Austin, Indiana has a rich and storied history. The areas below will give you an insight of some of the most important points in that history. As time passes this page will change and grow as photos and information are received. I must give total credit to Mike Barrett for his exhaustive reasearch that provides the content of this page from The Austin Indiana History Website - Webmaster Mark York


Austin and The Civil War...

Indiana was a Union State

Indiana’s role in the Civil War is often overlooked and even confusing to some historians. Located in the Midwest Indiana was clearly a Union State, but state leaders were known to express public sympathy to the Confederacy. In the southern part of Indiana there were strong ties to Kentucky, which was known to support both Union and Confederate policies.

While there were conflicting emotions among the Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Governor Oliver P. Morton clearly supported the Union and President Abraham Lincoln. On April 13th, 1861, the Governor called meetings among state leaders to determine Indiana’s position on the Southern rebellion. Overwhelmingly and led by Governor Morton’s support, Indiana voted to remain in the Union, and to support President Lincoln’s request to send troops to engage in battle against the Confederacy.

Statewide support was immediate, and initially so many Hoosiers came forward to support President Lincoln, that thousands had to be turned away. In Austin and Scott County Indiana, hundreds of men rallied to support the Union and joined Union forces as members of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry. During the Civil War over 210,000 Hoosiers enlisted in the Union Army.

The Gettysburg Address...

One of the greatest speeches of our American History from a truly great President.

Austin's Civil War Roll Call...

Alcorn, Joseph W. – Austin. (Scott County Chronicle 145). Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 2/2/1865 as Private. Mustered out 1/21/1866 as Corporal. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Allen, Stephen D. – Indiana Volunteer Infantry 67th Regiment. Mustered in 8/19/1862. Was in battle of Arkansas Port Jan 11th, 1863. Buried Whitson Austin IN Cemetery in 3/13/1863.

Allen Riley S. – Listed on original Musters Roll in Austin Indiana . Private. Mustered in 8/21/1862. mustered out 6/13/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Scott County (IN) Auditors List - 382.

Alsup, John. - Listed on original Musters Roll in Austin Indiana in 8/21/1862 and mustered out 6/13/1865. In Battles of Perryville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Buzzard Roost, Lovejoy Sta., Jonesboro, Spring Hill, Columbia, Franklin and Nashville. Died 9/26/1903 buried Bethe Cemetery Leota Indiana.

Anthony, James. – Listed on original Musters Roll in Austin Indiana – Mustered in 8/12/1862 as Private and mustered out 6/13/1865 as Corporal. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report and Scott County (IN) Auditors List – 120 and listed in the Musters Out Roll Indiana State Library. Died in 1926 in Indianapolis Indiana. Father John Anthony and brother William Anthony of Austin also served in Civil War.

Anthony, John. – Residence Austin. Private. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/3/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report and the Scott County (IN) Auditors List – 454. Born in 1816. Died 10/30/1871 and Buried in Spurgeon Cemetery Austin Indiana. Wife Mary Jane (Blankenbaker) Anthony buried in Spurgeon. Sons William Anthony and James Anthony served in Civil War.

Anthony, William P. – Residence Austin. Private. Mustered in 10/19/1864 and mustered out on 10/20/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Died in Kansas in 1925. His father John Anthony and brother James served in the Civil War.

Applegate, Francis Marion. – Listed on original Musters Roll in Austin Indiana in 7/26/1862. Taken prisoner at Battle of Chickamauga and died as Prisoner of War in Danville, Virginia, on 12/18/1863. Death is listed in the Musters Out Roll Indiana State Library.

Baker, Anderson A. – No Residence given. Mustered in 9/11/1862 as a recruit and mustered out 6/9/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born near Austin on 6/9/1844 and died 12/21/1922. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery.

Baker, Joseph. – Austin. Mustered in 9/18/1861 and mustered out as a corporal on 7/15/1865. Member of the 38th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery with Government stone.

Baker, Moses. – Austin. Mustered in 1/26/1865 and mustered out on 10/7/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Baker Willy. – Austin. 1st Lieutenant 8th Cav Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Commissioned 1/5/1864. Was killed in action. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Baldwin, Natahniel C. – Austin. Mustered in 11/21/1861 and mustered out on 11/29/1864. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 474. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born 3/7/1842 and died 7/24/1885. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. On same stone Isabella Baldwin 1852-1888. (Tombstone pictured at right)

Barrett Gains G. – Austin – Mustered in 8/8/1862 and mustered was killed in battle near Atlanta Georgia on 8/28/1864. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Was father of Mollie Mary Barrett who married Joseph S. Morgan the founder of Morgan Foods (Austin Canning) in 1899.

Bir, Henry. – Austin. Mustered in 3/2/1864 and mustered out 6/4/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Bobo, James. Austin. Mustered in 3/18/1864 and mustered out on 7/24/1865. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 568. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Boofir, Michael. – Austin. Mustered in 1/26/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Bovard, James. – Austin. Mustered in 3/12/1864 and mustered out on 7/10/1865. Born 3/23/1823 and died on 10/19/1889. Buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin. On same stone Sarah Bovard 1828-1888. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Bradford, WM. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 1/28/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Byfield, Francis M. – Austin. Mustered in 9/21/1864 and mustered and died in Texaha South Carolina on 3/2/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Cade, Samuel. – Austin – Corporal. Mustered in 8/4/1862 and discharged on 2/13/1863. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery marked by Government stone. 81st Indiana Infantry, Scott County (IN) Auditors List 335 and is listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Discharged due to disability at Nashville Tennessee on 2/13/1863.

Caldwell, Joshua D. Original Musters Role at Austin 8/19/1862. Was taken prisoner by confederate troops for three months at Libby, Richmond Virginia. Mustered out 6/13/1865 and died on 4/29/1906.

Casey, Thomas A. – Austin. Sergeant Major. Mustered in 1/31/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Chandler, Samuel F. – Austin. Mustered in 2/2/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866.Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Chasteen, John E. – Austin. Corporal. Mustered in 8/30/1862 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Chasteen, Matthew. – Listed on original Musters Roll in Austin Indiana . Private. Mustered in 8/20/1862. Original Musters Roll Austin. Died from wound received in action 16th of December 1864. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Christie, George. – Austin. Private. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and was left sick at Holly Springs Mississippi. Died during transport to Memphis Tennessee. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 397. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Christie, John M. Mustered in 9/18/1861 and mustered out on 9/17/1864. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 476. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Christy, William. – Austin. Mustered in 2/13/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866.Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Cleary, James. Company E 39th New York Volunteer Infantry. Born in 1829 in Ireland and 6/12/1900 in Austin. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. On same stone Mary Cleary died 6/1/1913 84 years old. (Were natives of Tipperary Ireland).

Close, Benjamin. – Austin. Mustered 8/19/1862 and mustered out on 6/17/1865. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 384. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Finley Township Scott County Indiana at Carlisle Cemetery.

Cooley, Adoniram. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and died at Corinth Mississippi on 1/12/1863.

Cooley, Jesse. – Austin .Sergeant. 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/3/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Scott County (IN) Auditors List 396 and is listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born 1825 and died 1909.

Coons, Allen W. Mustered in 8/4/1862 and disability discharged on 4/19/1863. Was wounded Murfreesboro Tennessee. 81st Indiana Infantry, Scott County (IN) Auditors List 170 and is listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery marked by Government stone.

Costin, Richard. - Austin. Mustered 8/19/1862 and was killed in action at Dallas, Georgia on 5/29/1864.

Crawl, George. Austin. Mustered 2/1/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Crawl, Henry. Austin. Mustered 2/1/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Clark, Crecelius. Austin. Mustered in 10/17/1864 and mustered out 1865. Crawl, Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Curtis, John E. - Austin. Mustered 10/7/1864 and mustered out on 7/25/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Cutshall, Aaron. - Austin. Mustered in 7/10/1862 and mustered out 6/18/1865. Enlisted when he was 17-years old. Was born in Scott County Indiana. After Civil War enlisted in the 12th Regiment of the U.S.Army and served six years. After service returned to Scott County and married Vicki McClain. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born in 1844 and died on 4/15/1911. (Scott County Journal 4/20/1911.

Davis, Noah P. – Residence was noted as Scott County Indiana but is buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. Mustered 9/18/1861. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County (IN) auditors list 258 and Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born 6/27/1835 and died on 7/6/1893. On same tombstone is name of wife Mary J. Davis born 8/11/1847 and died on 6/8/1901. Noah was the son of Gara Davis and Esther Parker Davis of New Frankfort. His grandfather Davis was in the Revolutionary War.

Davis, Samuel H. – Austin. 5th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Born in 1822 is buried is Whitson-Austin Cemetery. Died 8/26/1887.

Deberry, Joseph. – Austin. Drafted. Mustered in 10/29/1864 and mustered out 9/13/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born in Ohio, in 1826. Died 5/25/1910 and is buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. On same stone Martha J. Deberry.

Denton, Phillip. – On original musters role at Indiana State Library for Austin Indiana. Mustered 8/6/1862 and died as Prisoner of War in Confederate Camp of Andersonville. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Doughty, Zacheus. – Austin. – Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 12/31/1854 and mustered out on 9/5/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born 12/31/1834 and died 1/15/1877 and is buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana.

Earhart, John. - Austin. Mustered in 10/29/1864 and mustered out on 6/13/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Everitt, M.P.. – Residence not listed but served in Illinois 4th Calvary. Died on 12/31/1901 and is buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Government tombstone. Scott County (IN) Chronicle 1/9/1902.

Everhart, Charles. – Austin. (Name is listed as Everheart in Terrell’s Civil War Report.) Mustered in 2/2/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Faulkner, Gershom. – Austin. Mustered 8/19/1862 and mustered out on 6/3/1865. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 98, Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Faulkner, Joseph. – Austin. Mustered 8/19/1862 and mustered out on 6/3/1865. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 98, Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Fields, Allen B. – Austin. Mustered 2/2/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Fisher, James – Austin. Mustered 8/19/1862 and mustered out on 6/3/1865. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 400, Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Fitch, Levi H. – Residence not listed but is buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Born 10/23/1837 and died on 8/22/1885. On same stone wife Mary Fitch.

Fitch, Levi. – Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery and war record is noted in the Scott County Chronicle 6/2/1887.

Foster, Robert. – Austin. Mustered in 2/23/1864 and died at Chattanooga Tennessee in 8/18/1864. Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Fulkerson, John A. – Austin. Sergeant. Mustered in 8/19/1861 with Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Transferred to Virginia Regiment Calvary on 11/14/1864. Fought in battles of Jackson Mississippi, and siege of Vickesburg. Was taken prisoner on 6/10/1864 at Brice Cross Roads Mississippi on 6/10/1864. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 327, Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Gillespy, Thomas J. – Austin. Mustered 8/30/1862 and died at Gallatin Tennessee on 12/31/1862.Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Gordon, Ebenezer. – Austin. Captain. Mustered in 9/1/1863 and mustered out on 6/13/1865. Faulkner, Gershom. – Scott County (IN) Auditors List 207, Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Gordon, Robert F. – Austin. Captain. Commissioned Captain 12/26/1862. Mustered in 6/10/1863 and mustered out and honorably discharged 5/15/1865 due to wounds suffered in battle on 9/1/1864. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 204, Indiana Volunteer Infantry and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Gray, James M. – Austin. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 10/29/1864 and mustered out on 6/13/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Groves Uriah F. – Austin. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 2/2/1865and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Hardy, Pinney. – Austin. Mustered in 12/13/1864 and mustered out 9/5/1865. 70 years at time of death on 5/11/1912. Was born near New Frankfort Indiana and is buried at Whitson Austin Cemetery. Scott County Chronicle 5/15/1912.

