April 27, 1791: Birthday of Samuel Morse

Today is the birthday of Samuel Finley Breese Morse (1791-1872). Known as Finley to his family, he was born in Charlestown Massachusetts, the oldest child of Rev. Jedediah and Elizabeth (Finley) Morse. Of course he is remembered as the inventor of the American electro-magnetic telegraph and his famous Morse Code. His achievements and contributions to our culture, however, go much further.

As a young man, he strove for a career as a painter of historical scenes. He most certainly had the talent, but it didn’t happen in a way to be financially sustainable. He pivoted to become a portrait painter. That, too, had challenges, so he turned to photography and inventing. Even after the success of the telegraph, he had many court challenges regarding his invention. (Morse would encourage you to keep extensive notes on your ideas and inventions. His journaling habits served him well!) His personal life had great joy, as well as great sorrow. All the while, he found strength from his abiding faith in God.

Morse Code Day is a fun celebration every April 27. Try sending some messages in Morse Code. How about handwritten notes, or dots and dashes on your digital device? Use a lightswitch or flashlight to send visual Morse Code. Whatever you do, have fun with it, and think about the man who made it all possible. After all, it was the original text message!