Levi Morton - History

Levi Morton - History

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Levi Parsons Morton was born on May 16, 1824, in Shoreham, Vermont. He received a modest education, and never attended college. Morton started to work as a clerk in a store in Hanover, New Hampshire, and, by 1855, he owned his own wholesale business in New York City. He set up a Wall Street banking firm in 1863, despite war-related financial setbacks. He managed to turn his firm, Morton, Bliss & Company, into one of the most important financial institutions in the nation, and made himself rich in the process. He married Lucy Young Kimball in 1856, but she died in 1871, having had only one child, who died in infancy. Later, in 1873, Morton married Anna Livingston Street. The couple had five daughters together.
Morton’s first attempt to enter politics, an 1876 bid for the US House of Representatives, was unsuccessful, but he prevailed two years later, and was even reelected to Congress in 1880. He soon resigned, however, when President Garfield appointed him minister to France. Upon his return from service abroad, he failed in two attempts (1885, 1887) to win a seat in the Senate. In 1888, Morton was offered the nomination for Republican vice-presidential candidacy, with presidential candidate Benjamin Harrison. Although they lost the popular election by about 10,000 votes, they were still able to defeat Democrat running mates Grover Cleveland and Allen G. Thurman in the electoral college, and thus won the election.
As Vice President, Morton took his duties in the Senate seriously, to the point that his desire to avoid partisanship led to his loss of standing in the Republican party. He was not chosen to run for a second term as Vice President. After he left Washington, Morton became governor of New York, but his refusal to work according to the rules of the political machine angered party bosses. They prevented him from obtaining the Republican nomination for President, supporting William McKinley instead. After Morton’s term as governor ended, he retired from politics, and returned to his business ventures. In 1899, he formed the Morton Trust Company, which he merged with the Guaranty Trust Company in 1909. During his retirement, he traveled a great deal, and spend time at Ellerslie, his large estate in Rhinebeck, New York, at which he died on his 96th birthday -- May 16, 1920.

Liberty Island Chronology

The garrison at Fort Wood is disbanded. However, the United States Army continues to supervise an ordnance post (and remains active) on Bedloe's Island until 1937.

Bedloe's Island is designated as the site for the Statue of Liberty.

Bartholdi in his studio on Vavin Street. Paris, 1892

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument

The Origins of the Statue of Liberty

Bartholdi and workmen constructing a final wood-and-plaster model of the Statue’s left hand. Bartholdi is thought to be below the Statue’s arm on the left hand side.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument

The Statue in France

The Statue of Liberty's construction holds great significance, for it is a tapestry of old symbols woven together to create new meaning. Her classical face and drapery suggest a Roman Goddess of Liberty the broken shackles symbolize freedom newly achieved the radiant crown represents her shedding light on the seven seas and continents. The tablet she holds, inscribed in Roman Numerals "July 4, 1776," identifies the figure as an apostle of American freedom, law and justice.

Bartholdi's plaster model of the Statue, referred to as "The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World," is approved by Laboulaye.

Laboulaye makes a formal request to President Ulysses S. Grant for using Bedloe's Island as the Statue's official site.

The Franco-American Union is formed in France to oversee fundraising for the Statue. The Statue of Liberty's creators strongly feel that the project should be a joint French-American effort: the French agree to fund the Statue if the people of the United States fund the pedestal. Between 1875 and 1880, the French committee raises about 400,000 francs.

After being part of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the Statue's torch is displayed at Madison Square in New York City. It remains there until 1882.

February 22nd - The U.S. Congress accepts the Statue of Liberty as a gift from the people of France.

March 3rd - President Ulysses S. Grant signs a bill designating Bedloe's Island as the Statue's site.

The United States begins fundraising for the construction of the pedestal through the American Committee for the Statue of Liberty, which is chaired by William Maxwell Evarts. Bartholdi's friend, Richard Butler, is also heavily involved. The committee raises $125,000 between 1877 and 1884.

The Statue's copper plates are completed and the first rivet is driven into the structure. This begins the Statue's assembly and completion. As the Statue is gradually built near the Parc Monceau, in Paris, the French people fall in love with her. She is referred to as the "Lady of the Park."

The American Committee for the Statue of Liberty commissions American architect Richard Morris Hunt to design the pedestal within months he submits a detailed plan.

The Statue's assembly continues in Paris and work begins on the 15 foot deep foundation for the pedestal on Bedloe's Island. General Charles P. Stone is appointed as Chief Engineer, responsible for design and construction of the concrete foundation and the construction of the pedestal.

Edouard de Laboulaye dies.

November 2nd - Emma Lazarus composes "The New Colossus" for the "Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty" - a fundraiser for the pedestal.

Hunt completes his finalized plan for the pedestal, with poured concrete walls up to 20 feet thick, faced with granite blocks. The concrete mass is the largest mass of poured concrete at that time. The pedestal's cornerstone is laid on Bedloe's Island.

July 4th - hundreds of people gather at the feet of the completed Statue in Paris to watch as she is formally presented to Levi P. Morton, the U.S. minister to France.

A crisis occurs in the United States. The Statue is scheduled to arrive in the United States in 1885, but funds for the pedestal project run out and work on the pedestal stops.

New York World publisher, Joseph Pulitzer, comes to the Statue's financial rescue with a highly successful, six-month fund raising campaign. Over $100,000 is raised.
The Statue is disassembled in Paris and shipped to the United States aboard the French navy ship the Isère. It arrives in New York Harbor on June 17th. The Statue is met with tremendous fanfare and a naval parade, but is placed in storage for a year while the pedestal is completed.

The Statue of Liberty enlightening the New York Harbor in 1886.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument

The Statue in America

The Statue's pedestal is completed.

The American Committee for the Statue of Liberty signs a contract with D.H. King of New York to begin construction work on the Statue. This begins the difficult and dangerous task of reassembling the Statue on Bedloe's Island. The crews, most of whom are immigrants, assemble the Statue with great precision and speed.

The decision is made to light the Statue's torch electrically. The Army Corps of Engineers vetoes putting flood lights on the torch's balcony so Bartholdi cuts portholes in the torch and put lights inside of them.

October 10th - President Grover Cleveland places the Statue and pedestal under the administration of the U.S. Lighthouse Board as maritime structures.

October 15th - The remaining fingers clasping the handle of the torch are installed.
October 20th - A heavy canvas is dropped over the Statue's face in preparation for the inaugural celebration. Although this spoils the view for many early visitors, the mask stays on until the Statue's unveiling.

October 23rd - The Statue of Liberty is completed.

October 28th - New York City holds the first Ticker-Tape Parade in honor of the dedication of the statue of 'Liberty Enlightening the World' which over one million people attend. A water parade of approximately 300 vessels passes in front of the Statue even though visibility is less than a quarter of a mile due to fog and rain throughout the day. The Statue of Liberty is formally unveiled at the dedication ceremony on Bedloe's Island which was attended by 2,000-2,500 men. The New York State Woman Suffrage Association, unable to obtain tickets to the dedication as they were unaccompanied woman, charters a boat to view the island ceremonies from the water.
During the ceremony, Bartholdi releases the tricolor French flag draped across the Statue's face prematurely and guns sound and people begin to whistle and applaud. President Grover Cleveland formally accepts the Statue of Liberty on behalf of the United States of America as a gift of friendship from France. President Cleveland salutes Bartholdi as "the greatest man in America today."

November 1st - The fireworks display and illumination of the Statue of Liberty, cancelled on October 28 due to the inclement weather, takes place.

Hearty folks who braved the mountainous terrain to harvest the abundant forests settled Morton in the late 1880s. By 1894 Morton had grown to such an extent that it started a school, taught by a teacher who came by horse from Napavine. Thirteen students attended school at the Burnap home, a two room cabin. A dance hall was built that summer and was used as a school room until a log school was built in 1896.

Morton was plotted in 1911 by pioneers Thomas Hopgood, Robert Herselman, and Pius Cottler. Cottler was the first settler in 1877 to homestead property that now lies within the city limits of Morton. Incorporated on Jan 6, 1913 and named after the country&rsquos current Vice-President Levi Morton, the city developed into the business center for East Lewis County. Morton was named &ldquothe railroad tie capital of the world&rdquo because it housed the world&rsquos longest tie docks. The city continues today as primarily a timber based economy.

The Tacoma Eastern Railroad gave a huge boost to the growth of this rural town of only 100 people. Two trains a day arrived from Tacoma. One of the first steam powered locomotives rolled into town in 1910. About this same time a vein of cinnabar was discovered and within a few years Morton was considered the mercury capital of the United States, producing more than any other deposit in the world.

