Ephraim W. Morse Family Papers, 1838 - 1907 (MSS 689)

Extent: 4 Linear feet (9 archive boxes and 6 oversize folders)

View OnlineThis collection has been digitized.

The Ephraim W. Morse family papers (1838-1907) document the private and public life of an important San Diego pioneer, businessman, merchant, and civic leader. The papers include family and general correspondence, documenting the concerns of 19th-century life both in New England and California.

Ephraim Weed Morse was born on October 16, 1823, in West Amesbury, Massachusetts, the only son of New England farmers and apple growers, John and Hannah (nee Weed) Morse. He attended Newburyport High School (1838-1841) where he learned bookkeeping. Leaving New England and a teaching position, at age twenty-six, Morse joined the Gold Rush to northern California. He quickly became sick and disenchanted with his prospects so, in April of 1850, he ventured to the tiny settlement of San Diego, population approximately 800.

Morse, with fellow New Englander, Levi Slack, immediately began keeping a general store, first, in a failed "new town" location known as "Davis' Folly." In 1853, he moved the store to Old Town and partnered with Thomas Whaley, and later, conducted business on his own. During the early decades of the city, being an educated and temperate man, he was called upon to hold many important government positions including city trustee (1854-55, 1867), county supervisor (1860), city treasurer (1878), county treasurer (1858-59, 1861-1862), associate justice (1852), secretary of the board of trade (1852-1864), school commissioner and trustee (1853-55), and public administrator (1853, 1875). In 1856, he earned his license to practice law and became a notary public.

In 1860, he experienced financial losses and bankruptcy and for a short time partnered with Joseph Smith on a sheep ranch on Smith Mountain, now known as Palomar. He soon returned to San Diego (1861) as a merchant, real estate speculator, county surveyor, and an agent for Wells Fargo and various insurance companies. With Thomas Darnell, he unprofitably invested in the Jesus María Copper Mine in Baja California.

Morse had returned to Massachusetts in 1851 to marry his first wife, Lydia Gray. Mrs. Morse arrived in San Diego in 1853, gave birth to their son Edward in 1856, and died shortly thereafter. The boy was then taken to Massachusetts by a Mrs. Stevens, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents.

In 1866, Morse married Mary C. Walker, a former San Diego schoolteacher. She was removed from that position when some parents boycotted the school because of comments that she was rumored to have made after negative reactions to her sharing a meal with an African-American woman. Although Miss Walker denied commenting on the interracial marriages of some of her critics, she was dismissed due to the boycott. She then was hired by Rufus Porter, a Spring Valley pioneer, to teach his daughter until her marriage to Morse.

The Morses were happily matched and enjoyed driving their horse and buggy far out into the San Diego county wilderness, visiting the mountains and local hot springs on camping trips. They both gardened and reveled in growing fruits and flowers year-round in the excellent climate. Mary wrote articles that were published in the newspaper. Their marriage lasted for thirty-three years until Mary Morse's death on May 17, 1899.

In 1869, Morse was one of the City trustees who sold Alonzo Horton the land grant that would become "Horton's Addition" or "New Town," the present site of downtown San Diego. He was also instrumental in getting the City trustees to dedicate a large plot of land to be reserved for a city park, now Balboa Park. In 1871, he travelled to Washington, D.C., to fight for the City's title rights to the original "pueblo lands."

Morse was involved in many of the attempts to bring a transcontinental railroad to San Diego. As a real estate speculator, he wanted to make the City easy and affordable for new settlers to reach. In 1854, he was a founder and director of the San Diego and Gila, Southern Pacific and Atlantic Railroad Company, which eventually failed. He was also involved in citizen's committees and in arrangements to reserve private land for railroad right-of-ways. He worked with Col. Thomas A. Scott to bring the Texas & Pacific Railroad to San Diego, a project that garnered Congressional support. However, all these efforts were successfully opposed by the powerful influence and money of the Central Pacific Group that included Leland Stanford, Colis P. Huntington, Charles Crock and Mark Hopkins. San Diego County would not become a terminus for a major transcontinental line until 1885.

Morse's other business interests included being a founder and officer of the Bank of San Diego. He helped develop downtown San Diego, building the Pierce-Morse block located at the northwest corner of Sixth and F Street, and the Morse, Whaley, and Dalton block. With Whaley, Dalton, and Noell, he was involved in various real estate firms, and he invested in both the San Diego Flume Company and the El Cajon Valley Company.

The failure to bring a transcontinental railroad to San Diego, in addition to national financial panics, such as the panic of 1873, caused Morse to lose most of his fortune. Like many San Diegans, he was land-rich but cash-poor, and land prices were not rising. He and Mary retreated to spartan living conditions in a small house in Alpine, a small foothill community twenty-five miles east of San Diego, while renting out their homestead in San Diego. The Bank of San Diego went into receivership and Morse was the subject of lawsuits due to his involvement with it for many years to come.

Morse continued to live in San Diego until he was eighty-three years of age. He died on January 17, 1906, having finally witnessed substantial city growth, just as he had always optimistically predicted it.

