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South Dedham, East Walpole, Morse's Tavern

David Morse, Jr. (1787-1852)

Nancy Gay Morse (1787-1849)


David Morse, Jr. was born on August 25, 1787. He was the son of David Morse (1759-1821) and Sibbel Ellis Morse (1762-1795). On October 22, 1814, David Morse Jr. married Nancy Gay (1787-1849). The couple had three children: Anson (1820-1881), Sarah R. (1822-1916), and David (1826-1859).


After the Norfolk & Bristol Turnpike (Washington Street) was opened, Morse opened the Morse Tavern on Washington Street in East Walpole. According to Walpole historian Betty Cottrell, up to 20 stagecoaches would stop at the tavern each day on their route between Boston and Providence.




The first Post Office in Walpole was located at the tavern and David Morse was appointed the first Postmaster in the town. In 1847, Morse sold the tavern. Three years later, in 1850, according to legend, Julia Ward Howe, who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” gave a public lecture in the upper hall of the tavern.


Nancy Gay Morse died on September 11, 1849 and, following her death, David lived with his daughter, Sarah R. Morse, and her husband Willard Everett, partner in South Dedham’s Everett Furniture Factory. He remained Walpole’s Postmaster until his death on September 5, 1852 of kidney disease. The tavern building was razed in 1903.


David and Nancy Gay Morse

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