It was a cold, rainy day on March 3, 1927.  It had been a long wet winter, with most of the creeks swollen to overflowing, the dirt roads almost impassable with deep ruts full of rainwater.  The phone was ringing in Doctor Morgan’s office on Main Ave.  Someone picked up the receiver and a voice said, “Dr. Morgan you’ve got to come quick! Francis is in labor.  She’s about to deliver.  Hurry.”  The phone line went dead before Doctor Morgan could verify the name.  However, it really didn’t make much difference.  How many pregnant Frances were there in Fallbrook, ready to deliver?  The 67 year old Doctor Morgan fired up his Model T in the pouring rain and was on his way.  (Story told by an adult James Rice, the baby born to Frances on that rainy day) .[1]

Fallbrook did not have a hospital during Dr. Morgan’s lifetime. For many years, Morgan would be the only physician in Fallbrook.  A true country doctor, Dr. Morgan had an office in town but he was frequently administrating to ill patients in their homes, setting broken bones and delivering babies.

Born in Illinois on January 8, 1859, Addison Morgan was the son of a Methodist minister.  His father, the Rev.  Pliny Morgan was also a renowned physician.   According to the family, Pliny Morgan and Addison’s mother, Elizabeth, briefly served as Methodist missionaries in China.[2]

After receiving his medical degree at the University of Michigan, Addison Morgan married his distant cousin, Fannie Almira Morgan of Boston, Massachusetts in 1883.  The Morgans then moved to the City of San Diego, Calif. where Dr. Morgan established his medical practice.  They bought a home on Sixth Street. He was in every sense a country doctor, usually carrying his own medicines which he prescribed and served.  Fanny and Addison’s four children were all born in San Diego; Louisa (1885), Clark (1892), Frances (1897) and Mildred (1907).

Dr. Morgan became a dedicated member of the San Diego Masonic Lodge.  He was also selected to be on the County Board of Health [3] and he served as a county coroner for several years.[4]  At the outbreak of the Spanish American War in 1898, Dr Morgan accepted a commission as a Naval surgeon with the rank of lieutenant junior grade.  The war was over within a year and Lt. Morgan was discharged.

Doctor Addison Morgan first arrived in Fallbrook in 1912 when he purchased a 35-acre olive ranch on Pala Road.[5]  Dr. Morgan was still residing and practicing medicine in San Diego, but the Morgan family liked Fallbrook. They began spending increasing time at their Fallbrook Ranch and making friends in the community.  Dr. J.C. Graffin of Fallbrook was one of those friends. Graffin would later take an Army commission with the U.S. entry into WWI in 1918, leaving Fallbrook without a doctor.

With the arrival of electricity in Fallbrook in March 1917, the Morgans depart San Diego to make their new residence at the Fallbrook Ranch, located just south of town on the Pala Road.  After 34 years as a doctor in San Diego, Dr Morgan arrived in a town that badly needed him.  He opened his new medical office on Main Ave, just 2 doors north of Alvarado St, across the street from Woodbury’s post office.  His office was open daily from 2pm to 4pm. 

Dr. Morgan brought other medical services with him to Fallbrook.  A dentist from San Diego, installed modern electric equipment in a room at Dr. Morgan’s Main Ave office and saw patients in Fallbrook every Monday.  An optometrist from Escondido, also used a room in Morgan’s office for his Fallbrook appointments.   Dr Morgan was a surgeon.  He employed nurses and performed minor surgeries in an operating room at his office. 

As president of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce in 1923, Dr. Morgan led a group of volunteers serving free lemonade all day to motorists passing through town on highway 395 on the Fourth of July.[6]  This was the first occasion of what became an annual Fallbrook event.

 Dr. Morgan was a much sought after speaker at civic groups.  He had a self-depreciating humor to relax the audience before giving short scientific talks about anatomy and health.  He also found time to be a Grand Master of the Fallbrook Masonic lodge.

Dr. Morgan served on the Fallbrook High School Board of Trustees for more than 8 years.  He worked with superintendent, James Potter, and board president Denver Lamb to establish a highly accredited high school.  In 1928, Dr Morgan personally awarded the diplomas to all nine students of the 1928 high school graduating class, most of whom he had watched through various phases of their life.  Dr Morgan had a personal word for each graduate as he presented the diploma.[7]

In 1929, after 12 years on Main Ave, Dr Morgan moved his office to his new residence in town at the corner of Alvarado and Hill Street (now Mission Rd).  Today in 2023, this is a vacant lot across from the Fallbrook library.

Dr. Morgan passed away in his home, after an illness, on his 78th birthday.  At 10 a.m. on January 10, 1937, businesses and schools in Fallbrook closed for one hour to allow everyone in town to attend his funeral.

Tom Frew,
FHS Historian


    1) Fallbrook in Review vol. 7 pg. 76, Rice Family History.

    2) As told by Mildred Morgan Keller (1907-1995), Addison’s youngest daughter who married Cyrus Keller, son of the
         local pharmacist.
    3) San Diego Union May 12, 1889.

    4) Morgan obituary, Fallbrook Enterprise January 15, 1937

    5) Fallbrook Enterprise March 7, 1912.  It was formerly known as the Pickett Ranch.

    6) Fallbrook Enterprise July 6, 1923.

    7) Fallbrook Enterprise June 15, 1928.  The Class of 1928 was; Elizabeth Moody, Angie Bailey, Gladys Welzer, John &
         Newell McCracken, Clarence Story, Cyril Margetts, Thornton Powell, and Harold Mahr.