Harrod, Jeptha R. – Austin. Mustered in 2/1/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. After Civil War moved to Avon Illinois. Was the grandson of William Harrod who was one of Austin’s first settlers. Jeptha was the uncle of Fern Harrod who married I.C. Morgan. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Died in 1921.

Harrod, Jospeh M. – Austin. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 2/21/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Married Phoebe Mann daughter of prominent Austin citizen John R. Mann.

Hays, Francis A. – Austin. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out on 6/3/1865. Scott County’s Auditor List and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Hoard, William. – Austin. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 1/13/1864 and died at Evansville Indiana 0n 7/5/1864. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Hughbanks, James H. - Mustered in 8/8/1862 and issued disability discharge on 1/15/1863. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Died 1/26/1886 and reported in Scott County Chronicle 6/2/1887. Wife Belle. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County (IN) Auditors List and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Hughbanks, Thomas– Buried Whitson Austin Cemetery. Born 2/20/1835 and died 8/29/1912. (Bogardus Files).

Hughes, Jasper. – Austin. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 2/4/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Hulse, Albert. - Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 2/4/1865 and mustered out on 1/21/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Born 8/13/1823 and died 12/20/1877.

Jackson, Thomas. – Austin. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 1/13/1864 and mustered out on 1/8/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

James, Thomas. – Residence listed in Jefferson County Indiana. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 6/19/1861. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 507 and Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Born 1831 and died 12/18/1903.


The Town of Austin Heeds the Call...

Local Men Volunteer for Union Army

In discussing Austin’s early history very little has been said about the town’s support of the Union Army and their willingness to serve. In the four years of the Civil War 106 men enlisted in the Union Army, and gave Austin Indiana, as their official residence. Ranging in ages from 17 to their mid 40s, these brave men were volunteers who understood the significance of their duties. Several of the 106 men who heeded the call returned home wounded, and left crippled for life. Others were even less fortunate and never returned to Austin, their bodies buried in mass graves, their tombstones unmarked. Families of a soldier, who had been killed in action, often learned of their death through a letter from an officer of the company, which they served.

Aaron Cutshall...

Pictured below in the late 1800s is the Aaron Cutshall Family. Aaron fought in the Civil War for the Union Army from 1861-1865, and was just 17 years old when he enlisted. His is pictured with wife Levissa and their children David, James, Kate and Pid.

Notes: Cutshall, Aaron. Austin. Mustered in 7/10/1862 and mustered out 6/18/1865. Enlisted when he was 17-years old. Was born in Scott County Indiana. After Civil War enlisted in the 12th Regiment of the U.S.Army and served six years. After service returned to Scott County and married Vicki McClain. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born in 1844 and died on 4/15/1911. (Scott County Journal 4/20/1911.

Re-Discovering the Tombstones of “Scott County’s Unknown Civil War Soldiers”

Austin Indiana -- A group of Veterans linked to Austin, pose with one of the re-discovered tombstones of Scott County’s Unknown Civil War Soldiers buried in 1863 at the Whitson Austin Cemetery. The second tombstone is about 30-feet behind the group and to the left. The tombstones had been covered in mildew until a recent cleaning and were almost forgotten histories. (See related story below). In the photo above from left to right are: Harry Hunley of the United States National Guard 1965-1972, Bob Hubbard who served in the United Sates Navy from 1953-1957 & 1961-1978, Bobby McIntosh United States National Guard 2006-present with One Tour in Iraq, Walter Green United States National Guard 1988-2009 with One Tour in Afghanistan and One Tour in Iraq, and Bob Wormley United States Army 1972-1994. (Photo by Mike Barrett)

Roll Call Continued...

Jennings, Joseph. – Austin. Mustered in 8/23/1864 and mustered out 6/4/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Johnson, Gideon. – Austin. Captain. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/3/1865. Scott County Auditors List 105. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Jones, Milton. – Austin. Sergeant. Mustered in 11/21/1861 and discharged April 1863. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report and Scott County Auditors List 571. Born in 1842 he moved to Scott County with his parents when he was 12. After Civil War was school teacher and timber industry owner. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Died in Austin 11/2/1911 and has same stone with wife Saroda Jones (1845-1928). (Tombstone pictured at right)

Jones, Robert T. – 2nd Lieutenant. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery marked with Government stone. Mustered in 8/1/1862 and mustered 6/13/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report and Scott County Auditors List.

Jones, Thomas. – Mustered in 8/29/1861 and mustered out 9/23/1864. 8th Calvary. 39th Indiana Infantry. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Government stone.

Jones Thomas C. - Austin. Mustered in 2/25/1864 and mustered out 7/24/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Keepers, Punnell M. - Austin. Mustered in 9/18/1861 and mustered out 7/15/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Kinney, Thomas. - Austin. Mustered in 8/15/1861and mustered out 7/24/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Scott County (IN) Auditors List.

Lighte, Joseph. – Austin. Mustered in 1/27/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Sergeant.

McClain, Joseph. – Scott County (IN) farmer. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 10/1/1864. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 13 and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in New Providence Cemetery Austin Indiana. Born 12/31/1838 and died 4/15/1918. Small stone marked father, Seg’t 93rd Regeiment. On same stone Louise McClain.

Mann, Alexander D. – Austin. Mustered in 1/26/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Mann James J. – Austin. 8/9/1862 and mustered out on 1/27/1863. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 10/1/1864. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 516 and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Injured at Bowling Green.

Mayfield, Isaac H. – Austin. Hospital Steward. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Mustered in 1/13/1864 and mustered out 1/8/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Meranda, Thomas. – Austin. Mustered in 9/18/1861 and mustered out 6/3/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Midcap, John S. Austin. 1st Lieutenant. Mustered in 9/18/1861 and mustered out 7/15/1865. I Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Miller, Barney. – Austin - Mustered 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Miller, Phillip. – Austin – 3rd Corporal. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/3/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 481 and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery.

Miller, Taylor. – Austin. Mustered in 2/3/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Mitchell, George. – Austin. Mustered in 8/15/1861 and mustered out 7/24/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 531 and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Died in Seymour Indiana in 1898. Scott County Journal 6-23-1898.

Mitchell William H. Austin. – Mustered in 2/3/1865 and mustered out 7/24/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried Spurgeon Cemetery Austin Indiana. Stone: 145th Indiana Infantry.

Montgomery, John W. – Austin. Mustered in 6/19/1861 and mustered out as 1st Lieutenant on 9/5/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 278 and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born in New Frankfort Indiana in 1842. Was prominent Austin citizen and was postmaster in Austin. Died 2/19/1929 and was buried in Scottsburg Cemetery. Scott County Journal 2/18/1929.

Morgan, David. – Mustered in 10/19/1864 and mustered out 6/17/1865. Buried Whitson Austin Cemetery. Died at age 70 on 8/21/1897. Scott County Chronicle 8/26/1897.

Morgan, Nathan. – Austin. Mustered in 10/6/1864 and mustered out 6/25/1865. Listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born 3/25/1825 and died 2/23/1878. Buried at Whitson Austin Cemetery. His 3rd wife Margaret Morgan died 1898. Father of J.S. Morgan who founded the Austin Canning Company in 1899. Now Morgan Foods.

Morrison, Andrew. – Austin. Mustered in 3/12/1864 and mustered out 7/13/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Muchmore, Alfred. – Austin. Mustered in 9/2111864 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. Died 3/19/1904.

Murphin, Jeduthan. – Mustered in 8/8/1862 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery in Austin Indiana. Born 1841 died 1912. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 64 and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Murtin, John W. – Austin. Mustered in 2/4/1865 and died in Indianapolis 2/17/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery. Born 1845 and died 1865,

Owens, William. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and died at Corinth Mississippi 2/18/1863. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Parks Jesse. – Austin. Mustered in 10/29/1864 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Parks, William. – Austin. Mustered in 2/19/1865 and mustered out 5/16/1865. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 10/1/1864. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 24 and listed in Terrell’s Civil War Report. Scott County (IN) Chronicle reported 3/13/1881 that Parks received back pension of $743 for injures during Civil War.

Patterson, Nathan. Austin - Mustered in 8/15/1861and mustered out 1862. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 268 and Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Peacock, John. - Mustered in 9/21/1864 and mustered out 6/19/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born in Scott County 5/15/1833 and died in 3/31/1877. Buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. His daughter Martha Burton as letters written by him during Civil War.

Peacock, Robert. - Austin. Mustered in 10/29/1864 and mustered out 6/13/1865 Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born 3/24/1828 and died 9/29/1875. Buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. Adjoining stone Angeline Peacock. 1830-1905.

Perrin, Andy. – Austin. Mustered in 8/18/1864 and mustered out 6/4/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. 16 years old when enlisted.

Perry, Benjamin J. - CONFEDERATE ARMY. Buried Austin Cemetery. Born 10/22/1880 and died 6/8/1920. Elizabeth Perry his wife born 1840 and died 3/15/1922.

Perry Thomas. – Austin. Mustered in 2/1/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Phillips, James. – Austin. Corporal. Mustered in 3/12/1864 and mustered out 1/8/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Born 1843 died 1909 and is buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. Same stone Viola E. Phillips. 1845-1912.

Phillips, William R. – Austin. Corporal. Mustered in 2/2/1864 and mustered out 1/8/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Rawlings Henry. – Austin. Musician. Mustered in 2/7/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Rawlings John W. – Listed on original Musters Roll in Austin Indiana . Mustered in 11/21/1861 and mustered out 11/29/1864. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Reid, William. – Austin. Corporal. Mustered in 11/21/1861 and mustered out 9/13/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Rice, Collins. – Austin. Mustered in 10/6/1864 and mustered out 7/25/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Riley, Theodore. – Austin. Mustered in 11/15/1863 and mustered out 6/10/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Rude Alexander. – Austin. Mustered in 8/15/1861 and died in St. Louis 2/20/1862. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Rude James.– Austin. Mustered in 8/15/1861 and mustered out 7/24/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Rude William H. – Austin. Mustered in 8/15/1861 and was killed at Rome Georgia 5/17/1864. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Scott County (IN) Auditors List 412.

Sage, John. – Austin. Mustered in 10/24/1864 and mustered out 7/11/1865. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Sanders, John D. – Austin. Mustered in 2/2/1865 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indian Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. Born 1839 died 1915.

Saulsberry, William. – Austin. Mustered in 2/2/1862 and mustered out 1/21/1866. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Seaver, Geroge W. - Mustered in 2/20/1862 and mustered out 7/21/1865. Volunteer Infantry. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana. Born 1844 died 1937.

Skeel, Nicholas Jackson. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and was discharged on 6/2/1865. Had forefinger shot off at Buntlyn’s Station, Tennessee in 1863. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery Austin Indiana. On Stone: NJS Pvt. 93rd Ind. Inf. Born 1829 died 10/20/1870.

Smith, John. –Austin. Mustered 10/20/1864 and died at Chattanooga 6/9/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report.

Spear, Samuel. – Austin. Mustered 10/29/1864 and died at Chattanooga Tennessee 6/15/1865. Stone at Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Austin Indiana: Died 6/15/1865, age 29 years 8 mos, 12 days. He was a member of Co. B 44th Regiment Ind. Vol. Inf. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Spear, William. – Listed on original Musters Roll in Austin Indiana . Mustered in 1/13/1864 and mustered out 1/8/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Spellman, James. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 135.

