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Francis Haumer Morse
ALTHOUGH Francis Haumer Morse has long since passed
from mortal sight, he is by no means forgotten by the
people of northern Ohio, especially Cleveland and Norwalk, in which cities he was widely and favorably
known a generation ago, as a leading business man and useful, estimable citizen. For such a life as his does not close at death; its influence continues to pervade the lives of those left behind, molding their thought and hence shaping their destinies. Thus such men are a blessing to the race, are indispensable in the development of localities. Such men are to be found in all cities and rural districts, some, of course, wielding greater power, and exerting stronger influence than others, but they are the true empire builders.
Mr. Morse, who was one of the captains of industry of the city of Cleveland for many years, was born in Norwalk, Ohio. He was a son of Zebekiah and Clarissa Morse, natives of the State of New York, where they grew up, were educated, and married, and established their home, but finally settled in Norwalk, and spent the rest of their lives in this State.
Francis H. Morse grew to manhood at Norwalk and there received his early education, finishing with a college course. Thus, well equipped for the serious duties of life, he went to New York City, where he successfully launched on his business career, remaining there until 1864, when he came to Cleveland, then a comparatively small city, but with a promising future, as he could clearly divine. Here he established himself in the grain business, being associated for some time with such men as Maurice Butler Clark and John D. Rockefeller, during their earlier careers. He was very successful from the first and continued the grain and commission business here the rest of his life. During the Civil War he proved his patriotism by enlisting for service in the Union army, participating in a number of important campaigns and engagements. Politically, Mr. Morse was a Democrat, but was an independent voter, always voting for whom he conceived to be the best man for the office sought. Religously he belonged to the Baptist Church, and was liberal in his support of the same. Fraternally, he belonged to the Masonic Order. He was a wide reader, possessed a fine library, and was a man of learning and culture, not only familiar with the world's best literature, but with the current questions of the day. He was a great traveler, and, being a man of keen perceptive powers, gained a vast fund of information first-handed from the world, and he was a brilliant conversationalist. He made a trip around the world, spending much time in Australia, a country which he found very interesting. But yet he was essentially a home man, best contented when by his own hearthstone; in fact, had little interest outside his home, especially during the latter part of his life.
Mr. Morse was married in Norwalk, Ohio, in the year 1866, to Louise J. Lattimer, and this union was blessed by the birth of one child, Frank Morse, who, unfortunately, did not survive infancy.
Mr. Morse was summoned to his reward on March 9, 1884, when practically in the prime of life.
Mrs. Louise (Lattimer) Morse grew to womanhood in Norwalk, and there enjoyed good educational advantages. She is a daughter of Pickett and Louise J. (Cox) Lattimer, the father a native of New Lisbon, Connecticut, and the mother a native of North Carolina. They were pioneers in the vicinity of Norwalk, Ohio, Mr. Lattimer having come West as early as 1818, when this locality was still practically a wilderness, little improved and sparsely settled, but he was a man of courage, and carved from the primeval woods a comfortable home, establishing there the permanent residence of the family. He and his good wife both died in Norwalk, honored by all the early inhabitants of that place. They were Episcopalians and were very active in the work of the church, and, in fact, all other civilizing influences. He was prominent in business there for many years, being one of the leading bankers of Norwalk, in fact, his influence in financial and civic affairs extended over a vast portion of this section of the State. He did as much as any other man in the early development of Norwalk, always standing ready with his money, time, and influence to make it a good place in which to live, and when he passed away, the city sustained an irreparable loss, and it can never repay the debt of gratitude it owes to his memory. Politically, he was a Republican, and was a leader in political and public affairs in this section of Ohio for many years. His family consisted of five children, of whom Mrs. Louise J. Morse is the only survivor, in fact, there are few of her family left, and it is thus meet that her name be included in this work, and it is also well that the careers of such men as her father and husband be preserved in tangible form for future generations. Mrs. Morse resides alone at her old home at 3651 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, where she has dwelt quietly for a period of thirty-eight years. She has long been very active in church work, being a loyal Baptist, and she has also been a leader in other worthy movements for the general good. She has always found her home the most attractive place, even after the departure of her lamented life companion. She was reared in the faith of the Episcopal Church, but in later years joined the First Baptist Church with her husband, and it has been a pleasure to her, during the three decades since he went away, to continue church work along the lines which he inaugurated.
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