The Ephraim W. Morse family papers document the personal, business, and civic life of a San Diego pioneer, merchant, and civic leader and provides a glimpse into his political, social, and financial life, as well as his relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Largely comprising correspondence from 1849 to 1906, it includes letters from many of San Diego's earliest and most important pioneers including Alonzo Horton, Joseph Judson Ames, Manuelito Cota, Rufus King Porter, Judge James Robinson, Jonathan T. Warner, and Thomas Whaley, as well as family members. Because Morse was a storekeeper, lawyer, and express agent, people wrote to him about a variety of issues of concern to those living in or passing through San Diego in the 1850s-1860s period. The collection also contains biographical materials such as various civic office notifications, certificates, and oaths; economic transaction materials regarding the Massachusetts farm and woodlands inherited from his father; educational materials and juvenilia including his bookkeeping exercise ledgers; high school report cards; diaries and notebooks; and books he carried to California on his sea voyage around Cape Horn in 1849. The business and legal documents include memorandum, receipts, notes, correspondence, inventories, appraisals, private notes and account records; California materials include campaign materials of early San Diego city and county; subscription lists; county statistics; surveys, and newspaper clippings.


Ephraim W. Morse Papers, MSS 79. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

This collection was digitized in 2016 for inclusion in the Adam Matthew subscription database Frontier Life: borderlands, settlement & colonial encounters.

Container List


Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS: Contains appointment and commission notifications and signed oaths for various civic positions (1852-1878) Morse held, business cards, his certificate to practice law, various personal legal documents, documentation of his personal and economic interests in the Massachusetts family farm, invitations, reference letters, and spiritualist session notes. The materials are arranged alphabetically.

Box 1 Folder 1

Various legal notifications, including information on a Court of Sessions (1852-1853), election as a justice of the peace (1852), a signed oath to support the constitutions of the United States and California, appointment as an associate justice, election as a member of the San Diego board of trustees (1853), and election as a public administrator (1853). (6 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 2

Notifications as San Diego City trustee (1854-1855), school commissioner (1854), and school trustee (1855). (5 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 3

Notifications as San Diego County supervisor (1860), and county treasurer (1861). Morse was first appointed treasurer on the death of Frank Ames and then was elected in his own right in September, 1861. (3 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 4

Notifications as Internal Revenue Service deputy collector (1865), city trustee (1867), public administrator (1875), and city treasurer (1878). (4 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 5

Handwritten after death of Morse's first wife, Lydia, and the departure for Massachusetts of his infant son Edward, with Mrs. Stevens. List mentions sending Lydia's jewelry and hair. (1 leaf)

Box 1 Folder 6

Printed card listing Morse as San Diego agent for the Phoenix Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut. (1 leaf)

Box 1 Folder 7

Morse's card representing partnership in Morse, Noell & Whaley, real estate dealers, notaries public, and insurance agents. Services included warrants purchased, money loaned, taxes paid for non-residents and rents collected. (1 leaf)

Box 1 Folder 8

Printed personal card unaffiliated with any business. (1 leaf)

Box 1 Folder 9

Handwritten document, with raised seal, showing eligibility to practice law in California. (2 leaves connected with metal fasteners)

Box 1 Folder 10

Handwritten statement regarding satisfaction of an $8065.46 judgment against Morse by A.J. Chase, (San Francisco merchandise wholesaler) that details Morse's estimate of the expenses the sheriff incurred in seizing his store. (1 leaf)

Box 1 Folder 11

Correspondence and receipts regarding Morse's small estate including City of San Diego water bills. (6 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 12

Includes a list of his estate's value in 1851, a copy of his will from 1868, an appraisal of the estate at the time of death (1873) and other receipts and notes. (14 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 13

Includes draft and notarized deed transferring the family farm on Bear Hill, West Amesbury, Massachusetts to Morse's son (1878). Includes a West Newbury Mutual Fire Insurance Company policy (1873) showing the types and values of the homestead buildings. (6 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 14

Correspondence, receipts and notes with Morse's brother-in-law, Leonard Sawyer, who lived and worked on the Homestead farm and apple orchard after John Morse's death. Includes correspondence from Susan E. Sawyer (Sawyer's second wife) and Andrew Sawyer (Morse's nephew and administrator of Leonard Sawyer's estate). (36 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 15

Includes contracts, lists of lumber sold, and miscellaneous notes regarding Morse's arrangement with his cousin, Elbridge Melville Morse, to cut and sell wood and lumber. Also includes plans to export apples to Liverpool, England, and the building of a new barn. (17 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 16

Includes correspondence regarding Morse and cousin Elbridge Morse's business account. [See also Elbridge Morse correspondence in Series 5A.] (46 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 17

Printed card and envelope announcing a Masonic event at the Gila House by committee members Joseph Smith, T.R. Darnall, George Lyons, D.B. Hoffman, and E.B. Pendleton. (2 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 19 Oversize FB47303

Four printed certificates memorializing Morse's notary public status autographed by Governors John Bigler (1855), J. Neely Johnson (1857), Miller S. Latham (1860), and Leland Stanford (1862). (4 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 20

Amesbury, Massachusetts School Board Committee's letter recommending Morse as having an "irreproachable moral character." Also signed by Samuel Walker of the Boston Custom House. (1 leaf)

Box 1 Folder 21

Handwritten notes regarding messages from spirits. Includes detailed reference to the Walker racial affair where Mary C. Walker (the soon-to-be Mrs. Morse) was dismissed from her position as school teacher after lunching with an African-American woman. (19 leaves)


Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) EDUCATION AND JUVENILIA: Includes Morse's high school instruction book on bookkeeping, as well as numerous practice exercise ledger books with realistic bookkeeping entries, his cursive handwriting sampler and practice sheets, high school report cards, and a child's book on astronomy. The materials are arranged alphabetically.