Spellman, Nathan B. – Austin. Mustered in 11/21/1861and mustered out 11/29/1864. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 559.

Spellman, Sylvester. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 2.

Stark, James W. – Austin. Mustered in 12/21/1864 and mustered out 6/2/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Stewart, Stephen – Austin. Corporal. Mustered in 3/12/1864 and mustered out 7/2/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Surrran, Cade. – Austin. Mustered in 12/21/1864 and mustered out 9/5/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Thomas, David – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/3/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott Auditors List 368.

Trulock, Francis. - Austin. Mustered in 8/15/1861 and mustered out 8/12/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List. Granted increase in pension 1887 Scott County Chronicle.

Trulock, Thomas J. – Austin. 2nd Lieutenant. B-50. Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Residuary Battalion. Scott County Auditors List. Commissioned 7/30/1864 and mustered out 9/10/1865.

Ulmer Henry C. – Austin. Mustered in 9/14/1864 and mustered out 6/4/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

U.S Soldiers. (2) Unknown. In 1960’s markers were still visible that read “U.S. Soldiers.” Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery.

Vest, George. – Mustered in Austin in 1864 and mustered out 7/14/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Vest, Isom T. – Mustered in Austin in 1864 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Watson, Joseph L. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Scott County Auditors List 487.

Whitaker, Smith. - Mustered in 8/29/1861 and mustered out 9/13/1864. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery.

Whitsitt, James. – Austin. Mustered in 3/12/1864 and mustered out 1/8/1866. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

Whitson Thomas W. – Austin. Mustered in 8/19/1862 and was shot in line of duty at Chattanooga Tennessee. Died 6/16/1864. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Buried at National Cemetery in Chattanooga. Had wife and four children when killed.

Wilkerson, Francis M. –Mustered in 10/21/1864 and mustered out 7/25/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Buried Wesley Chapel Cemetery Austin Indiana.

Williams, James. – Mustered in 8/4/1862 and mustered out 6/13/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Buried in Whitson Austin Cemetery.

Worrell, W.B. - Mustered in 8/30/1862 and mustered out 6/9/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry. Buried in Spurgeon Cemetery Austin Indiana. Stone: Company E. 82nd Indiana Inf. Born 7/10/1825 and died 4/13/1887.

Young, John W. – Austin. Mustered in 12/21/1864 and mustered out 9/15/1865. Terrell’s Civil War Report. Indiana Volunteer Infantry.

 


Joseph Steely Morgan - Founder of The Austin Canning Company...

In 1820 a gentlemen named David Washington Morgan (1775-1835), and his wife Sarah Hughbanks Morgan (1775-1844) arrived from Bourbon County, Kentucky, and settled in Scott County, Indiana, as one of the county’s early pioneers. A farmer, David and Sarah started their family and in 1825, a son was born which they named him, Nathan R. Morgan. Nathan too became a farmer but also operated a general store. Nathan and his second wife Mary Hughes Morgan shared seven children. In 1953 Dr. Carl Bogardus an Austin physician wrote a book about the early history of Austin, “Centennial History of Austin Scott County Indiana.” In the Bogardus book we learn that Joseph Steely Morgan (J.S.), the son of Nathan Morgan was born in Scott County Indiana, in 1858. Just after J.S. Morgan turned twenty years old, his father Nathan Morgan passed away in 1878.

J.S. Morgan was married to Mollie Barrett Morgan, the only child of James and Elizabeth Barrett, who were among Austin’s earliest settlers. Mollie was raised by her mother, as when she was just a baby her father James was killed in the Civil War fighting for the Union Army. (35th Regiment, Indiana Infantry)

According to Bogardus, the first professional accounts of J.S. Morgan reveal he was a school teacher at a county school in Jennings Township, at a place called Possum Trot, which was about one mile northeast of Austin. In 1881, J.S. opened a general store in North Austin which included a drug store, where he was the pharmacist.
When the Austin Canning Company was formed in 1899, a small group of local businessmen provided $500.00 each to start the business. J.S. was one of the original shareholders but since he did not have the funds to contribute, he was designated the company’s president for the first year, and his salary paid for his stock. J.S. Morgan was 41 years old and already established in the community when the Austin Canning Company opened for business. He was willing to risk it all for what he believed was an opportunity of a lifetime. In 1899, forty-one years old was considered old, and men were tired from a hard life of fighting to survive. Putting food on the table for family was one thing, but these were the days when America was on guard for one serious health threat after another, typhoid fever was a deadly killer feared by all.
The canning industry required long hard hours, and it was not a place for the timid. J.S. Morgan was not a timid man; he worked exhaustive hours with such a passion for his work he was viewed as obsessive by those who knew him best. In 1900, the company records show there were 75 employees in the first year of operation.

In the early 1900s when the operation was in jeopardy of shutting down J.S. started buying out his partners. For him failure was not an option and he wanted complete control of the thing that controlled his life, the canning company. He changed the company’s philosophy which was simple, out work the competitor, quit borrowing money to keep the operation going and make sure products were of the best quality. To ensure the quality of the products J.S. hired a quality inspector, himself. He personally wanted to guarantee the purity of his products. While he expanded operations, he vigorously perused the company books in search of cost savings that would prevent him from having to borrow money. One way he saved money was to do as many tasks of the company that he could possibly do, he was the President, timekeeper, quality inspector, purchasing agent, production supervisor and payroll administrator. He adamantly believed that borrowing money would be the ruination of a company.

Roadways presented serious transportation challenges. Before motor transportation was available, the company used the railroad or horse and mule teams pulling wagons to deliver their products. Bad weather presented an arduous task of traveling through slow and impassible roads. J.S. Morgan was not deterred by any of these events, he knew that if his products didn’t arrive on time customers would buy from another canner, and he would lose cash flow that would require him to seek credit. J.S. had an answer, he frequently employed himself as a driver of wagon teams to ensure timely delivery and to ensure cash returned safely back to Austin. He spent exhaustive hours milling farm lands that were growing crops for his company; he wanted his crops to look good in the fields which would provide better quality. It was a well-known fact that he spent almost 18 hours a day on the job, everyday.

In the early 1900s America was changing over night with the industrialism of agriculture. Through industrialism farm land became an out door assembly line. Factory jobs changed rural America as people began to seek a more stable way of making a living. Instead of making their own food and clothes it was easier to let someone else make them, and then buy them. Farm work without modern equipment required the work of several hands on just a small farm, and even that did not guarantee an income. When Industrialism started America was willing to go to work for someone else and get paid for it.

During the industrialism of agriculture, the Austin Canning Company had one advantage that didn’t have anything to do with cash flow. The advantage was the prosperity of the tomato plant in Scott County. More tomatoes were produced in Scott County, than any other county in Indiana, and at the time Indiana was the leading grower of tomatoes in the United States. The tomato was an important factor of the early success of Morgan Packing Company, and J.S. Morgan saw an opportunity and planted more tomato crops than any other canner in Indiana.

J.S. Morgan and his wife Mary (Mollie) Barrett Morgan (1862-1951) were the parents of four children. Ivan Clarence Morgan, who later became commonly known as I.C. Morgan, was born on August 26th, 1880. Their first daughter Goldie Morgan was born in 1885 and two more daughters Lenora Morgan[4] and Helen Morgan[5] were born in 1896 and 1898.

Fifty plus years after his death the name I.C. Morgan is still a big name in Austin. There are many reasons for this, but none greater than his vision of a food canning empire and his commitment to expansion and new technology. Like his father he was extremely dedicated to the canning company, while J.S. was more focused on the day-to-day operation, I.C. was focused on the long-term opportunities for Morgan Packing Company in America. To execute his plan he recruited people with experience in the canning industry and to deliver his products he developed the largest private-owned trucking fleet in the country. He wanted mass production, efficiency and the best quality for the Scott County name brand foods.
I.C. Morgan was born in Austin on August 26, 1880. He grew up happy and his days were filled hanging out at his father’s general store, where he ran errands by delivering medicine and food to people in the town. He liked delivering goods to his father’s customers and found he was a welcome visitor. Perhaps this is where he learned to talk to people and to take the time to understand them. Young I.C., also spent a lot of hours on the empty lots of Austin playing baseball with other kids, a sport he deeply loved.

The many hours he spent in the pharmacy of his father’s general store contributed to his strong interest in medicine. At an early age he told others he wanted to become a medical doctor. It has been said by many close to the family during this period that young I.C., was deeply disappointed that his father could not afford to send him to medical school. Instead I.C. attended one year of business school at the Indianapolis Business College, before returning to Austin to run the general store while J.S. Morgan ran the cannery.

In 1905, I.C. married Fern Harrod and their first child was born on April 6, 1905, a son, Ivan Harrod Morgan who became commonly known as Jack Morgan. I.C. and Fern would have two more children, one in 1910 a daughter Marion Morgan Lyons (1910-2004) and in 1913 another daughter Margaret Morgan Renard (1913-2004). (Fern Harrod's father was C.F. Harrod, who was recognized as one of Austin's most distinguished citizens. C.F. Harrod passed away in 1925.)

By 1907, I.C. was heavily involved with the cannery, his goal of becoming a doctor now forgotten. But he had held onto another one of his childhood dreams, baseball. I.C. brought professional baseball to Austin in the form of a semi-pro team that played in the Southern Indiana Baseball League for over 45 years. In the early days I.C. was a star player for the Austin Packers, the nickname Packers was given to the team after Morgan Packing Company. I.C. loved competition and sports seemed to be a perfect outlet for the rugged 6’2” two hundred pound man, which was considered a huge man for the early 1900s in the United States.

Don Garriott[1] played for the Austin Packers in the 1930s and '40s when I.C. was the coach, but remembers hearing that I.C. was a great player. “As an athlete I’m told I.C. was really ahead of his time. Guys that were old enough to remember him said that he could really play and was good enough to play in the majors.” Garriott added that I.C. recruited heavily for his baseball team, giving ballplayers year round jobs if they would sign a contract to play for the Packers. “If you were really good he’d find you a place to live and pay the rent, at one time he had about ten guys living in houses he owned for free.” I.C. loved baseball so much that in the early 1900s he built a small baseball stadium on property that adjoined the factory on the east side just across the railroad tracks (Later the American Can Company was built on this site). In the early 1920s he built another ballpark, that seated over 500 people just south of the plant's main entance and was the main attraction of Austin for many years. I.C. loved for employees of Morgan Packing Company to attend games and on many occasions games were sold out. In 1934, I.C. paid outrageous wages for a big reputation pitcher named Hickory Ferrell, who led the Packers to the 1936 Southern Indiana League Championship. Ferrell and Morgan shared a love of competition, beyond baseball. The two men traveled across the United States on hunting trips where they engaged in fierce competition. They traveled to Philadelphia to watch a heavyweight championship fight that featured world champion Joe Louis.

The baseball stadium wasn’t the only thing I.C. Morgan built in Austin. In 1919 he built a beautiful mansion[3] in the heart of Austin, and its uniqueness is still admired by travelers to the community. I.C. and his wife Fern loved their new home, and made it the gathering place for all holidays and family functions. On many pleasant evenings I.C. and Fern could be seen sitting on the porch, which was connected to the westside of the mansion. In 1923, I.C. built his father J.S. Morgan a mansion similar to his, on the other side of the road from his home.

I.C. Morgan was a huge man and a rugged individual who loved the outdoors and his presence commanded respect. I.C. just didn’t have a dream of a food canning empire he was committed to it. It was his idea to expand operations and in the middle of the turbulent '20's his ideas became reality. Morgan Packing Company factories[4] opened in nearby Indiana communities like Scottsburg, Edinburg, Columbus, Brownstown, Underwood, Redkey, Franklin, Converse, Leota and Little York. The Brownstown and Scottsburg plants produced both pumpkin and corn. The Columbus and Edinburg plants were mainly devoted to tomato products, while the Franklin plant produced beans and corn.

