It Started with a Single Dozer
The Morgan brothers have a saying: “When it comes time to move heaven and earth, we’ll move the earth.” The Morgans have been “moving the earth” for more than 50 years.
It all began in the early 1920s with a boy named Cecil Morgan. Cecil was born and raised on a 2,000-acre farm owned by his father, Alonzo Morgan, and his father’s brother, Percy Morgan, in the Lone Oak community south of Clarksville. As a youngster, Cecil did chores, as many other farm children did. But along with learning to care for livestock and raise tobacco, he picked up another skill: operating a bulldozer.
In 1941, Cecil graduated from Clarksville High School and enrolled at the University of Georgia on a football scholarship. But he was forced to drop out of college and return home when World War II broke out and drained the Morgan farm of workers. After the war ended, he bought his first bulldozer–a Caterpillar D6–and went into business.
The business went through three phases, Morgan says. The first phase was under the moniker of Cecil Morgan, Contractor. Back then, his only assets were a little cash and a big bulldozer. The company consisted of three employees; the office was a room in the Morgan house. By the mid-1950s the business was known as Morgan Construction Company, and it was taking on site preparation for commercial and industrial projects as well as state and local road-building. The company also performed site work for what would become Ft. Campbell, clearing the way for barracks, roads, airfields, housing projects, and maintenance and recreational facilities.
In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, Morgan crews built 27 miles of I-40, nine miles of I-65, and four miles of I-75. The company also built a three-million-cubic-yard levee along the Mississippi River in Missouri. The levee still exists today. In 1963 Morgan moved his permanent headquarters to 236 Kraft Street.
The Sons Join the Business
By the early 1970s, his sons - Cecil Jr., David, Gene, and Don - had joined him in the business, now known as Morgan, Inc. In the ‘80s, the company paved the way for retail growth along Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, grading the sites for Governor’s Square Mall and other local shopping centers. Morgan, Inc. also was there when disaster struck the city of Clarksville. In the aftermath of the tornado of January 1999, the company demolished wind-ravaged buildings and cleared away tons of debris. Later, Morgan, Inc. workers assisted with post-tornado reconstruction.
Road-building has been a major focus for the company since it began. In its 50-plus years in operation, Morgan, Inc. has either built or worked on every major road leading to Clarksville. The company also has worked on local roads, including Riverside Drive, the Crossland Avenue extension, Kraft Street, sections of the 101st Airborne Division Parkway, and Ted Crozier Sr., Boulevard.
Though the company has taken on a wide array of projects in Middle Tennessee and Southwestern Kentucky, the Morgan brothers still prefer to focus on what they do best. They call it “playing in the dirt,” but most people call it site grading, excavation, street improvements, storm drainage, and building demolition.
Still Playing in the Dirt Today
Today, the latest generation of Morgans is engaged in a new iteration of the original Morgan Brothers. David is president. Gene and Don serve as vice presidents. And Cecil Jr. is secretary-treasurer. With around 50 employees, the company makes a substantial contribution to the city’s economy. But the owners see Morgan, Inc. as more than a major employer. They see it as an integral part of the Clarksville still to come, a city with a well-planned infrastructure, diversified business and industry, and a high quality of life.
Cecil Morgan Sr. retired to spend more time at the farm and with his wife, Mary, allowing his four sons and grandchildren to continue the work of earthmoving and demolition into the 2000s. Before passing away in 2010, Cecil Morgan Sr. took great satisfaction in knowing that the company he started with a vision and a bulldozer now has more than 100 pieces of heavy equipment, including road scrapers, graders, compactors, bulldozers, and dump trucks. And despite the thousands of miles of roads behind them, the Morgans are looking down the road to the future. “It’s been over 50 years since our dad started this company," Cecil Morgan Jr. says, "but we’re just getting started.”
Taken from Historic Clarksville - 1784-2004