R.I. (Robert I.) Morse, founder of Morse Hardware Company in present-day
Bellingham, Washington, was born in 1858 in Sidney, Maine. The son of Comfort Taylor Morse and Rhoda Ann (Balentine)
moved from Waterville, Maine to San Francisco, California in
1875, seeking gainful employment.
In San Francisco, R.I. Morse
worked as a salesman, streetcar conductor, and milk
deliveryman, and also attended business school. He met and
married Etta Fowler (1861-1906), with whom he would have five
children: Cecil A. (1883-1958), Roscoe Irvine (1887-1903), Luta
Ivy (1890-1890), Charles Leland (1891-1955), and Hosea
Morse moved with his family to Whatcom County, where he
founded the successful Morse Hardware Company in the town of Sehome.
In 1909, three years after the death of his first wife, R.I. Morse remarried Ada C. (Margaret Chisholm)
Morse (1881-1961). The couple had three sons: Robert
Irvine Jr. (1910-1993), William Howard (1911-1984), and David C.
served as President of the family business from its inception
until his death in 1920. His oldest son, Cecil A. Morse, served in the same
capacity until he passed away in 1958. R.I. Morse's youngest son, David C. Morse, served as President of the family business until
1975, and then acted as Chairman and Chairman Emeritus
until he died in 2007.
Ramon, SELL’ EM LOW—SEND AND GET MORE/A Centennial History of
MORSE HARDWARE COMPANY, Bellingham, WA, 1984.
Obituary of David Chisholm
Morse—Bellingham, WA. February, 2007.