Morgan Allen Powell (1901–1979)

Morgan Allen Powell was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy who retired in 1957 to his native Independence County, where he researched local history.

Morgan Powell was born on March 2, 1901, in the McHue community south of Batesville (Independence County). His parents were John Thomas and Mary Morgan Powell; he had two sisters.

While he was still a student at Batesville High School, he joined the Army and served in World War I. He returned to Batesville in and graduated from Batesville High School in 1921. From there he went to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a BS degree and was commissioned an ensign with the U.S. Navy in 1925.

Powell served two years in the Navy as a junior officer and then did graduate work at the University of California, American University, and Purdue University. In 1928, he married Martha Coleman Hazen of Dobbs Ferry, New York; they had one daughter.

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, he returned to active duty in the Navy. He received the Bronze Star in the Okinawa campaign, a special commendation, and nine battle stars. When he retired from the naval reserve in 1959, he held the rank of rear admiral.

At the end of the war, he became director of engineering development for Vulcan Detinning Company of Pittsburgh. As an officer of that firm, he designed, built, and supervised factories. A widower for some years, he retired in 1957 and later moved to Batesville, where he married Mary Beth Terry Griffith. He became a local history researcher and published six articles in the Independence County Chronicle on topics ranging from biographies to notes on slavery. He died on June 21, 1979, at Batesville and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

For additional information:
McGinnis, A. C. “Admiral Morgan Allen Powell.” Independence County Chronicle 21 (October 1979): 2–3.

George E. Lankford
Batesville, Arkansas


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