Box 1 Folder 22

Autographed by Ephraim W. Morse who used this book in secondary school to learn the methods he would later use as a shopkeeper. 1 book (55 leaves including a large fold-out of engraved samples attached before title page)

Box 1 Folder 23

Autographed and dated by Morse on the inside front cover. Student practice book that contains realistic business account entries by Morse. 1 notebook (17 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 24

Autographed and dated by Morse on the inside front cover. 1 notebook (24 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 25

Autographed and dated by Morse on the inside front cover. 1 notebook (25 leaves)

Box 1 Folder 26

First eleven pages have laid-in and pasted-in newspaper clippings of a serial entitled, "Pollyanna Grows Up: The Second Glad Book," by Eleanor H. Potter. 1 notebook (19 leaves includes 1 leaf of newsprint laid-in)

Box 2 Folder 1

Autographed and dated by Morse on the inside front cover. (1 leaf)

Box 2 Folder 2

Autographed and dated by Morse on the inside front cover. (1 leaf)

Box 2 Folder 3

Autographed and dated by Morse on the inside front cover. (1 leaf)

Box 2 Folder 4

Handwritten notes of homework to-do lists and a list of his classmates, aged four to fourteen. (33 leaves) [Note: These papers were formerly laid-in Morse's book in folder 21.]

Box 2 Folder 5 Oversize FB47304

Printed sampler that students used to learn penmanship. Includes handwritten practice notes by Morse. (2 leaves)

Box 2 Folder 6

2 3/4" x 4 1/2" printed cards recording Morse's absences, tardiness, behavior, etc. Each card is signed on verso by his father. (45 leaves)

Box 2 Folder 7

Paperback children's book autographed by Morse in child's cursive script and includes a printed book plate "Ephraim W. Morse, Newburyport." The text includes Vesta, Juno, Pallas, and Ceres (now known as asteroids) in an eleven planet solar system as was the early 19th century convention. 1 paperback book (44 leaves includes covers)


Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) DIARIES AND NOTEBOOKS: Contains leather-bound volumes (1852, 1854-57, 1866-1869, 1871) with handwritten annotations on a wide variety of subjects including his sea voyage and early experiences in California, mine inspection trips, mileage estimates, eventful days, meeting reminders, weather notations, recommended books, and his infant son's weight. The materials are arranged chronologically.

Box 2 Folder 8

Includes 2 3/4" x 4" leather-bound notebooks with handwritten annotations on Morse's sea voyage to California, early California experiences including his horse being stolen and retrieved, his appointment as justice of the peace and judge of elections (November, 1852), and someone's threat to shoot him. The 1855 notebook is largely blank. 2 notebooks (1852 - 73 leaves, 1855 - 57 leaves)

Box 2 Folder 9

3 1/2" x 6 3/4" leather-bound "Bancroft's Diary for 1866" with handwritten annotations. Includes a copper and silver mining inspection trip to Baja California with detailed descriptions of the St. Ursula, La Fortuna, Nueva Provendencia, Palestina, Giant, and Martonell's silver mines. 1 notebook (84 leaves)

Box 2 Folder 10

3 1/2" x 6 3/4" leather-bound "Bancroft's Diary for 1867" with handwritten annotations. Includes comments on Vettiger's estate inventory, measures of distances to various San Diego and Mexico locations, locations of township boundary markers, and notes on horse breeding. 1 notebook (90 leaves)

Box 2 Folder 11

3" x 5" leather-bound pocket diary with handwritten annotations of miscellaneous reminders, names, addresses, business transactions, and state vote counts for the 1868 presidential election. 1 notebook (69 leaves includes one laid-in sheet)

Box 2 Folder 12

3 1/4" x 6" leather-bound "Bancroft's Diary for 1869" with handwritten annotations. Includes a recipe said to cure rheumatism, a June 17th notation regarding moving the Express office to "New San Diego," and a September 18th annotation, "A great day for San Diego" noting the arrival of Governor Seward, Generals Stoneman and Hunter, and other dignitaries, and a pasted-in newspaper article about stamp requirements for legal paperwork. 1 notebook (136 leaves includes one laid-in sheet)

Box 2 Folder 13

3 3/4" x 6" leather-bound "Bancroft's Diary for 1871" with handwritten annotations. Includes mileage estimates, recommended books on geological surveys, botany, and architecture, weather notations, real estate transactions, steamer arrivals and departures, meeting reminders, etc. 1 notebook (108 leaves includes 3 laid-in sheets and 1 sheet for four postage stamps)

Box 2 Folder 14

3" x 4 3/4" leather-bound notebook entitled, "E.W. Morse - Housekeeping Expenses A/C." Includes comments on food and wood purchases and the date he began boarding with O.W. Gould (July, 1855). 1 notebook (22 leaves includes covers)

Box 3 Folder 1

3 1/4" x 4 1/2" leather-bound notebook with clasp and handwritten annotation including comments on financial transactions, recommended books, a list of male and female names, his infant son's weight, and a notation that Morse "put hair of Lydia in breast pins and rings, and presented to her sisters." (1 item)


Scope and Content of Series

Series 4:) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS. Arranged in two subseries: A) Morse, and B) Family.

A) Morse: Contains books that Morse brought to California in 1849, a San Diego restaurant menu (ca. 1904), invitations, gardening lists, newspaper clippings, a stencil for his name, notes on travel expenses and a borrowed book not returned, as well as the original wrapping paper Morse used to organize his paperwork. The materials are arranged alphabetically,

B) Family: Contains a document regarding an estate sale by Morse's father, John, and Lydia Ann Morse's notebook recording letters, expenses, and earnings. Also included are miscellaneous notes, receipts, invitations, correspondence, school compositions, and prose by Morse's son, Edward Wallace Morse. The materials are arrange alphabetically.


