Meaning of the Coat of Arms

"This is But the Velvet in Which the Iron Hand Was Clad"

History and Origin of Name

The original name was "de Mors", being both German and Norman; but the family historian concludes with strong reason that the English settlers of the name were Normans.

It historically occurs in A.D. 1358 in the reign of Edward the Third.  As an embassy was about being dispatched to France during a truce with that country, and the captivity of her king; Edward the Third, addressed a letter to Hugo de Mors, a liberal construction of which, taken with the context is: "Hugo de Mors will conduct safely the Cardinal, his servants and other distinguished company."  The "de" by English usage was gradually dropped, but not prior to 1553.  The "e" was added later both in Old England and New England to adapt it to the genius of the English language.  But, even in New England, the second of the race, Anthony Morse, in signing his will, omits the "e".  The name is known as early as 1200.

References: "Norman People", "Morse Memorial", Drake's "Founder's of New England" and Horton's "Life of Immigrants".

The geographical center of the Morses in England is the County of Suffolk, planted about 1400 by a single family; as their names in 1500 and 1600 in this and adjoining counties indicate by reference to some thirty wills.

In 1750, Nicholas Morse was Governor of Bengal and grandfather of Lord Bixby, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Another Morse married Oliver Cromwell a great grandson of the protector.

None were knighted in England before Sir Robert, who was a General in East India, about 1750.

The New England Puritans

The settlers of the surname of Morse and Moss, in New England, were staunch Puritans, and of that class who strove to be separate from the corruptions of the English Church, but yet continue in her communion, until their embarkation to this country to escape the persecutions of Wm. Laud (who became Prime Minister of England in 1633) and seeking in a country a faith's pure shrine.

The name Morse claims a high antiquity.  It occurs as early as A.D. 1358.  In the reign of Edward the Third, Hugo de Mors; as a journey was about to be undertaken into France, in 1358, during a truce with that country and the captivity of her king; Edward addressed his order to "Hugo de Mors de conductu pes familurahes cardinalia Petragoriansis et alvorim".

From the nature of this commission and the prevalence of chivalry at the time, it is inferred that Hugo was a knight.

Two brothers "De Mors" very early in Germany received high honors and great notoriety from invention of movable type and although the record and data carefully copied by the author of the Morse Memorial was misplaced, it was a proof, not only of the Germanic honor; but also of that inventive genius which has been so wonderfully transmitted to the representatives of an honored race.

Anthony Morse of England, father of Anthony, William and Samuel who came to New England, was listed on the tax books of his town as "a freeman capable of bearing arms".

Reference: Morse Memorial, page 24, 5th Paragraph.

Will of the Rev. Thomas Morse
Probated at London, England, April 28, 1597

Will of Rev. Thomas Morse of Foxearth, County of Essex, England.  In the name of God, Amen.  I Thomas Morse, Minister of God His Word in the countie of Essex in the Dyocesse of London, do make and ordeyre this my last will and testament in manner and forme followinge, first althoughe weake in bodye, yet in good and perfecte Remembrance thanks be to God, Doe bequeathe my soul to Almighty God and my bodye unto the Earth from whence it was taken.

Item, I give and bequeathe to my nyne children now living nyne score Pounds of good and lawful money of England, that is to saie, To John, Samuel, Daniell, Joseph, Jeremye, James, Nathaniell, and Phillipp, my sonnes, and to Sara, my daughter, and to every one of them, Twentye Pounds at the age of three and Twentye years etc.--

Item, I give unto my eight youngest children Eight Bybles every one of them a Byble, to be provided at a cost and charges of my eldest sonne, upon which condition I give hym all my books in my Studdye.

Item, I give and bequeathe unto the poor of the Parish of Foxearth, Tenne Shillings.  The rest of my goods, money, plate, Bonds, Mortgages, cattle, household stuffe or whatsoever else bequeathes, my legacyes discharged, I give unto Margaret, my wife, with condition to bring up my children in Learnyne with all things fitt for them until she shall place them in some honest service, whom I make my sole Executrixe for the performance of this my last will and testament.  Signed: Rev. Thomas Morse.

Lineage Record of the Morse Family

Anthony Morse, English ancestor, "a freeman, capable of bearing arms", had three sons: Anthony, William and Samuel.  With these three sons, he came from England in 1635 and settled in Newbury, Mass.

1. SAMUEL MORSE, Immigrant ancestor was born in England in 1587 and married Elizabeth ?.  Came to this country in 1635 with his three sons, and settled in Newbury, Mass.  Samuel Morse died in 1654.  His children were: John, b. 1611; Daniel, b. 1613 and JOSEPH, b. 1615

2. JOSEPH MORSE, born 1615, married Hannah Phillips of Watertown, Mass. and had seven children.  SAMUEL, b. 1639 and six others, names not known.

3. LT. SAMUEL MORSE, born 1639, died 1717, married Elizabeth Wood and had eleven children, the seventh being JOSHUA HENRY MORSE, b. 1679.

4. JOSHUA HENRY MORSE, born 1679, died 1749.  His first wife was Elizabeth Penniman, had three children.  His second wife was Mary Paine of Braintree, had eight children.  4th child was Mary, 5th child was Jemima, b. 1709; 6th child was Joshua, 7th child was Elizabeth, 8th child was Ruth, 9th child was EBENEZER, born 1717 or 1718.

5. REV. & DR. EBENEZER MORSE, born 1717 or 1718, graduated from Harvard in 1737.  Married Persis Bush, moved to Newfane, Vt.  Children were, JOHN, Joshua, Ebeneser and Amherst.

6. DR. JOHN MORSE, born 1746, married Elizabeth Andrews of Boylestown in 1769.  In 1774 removed to Newfane, Vt.; his family being the twentieth in the town.  Children were: Elizabeth, b. 1770 d. 1844 m. Merrifield.  JOHN b. 1773 d. 1850, m. Osgood.  Ebenezer, b. 1775, d. 1846. m. Goodnow.  Jonathan, b. 1778, d. 1838, m. Polly Bailey.  Mary, b. 1782, d. 1813, m. Simon Fisher.  Thomas Andrews, b. 1786 d. 1840, m. Lucinda Wood.

7. JOHN MORSE, born 1773, died 1850, married Susanna Osgood.  Children: Eliakim of Troy.  Charlotte, m. Wm. Hall of Newfane, Vt.  Adeline, Calvin, John,  Susan, m. Lorenzo Estabrook of Dover.  Mary, m. Jonathan Hall of Rochester.  Sidney, m. Jannette Rand of Brattleboro, Vt.

8. CALVIN MORSE, son of John and Susanna Osgood Morse, married Almira Hall.  Their children:  Rosalie.  Mellisa, died young.  SIDNEY.  Adeline.  Ida.

9. SIDNEY MORSE, married Eunice Benson; children: JESSE.  John.

10. JESSE MORSE, married first, Mildred Nichols, one child, Doris.  Married second, Bessie Hardy Smith; children, Mary, Lula and Grace.