remained in charge of the mines of the Black Diamond Coal Mining Company until their sale to Pacific Coast Coal in 1904. Men like Morgan William Morgan were self-reliant workers, before the age of Amazon.com where almost anything needed is easily ordered online.

In his day the machine shop of a mine was critical to its success. When machinery broke down a replacement part might be thousands of miles away in a factory back east. There was no time for delay when coal mining stopped. Machinist and mechanic would set to work and fashion, repair, or fabricate the broken part. On many an occasion, Morgan W. Morgan was called from his evening’s rest, returning to the mine and dealing with emergency repairs.

This photo appears on page 57 of “Mining the Memories” and comes courtesy of his late granddaughter, Jackie Cedarholm, while research for the caption was provided by JoAnne Matsumura, an Issaquah historian