Wm J Morgan – A Notable Goytrey Boy 1888

The Manager of the American Cycling Team

A Notable Goytrey Boy – 20th January 1888

The following sketch of the career of Mr W.J., the son of Mr W. Morgan, The Wern Farm, Goytre, who has earned distinction both in this country and America, will be read by many friends in this district.

William J. Morgan, long distance Champion of America, and Manager of the American team, was born in Goytrey, Monmouthshire in 1863. After a British school education, and an apprenticeship of four years, when thirteen years old, to the grocery business in Dudley, Staffordshire, he returned to Wales and put in two years more behind the counter in Newport, Monmouthshire.

Here he learned to ride a bicycle and became a member of the flourishing Newport bicycle club.

In 1880 he sailed for Canada and settled in Toronto, Ontario. Bicycling was just beginning to attract public attention in the dominion, and Morgan was the first man to introduce bicycle riding into Canada, having brought a racer from England with him.

Forming the St Catherine bicycle club Mr Morgan was soon known as a celebrity on the road and path. In 1882 he crossed the line into the States and raced against John S. Price, Rollinson, Harrison brother, and others with varying success, being particularly fortunate in long distance riding.

In Chicago in 1883, out of a field of seven in the championship 12 hours per day (72 hour) race, he rode second to Prince, defeating Higham, Woodside, Shuck and others.

In 1885 he defeated Prince and a large field in the 48-hour Memphis, Tenn., six-day contest, winning by over 20 miles. In 1886 Morgan defeated Prince, who was then champion of America, ten races out of an actual twelve on the circuit, winning an 8-hour per day race a month later, and establishing professional tandem records for the world from 1 to 250 miles inclusive.

A month later he defeated a field of seven in Minneapolis in the eight hour per day international championship race, making the world record of 780 miles in 48 hours, riding the first five days without dismounting. Three weeks later he was matched for 144 hours, six-day (night and day) contest for $1000, against Albert Schock whom he defeated three weeks previous in the 48-hour race.

In this race Morgan astonished cycling America by riding 235 miles (world’s record) without stopping or making one dismount. Leading until Friday, the fifth day, with a score of 1098 miles, he was attacked with sickness, which compelled him to leave the track for six hours, which lost him the race.Mr Morgan is not only a busy rider, but also a writer of cycling renown and his letters to all the cycling and sporting press of America on sporting matters under the Nome-du-plume of “Spokes” and “Coventry” have earned for the Anglo American distinction.

Mr Morgan was for some time connected with the Chicago Daily Inter-Ocean and Sporting Journal as a writer on sporting matters; and in turn he not only manages the affairs of his team and takes part in contests, but is also the special correspondent for the Chicago Journal, Lynn Item, and the Bicycling world and will also write for a number of other American papers on “what he sees on his travels”

Mr Morgan stands 5 feet 7 inches high and weighs 145 lbs.

Mr Morgan’s performances in England have been somewhat limited, as his managerial duties have curtailed his practises to such an extent that he cannot find time to practise for any event that he is booked for.

His running a dead heat for second place in the Easter Handicap at Leicester in 2 mins, 36. 1-5 secs., from the 80 yards; and his win of the mile at Bridlington Quay in 2mins., 37 secs., from the 90 yards is the best work he has accomplished in Great Britain.

In Edinburgh, last October, in company with Batenby, Dabois, and Lumaden, he succeeded in beating the best 50 mile record, doing the distance in 2 hours and 41 mins.

Mr Morgan is responsible for the Edinburgh, London and Newcastle six day races, where at each place the public were turned away owing to the crowds who sought admission. The public evidently appreciated the good entertainment the Anglo-American manager provides for them.


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