Sunday, May 11, 2014

Eunice Bigelow Morse, Deidamia Chase MD, and all the pioneer ladies who settled our land!

Eunice and Joseph Morse
This week working on the book for the Eaton Village Cemetery as a “fund Raiser” I had the opportunity to think about a great number of women who survived the arduous journeys from other Northeastern areas to Eaton in the times of settlement.  Women, who bore children, took care of the family and worked side by side with their husbands clearing land and starting a new life.

Certainly among the most famous is Eunice Bigelow Morse of the famous Stowe-Bigelow -Morse families of Natick, Massachusetts.  Eunice came with her husband Joseph, and young children to a place that would become not only home to her but to generations of her family.

A relative Harriet Beecher Stowe in a book titled “Old Town Folks”, forever immortalized Eunice’s family.  Many believed the story was written by Harriet's husband Calvin Ellis Stowe for his family… the Stowe’s… However, when Harriet married Callvin she married into the same family as her grandmother. * It is interesting to note that the Eaton Museum has the first edition of Hearth & Home with the first installment of that book inside…a newspaper kept untouched by Eunice Morse. 

The museum also has Eunice’s rocker and the cradle she used for what became the famous Morse brood.  The Natick crowd (Old Town Folks) also included other Morses…crab (Hezekiah Morse”, Grandpa Stowe of Eaton’s Stow Tavern…. and many more.

From Luna Hammond’s History in part:   
 Joseph (Eunice)  removed to Eaton in 1796 from Natick… Joseph Morse was the founder of Eaton village, and his sons have been identified with nearly all of its business interests. These sons were named as follows: Ellis,  whose biographical sketch appears in the chapter relating to Eaton, Joseph, who moved to Pennsylvania served in the Legislature of that State, and also became judge of the County Courts; Calvin, who was an elected member of the Legislature from Madison County in 1842, and has held municipal offices in town and county; Alpheus, who has been a merchant and scientific farmer, and for many years past, manufacturer, being proprietor of the Alderbrook Woolen Mill; and Bigelow, who was a respected citizen of Fabius, Onondaga County. Eunice, the eldest daughter of Joseph More, married Dr. James Pratt the pioneer physician of Eaton.   After her husband's death, she with her family removed and began pioneer life again in Palmyra, Mo.  She was a woman of indomitable will and great energy of character.
     The descendants of Joseph (and Eunice) Morse have, many of them, distinguished themselves in various positions. Gen. Henry B. Morse entered the late war as Captain of the 114th Reg. N. Y. V., was promoted to the office of Colonel, and subsequently, for meritorious services, was breveted Brigadier-General in the army of the southwest. He is grandson of Joseph Morse; as also is the Rev. Andrew Morse, who as a young man was a missionary to Siam and then become the Chaplain of the U S Treasury and friends with Abraham Lincoln,. Gardner Morse, who was member of the Legislature in 1866, Walter, a member of the manufacturing firm of Wood, Tabor & Morse, George E., a prominent citizen interested in the schools and who founded the Eaton Village Cemetery Association, and Alfred, who bravely gave his life for the Union cause at the battle of Winchester,Va. ; all these being sons of Ellis Morse. Darwin and Frank B. Morse, merchants at Eaton village, Allie Morse Burchard whose husband formed the Chenango Breeder’s Association, Children of Bigelow, are grandsons of Joseph Morse. Two grand-daughters, Belinda and Eliza, daughters of Calvin, have been conspicuous as teachers, the latter being now assistant Principal of Vassar Female College.
     Hezekiah Morse, the third of the pioneer brothers, came to Eaton in 1806. His children are scattered and many of them dead.   One of his sons. Alpha was for many years a prominent manufacturer of Eaton.  Another son, Elijah, who is now dead, was a wealthy farmer of Eaton. A grand-daughter is wife of  Rev. John Raymond, President of Vassar Female College, Poughkeepsie, N. Y. Albert H. Morse, a prominent citizen of Eaton is also a grandson, being son of Elijah. H. B. Morse, youngest son of Hezekiah, is a scientific and successful farmer of Norwich, N. Y. (and this is just and excerpt)
What a family… and that isn’t all of them and their accomplishments.  The very road today’s Eaton Village Cemetery is located on (Landon Road) was once the Great Skaneateles Turnpike a road that it is claimed would not have been built except for Joseph and Ellis who controlled 51 percent of the stock investment… an investment they made of $30,000 in 1810… think about it.
Come out to Eaton Day on Memorial, Day Monday… tour the cemetery…by a book, make a donation to support the Eaton Village Cemetery Association and help Eaton celebrate History and  “Happy Mother’s Day” to all of those pioneer women whose husbands and children made our area a wonderful piece of rural Americana! 

*Interestingly Luna Hammond the historian and her famous mother Deidamia Button Chase (the first female physician of Madison County) and her famous brood are also buried in the cemetery. Almost all of the Morse family is buried in the Eaton Cemetery including the Morse – Motts. Did you know that Luna's brother Julius was the historian for the US Treasury in Washington DC.

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