Box 3 Folder 2

2 1/4" x 3 3/8" hard-bound book annotated, "off Cape Horn, April 20, 1849." (1 item)

Box 3 Folder 3

4 1/4" X 2 3/4" leather-bound book with slide-through clasp. Autographed and dated on verso of first printed page, noting latitude and longitude off Cape Horn on April 20, 1849. Includes a list of favorite bible passages on the inside back cover, notations on his son's birth, his wife Lydia's death, and the death of a former chaplain in West Amesbury, Massachusetts on a blank page at the end of the Old Testament. 1 book (557 leaves)

Box 3 Folder 4

Includes a hard-bound book with a bookplate annotated, "Ephraim W. Morse, Newburyport." 1 book (88 leaves)

Box 3 Folder 5

Printed menu with prices of the "Coffee Club" restaurant, located at 1327 E Street, San Diego, which Morse frequented in late life. (1 leaf)

Box 3 Folder 6

Includes a dinner invitation in Bushville, a note asking Dr. Hoffman to return a borrowed book entitled, LOS GRINGOES, a list of peaches and when they ripen, handwritten tally of votes for Ames and Morse, a list of jurors in the Evans case, and a list of California's springs and geysers (for possible camping trip, ca. 1866.) (10 leaves)

Oversize MC-190-02
Newspaper fragments, 1854 - 1903

Includes San Diego Herald (12/16/1854) listing properties to be sold in "sheriff's sale" with annotations by Morse noting real owners, which lots assessed twice, etc., an Evening Tribune (2/21/1903) article regarding a lawsuit against Morse by the receiver of the Consolidated Bank of San Diego with notation by Morse criticizing the lawsuit, an extra-large version of the San Francisco Journal of Commerce, San Diego edition, undated, featuring biographical sketches of San Diego's "most prominent citizens," including Morse. (4 leaves)

Box 3 Folder 9

Cut-out stencil on posterboard for "E.W. Morse." Verso side reveals photographs of Republican party candidates in Haverhill, Massachusetts. (1 leaf)

Box 3 Folder 10

Itemized list of Morse's share of expenses owed to Thomas Whaley for bringing Lydia Morse to California from Massachusetts along with Mrs. Whaley and Mrs. Poole. (1 leaf)

Box 3 Folder 11

Miscellaneous paper with annotations that Morse used to organize his papers and letters. (13 leaves)


Box 3 Folder 12

Handwritten note by John S. Morse (father) regarding an administrator's sale of land and brick-making machinery of Moses Sawyer (uncle.) (l leaf)

Box 3 Folder 13

Part 1. Miscellaneous notes and receipts, high school social and reunion invitations, and correspondence with cousins, aunts, and uncles. (28 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 1

Part 2. Includes business and personal receipts, cancelled notes and mortgages, and a handwritten copy of an undated and unattributed poem, "In the Library." (70 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 2

Handwritten record of letters sent and received created after her arrival in San Diego. Also lists expenses she incurred as well as money earned doing washing and mending. 1 notebook (21 leaves includes covers)

Box 4 Folder 3

Juvenile handwritten prose by Edward Morse (son) and his 1874 letter of recommendation from the School Committee of Amesbury, Massachusetts. (13 leaves)


Scope and Content of Series

Series 5) CORRESPONDENCE. Arranged in two subseries: A) Family, and B) General and Business.

A) Family: Contains correspondence from Morse's parents, sisters, in-laws, cousins, nieces and nephews, his two wives and his son. Of note is the correspondence between Morse and his son in which Morse compares and contrasts San Diego to Massachusetts and explains his San Diego successes and failures. The correspondence between Edward and his step-mother, Mary C. Morse, contains a wonderfully vivid description of the Morses' camping trips in San Diego County. The 1866 letters of courtship between Morse and his soon-to-be second wife, Mary, are illustrative of the romantic sensibilities of two transplanted 19th-century New Englanders. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name.

B) General and Business: Contains correspondence from customers and creditors, as well as many of San Diego's first inhabitants, including Joseph Judson Ames, Manuelito Cota, Thomas Rylan Darnall, James Donahue, O.W. Gould, Robert W. Groom, Alonzo Horton, James Ruler Lassator, John Pond, Charles and Mary Poole, Rufus King Porter, Judge James Robinson, Joseph Smith, Jonathan T. Warner and Thomas Whaley. Several letters are in Spanish, reflecting Morse's fluency in that language. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by last name.


Box 4 Folder 4

(2 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 5

(22 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 6

Includes writing from other Gray family members in shared letters and an anonymous letter to Morse regarding Deacon Gray's poor finances in 1868. The Grays raised Morse's son after the death of their daughter. (8 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 7

Includes writing from Maria Gray, the youngest sister-in-law, in a shared letter. (18 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 8

Partial handwritten letter and signature. (1 leaf)

Box 4 Folder 9

Niece who lived with Mary C. Morse's mother, Lucy Walker, until her death. (8 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 10

(2 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 11

Includes 1849 newspaper article about other Amesbury, Massachusetts residents departing for California on the brig ARK. (70 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 12

Part 2. Includes original agreement to sell carriages in San Diego, Morse's trader's license, business receipts, and a printed copy of the will of Morse ancestor, Anthony Morse. (15 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 13 Oversize FB47305

