Allen B. Morris
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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