Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Alvertus Willard Morse (1841-1912)


   A distinguished resident of Belchertown in Hampshire County, Massachusetts, Alvertus Willard Morse served one term in the Massachusetts General Court beginning in 1894 and was a prominent local citizen for many decades, being a Civil War veteran, farmer and businessman. Born in Belchertown on January 21, 1841, Morse received his schooling in his hometown and as an adolescent enrolled at the Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, Massachusetts. In 1862 he signed on for service in the 46th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers and served with this outfit until being discharged on July 1st of the following year. He reenlisted in the army that same day, and joined the Second Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, serving until the close of the Civil War.
  Morse was discharged on September 3, 1865 and October 1, 1868 he married to Ms. Martha Stockwell (1849-1903), with whom he had two daughters, Bertha Elizabeth (1869-1927) and Bessie L. Morse (1871-1912). In the years following his marriage, Morse became active in Belchertown affairs, holding a seat on the local school committee from 1871-1880. In 1884 he won election as town selectman (serving until 1888) and pulled double duty as town overseer of the poor until 1888. Morse also served as the head of the Belchertown Creamery beginning in 1889. This creamery is acknowledged as being known across the state for its butter production, and did a successful business until its closing in 1917.
   In November 1893 Morse won election as a Republican to the Massachusetts State House of Representatives from Hampshire County, defeating Democratic candidate Loman Augustin Smith (1833-1914) by a vote of 725 to 352, and served on the house committee on Libraries during his one term in office. Following the conclusion of his term in 1895, Morse became the Secretary of the Massachusetts Creamery Association and served in this capacity for several years. He was also active in Belchertown fraternal organizations, being a past commander of the E.J. Briggs Post of the Grand Army of the Republic and a chaplain of the Mt. Vernon, Massachusetts Lodge of Masons. Morse died in Belchertown on September 28, 1912 at age 71 and was interred at the Hillcrest Cemetery in that village.

   From the 1894 Massachusetts General Court manual.

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