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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Stephen Curtis Morse

The middle west has contributed its quota of energetic, forceful men, whose wise management of the fertile lands of Sonoma county brought them comfortable financial returns, as well as enrollment among a noble pioneer band. Among those who came to California from that section of country and lived to enjoy a merited prosperity was Stephen Curtis Morse, who passed away on his ranch near Sebastopol, October 19, 1907.

As far back as we have any record of the Morse family its members were identified with Illinois, and it was while his parents were living in Cook county that Stephen C. was born, March 23, 1856. The father was a farmer, and from his earliest years Stephen C. was made familiar with the duties of farm life. He received a fair education in the schools near the home farm, and as soon as his school days were over the father and son became associated in the management of the farm, and the association then formed continued in all their undertakings thereafter until death separated them. Selling out their farm interests in Illinois in 1882, the family came to California the same year, at the end of their journey bringing them to Sacramento. Their stay in that city was of short duration, for the fall of that year found them in Sonoma county and on a ranch which they purchased in the vicinity of Sebastopol father and son continued their efforts together until the death of the latter. The ranch which they purchased consisted of one hundred and thirty-eight acres, well suited both in location and in quality of soil to the raising of apples and peaches, and it was to these fruits that they devoted the entire acreage. The property had formerly been in vineyard and was known as the old Maguire ranch.

As in their business relations, so in their church and social interests father and son were united, both being members of and deacons in the Baptist Church, and in promoting the various interests for which this organization stood, no one was more untiring in their efforts than they. They were also members of the Sebastopol grange, in which, as in every other cause to which they lent their name, they were vigorous and interested workers.

In 1893 Stephen C. Morse was united in marriage with Miss Frances E. Weeks, who like her husband was a native of Illinois, born in Joliet. She is the daughter of Horace and Mary (Munson) Weeks, of Joliet, Ill. The father was an attorney-at-law, was Master in Chancery and for seventeen years was Secretary of the Home and Loan Association of Joliet. Her maternal grandfather was Sylvester Munson, a native of Connecticut, who located in Will county, Ill., in 1834, while his wife, Sarah A. Lanfear, a native of New York state, came to Will county in 1832. Mrs. Weeks is residing in Sebastopol. After a happy married life of fourteen years their home was saddened by the death of Mr. Morse, in October of 1907, leaving a void in the home and taking an active and valued worker from the church and social organizations with which he had been associated for so many years. After his death his widow continued the management of the ranch successfully until the spring of 1910, when she sold the place, although she still makes her home in Sebastopol. She was a co-worker with her husband in all of his activities for the good of his fellowman, and since his death has continued her contributions of time and means for their furtherance. She is also a member of the Eastern Star and an active worker in the order.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011