Morgan triplets born; mother Missouri Morgan dies.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 February 1945.


Wilson Daily Times, 27 February 1945.


On 16 September 1934, Cleveland Morgan, 30, of Wilson, son of Sallie Morgan, married Missouri Carter, 25, of Wilson, daughter of Willie and Henrietta Carter, in Wilson. M.M. Wells, a Disciples minister, performed the ceremony in the presence of James Morgan, Victoria Webb, and Annie Pender.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Dew Street, Cleveland Morgan, 36, redrying tobacco factory laborer; wife Missourie, 32; and children Dorothy, 10, William, 7, Cleveland Jr., 5, and Marie, 2.

Missouri Morgan died 25 February 1945 at Mercy Hospital, Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 2 February 1908 in Duplin County, N.C., to William Carter; was married to Cleveland Morgan; and lived at 607 Banks Street. Cause of death: “late toxemia of pregnancy due to 9 mos. delivery immediately before death of mother childbirth at term,” other conditions: “triplets.”

In the 1950 census of Wilson, Wilson County: veneer company laborer Cleveland Morgan, 46; sister Nonnie Dunston, 49, private maid; and children Cleveland Jr., 15, Marie, 12, Carlillie, 8, and Petrola, Pauline, and Paul, 5.

Cleveland Morgan Sr. died 11 November 1971 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 2 March 1905 in North Carolina to Sallie Morgan; was a widower; worked as a laborer; lived at 611 East Walnut Street Alley. Cleveland Morgan Jr., 406 East Walnut, was informant.

The first baby is triplets.


Pittsburgh Courier, 15 January 1938.

Though this appears to be a heart-warming story — in the wee hours of New Year’s Day, a community erupting in celebration over the birth of bouncing triplets — a bit of fact-checking quickly establishes a tragedy of which the reporter should have been aware.

Tommie and Rosa Bynum Hagans‘ babies — two girls and one boy, in fact — were born prematurely, and the first girl died ten minutes after birth. Her sister succumbed five minutes later. Their brother battled bravely, but passed away on the 3rd, ten days after the date-line and 12 days before the Courier picked up the story. Surely there had been no great neighborhood celebration at the Hagans’ home.

Two years later, Tommie Hagans himself was dead. Per his death certificate, he died 12 February 1940 in Wilson; was married to Rosa Hagans; resided at 509 South Spring Street; worked as a common laborer; and had been born in Wilson County to James and Hannah Bynum Hagans. Joseph Hagans was informant, and C.E. Artis was undertaker.