In 1924 a fire tore through town leveling 19 of the 23 businesses in the business district. A few years later in 1933, flooding caused extensive damage, yet the town of Morton preserved and continued to survive.

This community is never at a loss for stories. One that lives on is the story of T.A. &ldquoAl&rdquo Peterman who came to harvest logs from Cottler&rsquos Rock during the Great Depression. The innovative man began buying surplus trucks and modifying them so they would hold better on steep hillsides. After a few years he bought a factory in California to produce quality trucks known today as Peterbuilt Trucks. Today as you approach Morton from the west on US Hwy 12, a section of the road is referred to by the locals as Peterman Hill.

Scope and arrangement

The collection consists of correspondence, family papers, speeches, biographical materials, political memorabilia, photographs, and scrapbooks. Correspondence, 1842-1920, relates to civil reform, Morton's political campaigns, his service as Minister to France, and his activities as businessman, banker, congressman, vice-president, and governor. Also, correspondence, 1871-1915, of his wives, Lucy K. Morton and Anna Livingston Morton papers of the Morton, Parsons, Street, and Kearney families memorabilia from Morton's political campaigns and biographical sketches, speeches, photographs, and scrapbooks of clippings, 1859-1913.

The Levi Parsons Morton papers document the political and professional career, personal life, and family background of the businessman and politician. The date span of the papers is 1818-1920, with the bulk of the materials dating from the period 1878-1898. The papers include personal and professional correspondence, political and legal memoranda, biographical sketches, scrapbooks, family and genealogical papers, clippings, photographs, ephemera, and artifacts. They form an important resource for the study of American political history, the rise of American Imperialism, the financial history of the United States government, diplomacy, New York history, and the culture of the Gilded Age.

Morton's correspondence includes incoming letters from businessmen and politicians who depended on Morton's interests for their political existence. The correspondence is concentrated around Morton's political victories first to Congress in 1878, then vice-president in 1888, as governor of New York in 1895 and finally his unsuccessful bid for Republican presidential nominee in 1896. Morton's success in finance and trusted moral character was converted into political gain for the Republican Party. His correspondents during the last two decades of the nineteenth century include James G. Blaine, George Boutwell, Roscoe Conkling, Hamilton Fish, Theodore Freylinghuysen, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, Theodore A. Havemeyer, Thomas Collier Platt, Sir John Rose, Benjamin H. Tracy, Frederick W. Wurster.

The political papers include a selection of documents relevant to Morton's political career. The biographical materials contain manuscript, printed and typed biographies of Morton, as well as personal reminiscences by Morton himself, his colleagues and daughter. The family and genealogical papers consist of printed family histories as well as original documents from the nineteenth century. There are photographs of Morton and his family and a collection of political memorabilia. The 1888 presidential campaign is well documented in buttons, ribbons, and programs of the inaugural celebration. Pamphlets are also included from ceremonies in both France and New York celebrating the gift and construction of Bartholdi's Statue of Liberal Enlightening the World. The scrapbooks include clippings from newspapers in New York and around the country which mention Morton's name, financial dealings or political decisions. They are a useful research tool for the period, covering such topics as finance, national politics and international affairs.

The Levi P. Morton papers are arranged in seven series:

Morton's correspondence is arranged chronologically and consists chiefly of incoming letters. The earliest letters are from his parents, Daniel O. Morton and Lucretia (Parsons) Morton. However, the bulk of the correspondence dates from the years of Morton's political career. Politicians wrote confidentially to Morton, from the 1870s, as he began to play a larger role in New York City and national politics. Thus the correspondence provides context to the political decision making of the Republican party of New York at a time when it held a direct influence on national affairs. Letters include comments on speeches and hints at the motivation behind negotiations missing from the public record.

Beginning in 1876, there are notes relative to the announcement of Morton's run for the 11th Congressional District of New York City. Remarkable correspondence relates to Morton's diplomatic position in Paris, including a document of June 1883 featuring the signatures of American citizens in Paris. From 1888 are found letters to Morton from American political and social dignitaries congratulating him on the success of the 1888 presidential campaign. Beginning in June 1888, the series includes typed transcriptions, added to the collection by Prof. Robert McNutt McElroy, and of letters by Morton to Benjamin Harrison held in the Harrison manuscripts collection at the Library of Congress. There are also many congratulatory letters received upon his election as governor of New York in 1894.

