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Obituaries and memories of
Eldridge Morse and family, Part 2 of 2
|Eldridge Morse headstone|
Obituary of Eldridge Morse
Unknown newspaper, week of Jan. 6, 1914
The date of the funeral of Eldridge Morse, who died at the Snohomish hospital Monday, [January 6], has not been set. Arrangements are awaiting the arrival of relatives. Eldridge Morse was born on a farm near Wallingford, Ct. in 1847. At an early age he began studying and entered the army at New York harbor at the age of 17 years. He was a member of Co. C [D] of the Tenth US engineer's battalion and was with the army of the Potomac for 18 months and was present at the surrender of Lee to Grant at Richmond. From there he went to San Francisco, Ca. where he received an honorable discharge from the army. He then went to visit his old home at Wallingford, after which he went to Albion, Ia., where he taught school and practiced law and was admitted to the bar at Iowa in 1869. He next attended the University of MI from which he graduated in 1870.
He married one of his oldest Iowa pupils, Mollie Turner, and then came to Seattle where he stayed a few months before arriving at Snohomish in 1972. He took up a homestead near this city which is now known as the McLaughlin place. He practiced law in Snohomish for a few years and in 1876 stared the first newspaper published on the Sound, the Northern Star in this city. He took Fanny Oliver as his Second wife, but divorced her shortly after marriage. He then took his third wife, in 1887 who died in 1900.
Through Mr. Morse's influence the old Atheneum [also spelled Athanaeum], better known as the Cathcart building, was built on the corner of Ave. D and First street. This building was used for a library, a theater and a museum. For the past few years he has been a member of the local G.A.R. and took an active part in all patriotic programs. After running the newspaper he retired from public life and since 1888 he has been living on a farm near Snohomish and in his house in town, spending nearly all his spare time studying. He leaves a son Ed C. Morse, by his first wife, who is now a mining engineer at Republic, Wa. By his third wife he has a daughter, Mrs. C.H. Matthews, of Markham, and four sons, John of Seattle, and Arthur, Harley and Roland all living at Snohomish.
Journal Ed. note: Eldridge Morse served in the U.S. Union Army from Apr. 6, 1865-Apr. 4, 1868. He was a member of the O.P. Morton post of the G.A.R. in Snohomish. We also discovered that this note in the March 17, 1899, Snohomish County Tribune: "At her home in Wallingford, Conn., on Feb. 24,1899 died Mrs. A.A. MORSE, aged 82 years and the mother of Eldridge Morse." A. C. Folsom died in June 1885. The Northwest Room of the Everett Public Library has copies of Eldridge Morse's Northern Star newspapers on microfilm in the archives. The University of Washington Suzallo Library has the complete set of Eldridge Morse's journals on microfilm; the originals are in the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California. The Blackman Museum, 118 Ave. B, Snohomish (360) 568-5235, has an extensive file on the Morse family as well as files and exhibits about many other pioneer families, and is a fine place to visit to learn about the Northwest frontier.
Pioneer Editor Passes Away
Snohomish Tribune January 1914
The community was shocked Tuesday to learn of the death of Eldridge Morse. Mr. Morse was an old soldier, who, of late years had spent much of his time in study and had rather dropped out of public notice. In the early days, however, he was a prominent citizen of Snohomish. He was a native of Connecticut, and was married three times. He leaves five sons and one daughter. He came to this region in the early days, and in 1876 founded the Northern Star, the first paper in the county. He also practiced law. He was never very successful in a worldly way, but had a wonderful memory and a mind full with a remarkable fund of information.
Mr. Morse was a graduate of the University of Michigan and was a member of the Michigan bar. He was also at one time a school teacher in Iowa. He served for several years in the Union army during the Civil war, and was a member of Morton Post No. 10., G.A.R. Last Saturday friends of Mr. Morse noticed his growing feebleness, and Monday his sons called at his little house where he lived alone and found him on the floor unconscious. He had evidently been studying and had fallen on the stove, burning his hands. The fire was out and he was suffering from pneumonia. He was taken to the hospital, where he died without regaining consciousness. He was 67 years of age.
Funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon at 1:30 at the Congregational church under the [auspices] of Morton Post No. 10, G.A.R. Rev. M. Pratt will preach the funeral sermon. The following letter from C.H. Packard will be of special interest to those who are familiar with the early history of the city:
Eulogy by Clayton H. PackardS
Your telegram announcing the death of Eldridge Morse recalls to my memory a number of important events in that part of the history of the city and county of Snohomish commencing in the early seventies. One of the most important of these, and one furnishing the foundation for a long series of others, which resulted in great benefit to the community, was the establishment of the Northern Star, the county's first newspaper. As its editor and publisher, Mr. Morse did more than all other individuals combined to attract homeseekers to the Puget Sound country, and especially to Snohomish and Skagit counties. In later years, when our positions as employer and employee had been reversed, he continued that good work through the columns of The Eye, the county's second paper.
His work was of the self-sacrificing, thankless, for-the-good-of-the-community kind; it was not tainted with money madness, and resulted in greater financial benefit to others than to himself. He was a man whose ideals were too high to be fully understood by most of his acquaintances and friends. By some he was considered an impractical dreamer, yet if he had possessed the financial means to carry out the plans he formulated when the Star was established, in my humble opinion he would later have been generally recognized as one of the state's greatest and best men, and Snohomish would have been one of the great educational and scientific centers of the West. He was the principal factor in the establishment of the old Athenaeum society which in the early '70s erected the building of that name at the northeast corner of First street and Avenue D, and in the collection of one of the best libraries and museums in the West, these afterwards going to the territorial university at Seattle.
Leaving the newspaper work to assistants, Mr. Morse would spend weeks at a time cruising through the sparsely settled or entirely uninhabited valleys of the Puget Sound basin, gathering information of special interest to homeseekers and data of a scientific nature. A graduate of two of the nation's greatest universities, possessing a wonderful memory and being a great student and investigator, he leaves a vast accumulation of manuscripts that will be of great public value if ever published.
Mr. Morse was a naturalist or agnostic with whom one fact was of vastly greater value than whole volumes of fine-spun theories or man-made dogmas or creeds. Of him it can be truly said: "He was a good man." and as the good one does lives after him, future generations in Snohomish County may giver Mr. Morse's work more generous recognition and credit than did many of his personal acquaintances.
—C.H. Packard, Hoquiam, Jan. 7, 1914
Journal Ed. note: Clayton H. Packard was a noted Snohomish City editor himself, having published the Snohomish Eye from 1882-97. Born in 1859, Clayton came to Snohomish in 1871 when his father, Myron W. Packard, moved his family to Snohomish. After eight years here, his parents moved back to Wisconsin and then lived in Skagit valley but Clayton founded the Eye, switching roles with Eldridge Morse; Morse employed him before at the Northern Star. An outdoorsman, Clayton was also an ardent hunter, a Free-Thinker, and issued physical challenges to the competing publishers. From 1891-93 he took on a partner, George E. MacDonald, a famous editor of Free-Thinker journals. In MacDonald's 1931 autobiography, he wrote that Packard shut down the Eye after suffering financially through the Depression that started in 1893. Packard nearly lost his life on a windjammer that was blown ashore, leaving him a castaway among the Indians. Finding no gold in paying quantities, he returned to Puget Sound country and then moved back East to work for The Truth Seeker journal. After returning again to Washington — possibly around the time he wrote this eulogy, he was in an accident that permanently paralyzed one of his legs and his right arm. By 1931 he was an inmate at the Home for Union Printers in Colorado Springs. In March, we will share many of the Packard stories from the Eye days when he explored Skagit and surrounding counties as Morse did in the 1870s and '80s.
Pioneer Newspaper Man of Puget Sound Dead
Eldridge Morse, Civil War Veteran, Teacher and Lawyer, Was 67 Years Old
Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Friday, Jan. 9, 1914
SNOHOMISH, Jan. 8 — The funeral of Eldridge Morse, who died here Monday, will be held Saturday afternoon.
