INTRODUCING CHARLES H. MORSE
CitrusLAND Series: 12 Central Floridians
PART FOUR: THE MORSE INFLUENCE
Boston Attorney George Washington MORSE was also President in 1882 of ‘The Altamonte Company,” a Massachusetts consortium of New England investors who acquired 1,200 acres at Orange County, Florida. This consortium, under a Florida firm name, Altamonte Land, Hotel & Navigation Company, platted what is today the city of ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Florida. The development headed by Morse platted many of the streets still in service today: Massachusetts Avenue, is now Highway 436 out front of Florida Hospital. To access the hospital, turn north at Boston Avenue.
Essex,Ipswich and Newburyport are Boston neighboring towns as well as streets in old Altamonte Springs, Florida. Investors, including Attorney George W. Morse, built winter cottages around their 20 acre Altamonte Hotel Park. The Morse cottage is today a parking lot at the northeast corner of Maitland and Orienta Avenues
Chicago Scale dealer Charles Hosmer MORSE was the 1883 Trustee for himself and two other investors, Franklin Fairbanks and Francis B. Knowles, in acquiring 9,700 acres in West Orange County, land surrounding a body of water Charles likely had a hand in naming. That sizeable lake is still known today as Lake Hancock, and one must wonder if it is merely a coincidence this lake shares a name with a famous son of Massachusetts, a signer of our Declaration of Independence, John Hancock.
Charles Hosmer Morse, Franklin Fairbanks and Francis B. Knowles are well-known in Winter Park, Florida – where each man not only played a role in developing the area as a snowbird retreat, but each are remembered as well by streets bearing their names.
Charles Henry MORSE of Washington, DC, an anti-slavery activist and advocate in assisting to re-build the Civil War-torn South, played a key role in attracting at least two fellow cohorts as 1883 investors in West Orange County’s Lake Hancock land grab. Frances E. Hewlett and Eugene P. Mallory acquired 200 acres on the lake. In 1890, Frances married a career Navy Officer, James Madison Alden, and the couple retired to the Fort Gatlin region south of Orlando. A painter, James M. Alden preserved the Council Oak, a historic landmark recorded in one of the earliest historical accounts of Central Florida, a history written with the assistance of Alden.
The MORSE influence can be found throughout Central Florida in the 1880’s, and each share one thing in common – a New England Nativity!
CitrusLAND was forged by the bravest of men and women from around the world. The story of Central Florida, as I often point out at this website and my Facebook Page, is America’s Amazing history. One 19th Century Orlando resident considered himself one of the staunchest of supporters of Orange County. He walked the 22 miles to Orlando from Sanford only months before the first train made the very same journey.
MahlonGore will be April’s Edition of 12 Central Floridians, appearing here a Rick’s Blog beginning April 10, 2015.