During the colonial period, there was a lot of work to do everywhere, and people worked very long hours every day, though most tried to rest on Sunday. Even on the day of rest, there was still the work of feeding both people and animals. Justin Morgan’s life was no different. He was born in 1747 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Justin Morgan ran a farm, raised and bred Morgan horses, and taught people to sing.
The colonies had few musical instruments and little time for entertainment. But there was one instrument that every person always carried: the human voice. Justin Morgan helped people to sing well and on key. He composed a few music pieces that were among the first to be published in the New World, even though they are not well known today. In our quest for American composers, Justin Morgan is one of the first. When he passed away in 1798, he left behind several children, a handful of original compositions, and a truly American Morgan horse breed.
If you’d like to learn more about Justin Morgan, you could read Marguerite Henry’s book, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, or watch the 1972 Disney movie.