Charles Copeland MORSE
Pacific Seed Gardens

 Bio-Pen Pictures

Among the well-known citizens of this section, mention must be made of the subject of this sketch, who resides on the San Francisco road, about half a mile west of Santa Clara, at which place are located the Pacific Seed Gardens, of which he is the proprietor. These gardens occupy about 400 acres, and are really magnificent in extent and productions, well worth a visit from all who are interested in the growing industries of the county. The gardens were established, in 1875, by R. W. Wilson, a seedsman from the East, and then contained but fifty-four acres. Mr. Wilson conducted the business until 1878, when he sold it to Kellogg & Morse, who steadily enlarged the grounds and increased the business. By sound business principles and good judgment, they built up and successfully managed one of the largest enterprises of this character on the Pacific Coast. Its magnitude may be judged from the fact that in 1887 the products of the gardens comprised over 150 tons of the best varieties of field, garden, and flower-seeds. In the development of the latter, Mr. Morse is spending considerable time and money, and in the near future this branch of the business is destined to become most successful. It is worthy of note that the cost of conducting these large gardens is nearly $30,000 per annum. In 1887 Mr. Kellogg retired from the firm, and since that time Mr. Morse has been the sole proprietor and manager. He is paying attention to the improvement of the quality rather than to the increase of the quantity of his products, and in this he has been eminently successful, particularly with the different varieties of lettuce, onion, and carrot seeds. He also owns a fine residence upon the grounds, in which are found all the comforts which characterize a well-ordered home.

        Mr. Morse dates his birth in Thomaston, Maine, in 1842. His parents, Obadiah and Chloe W. (Copeland) Morse, were natives of Maine, and descendants of old Puritan families of New England. His father died when he was but four years of age, leaving his mother with means inadequate to the care of the farm and the rearing of her children. In the hard struggle which she was obliged to make, the mother was dependent to a great extent upon the assistance which her children were able to render her in the care of the farm. Thus at an early age Mr. Morse was accustomed to farm labor and was taught the stern duties of life. Reared in this school of necessity, he developed those qualities of independence and industry which, carried into his after life, insured his success in all the business operations in which he became engaged. At the age of seventeen years, being desirous of rendering his mother more assistance than was possible from his earnings as a farm laborer, he commenced a seafaring life, which he followed for several years, in fact until he came to California, in 1862. In this State he engaged in several occupations, among them that of a painter, in which he became very proficient. He became a contractor for work in house painting, following this business for twelve years in Santa Clara, previous to the purchase of the seed gardens, and, although never taught the trade, by his natural ability he was enabled to cope successfully with his competitors.

        The subject of our sketch married Miss Maria J. V. Langford, the daughter of Pleasant and Sarah Langford, 0f Santa Clara County. Of their five children, four are now living. Their names and ages (in 1888) are as follows : Eva A., aged nineteen years; Lester L., aged seventeen years; Stella M., aged fourteen years; and Winnie M., aged seven years.

        Mr. Morse is a prominent member of the Advent Christian Church of Santa Clara, having been one of its founders, and having since taken the deepest interest in its welfare. He is a progressive man, and as such always takes part in all public movements which tend to the advancement of the prosperity of his county, to which, by the conscientious management of his own important business affairs, he adds not a little.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.

Pg. 561-562

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SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight