First mail and passenger steamship service from the United States to Texas. In 1835 put in operation the "Columbia" from New Orleans to Galveston, bringing in settlers and goods; soon had three cargo and mail lines along the Texas coast and to Mexico.
In 1850 based fleet at Indianola, to handle corn, cotton, sugar, beef. Brought in U. S. Army supplies for western forts. Carried to U. S. mints loads of gold and silver coming overland to the Gulf from the mines in northern Mexico. Morgan ships were seized in 1861 for Civil War duty -- some by the U. S. , some by the Confederacy. In 1866 Charles Morgan (1795-1878) resumed operations.
In 1869 Morgan branched into rail transportation -- built (1873) Gulf, Western Texas and Pacific Railroad to Cuero; bought other railroads. Soon captains of the Morgan line became residents and business and civic leaders here and in other Texas towns. The Houston Ship Channel was built by Morgan in 1875 and controlled by affiliates for many years. The Morgan line was sold, 1883, to Southern Pacific Railroad, but continued to operate under old name. Last of the ships were sold to the U. S. Government in 1941 for military use during World War II.