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Morgan Family Pioneer Heritage
Farming With Horses

Exploring the importance of horses to our early Morgan Families

During the early pioneering years in America our families relied on horses for essential functions of their lives. Horses were both a means of transportation and a means of earning a living by farming. Our Morgan, Radford and Ross families were often breaking out new ground where horses were essential for removing brush and trees, for making irrigation ditches, and for plowing, planting, cultivating and harvesting crops. In those early days in America our ancestors were faced with seemingly unsurmountable obstacles; A hostile United States Government, sometimes hostile Indian Tribes, a wild, untamed, land, dangerous diseases that they poorly understood, and primitive, harsh living conditions. It is probably fair and accurate to say that horses were the best friends they had.


This old picture came from the Orlean and Lenard Nield family. Orlean was the youngest daughter of William Thomas Morgan. It is an authentic picture of one of our Morgan family members (Either Lenard Nield or one of his sons, Rex or Delbert) cultivating a row crop with horses.

Burlap bags (They were called Gunny Sacks) were fastened over the horse's noses to keep horseflies from biting their tender noses. Runaway horses were a common, and dangerous, problem, and biting flies could cause a runaway.


Pervasive myths in American culture concern cowboys and their horses. However, farmers in overalls were just as dependent on horses, or even more so, than cowboys. You wouldn't know it by watching the movies but, as the West became settled, farmers wearing overalls and riding horses were just as common, if not more common, than cowboys. Horses were the backbone of the farmer's work and transportation

The people in this picture were farmers, not cowboys. How do we know? Because our own Kenneth Morgan, a farmer all his life, is sitting on a horse on the left and his brother, Alvin Elmer Morgan, is standing in the stirrups of the horse on either side of him. And we think the man standing second from the right is Robert Morgan, son of Edward Morgan, grandson of Thomas Morgan. He was a farmer all his life. The distinction between cowboys and farmers disappears here because we know these farmers were darned good cowboys in their own right, having run down and captured wild mustangs to obtain horses for themselves, and having given rodeoing a try in their day.

Because of the great importance of horses to our early families and the disappearance of horse farming in America, this section will contain historically accurate pictures of various farming practices as they would have been experienced by our early families in America.


Pictured above is an early horse drawn cultivator. One had to know, and talk to, the oldtimers to understand how important it was to them when implements with seats came into their lives. Previously, as in the picture at the top of the page, they had to walk behind the implement, directing, lifting, pushing, pulling and dragging it around corners. It was backbreaking labor and the oldtimers greeted the first plows and cultivators with seats on them with great relief. Now they could ride and let the horses do most of the work!

More Farming With Horses

The farming with horses section is a series of pages with a link to the next page at the bottom of each page.

Click on the link above to be taken to the Morgan Family Pioneer Heritage website with pictures and life histories of the families resulting from the marriage of Thomas Morgan to his wives Ann Ollen Watkins and Nancy Jane Radford.