I.C. Morgan worked hard to convince his partner and father J.S. Morgan that mass production was the key to manufacturing success in America. In the 1930s industries across America adopted this concept which changed the way companies viewed maintenance and inventory levels. I.C. Morgan wanted preventive maintenance programs in place long before they were viewed as an industrial must. I.C. analyzed the operations much like J.S. had, only with a different perspective. J.S. searched for ways to cut back expenses while I.C. searched for ways to improve efficiencies by exposing deficiencies. He believed investment in new machinery protected the company from having to cutback operations due to mechanical failures. I.C. loved new technology and was willing to pay for it; he spent thousands of dollars replacing old machinery with new machinery.

In order to meet mass production demands I.C. invested in the Retort operation and in the 1930s there were over 200 retorts. All products with the exception of tomatoes were processed in live steam at temperatures over 240 degrees. By this time Morgan Packing Company was making a huge impact in homes across America. The company was shipping their Scott County Brand name to the east coast, deep into the south and all over the mid-west. In just a short time I.C. Morgan had taken Morgan Packing Company from an Indiana canner to a national canning empire.

As history indicates I.C. was deeply involved with the community of Austin. In the 1930s he built a huge dance hall in downtown Austin, and provided weekend entertainment. He also built a huge cafeteria and offered meals at a very affordable price for Austin citizens and visitors. The cafeteria remained open for nearly 40 years, and during the pack season close to 2,000 people were served on a daily basis.

I.C. Morgan was a great man of character who did not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but while he didn’t smoke he often handed out packs of cigarettes to those who did. His generosity extended to the school systems, where he donated building materials for new schools and purchased books and athletic equipment. Former Austin High School Principal Leland Langdon, said in 1988, that I.C. was the most charismatic man he had ever known. “When he entered a room everyone quit doing what they were doing, to see what he was doing,” added Langdon. And Don Garriott added in 2002, “I.C. knew his business, but he was willing to listen to others. That’s really what helped define him as a great person, he made others feel important.” There were no slow days for I.C. Morgan, his interests extended beyond business and even baseball. In 1932, he was named the head of the Indiana Republican Party State Committee.

I.C. liked to surprise people with his generosity as was the case in 1941. After a long Pack season and many long hours, he sent the entire Morgan Packing Company main office employees to Florida by train, for an all-expenses paid vacation. I.C. believed the future of Austin depended on Morgan Packing Company, and he donated lumber and materials to local business owners to help build newer buildings and churches near the downtown business area. Joe Shields was a 1948 Austin High School graduate who went to college and earned his degree at nearby Hanover College. Joe’s father Lloyd Shields, a local businessman was friends with I.C. Morgan, and Joe played for the Austin Packers baseball team while he was in high school. Joe has fond memories of I.C. Morgan. “He really cared about Austin and had a great interest in the community; he wanted good people to live here because he knew how important they were to the success of his company.” Shields also stated that I.C. had a special quality when it came to helping others. “He loved to help people, but back in those days’ people had a lot of pride and wanted to earn their way. So when I.C. helped someone, he went out of his way to make them feel like he was helping them because they were partners and not because they needed a handout. A lot of people would have done anything for I.C. because they knew he was there for them.”

In the 1940s America ran into hard times again, this time World War II along with the threat of invasion by German leader Adolph Hitler, created a fear in America not experienced since the Civil War. American businesses were disrupted and Morgan Packing Company was no exception. It had been many years since the company faced such dire financial circumstances. One problem was a depleted work force, most young men were sent off to defend the United States. In order to keep the cannery in operation I.C. sought profitable government contracts, which included making food for the Armed Forces. He lobbied as many political powers as he could, and eventually the company was awarded a huge contract. He was still faced with finding enough people to staff the operation. A lot of women from the community were already working at the plant, so I.C. turned to the government again, in what turned out to be one of the most interesting pieces of history in the town Austin.

As the war escalated, Prisoners of War (POWs) were sent to the United States and in some cases the POWs were loaned out to companies who had been granted government contracts. Morgan Packing Company was one of those companies and under the guard of the United States Army more than 1,500 German prisoners were stationed in Austin. During the World War II era there were three generations of Morgan’s working at the plant, J.S. Morgan, I.C. Morgan and I.C.’s son Jack Morgan. After the war the company rebounded again, and in the late forties Morgan Packing Company was the most stable canning company in Indiana.


I.C. Morgan
(1880 - 1949)

Fifty plus years after his death the name I.C. Morgan is still a big name in Austin. There are many reasons for this, but none greater than his vision of a food canning empire and his commitment to expansion and new technology. Like his father he was extremely dedicated to the canning company, while J.S. was more focused on the day-to-day operation, I.C. was focused on the long-term opportunities for Morgan Packing Company in America. To execute his plan he recruited people with experience in the canning industry and to deliver his products he developed the largest private-owned trucking fleet in the country. He wanted mass production, efficiency and the best quality for the Scott County name brand foods.
I.C. Morgan was born in Austin on August 26, 1880. He grew up happy and his days were filled hanging out at his father’s general store, where he ran errands by delivering medicine and food to people in the town. He liked delivering goods to his father’s customers and found he was a welcome visitor. Perhaps this is where he learned to talk to people and to take the time to understand them. Young I.C., also spent a lot of hours on the empty lots of Austin playing baseball with other kids, a sport he deeply loved.

The many hours he spent in the pharmacy of his father’s general store contributed to his strong interest in medicine. At an early age he told others he wanted to become a medical doctor. It has been said by many close to the family during this period that young I.C., was deeply disappointed that his father could not afford to send him to medical school. Instead I.C. attended one year of business school at the Indianapolis Business College, before returning to Austin to run the general store while J.S. Morgan ran the cannery.

In 1905, I.C. married Fern Harrod and their first child was born on April 6, 1905, a son, Ivan Harrod Morgan who became commonly known as Jack Morgan. I.C. and Fern would have two more children, one in 1910 a daughter Marion Morgan Lyons (1910-2004) and in 1913 another daughter Margaret Morgan Renard (1913-2004). (Fern Harrod's father was C.F. Harrod, who was recognized as one of Austin's most distinguished citizens. C.F. Harrod passed away in 1925.)

By 1907, I.C. was heavily involved with the cannery, his goal of becoming a doctor now forgotten. But he had held onto another one of his childhood dreams, baseball. I.C. brought professional baseball to Austin in the form of a semi-pro team that played in the Southern Indiana Baseball League for over 45 years. In the early days I.C. was a star player for the Austin Packers, the nickname Packers was given to the team after Morgan Packing Company. I.C. loved competition and sports seemed to be a perfect outlet for the rugged 6’2” two hundred pound man, which was considered a huge man for the early 1900s in the United States.

Don Garriott[1] played for the Austin Packers in the 1930s and '40s when I.C. was the coach, but remembers hearing that I.C. was a great player. “As an athlete I’m told I.C. was really ahead of his time. Guys that were old enough to remember him said that he could really play and was good enough to play in the majors.” Garriott added that I.C. recruited heavily for his baseball team, giving ballplayers year round jobs if they would sign a contract to play for the Packers. “If you were really good he’d find you a place to live and pay the rent, at one time he had about ten guys living in houses he owned for free.” I.C. loved baseball so much that in the early 1900s he built a small baseball stadium on property that adjoined the factory on the east side just across the railroad tracks (Later the American Can Company was built on this site). In the early 1920s he built another ballpark, that seated over 500 people just south of the plant's main entance and was the main attraction of Austin for many years. I.C. loved for employees of Morgan Packing Company to attend games and on many occasions games were sold out. In 1934, I.C. paid outrageous wages for a big reputation pitcher named Hickory Ferrell, who led the Packers to the 1936 Southern Indiana League Championship. Ferrell and Morgan shared a love of competition, beyond baseball. The two men traveled across the United States on hunting trips where they engaged in fierce competition. They traveled to Philadelphia to watch a heavyweight championship fight that featured world champion Joe Louis.

The baseball stadium wasn’t the only thing I.C. Morgan built in Austin. In 1919 he built a beautiful mansion[3] in the heart of Austin, and its uniqueness is still admired by travelers to the community. I.C. and his wife Fern loved their new home, and made it the gathering place for all holidays and family functions. On many pleasant evenings I.C. and Fern could be seen sitting on the porch, which was connected to the westside of the mansion. In 1923, I.C. built his father J.S. Morgan a mansion similar to his, on the other side of the road from his home.

I.C. Morgan was a huge man and a rugged individual who loved the outdoors and his presence commanded respect. I.C. just didn’t have a dream of a food canning empire he was committed to it. It was his idea to expand operations and in the middle of the turbulent '20's his ideas became reality. Morgan Packing Company factories[4] opened in nearby Indiana communities like Scottsburg, Edinburg, Columbus, Brownstown, Underwood, Redkey, Franklin, Converse, Leota and Little York. The Brownstown and Scottsburg plants produced both pumpkin and corn. The Columbus and Edinburg plants were mainly devoted to tomato products, while the Franklin plant produced beans and corn.

I.C. Morgan worked hard to convince his partner and father J.S. Morgan that mass production was the key to manufacturing success in America. In the 1930s industries across America adopted this concept which changed the way companies viewed maintenance and inventory levels. I.C. Morgan wanted preventive maintenance programs in place long before they were viewed as an industrial must. I.C. analyzed the operations much like J.S. had, only with a different perspective. J.S. searched for ways to cut back expenses while I.C. searched for ways to improve efficiencies by exposing deficiencies. He believed investment in new machinery protected the company from having to cutback operations due to mechanical failures. I.C. loved new technology and was willing to pay for it; he spent thousands of dollars replacing old machinery with new machinery.

In order to meet mass production demands I.C. invested in the Retort operation and in the 1930s there were over 200 retorts. All products with the exception of tomatoes were processed in live steam at temperatures over 240 degrees. By this time Morgan Packing Company was making a huge impact in homes across America. The company was shipping their Scott County Brand name to the east coast, deep into the south and all over the mid-west. In just a short time I.C. Morgan had taken Morgan Packing Company from an Indiana canner to a national canning empire.

As history indicates I.C. was deeply involved with the community of Austin. In the 1930s he built a huge dance hall in downtown Austin, and provided weekend entertainment. He also built a huge cafeteria and offered meals at a very affordable price for Austin citizens and visitors. The cafeteria remained open for nearly 40 years, and during the pack season close to 2,000 people were served on a daily basis.

I.C. Morgan was a great man of character who did not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but while he didn’t smoke he often handed out packs of cigarettes to those who did. His generosity extended to the school systems, where he donated building materials for new schools and purchased books and athletic equipment. Former Austin High School Principal Leland Langdon, said in 1988, that I.C. was the most charismatic man he had ever known. “When he entered a room everyone quit doing what they were doing, to see what he was doing,” added Langdon. And Don Garriott added in 2002, “I.C. knew his business, but he was willing to listen to others. That’s really what helped define him as a great person, he made others feel important.” There were no slow days for I.C. Morgan, his interests extended beyond business and even baseball. In 1932, he was named the head of the Indiana Republican Party State Committee.

