older frontiers.

These Morse Family Tree entries will almost definitely continue being rewritten for awhile, in the interest of clarity and my eventual satisfaction.


I've talked before about the Italian immigrants in western New York and Pennsylvania, as well as northern Ohio, but that was in the context of Mara's family: I didn't realize that my own relatives were also part of this same wave of Italian immigration.

My grandmother's side of the family departed Naples and landed just west of PA's anthracite "Coal Region" in the early 1890s (without my grandmother having being born yet).

Pictured above is the non-Italian side of the family: John Morse's son, George W. Morse (front left). Behind him is his son, my grandfather's father, Wycomo Morse. Next to George is his wife Ida Adella Hatten, and next to Wycomo on our right is his sister Winnona, and his sister Mabel is off to the left. This photo was almost definitely taken in Dubois, PA, before 1912 when they moved to Oil City.


Hard to say where to focus first, my information's all a-jumble. We could start with the men's ears and we could wonder if over generations the ears flattened against the head a tiny bit (they did). But let's instead start with Wycomo.

Now, just so we have the cast of characters straight: my grandfather is Edward C. Morse, son of Wycomo (not the nuclear engineer or the soldier who died at Pearl Harbor). Ed had two brothers and two sisters; his older sister, Dorothy (Dot), will be the narrator for most of the quotes. She was 12 years older than Ed, here they are together:

But the first quote is from Ed himself, who I called Pop, and who died 4 September 1994, before I got to talk to him about any of this stuff, or much of anything at all really. I mean we spent many, many fun-filled hours together before I was a teenager, but as I got older, you know how it goes...less and less so. I was just on the verge of becoming an actual human being when he died. But more about Pop later. Here's what Pop wrote about Wycomo:

"Wycomo was an exceptionally hard worker. He enjoyed farming. Had a passion for cars but was the world's worst driver. Extremely devoted to his wife who was in ill health a large share of her adult life. She died in March 1943 and he died in November. The obituary in the local paper stated in effect that he died of a broken heart."

Wycomo, 1906:


Well, one more quick note about Pop/Ed. I'd already known this, because it's an important part of what happened to him after WWII, but seeing the data in this weirdly clinical and inefficient format made it sink in differently.

As I said, Ed had four siblings: Dorothy, Esther, George, and Verne. His older sister Esther died in 1938 at the age of 27 from a ruptured appendix. Ed and and his brother Verne went off to fight in 1941, and they were there until 1945, participating in the Battle of the Bulge and other variously traumatizing battle situations. When Ed was discharged in 1945, not only was he a prime candidate for what we now call PTSD, but he came home to deal with the fact that both of his parents had died in 1943 (see above).

He came back to Punxsutawney and married Nan in February 1945. In May June 1945, just after V-E Day celebrating the end of the war in Europe, Ed found out that Verne had died in Germany. Not in battle, the battle was over, Verne was one of the more decorated Pennsylvanians in WWII; Verne had contracted meningitis and died in Germany before he could ship out.

More on this later maybe. But thus...this was the family into which my dear mother was born, December 1946.



Mother Hen said...

Love the Morse Family tree stories! I have John B's ancestry traced back to 1635, when his ancestor Anthony Morse settled in Newbury MA. Please email me at research@morsesociety.org if you'd like a copy of it.

MEM said...

hey there mother hen, thanks, i'll get in touch...