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 in addition to his legislative service was 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 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 politics, 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 held the post of superintendent 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 Alvertus W. 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. Serving in the session of 1894-95, Morse held a seat on the house committee on Libraries during his term. 
   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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