I.C. liked to surprise people with his generosity as was the case in 1941. After a long Pack season and many long hours, he sent the entire Morgan Packing Company main office employees to Florida by train, for an all-expenses paid vacation. I.C. believed the future of Austin depended on Morgan Packing Company, and he donated lumber and materials to local business owners to help build newer buildings and churches near the downtown business area. Joe Shields was a 1948 Austin High School graduate who went to college and earned his degree at nearby Hanover College. Joe’s father Lloyd Shields, a local businessman was friends with I.C. Morgan, and Joe played for the Austin Packers baseball team while he was in high school. Joe has fond memories of I.C. Morgan. “He really cared about Austin and had a great interest in the community; he wanted good people to live here because he knew how important they were to the success of his company.” Shields also stated that I.C. had a special quality when it came to helping others. “He loved to help people, but back in those days’ people had a lot of pride and wanted to earn their way. So when I.C. helped someone, he went out of his way to make them feel like he was helping them because they were partners and not because they needed a handout. A lot of people would have done anything for I.C. because they knew he was there for them.”

In the 1940s America ran into hard times again, this time World War II along with the threat of invasion by German leader Adolph Hitler, created a fear in America not experienced since the Civil War. American businesses were disrupted and Morgan Packing Company was no exception. It had been many years since the company faced such dire financial circumstances. One problem was a depleted work force, most young men were sent off to defend the United States. In order to keep the cannery in operation I.C. sought profitable government contracts, which included making food for the Armed Forces. He lobbied as many political powers as he could, and eventually the company was awarded a huge contract. He was still faced with finding enough people to staff the operation. A lot of women from the community were already working at the plant, so I.C. turned to the government again, in what turned out to be one of the most interesting pieces of history in the town Austin.

As the war escalated, Prisoners of War (POWs) were sent to the United States and in some cases the POWs were loaned out to companies who had been granted government contracts. Morgan Packing Company was one of those companies and under the guard of the United States Army more than 1,500 German prisoners were stationed in Austin. During the World War II era there were three generations of Morgan’s working at the plant, J.S. Morgan, I.C. Morgan and I.C.’s son Jack Morgan. After the war the company rebounded again, and in the late forties Morgan Packing Company was the most stable canning company in Indiana.

In December of 1948, an aging and tired J.S. Morgan passed away, but soon the family was faced with another tragedy. On February 1, 1949 after feeling ill for several weeks I.C. Morgan suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at his mansion, and was rushed to a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. For the next three weeks his condition weakened, and on February 26, 1949, I.C. Morgan took his last breath and perished into eternity. I.C.’s death was met immediately with mourning in the town of Austin, he was a man of great character and no one knew that better than the citizens of Austin who had been inspired by his commitment to the community on many occasions.

I.C. Morgan was a man who left an impression on those who knew him. Not just in Austin but across the United States. In the March 1949 issue, the National Trade Magazine published the following obituary.
“I.C. Morgan was a colorful man, whose competition for nearly forty years had driven many other vegetable canner to distraction or thereabouts; who revived the moribund town of Austin, where he was born and turned it into an industrial center; who made himself a power in the Republican Party affairs, who headed the largest one man canning enterprise ever built and made it make money. I.C. Morgan was a large man with a powerful personality, who neither drank nor smoke. The tern rugged individualist may well have been originated to apply to I.C. Morgan, a man who will be deeply missed.” (National Trade Magazine, 1949.)

In this late 1940s photo I.C. Morgan (below) is pictured with his son Jack Morgan. This photo was taken just a few months before I.C's unexpected death. I.C. had been feeling ill for months but did not want anyone to know.



Author: Mike Barrett (2003)


John Morgan -
CEO Morgan Foods, Inc.

Mid 1990’s Photo – John Morgan was just 27 years old when his father named him President of Morgan Packing Company in 1974. 

Jack Morgan
(1906 - 1985)

Ivan Harrod Morgan was born April 19, 1906 in a small white cottage in downtown Austin. The son of I.C. and Fern Morgan would become commonly know as Jack Morgan, and one of the most significant figures in the history of Scott County Indiana. Jack’s legacy remains strong in Austin, even though he passed away in 1985.

Jack Morgan’s distinguished career is defined like that of his father and grandfather, in that all three men rose to the occasion when similar companies were forced to close their doors due to poor economic conditions. Jack was no stranger to a good fight and there were many in his life. His battles with the Teamsters Union are legendary in Austin, as were his efforts to persuade town officials to incorporate and upgrade the town’s water and sewer systems. His greatest challenge however, was his fight against the worse economic time period in the modern era history of Scott County, which occurred in the late 1960s and early '70s. With a determination exemplified by his predecessors I.C. Morgan and J.S. Morgan, Jack managed to keep the operations going at Morgan Packing Company, as he understood what the factory meant to his hometown, and perhaps his own legacy.

As a youngster Jack was well known in his hometown, he was constantly by his father I.C.’s side whether it was at the factory, a political rally or on the baseball field. Eager to learn about the plant at an early age, Jack would hangout in the company’s print and machine shops. He bragged to family and friends of the many tasks he performed at the plant. Jack delighted in spending as much time as he could with his father and the factory. During his days as a young boy, Jack and his two sisters Margaret (1911) and Marion (1913) would meet their father and grandfather for lunch almost everyday.

Fern Morgan demanded that her children take education very seriously, and as a schoolteacher she devoted herself to their educational endeavors. Jack excelled as a student at Austin Elementary, but because Austin High School was not a fully commissioned high school, he attended Scottsburg High School in Scott County. When Jack graduated from high school in 1924, Purdue University in Indiana, with a strong reputation as the leading agricultural university in the United States is where he decided to attend college. While Jack understood the opportunities Purdue allowed him, West Lafayette, was not his kind of town. Before long he became unhappy and began to think about a place where his parents had taken him on vacation, sunny Southern California. A few months later he enrolled at the University of Southern California, where his Hollywood good looks and flamboyant personality seemed like a natural fit.

It is at USC, where he earned his degree and learned new methods for running a business. But when it came close for him to graduate some family and close family friends doubted whether the flamboyant Jack Morgan, would return to Austin. After all, his fast-paced life style seemed better suited for the West Coast, than the small town of Austin. And for a short period, he did pursue business interests in California, but eventually the lure of the Morgan Packing Company empire, snagged him back to his hometown. He also knew that joining the company would allow him to work side by side with the man he admired most, his father, I.C. Morgan.

When Jack returned to Austin from California, he received an uncommon amount of hype and attention from the small community. This type of attention would follow him for the rest of his life in the community, something that many believed he relished in. Tall, tanned, well-dressed, educated and remarkably handsome, Jack Morgan was ready to make his mark. He was eager to implement many of his new business ideas and he quickly earned the trust of his father, I.C. Morgan. I.C. thrust Jack into an important role with the company, and put him in charge of the outside plant locations. Under Jack’s guidance the outside plants flourished, as he continued to learn the business from the man considered by many in the country as the best canner in America, his father. Jack was able to help build the company by using his education, and relying on the vast knowledge of his father and grandfather. When it came to the operations side of the plant, Jack spent a lot of time on the floor learning from employees who were doing the jobs. Of course Jack was very familiar with many of the processes, having grown up in the plant.

In the 1930s Morgan Packing Company was in the height of its glory, the company had become a national canning empire. The Austin plant now employed over 2,000 people, and a few of the outside plants were offering year round employment. Jack was convinced that if each outside plant specialized on certain products, the Austin plant would be able to specialize in a variety of new products. Up to this point Morgan Packing Company was known primarily as a tomato and corn canning business. Under Jack’s guidance the company’s focus changed and the Austin plant began to produce catsup, carrots, peas, lima beans, green beans, hominy, mixed vegetables and sauerkraut. In the 1930s Morgan Packing was the number one supplier of sauerkraut in the United States. With the outside plants producing corn, pumpkin and of course tomatoes the Austin plant continued to grow. But even with the success of the new products and the outside plants, the Austin plant still produced tomato products, as their number one item. Jack was committed to his father’s vision for Morgan Packing Company and he worked diligently with him.

An American Beauty

While the Scott County named brand products continued to be successful, Jack wanted a new name for the new products. His idea was to have a name that would catch the eyes of Americans looking for something new when they went to the grocery store; he decided to name the new products American Beauty. With Jack combining his talents as the company spokesperson, along with his business skills he successfully promoted the American Beauty label into the market, with fast and profitable returns. American Beauty products from Austin Indiana ended up in homes all across America, and Jack Morgan was making his mark.

American Can

Jack was instrumental in convincing the American Can Company to build a plant next to Morgan Packing Company in Austin. He wanted faster service of the cans he needed to run his operations. In 1936, The American Can set up shop on property sold to them by Jack. The American Can Company literally was constructed next door to Morgan’s, separated only by the railroad tracks. There were no shipping charges from the American Can to Morgan’s because there were no trucks needed. A catwalk was built over the railroad tracks which connected the two facilities, and inside the catwalk was a conveyor belt which transported the empty cans into the Morgan production area. Sometimes cans in carts were pushed over through the catwalk as well. Fourteen years after the American Can closed its doors in 1986; the catwalk still existed but was torn down in 2000. The American Can Company provided hundreds of well paid jobs in the Scott County area and was vital to the local economy for over 50 years.

Elsinore Funk Morgan
(Below is Jack and Elsinore Morgan in the late 1930s)


In 1937 Jack married a stunningly beautiful woman named Elsinore Funk from Milltown, Indiana. The couple built a charming home just east of the Austin town limits, and started their family with the birth of Ivan Edward Morgan in 1939. A daughter Michele Morgan was born in 1943 and a third child Diann was born in 1944. The last child of Jack and Elsinore was born in 1947, a son John Scott Morgan.

Elsinore was very involved with her children and shared her love of horses with them. She was a celebrated World Champion show rider and traveled across the United States competing in events. Her passion for horse show competition was shared by her children, and soon the Morgan children were also known as accomplished riders.

End of the 1930s

While Jack was establishing himself as one the nation’s prominent business leaders, he was also faced with a series of ugly and disruptive labor disputes in Austin. These disputes led to work stoppages which created intense and sometimes a series of dangerous events. With the small town closely connected to the factory, the labor disputes often created strong emotional bonds that often led to acts of violence towards the company. Jack however was not deterred and frequently battled union issues for the rest of his career, which many believe was a fight he enjoyed.

1940s

In the 1940s Jack Morgan was in charge of the company but he relied heavily on his father I.C. Morgan. With America in an economic slow down and World War II fast approaching, Morgan Packing Company was suffering along with the rest of the country. When the war did start in 1944, many of the company’s employees were called to serve the country. While local women attempted to fill jobs and the company advertised across five states their intent to hire, there weren't enough people to replace the vacancies.

In order to keep production going in factories across America like Morgan’s, the government decided to loan out prisoners of war for production work. I.C. Morgan lobbied political leaders for the use of German prisoners (POW’s) stationed in Camp Atterbury in Columbus Indiana. From August 1944 through April 1946, German POWs were stationed at POW Camp Austin just north of the factory on Morgan property. As many as 1,500 POWs were stationed there at one time.

While I.C. negotiated the agreement with the government for the service of the POWs it was Jack who was in charge of the operation. By the time the POW camp was inactivated near the end of the war, Camp Austin was rated as one the highest POW Camps in America. Jack established good relations with military personnel and the POW’s seemed to recognize his power. Even though the German POW’s seldom had contact with Jack they knew he was the guy running the show. They called him the “groB der chef” meaning Big Boss” or “groB Mann” meaning Big Man.

During World War II Morgan Packing Company reported profits despite the depletion of the local work force, this indicates that the POWs service at Morgan’s was well organized and very productive.

Don Garriott was employed at Morgan’s for over 40 years and was a company Vice President when he retired. Garriott noticed that Jack sought out information like no one he’d ever met. “Jack was known to ask a lot of questions, he wanted to make sure he had every piece of information available in order to make a decision. He was constantly thinking about the future of the company, he made the final decision but he did seek a lot of information. Jack was the guy who made the decision there was doubt about that, but not before he asked a lot of questions.”

Culver Field worked for Morgan Foods for 65 years before he retied in 2002, and is the last person to have worked for the four generations of J.S. Morgan, I.C. Morgan, Jack Morgan and John Morgan. Field’s, too, remembered Jack’s penchant for information. “Jack knew he was going to make the final decision so he asked a lot of questions. Sometimes he’d ask the same question over and over to make sure he got the same answer. Jack wanted to know everything; he didn’t want any surprises when it came to running his business.”

The Passing of Two Legends

In a period of three months, two of the most prominent and powerful men in the history of Scott County passed away. One was expected but the other came as a shock to the community and Morgan family. On December 21, 1948, the founder of the company J.S. Morgan, Jack's grandfather passed away quietly at his home at the age of 90. Just three months later in February of 1949, I.C. Morgan suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and passed away at a hospital in Louisville Kentucky. The emotional strain on the Morgan family was overwhelming, and for Morgan Packing Company over 90 years of combined leadership had perished within 90 days.
Jack Morgan was just 43 years old and now solely in charge of one of the nation’s largest canning companies. The future of the company and in many ways the town of Austin was in his hands. Jack would face this challenge for the rest of his life, working to keep his grandfather’s company running and providing jobs for hundreds in Scott County.

1950s – New Modern Equipment – Same Old Labor Disputes

Once again manufacturing was changing in America with a wave of newer and faster machinery the food canning business was more competitive than ever. At the Chicago Machine Show in the 1950’s a new labeling machine caught the eye of Jack Morgan. “Jack was very excited about the new labeler,” remembered Don Craig a former Vice President of sales who retired in the mid 1990’s. "Jack told us the company would never be the same, no more labeling by hand, and by golly, he was right. We changed overnight."
With the addition of new labeling lines Morgan Packing was labeling more cans than ever, which meant faster service to customers. The railcar business expanded after a slow period in the late 1940’s, and the company’s truck fleet was constantly on the go. Morgan Packing was picking up full steam when an old adversary slowed the company down again, labor disputes.

Over the years, Jack's battles with the union have been scrutinized and told over and over in the small community, to the point where they have become a part of his legacy. By many accounts, Jack Morgan rather enjoyed his rivalry with the union. In November of 1954, the Teamsters[1] (Truck Drivers) voted to strike at Morgan Packing Company, in what would lead to one of Indiana's ugliest union disputes. While the truckers went on strike, the rest of the plant attempted to operate as normal. Jack Morgan decided to use a group of private truckers to haul the company's products. As tensions mounted, the worse was inevitable as a series of dynamite incidents kept the small community on edge.
First there was a blast that blew open water lines halting production. Before long other blasts occurred to cars, railroad switches and to trucks hauling Morgan products. Fights broke out at the picket lines; gunshots could be heard being fired at the walls of company buildings all hours of the day and night. Private truckers were threatened; Austin was the focus of media all across the state, the publicity of the town was not positive. Indianapolis papers portrayed the town as down trodden, and a town ran by a bunch of roughens. As much as Jack was at odds with the strikers, he didn’t like the way the town of Austin was being portrayed in newspapers across the state. He used his influence to have articles re-written and the image of Austin re-painted. A Jefferson County, Indiana, paper used the term "Pistol City" to describe Austin. The unpopular nickname is sometimes still used, by outsiders of the community today. Indiana Governor George N. Craig ordered the Indiana State Police to Austin, where they were stationed for weeks. Craig also made several statements to the media in support of Jack Morgan. The Indianapolis Star put up reporters in hotels in nearby Scottsburg; the events of the day were reported daily. Not to be outdone by all the media hoopla and finagling of the striking truckers, Jack Morgan pulled some strings of his own.

The following story has been told by several different people in a very similar manner. By all accounts of the story, Jack Morgan decided it was time to take matters in his own hands. Private truckers out of fear had quit coming to the plant, to pick up goods during the strike. One morning it was reported to Jack, that several truckers waited in nearby Seymour, Indiana, to hear if they could go to Morgan's without incident. Jack then went to the company garage, and he drove a truck and empty trailer out the gate to Seymour. Once he arrived in Seymour he did not tell the concerned truckers he was Jack Morgan, instead he portrayed himself to be a truck driver. Jack led them to believe that he had already been to Morgan's earlier, and picked up a load without any trouble. He enticed them, by saying he was going back for another load and they should come too. Encouraged the private truckers listened as Jack told them, stay in single file and do not to stop for anyone at the picket lines. A short time later with Jack in the lead and nine trucks following him, they barreled through the gate inside the plant. Once they were loaded, including Jack's truck, he led them back out the gate. With a shotgun in the front seat, Jack waved to the angry striking truckers who recognized him. Don Craig remembered the incident, "Jack Morgan wasn't afraid of anyone, he loved a good fight. Jack said that around Crothersville he saw some strikers in cars trying to get around the trucks, but the truckers squeezed them off the road. I don't think those other truckers ever did realize he was Jack Morgan." In January of 1955, the contract was settled and peace was restored in Austin, Indiana.

1960s
Jack Morgan was now bigger than ever in the town of Austin. Jack not only owned the huge canning company, he owned several impact businesses in Austin such as a gas station, the largest supermarket in town, a Dairy Queen, and the town bank. Jack also owned the utility company that supplied water to both company and community, something he provided for free to the towns people. There was a huge cattle farm which was horseshoed around the outskirts of Austin. All his hard work was certainly paying off.

Of all the trials and tribulations that Jack Morgan had endured, none prepared him for the hardest and most trying time of his life. In 1964, Jack's oldest son Ivan, just 25 years old took his own life at his apartment in Louisville, Kentucky in what was reported as an accidental overdose. Jack Morgan and his family were devastated. Deeply hurt, it was weeks before Jack returned to his office at company headquarters.

The 1960s were also a challenging time for the company; production was slowed by Mother Nature as droughts affected several pack seasons. The existing outside seasonal plants were becoming huge financial burdens, in both maintenance and taxes. The tomato and pumpkin market was also changing. For years Indiana had a stronghold on the tomato market, which greatly benefited a company like Morgan's. A tomato first produced at Purdue University, and called the "Epic" would eventually lead to the demise of Indiana’s stronghold on the tomato market. This tomato favored the California climate and was capable of being mechanically picked. Since that time, California has out produced all other states in tomatoes.
To make matters worse for Morgan’s, a huge fire occurred at the main warehouse in 1967, threatening the entire facility. Fortunately, no one was hurt but the company lost millions.

Morgan’s Grocery Store and Cafeteria

Jack Morgan knew how to run his businesses, and owning the county’s largest supermarket was big business. Jack knew the grocery business as good as anyone, after all the Morgan Family had been in the grocery business since the 1880s, longer than they had been running a factory. Jack would meticulously review competitor’s ads and adjust his prices accordingly, in most cases going even lower than his competitors. Jack knew his customers were not immune to the lure of the new modern grocery stores, but he also knew the two things customers wanted the most, and that was low prices and quality products.

There was a time when the supermarket was shopped regularly by customers from the nearby counties of Jackson, Washington, Clark and Jefferson. Jack hired excellent store managers in men like Joe Mudd and Elmer York, which both were clear on Jack’s mission of keeping prices affordable and customers happy. He sold his American Beauty products in the store at low prices, which drove competitors crazy in nearby counties.

Jack’s father I.C. Morgan had opened a cafeteria in the grocery store in the 1920s and in the 1960s the cafeteria was still going strong. Meals were inexpensive and very good, and I.C. Morgan rationalized if customers came for a meal they may buy something from the store too. Jack Morgan like his father loved the grocery business and was highly successful in the supermarket arena for over 50 years.

1970s

A new decade brought even more challenges as a poor economy forced the company to change directions. Jack Morgan at this point, did whatever it took to keep the company going. New business was brought in without the opportunity for profit, old business was held onto at little profit. Jack's goal during this time was two things; keep production lines running and provide a steady paycheck for employees. Jack knew what his company meant to the town, and he felt personally responsible to the families of his employees. In the past and early in his career Jack could rely on the experience of his father and grandfather. After that Jack relied on his business education from USC and his own experiences. But this problem was different, the economy wasn’t persuaded much by education or experience, so Jack did the only thing he could do, operate on a gut feeling based on everything he knew about the business. Never in the company’s storied history was so much at stake, and Jack soon realized the company was in need of change and perhaps a new face.

Jack began to work closely with his son John Morgan. Jack named John company president in 1974 when John was just 27 years old. John, a University of Cincinnati graduate was well versed in the operations of the company, as like his father he grew up in the plant. John however knew these were tough times for the company and for now the glory days were a thing of the past, Morgan Packing Company continued fighting the worse economic times of its history.

Even though labor disputes weighed heavily on company officials, Jack did not seem to get tired of his ongoing confliction with union forces. Even with the economy in poor condition in the early part of the 1970s Morgan Packing Company still offered plenty of work during the pack season. Jack and company officials were surprised when many positions went unfilled during the open hiring season. Jack was well aware that some of the jobs were hard difficult positions, but he knew plenty of people that needed work in the area. When the positions remained vacated Jack transported migrant workers up from Mexico, and built a camp with small apartments to house them on Christie Road in Austin.

Once again labor issues arose and complaints were filed against Morgan Packing Company for unfair labor practices. When investigated the government found no wrong doings on the part of Morgan Packing Company and the migrant workers returned for several years after that.

The final year for the migrant workers was also the last real clash with the union for Jack Morgan. In 1977 now 71 years old Jack had to deal with another ugly eight-week strike. And once again strikers reacted violently when they felt they weren’t being heard. Tensions were high in the community with all eyes on the situation. Some management personnel had their cars turned over with them in it by strikers at the entrance gate. Company property was being vandalized and the security office was shot at from a far distance in the middle of the night. One afternoon strikers sent word that no office personnel would be allowed to leave the facility without having to fight. Jack was very concerned about the office staff, most of them obviously scared. It didn’t take long for Jack to summon the Governor of Indiana Otis Bowen for help, as the Scott County Sheriff’s office seemed unwilling and incapable of resolving the issue.

After a few frightening hours help arrived in the form of the Indiana State Police riot squad. Dressed in full riot armor over 70 state troopers marched up High Street in Austin, to the factory entrance where strikers rushed away. The riot squad remained in the area for several days before the strike was finally settled.

By the late 1970s Jack and John Morgan were forced to do everything they could to keep Morgan Packing profitable. This meant closing the outside plants which were costing millions each year in taxes and maintenance. As John Morgan took on more control of the company he headed into the 1980s with a lot uncertainty.

1980s (Jack Morgan Saves the Train Depot)

Jack Morgan was fond of supporting local charitable groups and was willing to take up their cause, even beyond financial contributions as was the case in the early 1980s for the Austin Lions Club. Jack believed that Morgan Packing Company owned the old train depot that had been sitting vacant on the company’s property for years, and wanted to donate the building to the Lions Club as a meeting hall. This set off a series of legal disagreements between Jack Morgan and the Railroad Company which believed they owned the structure, and wanted to tear the building down. Eventually the two parties sued each other in an effort to determine the legal owner.