Mr. Morse was born on a farm near Wallingford, Conn., in 1847. During the civil war he enlisted at the age of 17. He was a member of Company C, Tenth United States engineer, and was with the army of the Potomac for eighteen months and saw the surrender of Lee. He was honorably discharged at San Francisco.
After the war he taught school and practiced law in Iowa. He was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1870. He married one of his former pupils, Miss Mollie Turner, and went to Seattle, where he stayed a few months before coming here in 1872.
He took a homestead now known as the McLaughlin place. He practiced law here for a few years and in 1876 started one of the first newspapers on Puget sound, the Northern Star, in this city. He took Fanny Oliver as his second wife, but divorced her shortly after marriage. He then took his third wife, in 1887, who died in 1900.
Through his influence the old Athenaeum was built. This building was used for a library, a theater and a museum. After running the newspaper he retired from public life in 1888.
He leaves a son, Ed C. Morse, a mining engineer at Republic; a daughter, Mrs. C.H. Matthews, of Markham, and four sons, John, of Seattle, and Arthur, Harley and Roland, all living at Snohomish.
Obituary of Martha A. "Mollie" (Turner) Morse
The Northern Star Snohomish City, Washington territory, March 11, 1876
We were just going to press last week when the news of Mrs. Morse's death reached the office. Of course we could barely mention her death at that time. Hence the following obituary [presumably written by Eldridge Morse, her husband].
Mrs. Morse, wife of the Editor and Proprietor of this paper, was born, of English parents, in Urichsville, Tuscaroras County, Ohio, on the Stillwater [river], near New Philadelphia, Dec. 1, 1851, her birth place being about 100 miles from Cleveland. Mrs. Morse was born a short time after the emigration and settlement of her parents at that place, their names being Isaac and Mary Turner. We are thus particular on account of her many relatives and friends, still living, in Ohio, Iowa and England. In the fall of 1854, she removed with her parents from Ohio to Iowa, settling near Blakesburg, Wapello County. In February 1861 the family emigrated to Franklin Township, Monroe County, Iowa, their present residence.
Mr. Morse met and formed her acquaintance in the fall of 1868 while engaged in teaching in the immediate neighborhood of her residence. In the summer of 1869 and winter of 1870 and 1871, Mrs. Morse was engaged in teaching, meeting with marked success; her knowledge of history, familiarity with poetry and taste for the sciences, rendering her an accomplished instructor as well as agreeable companion. In needle and fancy work she was an adept, spending, later in life, her invalid hours in that occupation and in perusal of the most advanced works of modern literature. She was at one time a pupil of the Burlington High School at Burlington, Iowa, distinguishing herself as an advanced scholar in history and natural sciences.
In April 1871, she was married to E. Morse, Esq., at Albia, Iowa, he being at that time engaged in the practice of his profession at that place. Their only child, Edward C. Morse was born there April 1, 1872. In the fall of 1872 they removed to Washington territory, settling in this place where they have ever since resided. Unfortunately very soon after her arrival here, she was afflicted with a severe and painful sickness from which she never recovered, and from which there could be no hope of escape until relieved by the friendly hand of destiny; physicians, friends, change of climate even, could only palliate, but never cure.
For weary months at a time, she was confined to her bed, seldom getting a respite from pain and rarely going out of doors. Sometimes her agony was excruciating; but her strength of mind enabled her to endure her strength of mind enabled her to endure it all patiently, without a murmur or complaint. Her only trouble of mind being her sorrow lest her continued illness should render her a burden to others. For this reason she often endured suffering rather than let her wants be known or ask for relief.
At her last birthday, her husband presented her with a beautiful dress. She spent all or nearly all her leisure time when well enough to do so, in making and ornamenting this dress. When her last hours approached she told her husband she had no requests to make, except that she wished to breath her last in his arms, and to be buried in that dress — a dress she never wore, on which she had spent so much time, thus actually while living, working, forming and ornamenting a shroud that was to clothe her loved form in death.
Her little boy, to whom she was fondly attached, she consigned to her husband and sister's care, without a word of direction or expression of doubt that her little orphan would be fondly cared for when its mother rested in the grave with flowers and grass growing above her. As a neighbor, she was obliging, gentle and kind. As a wife and mother she was above suspicion or reproach. As a sister, not one of her family had any reason to complain. She was a member of the Atheneum of this place and among its record may be found many valuable contributions that have excited comment and wonder [about] how one so physically afflicted could maintain such intellectual clearness and perception.
