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Morse, William - Biography

William Morse

This is the story of William Morse, born June 6, 1830, at Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, Wales as presented on the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth by his son, William E. Morse. His grandfather, Jonathan Morse, who was born in Pembrey, died April 30, 1832. His grandmother, Mary Roberts, also born in Pembrey, had died less than three months earlier February 3, 1823. His father, William Morse, who was christened in Pembrey on April 17, 1785, died December 31, 1844, when his son, William was fourteen years old. His mother, Mary Thomas, was born in 1788 in Llanelli which is nearby.

His parents had the following children: Mary (died in infancy), Mary, Ann, John, Jane, Margaret (died in infancy), William, Margaret, and Richard.

Even before the William Morse to whom this story relates was old enough to work, his father used to carry him into the coal mines in order to get an extra tram so that he could make a few more shillings. When in his teens, William Morse moved to Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorganshire to work in the coal mines. While there he received the gospel. Because of his conversion, he was hissed and shunned by his companions. Regardless of many trying circumstances, he held steadfast to his belief.

At the age of twenty-nine on October 8, 1859, he married Margaret Evans, daughter of Ebenezer Evans and Amy Williams, and granddaughter of David and Esther Evans. They moved from Merthyr Tydfil where their first daughter was born, to Mountain Ash, and William Morse continued to work in the coal mines there. In 1862 Ann, their second child, was born.

In the spring of 1863 they planned to leave for Zion by way of Liverpool, but those plans were changed. The trip began by train to London where they left port 4 June 1863 on the ship Amazon, made famous by the visit of Charles Dickens, the famous English author. The voyage across the Atlantic in this sailing vessel took seven weeks and three days to reach New York. From there they left by train for the West.

They left Florence, Nebraska 10 August 1863 in the company of Captain Thomas E. Ricks, and reached Salt Lake City October 4, which was only a few months past William's thirty-third birthday.

They spent their first winter at Logan, Utah, in the home of William Davis, a relative. In the spring, William Morse made arrangements for a lot on which to build a dugout, his first home in Zion. In order to support his family, he worked wherever he could get a day's wage, and at night often shouldered a gun and stood guard against the Indians.

Their daughter Emma was born in 1865. The next year the family, now five, moved into the log cabin which he built. Although this cabin had a dirt roof and dirt floor, it boasted factory windows. While living here their only son, William E. Morse, was born.

In 1867 and 1868 he was successful in freighting to Montana, and in the spring of 1869 he went, without his family, to Samaria, Idaho. Before he could send for them it was necessary that he again construct a dwelling place. He built another log cabin, again with dirt roof and floor, but this time was unable to provide windows. By fall the cabin was completed, and he moved his family from Logan to Samaria where, at that time, there were only six or seven families.

Four more daughters were born in this village making eight children in all. A complete list of the family includes: Mary Jane, Ann, Emma, William E., Maggie, Rachel, Sarah and Sophia.

Although William Morse was trained only for work in the coal mines, and was further handicapped by having no farming tools, he became a successful farmer.

He was a faithful and active worker in the community. He was one of the directors of the Samaria Water and Irrigation Company for a number of years, and held the position of water master.

He was also consistently faithful to the Church which had been his reason for coming to this new land. He was a member of the choir, Ward teacher, one of the presidency of the High Priests Quorum over the Malad Stake, and belonged to the School of the Prophets. He was active in temple work.

With a life so full of pioneering and constant labor, he was not privileged to attend school. However, in Sunday School in Wales, he learned to read the Welsh langauge, and also learned to read and write in English. He was the best informed man in Samaria in matters pertaining to the gospel.

William Morse lived almost three-fourths of a century. He died April 15, 1904, leaving a fine posterity interested in civic and religious activities. God raised such men to pioneer.

[Taken from The Samaritans]

Immigrants:

Morse, William

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