Morse, Jedidiah

Morse, Jedidiah,

1761–1826, American Congregational clergyman, b. Woodstock, Conn., grad. Yale, 1783. Licensed to preach in 1785, he taught and preached in various places before becoming (1789) minister in Charlestown, Mass., where he stayed for 30 years. A staunch conservative, he opposed Unitarianism. He was interested in improving the lot of the Native Americans and was appointed (1820) to visit various tribes; the result was the well-known Report to the Secretary of War (1822, repr. 1972). He produced a series of textbooks in geography that were widely used and caused him to be called the "father of American geography." Sidney Edwards Morse and Samuel F. B. Morse were his sons.


See biography by J. K. Morse (1939, repr. 1967).

Morse, Jedidiah

(1761–1826) minister, geographer; born in New Haven, Conn. Graduating from Yale (1783), he stayed there to study for the ministry, teaching school to support his studies, and writing the first American geography textbook, Geography Made Easy (1784), later reprinted in some 25 editions. After several short-term preaching assignments, he settled in the First Congregation Church, Charlestown, Mass. (1789–1819). He defended orthodox Calvinist tenets in the church, publishing the Panopolist (1805–10) and establishing the Andover Theological Seminary (1808). He also continued writing about geography, becoming known as the "father of geography," for such texts as The American Geography (1789) and The American Universal Geography (2 vols. 1796). He helped found the American Bible Society (1816).