Monday, April 6, 2020

Locust Grove, more on the Women of the Morse Family

I thought I would put this up as an addition to last weeks story on the women of the Morse family.  This is on Locust Hill and a spot that was located on Lebnon Hill Road just above Mill Street that was once the Skaneateles Turnpike.  It from a biography on her after her death.

Ann Eliza Morse, daughter of Calvin and Belinda (Gardiner) Morse, was born in Eaton, N.Y.
 Two favorite names of her early home, Locust Grove and The Vinery, bear witness to her healthy and happy surrounds, with her companionship of trees, birds and flowers.

Economy and industry, intelligence and piety, strength and intelligence pervaded by deep affection, were the molding influences of her young life. Her education was conducted at home, in private schools, and in Hamilton Academy until 1848, when at the age of seventeen, she became a pupil of Troy Seminary, in whose stimulating intellectual atmosphere she was an eager and responsive student, graduating in 1850.

 In the autumn of the same year she went as a teacher to Chestnut Street Seminary, where she continued eight years.  Carrying the enthusiasm of her school life into her new duties, her success in teaching was assured from the first.  Definite and clear in the classroom, her own interest awakened that of her pupils.

 At the opening of Vassar College, President Raymond, who had known her from childhood, (she being a favorite cousin of Mrs. Raymond), invited her to become a member of his family, as his assistant.

 She had an official connection with the College until the second year, when she was appointed assistant to Miss Lyman, the Lady Principal.  She retained this position during fourteen years, until her impaired health compelled her retirement in 1880.  Her subsequent life was that of an invalid, but her fortitude and Christian submission glorified even these years of discipline and suffering.

 Although the brief intervals she was literally “a shut in,” she was not  inactive.  Aided by her niece and constant companion, Miss Jessica Cone, editor of “Scenes from the Life of Christ,” (the fruit of their united labors), there was scarcely an interruption in their study of history, biography, literature, art, and current events.  A glimpse of their work may be found in the paragraph we quote from a letter written in 1892:

 “We have a very busy winter planned, one item of which is a ‘Ladies’ Reading Circle,’ for which careful preparation is indicated by program.  Our first month was devoted to Lowell, the second to George W. Curtis, to be followed by Whittier and Tennyson.  There is no monotony or dullness in our quiet, country-home lives.  These weekly readings are full of earnest interest, and when we hear the constant testimony, ‘How elevating they are,’ we are more than satisfied.”

 Of this torch of knowledge, kindled and kept burning in this little inland village, one can but say, “how far that little candle throws his beams.”

 Interwoven with all other reading and study was that of the Book of Books.  She rarely alluded to excluded enjoyments, but in one letter her full heart finds the following utterance: “I fear I must give up a Bible Class of young men, in which I am more interested than in any other work I am doing.”  Notwithstanding her physical limitations, the quiet home of Miss Morse was a cheerful one.

 In her pretty vine-covered cottage, the house in which her parents lived and died, she with her happy memories was an inspiration and benediction to others.

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