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Morgan began his business career in 1829 by entering the employ of Alfred Welles of Boston. He had inherited wealth from his father, Joseph Morgan, and showed great business ability. He was soon invited to become a partner in the house of J. M. Beebe & Co., one of the largest retail stores in Boston and one of the largest dry goods importing and jobbing houses in the country. He was in the dry goods business from about 1836 to 1853.
After some years, he met George Peabody, the well-known London banker. Shortly after the meeting, in 1854, Morgan entered Peabody's prosperous firm, George Peabody & Co. as a partner. Ten years later, in 1864, Morgan succeeded Peabody as head of the firm and changed its name to J. S. Morgan & Co.
During the American Civil War, the firm was a seller of United States war bonds in England. With the assistance of his son, J. P. Morgan, who used the cables system to telegraph the outcomes of battles prior to their general knowledge in England, Junius was able to buy low and sell high.
After establishing himself in London, he did not return to the United States for 23 years, in 1877. In a dinner upon his return, Morgan stated:
"...never do anything to cause evil to be spoken of the American name."