The Ephraim W. Morse family papers (1838-1907) document the private and public life of an important San Diego pioneer, businessman,
merchant, and civic leader. The papers include family and general correspondence, documenting the concerns of 19th-century
life both in New England and California.
Ephraim Weed Morse was born on October 16, 1823, in West Amesbury, Massachusetts, the only son of New England farmers and
apple growers, John and Hannah (nee Weed) Morse. He attended Newburyport High School (1838-1841) where he learned bookkeeping.
Leaving New England and a teaching position, at age twenty-six, Morse joined the Gold Rush to northern California. He quickly
became sick and disenchanted with his prospects so, in April of 1850, he ventured to the tiny settlement of San Diego, population