Jack was determined not to lose this fight, and one night attended a meeting at the Lions Club to update the group on the status of the lawsuit. Jack was never one for holding back his words and when he was asked what he thought the outcome would be, he responded in typical Jack Morgan fashion. Speaking in his gravelly voice he told the packed out audience in the depot that he planned on winning the case. “My father told me a long time ago the way you win these cases is to keep suing each other, and hope the other son of a bitch dies before you do. I hope I can last longer than the damn railroad, but if not I want you guys to keep suing them.” Of course the crowd burst out laughing and Jack enjoyed the spotlight, telling them even further, “If they own the damn building they owe me a hell of a lot of back rent for letting it sit on my property all these years.” As he believed he would Jack won his fight with the railroad and donated the building to the Lions Club, where it is now a charming showcase for the town of Austin.
Jack Morgan's Last Fight - Legend Passes Away at 78

With John Morgan leading the way the company took on a new vision. John realized the plant was in need of many changes and he was willing to make them. He invested in new equipment, and hired individuals with strong backgrounds in quality and the canning industry. He also realized the market was changing and directed the company to focus on the production and promotion of soups, and offering their products to grocery store chains who wanted their own private label.

Jack Morgan was very pleased and proud with the direction John was taking the company. He seemed to enjoy the peaceful and quieter days without the ongoing labor disputes. John opened communications more frequently with union leaders and issues were less eventful. His leadership style was different than his father’s but just as effective. John supported a collaborative style of management while Jack believed only one person was in charge, himself.

By 1984, John Morgan had led Morgan's back into a strong place in the market. For Jack Morgan the company's turnaround continued to give him peace of mind despite poor health. Jack was now fighting his greatest battle, pancreatic cancer, and just as he had fought so many other obstacles in his life, he fought long and hard. Just short of his 79th birthday, Jack Morgan passed away on March 24, 1985.
A few days later funeral services were held for the legendary figure as thousands reached out to the Morgan family, both locally and from across the country. Even his adversaries honored him and despite all of the labor battles it was obvious, there was great respect and admiration for him among union leaders.

A trademark started in Austin by Jack Morgan in the 1930s, is the blowing of the Morgan Packing Company Whistle, which sounds like that of a steamboat and can be heard for miles. On the day Jack Morgan was buried, company officials sounded the whistle as his last rites were being read at a nearby cemetery. It was a cool, overcast spring day and as the whistle mournfully sounded in the background, an eerie silence fell across the town; Jack Morgan was gone.

-Written by Mike Barrett (2010)



The Early History of Austin, Indiana...

The story of Austin Indiana began in 1839, when a white settler named Isaiah Jones settled into the area and began clearing off the land where he built a log cabin home for his family. As Jones settled into his land he became friends with local Indians, most likely Delawares that lived nearby. Jones faced many challenges as he cleared away the forests, along with the rigorous life of the daily hard labor he constantly had to deal with the threat of panther and bear attacks to his livestock.

As Jones continued to farm the area, and other settlers moved into the community, the small village remained a farming community until 1848, when the Pennsylvania Railroad began constructing a road through the village. Over the next couple of years there was significant change in the community, and soon people began to live nearby the tracks being graded in the town. By the late 1840s the Texas natives were already calling the community Austin, and by the early 1850s the community was filled by residents with diverse backgrounds. There were the early settlers still living in the area, along with the Texas natives, and the Irish immigrants that came to Austin to work on the railroad. The Irish immigrants were known to be hard workers, hard fighting and hard drinking.

On May 3rd, 1851, and with the railroad grading nearly complete, a gentlemen named Morris Sarver purchased ten acres of land from Isaiah Jones. The land Sarver purchased was situated on both sides of the newly laid tracks, and to him should go the credit of having the first idea of a town on the railroad, even though he did nothing to develop the plan. In March of 1853, the land was sold to George A. and Katherine Rankin of New Frankfort, Indiana. George Rankin then formed a business venture with two men from New Frankfort, named Caleb H. Skeel and John Elsey. The three men now in control of the land and vision that once belonged to Sarver pursued the establishment of Austin as an official town.

A Quick Story of Austin, Texas...

Austin, Texas, became an official community in 1839, but was known as Waterloo prior to the name of Austin. In the early 1830s Anglo-Americans arrived in central Texas, and settled along the banks of the Colorado River. In 1839, when Texas was searching for a centrally located capital; Waterloo was renamed Austin, Texas, in honor of Stephen F. Austin (1793-1836). Stephen F. Austin was affectionately known as “The Father of Texas.”

Stephen F. Austin was born in the mining regions of southwest Virginia in what is now known as Austinville, also named after him. In the state of Texas, Stephen F. Austin along with Sam Houston are revered as the two most heroic and influential men in the history of Texas. The state office building is named after Austin, as are both Austin, Texas, and Austin County, Texas. Along with communities bearing the Austin name in Texas, there is the Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, and Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Several grade and high schools are also named after Austin. So that’s how Austin Indiana got its name in 1853, after Austin, Texas, which originally was named after Stephen F. Austin, “The Father of Texas.”

The Conflict Between North & South Austin...

In 1854 and about a year after Austin became a town, the business district which was located where the main part of town is today, began to move to south Austin near the Austin Train Depot. The change created conflict between the citizens of Austin over the move, and hard feeling lasted for years. As the south side of town flourished, the north side of town was considered the rough part of town.

The streets that once were the business section of South Austin are now the streets of a residential area. The main area of the former business district is the area located on the west side of U.S. Highway 31, directly across from Austin High School. When the Austin Canning Company established its plant in central Austin in 1899, the business district began to shift back to Main Street and is still the main section of town today, but even after that, conflict between North and South Austin lasted for several years.

Location: The Road from Lousiville to Indianapolis...

During its early existence Austin thrived off of its ties to the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1926 the community received another boost when US Highway 31, which was the main transportation route from Louisville to Indianapolis, was graded through the center of Austin. In the late 1950s Interstate 65, was graded on the west side of Austin.

Logistically Austin is in an ideal location for current and future economic growth, as the small city is within close driving range of four major cities. Austin is 35 miles north of Louisville Kentucky, 77 miles south of Indianapolis, less than 2 hours away from Cincinnati and less than five hours away from St. Louis.

Caleb H. Skeels - A Founding Father...

(Excerpts from a news story from May 2, 2011)

A portrait of Caleb H. Skeels (at left), one of the three men, who established Austin, in 1853, has been discovered through the Forney Clark Genealogy Website, and is being seen locally for the first time.  Donna Forney Clark, of Arlington Texas, has granted permission to the Austin Indiana History Website to display the photo. 

Caleb H Skeels was one of three men from New Frankfort Indiana, credited for the establishment of Austin.  

“George A. Rankin associated himself in the project with two other citizens of New Frankfort, John Elsey and Caleb H. Skeels. Accordingly we find in Deed Book N, page 20, recorded a plat of the new town of Austin and the following statement by John Cantwell, Justice of the Peace, a lawyer, and one of the aforementioned proprietors of the town of Wooster:

State of Indiana – County of Scott

Before me, John Cantwell, a Justice of the Peace within and for said county, this day personally appeared George A. Rankin, John Elsey and Caleb H. Skeels, and acknowledged the laying off of said town of Austin to be their voluntary act and deed."

Witness my hand and seal this 3rd day of May, A.D. 1853.

John Cantwell (SEAL) – Justice of the Peace,” (Bogardus, 1953).

Skeels Family Notes

In 1903 George W. Roof, of Albion Indiana, compiled a hardback book of the Skeels Family History, which included the following information for Caleb H. Skeels.

In 1903 George W. Roof, of Albion Indiana, compiled a hardback book of the Skeels Family History, which included the following information for Caleb H. Skeels.

“Caleb was a man of versatile genius. He was capable of turning his genius to profit was well as pleasure.  His various avocations of farmer, agent, photographer, jewler, etc., gave him advantage of obtaining general knowledge, and studying human character. He had seen much of life’s sunny side, as well as the side of adversity. He was an excellent conventionalist, a jester and agreeable with his friends.”

“Roxy Jane” as his intimate acquaintances knew him, was on a canvassing tour in the interest of a map publishing company in Indianapolis.  Roxy was a good talker and his map speech was a pretty, musical one and usually proved a winning card. He called at the law office of William H English, who was later the democratic nominee for vice-president with General Hancock at the head of the ticket.”

“With a polite bow Roxy was ushered into the presence of Mr. English, when he unrolled his map and began his persuasive speech. The listener apparently became more and more interested as Roxy proceeded; which mark of attention led the young canvasser to believe that he was drawing his auditor closer and tighter into his wily meshes.”

“Mr. English did not interrupt him until he had finished the finely worded language; and then it was that Roxy received the severest blow to his genius that had ever befallen him. The great statesman and politician across from his desk, and himself addressed the young map canvasser: My good sir, I do not want your map, but I should like to buy that song you sing so sweetly,” (Roof, 1903). 

(Originally appeared in Skeels Family History 1720-1980 (which includes the text of a hard back bound book, compiled and printed by George W. Roof in 1903 in Albion, IN). Important contributors to Section II of the above text were: Hazel Brown McCollough & Mrs. J. Harry Kidwell & Mrs. Edmund Schafer & Col. Mortimer Bennet. Kenton M. Kidd organized and compiled the combined three book edition of Skeels Family History 1720-1980. Parts of the earlier books were set in type at South Side Press by Wayne Favinger, aged 15 yrs. (Forney Clark, 2011).

Caleb H. Skeels (Nickname: Roxy Jane)

Born: 1818 in Ohio

Died: 1884 in Noble County Ohio

Parents of Caleb H. Skeels

Nicholas Skeels born in Maryland in 1780

Mary Harding born in 1790 in Virginia

Caleb H. Skeels first wife: Indiana Ogden (Married in 1841 in Scott County Indiana)

Children from first wife:

Mary Missouri Skeels born in 1842 in New Frankfort (Scott County Indiana)

Virginia A. Skeels born in 1846 in New Frankfort (Scott County Indiana)

Alabama Skeels born in 1848 in New Frankfort (Scott County Indiana)

Maryland Skeels born in 1848 in New Frankfort (Scott County Indiana)

Caleb H. Skeels 2nd Wife: Elizabeth Busz (Married in 1858)

Children from 2nd wife:

Florida Skeels born in 1861 

Sources

Bogardus, Carl R. (1953). Centennial History of Austin Scott County. The History of Austin. P 49-50. 

Roof, George W. (1903).  The Skeels Family History. Caleb H. Skeels. P. 32-33

Forney Clark, Donna. (2011). Forney Clark Genealogy.Com.


Austin in 1880...

The article below is from the July 1st Austin Chronicle 1880 edition.  The story was reprinted by the Scott County Journal July 7th, 1977 edition.

“Austin has 287 inhabitants; two dry goods and grocery stores conducted by two of Indiana’s best and ablest country merchants, Thomas Hughbanks and
John W. Montgomery both self made men.

One drug store owned by Benj. F Henslee, an enterprising and reliable man who has made all he has since the since the Civil War. “

“One confectionary owned by Stuart Johnson, a clever reliable self made man. One hardware store owned by Robert Walker and one Government licensed Whiskey house owned by Albert H. Denney. Three millinery stores owned by Mary Rickets, Mrs. Dora Ogden and Mrs. Ann Wilson. Three dressmakers Mrs. Jane Crawford, Miss Mary Rickets and Mrs. Eva Rogers.”

“One Stave and Heading Factory owned by J.C. Thompson, a clever gentlemen and a fine businessman, giving constant employment to about ten hands and a portion of the time, 25 or 30.”