Her funeral was very largely attended, the Shone Bros. kindly opening their parlor for the services. We print below the beautiful and appropriate remarks made by our fellow townsman W.H. Ward, before proceeding to the grave. Appropriate music, with prayer and the Episcopal burial services completed the exercises, and all turned to their homes with saddened hearts, feeling that we had met with a loss that was wholly irreparable.
Thank you card
By Eldridge Morse, The Northern Star,
Snohomish City, Washington territory, March 11, 1876
Since making the Snohomish my residence, I have frequently been under great obligations to citizens of this community, for services rendered to myself and family, as well as for support given and sympathy extended in accidents or misfortunes to which I have been subject. I take this occasion to return my thanks for assistance rendered and sympathy extended to me and my family, in this my great affliction.
Especially would I thank the ladies of this community for their unwearied care and attention in watching and caring for my beloved wife in her last sickness. Everything was done that medical science, or the sympathy of friends and neighbors could suggest, to alleviate the severe physical suffering, and if possible return my now lost companion to health and happiness; that these efforts were unavailing, I feel is not owing to anything having been left undone within the power of our people.
With gratitude for the sympathic effort made by friends [illegible] home seem desolate, upon the loss of one who there was equally beloved as wife, sister or mother, and again thankful for services rendered the deceased, as well as those to ourselves, in this our great affliction. I resign myself to this, the greatest of all human losses, and remain as ever subject to all the changing joys and sorrow of life.
Ed. noteAlice Hathaway is a great-great granddaughter of Eldridge Morse. "My grandmother used to tell me stories about him," she recalls. Ms. Hathaway shared two stories below, the obituary of Alice (Mathews) Morse and the meeting of Brown and Morse in 1910 after 42 years.
Obituary of Alice (Mathews) Morse
Snohomish County Tribune, May 25,-1900
At 6 p.m,. Monday evening, May 21, 1900, at the family residence, in Snohomish, Wa., Mrs. Alice Morse, wife of Eldridge Morse of this city, passed to her final rest. Pneumonia, heart failure and hemorrhage of the lungs ended her suffering after but three days of sickness. The many marked characteristics of Mrs. Morse made her exceedingly well known in this community. She was born at Winona, Minnesota, Feb. 22, 1858. Her maiden name was Alice Mathews [also spelled Matthews in the obituary]. Her mother was a relative of McCormick, the inventor of the McCormick reaper. In early life Mrs. Morse lived in her fathers family in several states. At Sacramento, Ca., she learned the glove makers trade and all about hotel work. When nineteen years of age she married Mr. Hiram Henderson, superintendent of the street railway of Sacramento, who died of quick consumption, less than one year after her marriage. She then successfully ran a boarding house there, until her second marriage to Wm. Turney. They lived at Sacramento until 1883 when they moved to Puget Sound. On locating at Snohomish they opened a glove factory. Afterwards they accepted employment in the Snohomish Exchange Hotel, then very efficiently run by Isaac Cathcart. While thus employed Mr. Turney died very suddenly of apoplexy. On June 10, 1885, she married Eldridge Morse, the well-known pioneer lawyer and journalist, of Snohomish County.
The fruits of this marriage are five surviving children. Belle, John, Arthur, Harley B. and Roland Irving Morse. During several years of trials and struggles, Mrs. Morse developed peculiar clairvoyant faculties. The funeral took place 2 p.m. May 23, 1900. The body was laid to rest beside the grave of Mr. Morse's first wife, Martha A. in the family burial ground, in the old cemetery. Leander W. Matthews and Arthur Matthews, well know resident of this county, living near the Marysville Road, some seven miles north-west of here are brothers of the deceased. Alice Matthews the popular and efficient teacher of the public school there is her niece and namesake.
