G. B. Morgan
from Oakland Tribune March 18, 1913
(fair use)
Gardner Bulkey "Sam" Morgan (October, 1880 – September 3, 1913) was a firefighter and the youngest brother of architect Julia Morgan.

Morgan was born in October, 1880. The family lived at 754 - 14th Street in Oakland. Morgan joined the fire department in about 1903. 4

In 1911, the police and fire commissioners re-organized the downtown Oakland Fire Department stations into a fully paid force. Morgan had been the extraman with Engine Company No. 1 and was promoted to district engineer in charge of East Oakland east of 23rd Avenue. 3 (The "extraman" was basically a volunteer firefighter paid a nominal salary to respond to alarms with his assigned company, as a stopgap for professional departments that weren't quite big enough.)

Morgan was a battalion chief (assistant chief) when he died in 1913. He never married.

Death and Burial

Although the commonly circulated story is that he was riding on the side of a fire engine and "died instantly" when it went too close to a wall, the actual story is more complicated. On March 17, 1913, he was riding in an OFD vehicle with his driver, J. Shiflett. They were attempting to cross the tracks of the Hayward street car at 50th Avenue and East 14th Street (now International Blvd.) and Shiflett apparently didn't see the oncoming train or misjudged its speed. The train struck the car and dragged it 60 to 70 feet along the tracks, flipping it several times and throwing Morgan and Shiflett from the car. Morgan had probable internal injuries, his scalp torn away, and a broken jaw. 1

Morgan lingered for months, and whether connected with his injuries or not, he contracted typhoid, then died September 3, 1913 at Providence Hospital. 2,4 The death was ruled a line-of-duty death and the department paid his mother's claim for expenses.

In Sam's memory, Julia Morgan designed an entry gate to The King's Daughters Home on Broadway, and Eliza Morgan paid for its construction.

Sam is buried with Julia and the Morgan family in Mountain View Cemetery.

CC SA-BY Our Oakland

Links and References

  1. Street Car Hits Fast Automobile Oakland Tribune March 18, 1913

  2. Gardner B. Morgan Buried San Francisco Call September 5, 1913

  3. Fire Companies Now Fully Paid San Francisco Call June 29, 1911

  4. Fire Chief's Aid Hurt St. Patrick's Day Dies San Francisco Call September 4, 1913