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George H. Morse (1834-1917) Farmer and Early Town Official

Updated: Aug 22



George H. Morse and 2nd wife Althine Atkins

George H. Morse is a familiar name to many in Norwood. Born on February 12, 1834, to Joseph and Milley E. (Dean) Morse, he was descended from two long-time South Dedham families. Morse became a farmer in the southern part of South Dedham where he built an Italianate-style home in 1868.


He married Abigail (Abbie) Rawson Shackley on December 24, 1855 in Walpole, where Abbie had been born on February 27, 1835. The couple had two daughters: Ellen Florence (1857-1923) and Catherine (Katie) Lilian (1858-1879). Abbie R. Morse died of cancer on February 21, 1869; she was 34. Katie Morse, who became a teacher, died on December 19, 1879 at the age of 21.


On May 29, 1871, George H. Morse married Althine Atkins. She died on November 14, 1896, of liver cancer.


In addition to being a farmer all his life, George H. Morse gained some local fame as an auctioneer; he also acquired considerable property through his dealings in real estate. He was a member of the Orient Lodge of Masons, belonged to the Tiot Lodge of Odd Fellows, and was a member of both the South Dedham and the Norwood Brass Band.


Deeply involved in local politics, Morse was one of the first members of Norwood’s Board of Assessors (along with Tyler Thayer and Caleb Ellis) in 1872 when the town was formed. He was chief engineer of the fire department, served as a surveyor of lumber and highways and was on the Board of Selectmen from 1877-1893.

George H. Morse died on May 6, 1917 in his home on Washington Street. He was 83 years old and, although he died of arterio sclerosis, he had been very active until a few days prior his death. He was survived by his daughter Miss Florence Morse.


Gravestone of Joseph and Milley Morse, parents of George H. Morse and George's first wife, Abbie.


Reverse of above stone shows George H. Morse, Althine, and his two daughters


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