Monday, July 8, 2019

A Military HERO On My Tree! Ernest Roland Morgan

Up All Night
Wow. I guess there's something to be said for going down a genealogical rabbit hole at 4:30 in the morning, after being up all night!

Since I was sleepless, I decided to work on tracking down the families of some of the mysterious people who were named in my elusive grandfather's, 1940 will. In doing so, I uncovered the names of the grandchildren of his second-cousin, Lillian Batts Melton, whom he'd left all of his real and personal property to. One of her descendants was her grandson, Ernest Roland Morgan, who, in 1940, was living in her home, along with his mother, Evelyn, and brothers, Harry and Sherman. His uncles, LeRoy and Larry, were also in the home. My grandfather, Daniel Webster Hill, who died on June 7th of that year, had also lived there, and should have been listed, since the enumeration date was to have been May 1, however, it's a possibility he may have been out of the home and "shacked up" elsewhere, at that time. (Another story for another time...)

Year: 1940; Census Place: Petersburg, Petersburg City, Virginia; Roll: m-t0627-04316; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 115-21, retrieved from Ancestry.com 7/8/2019 at 4:46 a.m.
After discovering all of these previously-unknown-to-me names, I began to follow-up and research each individual. After just a few minutes, I was stopped dead in my tracks as I began to get hint after hint about Ernest Roland Morgan. It was clear that he'd followed in his own father's military footsteps, but information from his death records, as well as subsequent obituaries and newspaper clippings I ran across, showed me that Ernest was no run-of-the-mill, ordinary man. No, this cousin of mine was ALL THAT and a bag of (military) chips! And for me, this is an anomaly for my tree - a tree that's filled with a lot of wonderful people, who did much good in the world, but who were mostly behind the scenes worker-bee types (like me), not those who shine in the spotlight and get tons of recognition and/or accolades. That just isn't who my family's been - and I'm okay with that - but, Cousin Ernest? Cousin Ernest was a STAR!

*Military Accomplishments
Ernest Roland Morgan, General, United States Army (retired) was born March 29, 1932, and he was called back home November 21, 2001, following knee surgery in Huntsville, Alabama. He made national headlines in 1975 when he was captured in Beirut, Lebanon by Lebanese terrorists and released 13 days later.
He went on to become the Adjutant General of the D.C. National Guard and finally the Commanding General of the National Guard of the U.S. Virgin Islands. His military career spanned 35 years. He had a tour of duty in Korea and in Vietnam and retired in 1987.

*Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

DATE OF BIRTH: 03/29/1932 
DATE OF DEATH: 11/21/2001 

(The preceding excerpts were taken from http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/ermorgan.htm. PLEASE click the link to read the full tribute page from Arlington National Cemetery.)

*Appointed Adjutant General of the Militia of the District of Columbia

This next blurb from "Public Papers of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1981 tells about Cousin Ernest's appointment as Adjutant General of the DC National Guard.

Source: Public Papers of the Presidents of the United State: Ronald Reagan, 1981. Published by Best Books on, 1982
*Abducted and Prisoner of War for 13 Days


  1. Congrats on this exciting find. Hope his descendants get in touch with you! There has got to be a photo out there!

    The knee death part sort of brought me up short too! Especially since I've been having knee problems. A trip to the doc revealed no surgery needed. Wishing you the best with you hip replacement. I know plenty of people who have had successful surgery, but knee and hip and are alive and walking better than ever!

  2. So glad to help! I just had to go look :D

  3. Great story! Congrats! Those all-nighters can pay off!

  4. Hi Renate,
    I am Ernest's daughter in law, married to his son Michel. I came across your blog while i was looking for an obit for his son Ernest Roland III. We miss them both, wonderful men who served our country well. Most of the family that are still here live in VA or MD. Loved reading about your findings, i will help where i can.
    Linda Morgan

  5. Hello Renate,I am Linda Morgan, daughter in law of the late Ernest Morgan. Married to his youngest child and second son, Michel. I came across your blog while looking for his son Ernest Roland III obit. He was a very interesting man who served our country well . Most of the family that are still here reside in VA and MD. Love reading your findings! Herebto help if i can . Take care

    1. Linda, hello! I'm sure I replied to your comment back when you first made it, but I don't see it here. Thank you so much for reaching out! Please email me at yarsan@aol.com. I'd love to connect!


  6. Hey auntie, Hello Renate, My name is Roland and his son was my dad. Nice to meet you.
    Linda is my Aunt of course.
    This is such a nice page you have put together.
    I have a funny story to add. My ROTC instructor in high school was one of the green berets assigned to surveillance while grandpa was kidnapped.

    1. Hi, Roland. Please reach out to me at yarsan@aol.com. I would love to connect with the family.