Old Soldiers meet again
Snohomish County Tribune, May 13, 1910
On Thursday afternoon of the last week, as Eldridge Morse was nearing the Post Office, he was seized by Mr. Gorham, who firmly held each shoulder, turned Morse about face, and request him to go down Front street. Morse complied. In front of the Penobscot he saw a venerable man, of massive frame, with snow-white hair and a heavy white beard, the center of an interesting group, whom the stranger evidently dominated and controlled. The lapel of his coat contained a G.A.R. button. Each recognized the other. They had not met in over 42 years.
At Yerba Buena Island, San Francisco Harbor, Cal., upon April 4, 1868, they last said Good Bye. Each served three years in Battalion of Engineer Troops, U.S. Regular Army. This represented all of Morse's military service, but only a very small portion of his old time army chum, friend and comrade, J.B. Brown. For of the many hundreds of his old soldier comrades none were better comrades, than Comrade Brown. No one else was a closer friend and companion. They have kept up this friendship by correspondence, but have not met in all this long interval of time.
Brown served four years or over in 7th Maine Vol. Infantry, enlisting as a fifteen year old boy in 1861, returning in 1865 as Lieut, and Acting Regimental Adjutant. In the fall of 1865 he joined the U.S. Engineer Battalion, at Willet's Point, N.Y. Harbor. In September, 1867, as a non. Com. Of Co. D, Morse's company of the Battalion, they came by way of the Isthmus of Panama, with the rest of D Company, to San Francisco. They each completed their term of service in D Co., at San Francisco.
After a short interval in civil life, Brown again joined the army and remained therein until 1880. His service extended all over the Pacific coast from Arizona to Alaska. He was in all the Indian wars of this period; being especially prominent in the Mohoc [Modoc] war and the Nez Pierce Indian war. When Morse ran the Northern Star, the pioneer newspaper of Snohomish County, 34 years ago, Brown would write most entertaining and instructive letters to the Star, from Alaska and from Idaho, etc. In all Brown was in 20 heavy battles, and was twice severely wounded in action.
When these comrades separated, 42 years ago, Brown was a trim, supple, active young man, six feet high, who weighed 180 pounds. Now he is a very venerable, impressive looking old man, whose massive frame carries a weight of 235 pounds. In civil life he has lived in Pacific County, at Spokane, and at Kirkland, near Seattle. He has been treasurer of Spokane County. He was an active member from that county in the first legislature of the new state of Washington . Now he is in the immigration service looking after the Chinaman and the Jap, who are trying so hard to unlawfully force themselves into this country.
His visit was with a brother, who is looking for a home in Snohomish County. Brown is a very prominent G.A.R. man. In 1892, at the National Encampment in Washington D.C., as Dept. Com. Of this state and Alaska, he had M.W. Packard of Snohomish, as his color bearer, as they marched down Pennsylvania Ave., in the Grand parade. Many times within the past 40 years Brown and Morse have been almost within hailing distance of each other without meeting. He has come to Snohomish a number of times, often times for the purpose of finding Morse, still something would prevent their finding each other. At the A.Y.P. [Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, Seattle, 1909], last summer, Morse and son Roland went in the G.A.R. tent, and signed the roll. A few minutes after they left Brown came in, read their names, but found it impossible to trace them in the crowd. In California, prior to 1872, Brown knew there Dr. Folsom, H.W. Light, the Shone family, and other early Snohomish County pioneers.
Links, background reading and sources
- Go to the Morse biography link below to see links to a whole series of stories about him and his newspaper, documents about him, his family and his pioneer associates and transcriptions of newspaper issues by and about him. All these Morse features are shared from the Subscribers-paid Edition archives, with the help of Ann Tuohy of the Blackman Museum, Snohomish. We hope that readers will share copies of any Northern Star newspapers they have, or any other documents or photos that will illuminate this great man's life. We never ask for originals.
- Eldridge Morse, editor of the Northern Star, first newspaper in Snohomish county. He came West in 1872 and for the next 32 years traveled the Northwest and reported his findings to readers and the government while bringing culture and science to the region with his friend Dr. A.C. Folsom.
- Snohomish county history.
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Story posted on Feb. 5, 2004, and last updated on Jan. 26, 2005
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