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    Brief History of Morse Township

    Brief History of Morse Township

     

    Summary:

    The Town of Morse is in northeastern Saint Louis County in the Arrowhead of Minnesota and within 25 miles from the Canadian Border (by canoe). The northwest corner of the Township is in the million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).  Population according to the 2010 Census: 1213 – Area: 138.1 square miles – 115.6 square miles is land and 22.5 square miles, or 16.29%, is water.

    Details:

    The Town of Morse is in northeastern Saint Louis County in the Arrowhead of Minnesota and within 25 miles from the Canadian Border (by canoe). The northwest corner of the Township is in the million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW).

    The township surrounds the City of Ely and lays within the heart of the Superior National Forest. Resorts operate on the numerous lakes within the township and the township is a popular tourist destination. Many snowbirds have family summer cabins here and increase the summer resident population by 50% or more.

    Map

    Population according to the 2010 Census: 1213
    Area: 138.1 square miles; 115.6 square miles is land and 22.5 square miles, or
    16.29%, is water.

    The Town was organized July 9, 1887 and includes four townships, as
    delineated by the U, S. Government original survey. Only one township seems to be included in the original organization, but at some point, all four townships were combined into the Town of Morse. An additional township to the north, known as Unorganized Territory, is included in the voting precinct and district.

    The land was ceded to the United States in 1854 by the Lake Superior Chippewa, who retained hunting, fishing and ricing rights. Prior to the Chippewa the Dakota had occupied much of the area. Archeological digs have uncovered historical materials back to the Paleo Indian’s ten thousand plus years ago who occupied the land as the glaciers receded.

    In “The History of Morse Township” 1987 researched and written by former tow clerk Geraldine Floyd, she quotes the early survey descriptions by G. Stuntz of two of the four component townships.

    T. 62, R. 13
    “This Township is situated on the height of land that separates the waters that flow West into Vermillion Lake from those that flow East into Basswood Lake….In the Northern and North-Western part there is considerable good timber.

    During the glacial period this whole region received a terrible abrading. The crust of ridges is broken down and grooves and the fragments scattered to the South….A belt of Magnetic slates extends across the Northern part of the town that greatly disturb a Magnetic Needle. Plenty of fish. Pike Pickerel and Bass are found in the Lakes.”

    T. 63, R. 13
    “This Township is exceedingly rocky and hilly. All the Northern part and most of the Islands in Burntside Lake are of granite formation….Burnt Side Lake with its hundred Islands of dome like granite nobs, thickly covered with
    dark green pine forest, and the crystal purity of its waters forms on of the most enchanting scenes of Mountain Lake and forest in America.”

    The Town was named after J. C. Morse of Chicago, one of the members of the
    Minnesota Iron Company. Resources within the township that have been part of the economic history include iron ore, timber, fish, wild game and recreational (lakes, trails, forest). Entrepreneurs in the City of Ely have established footwear and outdoor clothing manufacturing and the arts
    community is thriving. The advent of the cyber world has drawn some professionals and business people who are seeking quality of life and whose work activites are primarily done on line.

    The Town is governed by a Town Board made up of three Supervisors (elected) a clerk, a treasurer, and if the board so decides, xxx clerk and xxx treasurer (appointed by the Board). The Board meets the second Tuesday of each month.

    Floyd interviewed her predecessor in clerk, Julia B. Purdy (1938 to 1972). Purdy noted that “…I think that people should get more involved in their government, especially the township government because they have so much to say. It’s the only government where the people set the budget, and say where the money has to be spent.”

    Citizens approve the budget at the annual town meeting in March.

    Floyd’s history of Morse Township is on file in the Ely/Winton Historical Society office and the history of the area on display in the Society’s museum located at Vermillion Community College.

    Other area attractions
    North American Bear Center
    International Wolf Center
    U. S. Forest Service visiter center (obtain BWCAW permits here)
    Dorothy Molter Museum
    Ely Folk School

    Morse Township History, News and Current Events

    Summary:  To aid in the communication of issues and events that impact Morse Township. A group (“membership” flexible, changeable and evolving) of citizens have volunteered to write about these issues and events and record them in this Blog.

     

    Details:

    To aid in the communication of issues and events that impact Morse Township. A group (“membership” flexible, changeable and evolving) of citizens have volunteered to write about these issues and events and record them in this Blog.

    Please comment on posts that are of interest to you. You have a way, here, to make your voice heard.

    Comment on existing posts and write and post with your thoughts on new issues or events you would like to open for discussion.

    This process and use of a Blog to communicate was the idea of Anne Uehling. Anne started reporting  on Morse Township in the xxxxdate at a time when open communication was not standard operating procedure. She has some funny tales to tell of the meetings she attended being shut down upon her arrival and resumed in bars and even the men’s restroom. She tells that she followed them to the bars and continued recording. She stood outside the men’s restroom where the “good ole boys” were meeting and proudly announced, “You know, I can hear you.” And, she continued recording.

    Of course, we would hope that the process today would be different and much more open and transparent. That is what we are striving for.