Elijah Adams Morse


    Elijah Adams Morse, of Canton, member of Congress for the Twelfth Massachusetts District, is a native of Indiana, born in South Bend, but of an early New England family.  His father, the Rev. Abner Morse, A.M., was a native of Medway, Mass., descending from Samuel Morse, who settled in Dedham in 1635; and his mother, Hannah Peck Morse, was born in New York State.  His middle name, Adams, is a family name, coming from the marriage of an ancestor of Joseph Morse, of Sherborn, with Prudence Adams, of Braintree (now Quincy), a relative of the Presidents, John Adams and John Quincy Adams. Eleven years after his birth the family returned to Massachusetts; and his early education was acquired here, in the public schools of Sherborn and Holliston and at the well-known old Boylston School in Boston, and finished at the Onondaga Academy in New York State.  In his nineteenth year he enlisted in the Civil War in Company A, Fourth Massachusetts Infantry, as a private, and was with General Butler in Virginia three months and with General Banks for nine months in Louisiana.  The foundation of his fortune was laid when he was yet a boy, alone in a little shop in Sharon, during his school vacations, in the preparation of the stove polish which afterward became so widely known under the name of the "Rising Sun."  Upon his return from the army he joined his brother in the establishment in Canton of the works for the manufacture of his stove polish; and this was rapidly developed into an important industry. The factory now covers four acres of land, and has a capacity of ten tons a day.  Since September 1, 1888, Mr. Morse has been the sole proprietor of the business.

    Mr. Morse's public career began in the seventies, when he was elected a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives for 1876, in which body he at once became prominent  In 1886 and 1887 he was a member of the State Senate, in 1888 a member of the Executive Council, and in the latter year, while holding the position of Councilor, was nominated and elected to Congress as the suc­cessor of the Hon. John D. Long, by a majority of three thousand, six hundred and eighty votes.  He has since served in the Fifty-first,  Fifty-second,  Fifty-third;  and Fifty-fourth Congresses, and declined a certain nomination and reelection to the Fifty-fifth Congress. As a State Senator he was influential in advancing various reform measures, and, with other legislation, secured rad­ical amendments to the laws for the protection of children and for punishment of crimes against chastity.  In Congress he has been identified with all the great measures advocated by the Republican party; and has made speeches on the floor of the House in favor of protection  to American manufactures and American labor, in favor of sound finances, in favor of restricted immigration, against sectarian appropriations of public money, in favor of more stringent naturalization laws, in favor of the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands, in favor of memorializing the Russian government in behalf of the persecuted Jews, in favor of a non-partisan commission to investigate the alcoholic liquor tramc and its relation to pauperism, crime, insanity, and taxation, and on many other important subjects. His politics have always been Republican. He has also been a lifelong supporter of tem­perance measures, for many years a recognized leader in the temperance cause.  He is interested in all matters pertaining to the public schools, and is a warm supporter of every effort for social reform which he regards as genuine.  He is a practical philanthropist, and has given generously to various charities. The ground for the Canton Memorial Hall, the memorial tablets on the hall, and the bronze soldier on the green, in memory of those who fell in the Civil War, were his gifts to the town of Canton.  He has frequently been heard on the public platform in addresses on political,  educational,  temperance,  Grand Army, and religious topics, of which he has delivered more than two thousand in New England and other States.  Mr. Morse is a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, of the Congregational Club, of the Norfolk Club, of Post, No. 94, G. A. R., and of the Sons of the American Revolution, and has for many years been a Deacon of the Congregational church in Canton.

    He was married January 1, 1868, to Miss Felicia Vining, daughter of Samuel A. Vining, of Holbrook.  They have three living children: Abner, born in 1870; Samuel, in 1876; and Benjamin, in 1878.  (Copied from "Men of Progress.")

Containing life sketches of leading citizens of Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Pub. Boston, Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1898
All biographical information is provided by the subject or family member, reviewed and edited by them before going to print.