Adjutant Allen B. Morris

Adjutant, 21st Michigan Vol. Inf.
MORSE, JUDGE ALLEN BENTON. Allen Benton Morse, attorney-at-law, Ionia, Michigan, is one of the oldest residents of this state, having been born in Otisco township, Ionia county, January 7, 1839. He was the third white child and first boy born in that township. Mr. Morse is a direct descendant of old Puritan stock, tracing his ancestry back to Samuel Morse, who came from England. His father, John L. Morse, came to Michigan in 1830, from Courtlandt county, New York, locating first in Oakland county and afterwards removing to Ionia county. The elder Morse was a member of the Michigan State Legislature 1846-47, and judge of Probate Court for Ionia county 11 years.

Allen B. Morse was educated at the district school near his father's farm, and when the gold excitement broke out, his father left for California, leaving his farm and six children, and all under the care of the mother. Allen, being the oldest, it developed upon him to do all he could toward the maintenance of the family. He taught school, worked the farm and helped the neighbors, and did everything that would serve to bring in some money toward the family treasury. In the fall of 1859 he was given his first good suit of clothes and sent to the Agricultural College at Lansing, where he remained two years and paid for his board by working on the farm at nine cents per hour. He then taught school one winter and was a law student at the breaking out of the Civil War, when he enlisted, July 30, 1861, as a private in Co. B, 16th Michigan Infantry. For meritorious conduct he was commissioned first lieutenant in the 21st Michigan, became adjutant of said regiment, and served as assistant adjutant on the staff of Col. Frank T. Sherman, commanding a brigade in Sheridan's division. He lost his left arm at Mission Ridge November 25, 1863, and was mustered out of service September 16, 1864. Returning to Ionia he commenced the reading of law in the office of W. B. Wells of that city and was admitted to the bar in Ionia by Judge Lewis S. Lovell, February 28, 1865. Mr. Wells then took him into partnership in March, 1865, and the partnership continued until 1880, when the firm became Morse, Wilson and Trowbridge, and remained such until Judge Morse took his seat on the beach of the Supreme Court of Michigan in October, 1885.

In 1892 Judge Morse resigned his place on the bench and became the Democratic candidate for governor. He was defeated by John T. Rich, but as a reward for his party loyalty was appointed United States consul at Glasgow, Scotland, by President Cleveland.

After serving four years, Judge Morse returned to Ionia and resumed his practice of law.

He was first married in 1874, to Miss Frances Marion Van Allen, who died in 1884. In 1888 Miss Anna BAbcock, of Ionia, became Mrs. Morse. He has four children: Marion, wife of E. M. Davis, of Ionia; Van Allen, in Des Moines, Ia.; Lucy C. and Dan R., students.


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