Part 3. Morse's onion-skin paper copy of a letter (May 9, 1885) explaining his financial situation. (7 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 14

Part 1. (48 leaves)

Box 4 Folder 15

Part 2. (78 leaves)

Box 5 Folder 1

Part 3. Includes announcement in March 9, 1888 letter of the birth of Morse's grandson, Charles Ephraim Morse. (75 leaves)

Box 5 Folder 2

Part 4. Includes a carbon copy of the Pioneers of San Diego resolution in honor of Mary C. Morse after her death on May 17, 1899. (61 leaves)

Box 5 Folder 3

Part 5. (59 leaves)

Box 5 Folder 4

Part 6. Includes stationery with depictions of Southern California landmarks, landscapes, and buildings (see letter of January, 1904), and newspaper articles. Also, includes printed prospectuses, advertisements, and other promotional materials Morse used as writing paper. (73 leaves)

Box 5 Folder 5

Includes printed card about the Sequoias entitled, "The 'Big Tree' of California" and a highly descriptive account of an 1870 Morse camping trip from San Diego to Julian City to visit the mines. (50 leaves)

Box 5 Folder 6

(32 leaves)

Box 5 Folder 7

(47 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 1

(1 leaf)

Box 6 Folder 2

Part 1. Letters of courtship while Mary lived in Spring Valley and Morse would travel out each weekend to visit her. (38 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 3

Part 2. Includes draft of a poem by Morse entitled, "As half in shade," and two prose compositions by Mary, one entitled, "Sunshine," and one unfinished piece entitled, "The Bible." Also includes a printed flyer for the Friends' School for Boys in Philadelphia run by Morse's boyhood friend, E.M. Huntington. (52 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 4

(1 leaf)

Box 6 Folder 5

Includes a pressed flower in the September 6, 1850, letter, as well as some personal correspondence from Philip Neal (brother-in-law). [See also Neal, P.J. in Series 6, Business and Legal Documents.] (61 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 6

Joseph was Mary C. Morse's cousin. (4 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 7

Includes mention of City of San Diego bonds. (1 leaf)

Box 6 Folder 8

Daughter of Hannah Weed Morse Sawyer (sister). Upon marriage, Frances' surname became Nowell. (3 leaves.)

Box 6 Folder 9

Includes letters from her daughter, Ella Maria, and son, Andrew. (12 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 10

(2 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 11

(1 leaf)

Box 6 Folder 12

Woman who delivered Morse's infant son to the Gray family in Massachusetts and died shortly thereafter. (8 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 13

Part 1. (33 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 14

Part 2. Includes writings of Anna Chase (later Kay) (niece) upon Lucy Walker's death in 1883. Also includes a financial note from Mrs. Walker in Morse's favor and a copy of her will. (44 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 15

Includes a response to Morse's inquiry regarding shipping copper ore to Massachusetts for smelting. (2 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 16

Weed accompanied Morse to California, stayed in northern California longer, but then resided in San Diego before returning to Massachusetts. Includes correspondence from Seth B. Blake, a fellow forty-niner. (41 leaves)

Box 6 Folder 17

Includes copy of a Morse telegraph to Weed. (22 leaves.)

General and Business

Box 7 Folder 1

(2 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 2

Founder and editor of the SAN DIEGO HERALD (1851-1860). (7 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 3

San Francisco investor interested in buying San Diego county bonds and other investments. (6 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 4

Writing from Los Angeles, where he had secured a job driving for Banning and Willson [sic], and assured Morse of his ability to soon pay his account. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 5

San Francisco merchant enclosing a consignment of goods for Morse to sell in San Diego. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 6

Correspondence settling his account with Morse and sending correspondence from Dunbar. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 7

Correspondence regarding filling Morse's orders, prices and availability of goods, and whether any steamers are going to San Diego. (34 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 8

Includes information on Morse's orders and mention the 1856 activities of the San Francisco Vigilante Committee. Also, contains a message of condolence after the death of Lydia Gray Morse. (22 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 9

Correspondence from French Camp, CA, asking if Morse had received Collins' land warrant. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 10

Handwritten note to her son, George W. Johnson, who was at Ballast Point (Pt. Loma). (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 11

Correspondence from Agua Tibia, written in Spanish, from the chief of the Luiseño tribe of Native Americans who occupied land near the San Luis Rey Mission. Cota was reported to have been a participant in the Temecula Massacre of January, 1847. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 12

Resident of San Bernardino, CA. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 13

Part 1. Early San Diego citizen (1853-1859) and office holder, as well as partner with Morse in an Old Town store and in the failed Jesus Maria Mine venture. Includes affidavits of purchase of land by Darnell sold for unpaid taxes and a receipt for a license to sell spirituous liquors and the use a billiard table for W.W. Ware(1854). (30 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 14

Part 2. Letters to Morse after the debt-ridden Darnell left San Diego in 1859. Darnall writes from Colorado City, CO, Tucson, AZ, Kentucky, and from his father's ranch in Platte City, Missouri. (21 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 15

San Diego resident regarding his drinking and lamenting the town's comments. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 16

Writing from Calabasas (Los Angeles County) regarding the land warrant of Joseph Sheppard. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 17

Writing from San Francisco for her father about Morse's payment of taxes on their San Diego land. (2 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 18

Writing from San Andreas (Calaveras County) inquiring if Morse knows the whereabouts of John Gordon. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 19

Letter from a friend and surveyor who was surveying mountains near Monterey, California. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 20

