In January 1873 Morgan met Francis Warrington Dawson, an English expatriate, Confederate veteran, and newspaperman. By then Morgan had left her native Louisiana and was living near Columbia, South Carolina, with her younger brother, James Morris Morgan. When Sarah Morgan and Frank Dawson met, he was mourning the recent death of his first wife. She, in turn, was still grieving over her family’s many wartime losses.
The couple’s relationship came to encompass both the personal and the professional. To free Morgan from an unhappy dependence on her brother, Dawson urged her to write professionally for his paper. During 1873 Morgan wrote more than seventy pieces on such topics as French and Spanish politics, race relations, the insanity plea, funerals, and fashion gossip—-editorials that caused a sensation in Charleston.
Only after attaining financial independence through her secret newspaper career did Morgan marry Frank Dawson, in 1874. Morgan’s commentary gives us a candid portrayal of the way one southern woman viewed her postwar world—-even as she struggled to find her place in it.