“One chair split and furniture owned shop by James S. Owens, giving employment to five to eight hands. Two wood shops owned by Benj. F. Foster and James Owens who make wagons and buggies. Two blacksmith shops where you can get a wagon ironed, or a horse shoed or any kind of work done by Adam Reynolds or the Ogden bros., Oscar and Eugene. One copper shop owned by James Spurgeon and one Hoop shaving shop owned by Elias Mitchell who employs four or five hands.”

“One Cabinet and Undertaker’s shop owned by Esq., L.H. Baldwin where you can get anything you want in the furniture line and just what no one wants (a coffin). A post office conducted by Oscar Ogden who is a dealer of cigars and stationary and knows how to do the clever. The Masons and Odd Fellows are both flourishing with halls of their own. A graded school conducted by Prof. A.N. Munden and Miss Alice Hoover having school ten months in the year, a free term, a spring term and summer normal, our schools under the supervision of Prof. Munden are SECOND TO NONE in the state of the kind.”

“Mr. and Mrs. Ira Herald and son buy all the old iron and copper in the country and pay you anything you want in tin or glass line. One hotel owned and conducted by Stuart Johnson and wife, where there is ample accommodation for man and beast. One lawyer A.N. Munden, one Notary Public John W. Montgomery, two Justices of the Peace L.H. Baldwin and J.H. Statton, one Constable Harvey Alexander.”

“Two physicians Henry R. Casey and Sion M. Rogers, both gone to farming (be) cause (of) no sickness. Two churches the Methodist and Christian, both having good houses in a flourishing condition.”

“One Newspaper, published by B.F. Foster and son and edited by Will M. Foster a young man of 18 summers, for whom we predict a brilliant and useful future, being a young man who never says I can’t.”

“This part of Indiana is splendid farming country. The average yield of corn is about 35, wheat 14, oats 25 bushels per acre. It is perhaps the best portion of the state, for grass often producing two tons per acres. Stock growing of all kinds is also very profitable here. This is the most splendid country for grapes as they grow and mature splendidly any place in this (Jennings) township.”

“R”

Austin, June 25, 1880.

Native American Life in Austin, Indiana...

Long before the white-man settled in Austin in 1839, the area was inhabited by Native Americans Indians. Archeologists and Scientists have determined that thousands of years ago, around the ice age period that Austin was home to several different generations of Indians. 

Around 15,000 years ago and near the end of the glacial period, Archeologists have found evidence that in south Austin the Paleoindians lived along the shore line of a great lake that was 17 miles long and covered areas in what is now known as Washington and Scott Counties. The lake no longer exists but the vast number of creeks and small rivers attest to its existence. The Paleoindians were believed to have migrated from Asia into North America.

After the Paleoindian era Austin was then inhabited by the Archaic Indians some 6-7,000 years ago. After that era the Woodland Indians lived in the area and still along the great lake, which was followed by the Mississippian Indians era and lasted until around 1650. 

By the late 1700s and early 1800s three different Indian tribes lived in the area or nearby, the Shawnee, the Delawares and the Potawatomi. The last known Indians to live in the area were the Delawares in the 1830s, but by the time Austin was established in 1853, Indian life in the area existed no more.

Established in 1853...

Austin, Indiana, is located in south central Indiana, just 35 miles north of Louisville Kentucky. The community of Austin was officially established in May 3rd, 1853, and is part of Scott County, Indiana. (The Austin city and rural areas are also part of Jennings Township). Scott County was formed on February1st, 1820, and was named after General Charles Scott (1739-1813) of Virginia. Scott was a Revolutionary war hero who participated in a number of engagements against the Indians in Indiana, and was the fourth Governor of Kentucky 1808-1812.

Purportedly the naming of Austin, Indiana, derived from War Veterans of the War with Mexico (1846-1848). An appreciative United States government offered Veterans of the war, land in Indiana as a gift for their services to their country. The Veterans arrived from Texas and after settling into the village, they named the community Austin, in honor of Austin Texas where several of them once lived.

Austin Officially Established as a Town...

On May 3rd, 1853, Austin, Indiana, officially became established as a town, when Scott County Justice of the Peace John Cantwell, signed the voluntary act of the New Frankfort trio, George A. Rankin, John Elsey and Caleb Skeel. With that declaration the trio donated land and envisioned great opportunities as the now busy railroad ran right through the center of the town. The great steam engines made frequent stops in Austin, on their way to Indianapolis from Louisville, Kentucky.  

2008: Austin Becomes a City...

In 2008, Austin became Indiana’s newest city. Doug Campbell a Democrat was voted Mayor and five other men won City Council positions, Richie Buchanan, Chris Fugate, Roger Hawkins, Lonnie Noble and Jimmy Turner.  

Austin Public School Systems (Scott County School District 1)...

For over 100-years the school systems have been a source of pride and tradition within the community. With the new technology of the 21st century available, students at the Austin School Systems have opportunities to learn from teachers and programs that will enable them to meet the standards for a successful life. 

The school system at Austin supports family values, and is willing to be more than just an educational facility by reaching out and helping those in need. Austin educators have discovered helping others and teaching students to contribute to society, is just as important as what is learned from the curriculum.

The City of Austin...

 Like all other small communities in the United States, Austin is faced with many challenges. The people of Austin have long been known as hard working people and willing to lend a hand when a neighbor is in need.  The city of Austin looks to the future with encouragement and promise. Yes that’s right, our little community is an official city, and while we like to say the "City of Austin", we are well aware of our heritage. As a community we are ready to take the steps to improve the quality of life in our city, while maintaining a small town atmosphere, after  all there’s still only one stoplight.    

Industrialism Today...

While the railroad and highway travel helped mark Austin, it is the development of Morgan Foods as one of the world’s leading food manufacturers that has stabilized the community in Indiana. Originally founded in 1899, as the Austin Canning Company, Morgan Foods remains the largest employer in Austin. As other communities of similar size and characteristics in Indiana have nearly vanished from the business scene, Morgan Foods has provided a sound economic base for Austin and Scott County for over a century. 

During the 1930s and 1940s as the American economy struggled to recover the from the Great Depression of 1929, and the impact of World War II it was Morgan Packing Company (Morgan Foods) that offered consistent employment throughout the region. Many of Austin’s citizens today are descendents of families, who migrated from Eastern Kentucky, during that period looking for work. Also during World War II, Morgan Packing Company was not able to fill all the jobs needed to operate its huge canning empire. A willing U.S. government loaned the company help in the form of German and Italian Prisoners of War. The prisoners were guarded by U.S. troops in a POW Camp setup just north of the factory. Some 1,500 POWs worked at the factory on daily basis for nearly two years. 

Currently (2015) Morgan Foods is one of four manufacturing plants in located in Austin. The Pepsi Americas Plant located on the west side of Austin has been a steady base of employment for the community, and is one of Pepsi’s most efficient operations in their huge chain of plants across the country. Pepsi located to Austin in the late 1970s, and is considered a valued friend and contributor to the community. 

Austin Tri-Hawk Automotive (ATA) opened its doors in the early 2000s and offers another opportunity for employment in the area. ATA’s webpage describes their business as a self-sufficient American business with the financial backing of Japanese firms, which are some of the most successful automotive manufacturing companies in the world. ATA produces integrated assemblies, which requires involvement with robot-welding, retainer of fixture design and international coordination of related parts production. 

GarTech Enterprises was founded in 1990 by Don Hounshell, a local resident who grew up in Austin and graduated from Austin High School in 1974. After a small humble beginning that started in his garage to supplement his fulltime employment, Hounshell and GarTech is a success story and a company on the rise. In 2004, Hounshell moved his business out of his garage and into to a new facility on the west side of Austin. The company specializes in producing parts for a variety of industries such as, automotive construction and mining.


CAMP AUSTIN INDIANA...

World War II German Prisoner of War Camp

 

World War II Prisoner of War Camp – Austin Indiana – 1944-46
ITALIAN AND GERMAN POW'S WORKING AT MORGAN FOODS

The World War II era of 1944-46, is one of the most interesting time periods in Austin’s history.  During this time much of America faced great economic challenges to stay afloat, as Hitler’s German Army was a threat to the entire world.  Austin was no exception and the Morgan Family was concerned how their factory Morgan Packing Company would stay in operation.  It had been many years since the company and the town of Austin faced such dire economic circumstances.  One problem was a depleted work force, most young men were sent off to defend the United States. In order to keep the cannery in operation I.C. Morgan sought profitable government contracts, which included making food for the Armed Forces.  He lobbied as many political powers as he could, and eventually the company was awarded a huge contract.  He was still faced with finding enough people to staff the operation.  A lot of women from the community were already working at the plant, and the company’s efforts to recruit employees across five Midwestern states were futile.  All men available were serving their country, and there wasn’t anyone to fill the jobs Morgan Packing had available. I.C. Morgan once again turned to the government, and that era of Austin’s history is one of the most interesting pieces of history, of any community our size in America. 


As the war escalated Prisoners of War (POWs) were sent to the United States and in some cases the POWs were loaned out to companies who had been granted government contracts.  Morgan Packing Company was one of those companies, and under the guard of the United States Army more than 1,500 German and Italian prisoners were stationed in Austin. Along with those prisoners were hundreds of armed U.S. Soldiers all stationed together in what the government called Camp Austin.  The camp was located north of Morgan Packing Company adjacent to company property.

John Morgan, CEO of Morgan Foods poses with former Camp Austin German POW Friedrich Fuchs in 2000. Fuchs' returned to the United States for a visit for the first time since his release in 1946. He was captured by American Forces in North Africa and brought to the United States in 1943.  He was imprisoned at Camp Austin and for nearly two years he worked at the factory, (Morgan Packing Company) as one of 1,500 German & Italian POWs stationed at Austin from 1944-46.   


Letters from former German POWs to Morgan Foods

In a letter to John Morgan in the 1980s, Johann Reitner recalled his days at Camp Austin. Noted below is Dinnen’s report of Reitner’s life as a POW in Austin. The Reitner story is followed by a letter written to John Morgan also in the 1980s, from Herbert Fischbach another German POW.  

Johann Reitner – German POW Story – Camp Austin Indiana - Source: Stephen P. Dinnen report, 1993.

“I think I was not to much a hero since I was caught sleeping in a bed,” Reitner wrote nearly 50-years later. He went to England, then was shipped to New York and from there went to Camp Breckinridge, Ky. A month later he joined the workforce at Camp Austin, as the POW barracks was called, and worked there for 18 months.  Reitner recalled that they first slept in three-man tents, and then they moved to ones able to accommodate twice that many people.  They had small stoves, and plenty of coal for heat, and he remembered whiling away spare time playing cards, reading or playing soccer, for which there was a camp tournament.

“I worked in almost every department at Morgan’s,” said Reitner. Most jobs were nice and easy to be performed.  The worst was to unload coal, especially in the summer heat.” Like many other POW’s, Reitner got to tour a bit of Southern Indiana courtesy of Morgan Foods.  Besides Austin he worked at company facilities at Brownstown, Columbus and Scottsburg during seasonal periods.    (Photo by Pat Richey)

In May of 1945, when the war ended, Reitner said the camp was occupied by U.S. Army troops who for some reason took away all food from the canteen and kitchen.” To the rescue, eventually rode a Mr. Morgan whom Reitner didn’t identify further, but whom supplied the troops with food and cigarettes. 

After the war Reitner became a dentist and lived for a year in Chicago.  He settled back down in Germany but has visited the United Sates twice, once in 1977 and the other in the 1990’s.  During the 1977 visit he brought his teenage daughter and son to Morgan Foods, where he showed them where he spent the end of the war years.