Correspondence from San Francisco wholesale grocer, Charles Goodwin. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 21

Friend of Morse and Darnall writing from San Francisco and Fort Yuma. (4 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 22

San Diego county surveyor (1856, 1859, 1861-63) and state assembly representative (1858, 1960). (3 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 23

Correspondence regarding shipping oil to Shedd and Wright of San Francisco. (15 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 24

Correspondence from a military surgeon stationed at the Mission, who had cared for Lydia Morse, declaring he no longer wished to practice medicine in San Diego. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 25

Morse's response to a physician contemplating a move to San Diego in which Morse states his opinion of the existing eight doctors in San Diego. Includes an envelope stamped, "Return to Writer." (2 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 26

Morse writes regarding Haycocks' share in the Encinitas Mine. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 27

Correspondence from a Los Angeles resident regarding a financial note paid by Mr. Groom. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 28

Writing from the San Antonio Mine regarding his non-receipt of a keg of powder. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 29

Correspondence from a miner at Colorado City. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 30

San Francisco wholesaler. Includes an official 1861 bill of lading for goods shipped on the steamer SENATOR and a sheet of County Treasurer 1857 $3.00 poll tax receipt blanks that Morse used as stationery. (10 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 31

Correspondence from San Diego's "new town" founder and real estate developer. Includes correspondence from San Francisco (1867) where Horton was promoting San Diego, deeds, leases, lists of lots in which Horton and Morse's shared an interest, records of Horton's account with Morse, and a list of lots Horton deeded for a proposed transcontinental railroad (1871). (54 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 32

Correspondence from Morse's West Amesbury, Massachusetts friend who later ran a school in Philadelphia. (4 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 33

Correspondence written for the father of the late C.W. Gould, Captain Robert W. Gould, of Salem, Massachusetts, inquiring of Morse regarding his son's character and if an estate was left. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 34

Correspondence from San Francisco resident asking Morse to pay taxes on his San Diego land. (2 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 35

Correspondence from the California pioneer who owned the Green Valley ranch in the Cuyamaca mountains east of San Diego. Lassator writes regarding the building of a road and supplies needed from Morse, including shirts, pants, black hats, and whiskey for his Native American workforce. Includes an 1866 letter regarding Sarah Lassator, after her husband's death by murder, in January, 1865. (2 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 36

Correspondence from Campo del Omo regarding politics, mines, and plans to return to San Diego. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 37

Correspondence from a friend in Union Village, Vermont. Includes a letter from George's father, Samuel. (25 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 38

Correspondence from San Francisco harness and saddle makers giving advice regarding leather "muchillas," (woven carrying bags used by Central and South American Indians, similar to saddle bags.) (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 39

In Spanish. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 40

Correspondence asking Morse to forward his carpet bag. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 41

Correspondence regarding Tom Darnall and sale of the Jesus Maria Mine. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 42

Correspondence from Morse advising Orr in regard to a claim against the estate of James Ruler Lassator. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 43

Correspondence from Ossuna to the San Diego county auditor advising him to deliver the monthly warrant for his salary to Morse. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 44

Correspondence to Dr. Woodson thanking him for informing her of the death of her brother from eating poison mushrooms. Morgan was in a beekeeping enterprise with Morse. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 45

Correspondence from San Luis Rey (now Oceanside, CA) advising Morse he is too busy to build a house. Includes correspondence to John's brother, William, of New York City, vouching that John has been "industrious, temperate, prudent, and economical" for the last two years. (4 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 46

Correspondence with friend and San Diego mapmaker (1856) that includes discussion of previous maps and problems, a condolence letter upon the death of Mrs. Morse, San Francisco Vigilante Committee activities, and a list of books Poole left in San Diego and wished to sell. (10 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 47

Correspondence to Lydia Morse, with whom she had travelled to California from the east coast, with mention of a severe San Francisco earthquake on February 15, 1856. (3 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 48

1 leaf.

Box 7 Folder 49

Correspondence with the Spring Valley pioneer, writer, and friend whose father founded SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN magazine. Mary Walker lived on the Porter's ranch, prior to her marriage to Morse, teaching Porter's daughter, Rufina. (4 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 50

Mail carrier (by mule) between Tucson and Maricopa Wells, Fort Yuma and Colorado City. Rathburn was also a member of the San Diego Guards. (6 leaves)

Box 7 Folder 51

Correspondence regarding politics and the outlook for San Diego, written shortly before this San Diego pioneer's death. (1 leaf)

Box 7 Folder 52

Correspondence from Stockton, California, regarding a possible land purchase. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 1

Correspondence from Los Vallecitos informing Morse that he and W. A. Winder were the owners of the San Antonio copper mine. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 2

Note regarding forwarding mail to La Paz, Baja California, Mexico. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 3

Note advising Minter to pay Morse the funds that Minter owed to Smith. Morse and Smith were partners in a sheep ranch on Smith Mountain, now Palomar. Smith was murdered by a British ship deserter he hired who was reportedly interested in Smith's Native American wife. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 4

Envelope addressed to the Horton House hotel with a note on verso side mentioning Horton as treasurer. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 5

Correspondence regarding his account and its satisfaction. Eschrich's note is in Spanish. (2 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 6

Letter from R. E. Raimond, Engineer, regarding necessary machinery for a saw mill. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 7

San Diego pioneer, first state senator (1851-1852), supervisor (1853-1855), and owner of Warner's Ranch. Correspondence from daughter, Belle Warner, for her father, from Los Angeles. (4 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 8

