WALTER MORSE. This gentleman, the only surviving member of the celebrated firm of Wood, Taber & Morse of Eaton, was born February 25, 1835. His family and ancestry have been fully given in another part of this book. (See sketch of Gardiner Morse.)
Our subject had few advantages for a finished education, his studies being limited to the rudimentary branches taught in the village academy; and even those he gave up at the age of fifteen, beginning then a life of hard work as clerk in a country store. In this situation he remained until twenty-four years old, when he organized and established the well-known engine manufacturing company, of which Mr. A. N. Wood and Mr. L. C. Taber were the senior members. Their plant, which is situated in the village of Eaton, Madison County, N.Y., is at once the pride and profit of the place; for in all parts of the country the Wood, Taber & Morse Portable and Agricultural Steam Engines are renowned for their perfection of work and finish. They employ from fifty to seventy-five men constantly, and the output is about one hundred and fifty engines a year.
Until the year 1892 the firm remained unbroken; but in that year Mr. A. N. Wood died, at the age of seventy-four. He was a prominent man in the village, and highly respected. L. C. Taber, the second partner, was the master mechanic and steam engineer, and stood among the foremost in the trade. He died also in 1892, his age being sixty years. Mr. Morse now carries on the business alone, and manages it with the same phenomenal success and energy which have characterized his whole life. When he reached his thirty-seventh year, he wooed and, won for his bride Miss H. Celeste Davis, who was born in the town of Eaton, and was a daughter of Richard M. and Rowena Davis.
The father of Mrs. Morse, Richard Mowry Davis, was born in Vermont, son of Nathaniel and Sophronia Davis, natives of New England, who migrated from Vermont to Madison County, and settled in the town of Nelson. Here Nathaniel bought a farm, upon which he and his wife resided until their deaths. Their son, Richard, was young when his parents came to the town of Nelson, and was there reared and educated, afterward learning the trade of carpenter and millwright, and becoming a master builder. His natural talent for the use of tools led him to turn his attention to different branches of mechanical work. He was a member of the well-known firm of Payson, Burch & Davis, proprietors of the Eaton Foundry, and also manufacturers of the famous Excelsior cooking-stove, which took
the first premium at the first World's Fair, which was held in London in 1851. It was Mr. Davis who designed and made the pattern for this stove. At the time of his marriage he took up his abode in the town of Eaton.
The wife of Richard Davis was Miss Rowena Wells. She was born in the town of Nelson, January 9, 1815, and was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Barker Wells, natives of New England and pioneers in Madison County, New York. Her death occurred in 1872. She reared three children, namely: Frances (Mrs. J. P. Marsh), residing in Chicago, Ill.; George M., who married Miss Etta Dales, their home being in Austin, Cook County, Ill.; and Mrs. Morse. Mrs. Davis was a member of the Congregational church, where her husband was chorister for a number of years. He was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Marrying a second wife, Mr. Davis moved to Hamilton, N.Y., where he died a few years afterward.
Mr. and Mrs. Walter Morse have had their happy alliance crowned with the blessing of two children, a son, and a daughter. Ellis W., the son, is married and resides in Binghamton, N.Y., holding the responsible position of Treasurer of the Binghamton Wagon Company. The daughter, Ada R., resides at home. The family are members of the Congregational church, Mr. and Mrs. Morse being active workers therein, and cordially lending their aid and sympathy to everything pertaining to its interests. Politically, Mr. Morse is a stalwart Republican, an old and tried member of the party. He has made a large fortune by well-directed industry and enterprise, and in his beautiful home in the village
of Eaton enjoys the comforts and luxuries which his own exertions have brought within his reach.
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