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James Morse


Posted By: Fran Hunt, Volunteer
Date: 10/5/2001 at 23:10:39

From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties 1890
James Morse, proprietor of the Morse House, of Birmingham, and a son of Titus and Bedie Doolittle Morse, claims Connecticut as the state of his nativity. He was born in New Have County October 15, 1822, and his training was such as the sons of pioneer farmers in Iowa received. On reaching his majority he commenced his career as a farmer and on March 22, 1850, his marriage with Mrs. Elizabeth J. Robertson was celebrated. The lady is a daughter of Dr. James A. and Nancy Brookhart Randall. The Randall family was established in America, during Colonial Days, by ancestors that emigrated from England. The great grandfather of Mrs. Morse settled on Staten Island and her grandfather served under Gen. Washington in the War for Independence. He was forced on board an English man-of-war that he might be compelled to serve in the British Army, but deserting, he joined the Colonial troops. He married Margaret Adams, a cousin of John Adams, our second President. They were married in Virginia, but later removed to Kentucky. Dr. Randall was born in an Indian fort in Shelby County Kentucky, April 26, 1788 and in Bowling Green, Kentucky he married Miss Brookhart, the wedding taking place October 28, 1817. She was born October 13, 1792 in Virginia near the Natural Bridge. Her parents came fro Germany to America with their respective families in childhood, were married in Virginia and afterwards immigrated to Kentucky. The year 1822 witnessed the removal of Dr. Randall and his family to Clark County Indiana, where for many years they made their home; coming in 1850 to Van Buren County Iowa they here spent the remainder of their lives. He served throughout the War of 1812, and was a successful physician, taking rank among the leading practitioners in the community where he resided. In politics, he was first a Whig, and later a Republican and both he and his wife accepted the faith of the Methodist Church in which he held membership for many years. The Doctor died in his home in Birmingham in March of 1858, and on Christmas Day following, she too passed away.
In the family of Dr. and Mrs. Randall were ten children, five sons and five daughters, of whom five are yet living, namely: Mrs. Morse, the honored wife of our subject; Mrs. Mary A. Prather, a resident of Ottumwa; Josephine and Sara J. who are living in Birmingham, and James J. who makes his home in Nebraska.
Mrs. Morse was born in Kentucky, September 1, 1818. By her first husband she became the mother of four children, all of whom are deceased. One son, William M. served in the Thirteenth Iowa Infantry during the late war. He was fatally wounded in the charge on Vicksburg and died in the hospital at Memphis Tennessee. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Morse have been born four children: Mary J., wife of E.A. Kerschener, a resident of Appanoose County, Iowa; James Frank, a stock shipper of Douds Station; and the other two died in childhood. They also have an adopted daughter, Ella C., who has found a home with them since she was four years of age.
From 1850 until 1852, Mr. Morse was engaged in merchandising in Birmingham, after which he farmed for two succeeding years. In 1854 he returned to Birmingham and for the past thirty-two years has been employed as bookkeeper in the Birmingham Mills. His long continued service not only indicated his efficiency from a business point of view, but is also an enviable mark of approval of honesty and faithful service. Both Mr. and Mrs. Morse are members of the Methodist Church, in which he has been Steward for forty years and also recording Steward for many years. Politically he was a Democrat until the war, since which time he has been identified with the Republican Party, by which he was elected Justice of the Peace, holding the office eight years. For the same length of time Mr. Morse has entertained the public at his excellent hotel, the Morse House, which is the best in Birmingham and on of the best in this part of the State.
I am not related, and am only copying this for the information of those who might find this person in their family.


Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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