Correspondence from postmaster Stephen Bayley regarding a new law requiring prepayment of postage on newspapers. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 9

San Diego pioneer and Morse's partner in an Old Town general store from 1853-1856. Correspondence from San Francisco documents goods desired, availability and prices. Includes a letter from New York (8-5-1853) shortly before Whaley's marriage to Anna E. Lannay and his trip back to California accompanying the new Mrs. Whaley, Mrs. Morse, and Mrs. Poole. Whaley explains his delay because his cousin had him arrested under a non-resident debtors act. (15 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 10

Writing from Fort Yuma regarding mining operations. (3 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 11

(1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 12

El Monte, CA, resident writing regarding his hope to soon pay his San Diego debts. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 13

San Francisco resident writing regarding the taxes on the Binsley's land in San Diego. (2 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 14

Poignant letter from a mother to a young daughter hoping for a visit. Includes a crayon drawing of a woman holding an American flag. (2 leaves)


Scope and Content of Series

Series 6) BUSINESS AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS: Business memoranda, ledger entries, notes on real estate transactions, instructions, account reconciliations and receipts, many from Morse's early period when he ran a general merchandise store (1850-1860). Included in the legal papers are samples of legal language, administration of estates and guardianships, auctioneering records and other probate actions. Morse's self-labeled "private notes" reveal secret recordations of political and financial intrigues and conversations reported to or observed by Morse. The documents are arranged alphabetically.

Box 8 Folder 15

Includes a subscription receipt for fifty dollars to establish the SAN DIEGO HERALD newspaper, offsets to Ames account with Morse, and a list entitled, "catalogue of books for sale." (10 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 16

Printed card of M. Richardson & Co., San Francisco dealers in vegetables, poultry, eggs and butter. A.J. Chase's name is handwritten on the card, and the name of J.S. Fong is crossed out. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 17

Includes an early account ledger for Mannasse & Co., letters of credit, William Vettiger's account, and John Hayes' note appointing John Pond as power of attorney over the affairs of his ranch during his absence. (14 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 18

Documents business with Louis Rose (including Morse becoming his power of attorney, 1858) and a handwritten list of James Donahue's papers and deposits being held by Morse (1860). (23 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 19

Miscellaneous price lists, notes of conversations and an argument during a land auction (Morse was auctioneer), instructions for George P. Tebbetts while Morse was away, a list of Morse's activities on his birthday (October 16, 1866), and a conveyance of Lot 717 from George A. Pendleton to Morse for $50.00. (19 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 20

Includes receipts for a road tax payment (1853) and Lydia Morse's passage from San Francisco (1853), lists of purchases from San Francisco wholesalers, a note in Spanish to Jose M. Estudillo regarding Morse's acceptance of horses to settle Estudillo's debt, and Estudillo's reply (1867). (77 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 21

Handwritten notes on legal actions taken. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 22

Handwritten notation of fees in contested election case of James W. Robinson vs. Daniel B. Kurtz and another party. (2 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 23

Handwritten lists of expenses Morse incurred. 3 year-old Louisianna was the daughter of German parents, Gustav and Sophia, but what happened to them is not clear in the files. Louisianna's guardian may have been Surgeon Keeney associated with the United States military. (3 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 24

Morse's instructions regarding items shipped from San Francisco describing with particularity who the items are for, including two pure-bread Fox Hound dogs for Joseph Smith. Includes mention of Morse's accompanying and delivering a small girl, perhaps Louisianna Fisher. (2 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 25

Includes directions as what individuals get credit and how much, mine payroll information, and other expenses. (2 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 26

Detailed instructions regarding the San Diego store and what is to be done during Whaley's absence. Includes the location of sealed papers in case Whaley is involved in an accident. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 27

Business records and notes regarding the account Johnson maintained in regard to the Johnson and Captain A.H. Wilcox's Colorado Steam Navigation Company which ran a line of packet boats. Johnson married Maria Estefana Alvarado of San Diego, served as collector of customs, and owned the Los Peñasquitos Ranch. (15 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 28

Handwritten list of transactions regarding fractional shares of this lot in which Morse and Horton had interests. (1 leaf)

Box 8 Folder 29

Morse's records when serving as auctioneer, abstracts, and the Walter Murray vs. Lorenzo Soto judgment and payment to Sheriff McCoy. (2 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 30

Wholesaler of Pilch lozenges which Morse sold on consignment. (2 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 31

Business records, receipts, an account booklet, postcard, and correspondence regarding bond coupons and other Massachusetts note transactions. Includes two notes from the Provident Institution for Savings (1874, 1889). (22 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 32

Records in regard to land owned in San Diego by Morse's brother-in-law in Massachusetts. Includes original multi-colored San Diego city and county tax receipts, tracings and copies of maps regarding Pueblo lot No. 256 showing the railroad right-of-way, lease agreements, an abstract of the title to the land, and miscellaneous account notes. (49 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 33

Includes inventory and appraisal, claims for the estate of physician Painter, notices of estate sale, and a copy of Morse's letter informing Painter's sister, Mrs. James Witherspoon, of his death. (14 leaves)

Box 8 Folder 34

Notes entitled, "Extracts from the Diary of J.M. Pierce" containing complaints and allegations Pierce made against Morse in regard to the building they built and owned in partnership. (6 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 1

Part 1. Includes a note from R.W. Laine of the Pacific Union Express asking Morse's advice for a San Diego agent, a note regarding statements by Horton about Morse, comments on the controversy of moving the city and county records from Old Town to New Town (1870), a purported copy of one of Horton's marriage certificates, notes regarding possible litigation against Horton and other political intriques. (25 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 2

