THE LEADING CITIZENS OF MADISON COUNTY

CONTENTS
Preface
Names Index
Portrait Index


  SILAS E. MORSE, a prosperous carriage-maker and farmer, of New Woodstock, who has resided at this place for the past fifty-three years, was born in Wallingford, Conn., in 1824. His father, Street Hall Morse, also a native of that place, was born in 1781; died at Union, in the town of Cazenovia, in 1836, at the age of fifty-nine. The last-named was one of the two sons of Lyman Morse, who lived and died at Wallingford. In Medfield, Mass., there is a monument erected to the memory of the seven brothers, the progenitors of the family in this country, who came over from Old England to New England between the years 1635 and 1639. This is a very handsome monument, consisting of three fine marble shafts, the central one the tallest, and all mounted on one base. Upon it are given the names, ages, and deaths of each of the brothers, as follows: Samuel, born 1585; John, 1604; Anthony, 1606; William, 1608; Robert and Peter, twins; and Joseph.
  Street Hall Morse, the father of our subject, was a manufacturer of shooks, barrels, and so forth, and a farmer, his farm being situated on the Four Corners, near the old school-house where his son Silas took his early lessons in industry and book-lore. He was a man of large means at one time, but met with reverses, which led to his moving to Greene, Chenango County, and a year later to Union, where he died in 1837, when fifty-seven years of age. About the year 1800 he married Martha Bartholomew, by whom he had nine sons and two daughters. The mother died at Delphi, January 10, 1846, at the age of fifty-six. Of these eleven children but three now survive, namely: Martha, widow of Alfred Coleman, residing near Hartford, Conn., has one son; Harvey, a farmer of Fayetteville, Onondaga County, now seventy-one years of age, has one daughter; and Silas E. 
  The subject of this sketch was married October 30, 1851, to Miss Sarah J. Bell, who was born in Perry, Wyoming County, April 7, 1832, and is a daughter of Ralph and Emily (Moffat) Bell, the former of Oneida County, and the latter of New Woodstock. Mr. Bell is now an octogenarian, residing at Webster City, Ia. His wife died in the village of New Woodstock in 1862, when fifty-three years of age. They left six children, two sons and four daughters, all of whom survive, with the exception of one daughter, Hattie, who married D. D. Chase, of Webster City, Ia., where she died in 1844, aged forty-six, and leaving one son. The other members of the family, with the exception of Mrs. Morse, reside in the North-west. Mr. Morse served an apprenticeship of three years at his trade of wagon and carriage making with his wife's father, Mr. Bell, from 1840 to 1844, afterward becoming his partner, and later, in 1847, succeeding to the business. He has kept his shop running constantly for the last forty-six years, and has one man in his employ who has worked for him at the bench for the last thirty-two years, and one or two others who have worked for periods of twenty to thirty years.
  Mr. and Mrs. Morse are the parents oŁ one daughter, Hattie, wife of Richard L. Miller, of DeRuyter. She is a lady of great musical talent, and a graduate in piano music of the school of Professor Hinton, of Syracuse. She has one infant daughter, Belle. Mr. Morse is a Republican in politics, and has served as Postmaster of his village. He is one of the Trustees of the Baptist church, is also School Trustee, and holds the same office in connection with the cemetery. He is well preserved, and is still actively engaged in business, conducting his shop and managing his farm of thirty-eight acres in the village, on which his shop, dwelling, and three tenant houses stand. His farm house across the way was the first hotel in New Woodstock, and is now about seventy years old, but still in good repair. His first visit to New Woodstock was made when a barefooted boy of twelve, about two years after his father's removal from Connecticut, to attend the raising of the Methodist Episcopal church; and the circumstances are the more vividly impressed upon his memory as he was upon that occasion treated to a pair of shoes--an event in those days not to be lightly regarded, being of very infrequent occurrence.
  He began life without any capital save health, intelligence, and a good name. The latter, however, proved equal to a bank account, as he always found himself able to procure credit, when necessary, from any who knew him, and often from those who were acquainted with him only by reputation. He can look back over his past life with pride, conscious of the fact that the place he now holds in the confidence of his fellow-citizens is owing to his own habits of self-reliance, industry, perseverance, and rectitude. He believes that practice is better than preaching, and, though not a member of any church nor an adherent of any man-made creed, his moral influence and substantial support are always given to every useful and worthy enterprise calculated to promote the public good.

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