Part 2. Includes notes on conversations about Morse, political and financial dealings, a note on verso of a printed Grant & Colfax electoral ticket (1868), notes regarding formation of a "Committee of Safety," a list the San Diego Publishing Association directors, land, bank and railroad dealings, and a letter to the editor regarding water. (21 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 3

Part 3. Morse's notes regarding Chamber of Commerce meetings including a draft of a resignation letter. (6 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 4

Includes a notice of Morse's election to the position of stock commissioner, as well as notices of meetings. (3 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 5

Handwritten sample of legal language for use in wills. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 6

Documents regarding a probate court action for claims Morse made showing part of his claim was void as beyond the two-year statute of limitations and part was ruled valid. (3 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 7

Notes and calculations in regard to Wilcox's business account. (9 leaves)


Scope and Content of Series

Series 7) CALIFORNIA MATERIALS: Includes a merchant's agreement to discourage the use of reals (foreign gold coins) (1864), notes on legislative acts important to San Diego, county statistics, notes on land issues affecting the new city, newspaper clippings, lists of persons entitled to do military duty (ca. 1856), and a list of the San Diego Guards. Also included are subscription lists to raise funds to aid the padre, purchase the town a United States flag for official use, aid citizens in a Mexican jail, and to fund a railroad expedition with engineers. The series includes campaign materials (1859-1884) consisting of printed ballot handouts (some with the local candidates' names penciled-in), as well as small "caucus tickets" listing candidates for city, county, and state offices. Political parties represented include the Union and Democratic Union party (1867), a local "People's ticket" (ca. 1868), the Regular Democratic ticket (1883), and the Regular Republican ticket (1884). Of note is an 1859 ballot handout featuring Leland Stanford in his first, unsuccessful bid for governor, printed in Spanish. The materials are arranged alphabetically.

Box 9 Folder 8

Handwritten pledge signed by San Diego merchants including Morse, Donahue, Hollister, Rose, Mannasse & Company, and Sloane, to discourage the use of foreign gold coins. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 9

Morse's handwritten sixteen-page account (fashioned as a letter to his wife) describing the events of July, 1874 involving Horton and a deed issued to Gunn, Felsenheld, Arnold, and Choate for land that was to be reserved for Balboa Park. (16 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 10

Correspondence from William C. Ferrell, member of the California state assembly for the 1st District (San Diego) (1855-1856) discussing various bills of importance to San Diego. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 11

Printed ballot handout, in Spanish, featuring Leland Stanford in his first, unsuccessful run for Governor of California. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 12

Printed ballot ticket of the Union Party for California state and county positions including E. W. Morse for county treasurer. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 13

Printed ballot handout of the Democratic Union state and county ticket. Includes handwritten entries for many of the county positions. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 14

Includes small "caucus tickets" for S.S. Culverwell, Jose G. Estudillo and Charles A. Wetmore for city trustees, "pledged to the recovery of the tidelands for the city," and the "People's ticket" featuring James McCoy, A.E. Horton, and Captain M. Sherman. (6 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 15

Printed ballot flyer for the first supervisor's district of the Regular Democratic ticket with motto, "Economy and Reform." Lists local San Diego candidates for judge, district attorney, sheriff, treasurer, surveyor, etc. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 16

Printed ballot handout of the "Regular Republican Ticket," including local San Diego candidates. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 17

Handwritten account of method used by the city of Anaheim to divide city land. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 18

Handwritten response to a circular sent to county assessors. Includes acreage, geographic descriptions, estimates of agricultural production, livestock values, and mining operations. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 19 Oversize MC19001

Includes California Chronicle (12/18/1854) advertisement by city trustees for "Sale of Valuable Real Estate in San Diego, E. W. Morse, Secretary," Solana County Herald, Benicia, CA (3/29/1856) regarding that city's land sale ordinance and title question re: waterfront property, San Diego Union (6/14/1891) article on San Diego real estate, and San Francisco Examiner (9/29/1892) detailing a large ceremony in San Diego recreating Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo's landing on September 28, 1542. Includes envelope and original wrapper Morse kept newspapers in. (6 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 20

Handwritten alphabetical list. Includes smaller list of fourteen names entitled, "Names of persons at river subject to do military service." (6 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 21

Handwritten subscription list includes Morse, McCoy, Mannasse & Company, Bush, Grant, Wallace, Hollister, Sloan, Rose, Cleveland, Johnson, and others. (2 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 22

Miscellaneous handwritten notes about the amount and types of San Diego debt. (4 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 23 Oversize FB47306

Handwritten list entitled, "Members - San Diego Guards." This voluntary military company was formed August 2, 1856 under the command of Captain George Pendleton. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 24

Includes a subscription list for money and appointment of a committee of three to purchase a flag for the use of the town. Includes a printed price list with annotations indicating the purchase of a twenty-one to twenty-five foot flag. (2 leaves)

Box 9 Folder 25

Handwritten list to raise funds to aid San Diegans held in a Mexican prison and about to be sent to La Paz for trial for murder. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 26

Handwritten list of funds collected in order to meet the steamer on Saturday, February 1, 1868, possibly to greet dignitaries. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 27

Handwritten list of money collected for the local Catholic chaplain. (1 leaf)

Box 9 Folder 28

Handwritten account of a journey by Charles Fox describing the conditions of the roads and routes taken. (1 leaf)