Of particular note are the letters addressed to Governor Morton concerning the consolidation of New York City. Letters were received from Brooklyn's mayor Frederick Wurster, from St. Clair McKelway, editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, and from Senator Luxow of the New York State legislature from civic groups such as the Loyal League of Brooklyn and the City Club of New York, and various ranking Republican party members from the city and state including Republican party boss, Thomas C. Platt. The plan for consolidation had been advanced by Andrew H. Green in 1868 to combine the territories of Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island and was endorsed by New York Mayor Abram S. Hewitt in 1888. Republican politicians, in control of the state and city by 1896, saw consolidation as politically advantageous. Despite vetoes by the mayors of New York and Brooklyn, Morton signed consolidation in to effect, making New York the largest and most populous city in the United States.

The seven letter books contain Morton's outgoing correspondence from two periods in his career. The two letter books covering the years 1881 and 1884-1885 contain letters regarding confidential business matters exchanged with partner George Bliss. The remaining five letter books, 1895-1896, include official and confidential letters composed by Morton and his private secretary, Gen. Ashley W. Cole, while Governor of New York. Much of the communication is with city and state officials. Issues covered include the Brooklyn Charities Bill, the Raines Bill, the Albany Police Bill and the Greater New York Bill, as well as appointments to and administration of the Forestry Commission, Quarantine Commission, Bronx River Sewer and Highway Commission, the Prison Commission and offices of the coroner and state historian. There is also confidential correspondence addressed to Thomas C. Platt at his office at 49 Broadway, New York City.

Morton's social correspondence, filed separately at the end of the series, contains invitations to dinners and the opera which the Mortons received, as well as responses to invitations to parties held at the American legation in Paris. The correspondence, in French, is often addressed to Mrs. Anna Livingston Morton. Other letters to Morton's first and second wives are filed in the family and genealogical papers.

A collection of somewhat random documents saved by Morton's family have been gathered here as "political papers." They are grouped into four sections corresponding to the offices held by Morton as Congressman, Minister to France, Vice-President, and Governor of New York. The documents include bills, programs, appointments, addresses, resolutions, protocols, and reports. Notable documents include the program of the International Congress of Electricity held in Paris in 1881, a manuscript copy of Morton's speech dedicating the buildings of the 1892 Chicago World Fair, a report of the Tenement House Committee inscribed by the chairman, Richard Watson Gilder, to Governor Morton, and documents comprising the governor's dossier for the bill consolidating Greater New York.

The biographical materials include manuscript, printed and typed biographies of Morton, in addition to personal reminiscences by Morton, his colleagues, and his daughter, Edith Eustis. There are also letters addressed to Morton's daughter from individuals who wished to write biographies of the one time vice-president of the United States. Other materials include a cigarette package insert with a biographical sketch of Morton and a program from his memorial service.

The family and genealogical papers include histories of the Morton, Parsons and other families researched and collected during his lifetime. The series includes information connecting Morton to his first American ancestor, George Morton, a character of import to the local history of colonial Massachusetts and its territories in Maine. Family history was of enough importance to Levi Parsons Morton to influence his purchase of a will signed by John Morton, May 1, 1713, in "Middleborough county of Plymouth in New England" and a summons to witnesses signed by John Morton, November, 8, 1766 as Sheriff of the County of Chester, Pennsylvania. Other original documents include his sermons, letters and notes created by members of the Morton and Parsons families, including his father, Daniel O. Morton, and Levi Parsons, the missionary and uncle of Morton's mother. Correspondence of Morton's wives, Lucy Kimball Morton and Anna Livingston Street Morton, is also present here.

This series contains chiefly photographs of the Morton and his family taken during the 1880s while Morton was serving as foreign minister in Paris. There are also two daguerreotypes of Morton's parents.

The ephemera and artifacts include autographs, badges, political memorabilia, clippings, books, gifts, and artifacts from Morton's career in politics.

Morton's scrapbooks include a near comprehensive collection of clippings concerning his professional and political career. The scrapbooks are arranged chronologically and include multiple newspapers clippings for every day that Morton's name appeared in the newspapers.

Morton was first settled in 1871 by James Fletcher. It was later named after Benjamin Harrison's Vice President, Levi P. Morton, [5] [6] in 1889. Morton was officially incorporated on January 7, 1913. Historic sources of revenue included logging, harvesting of cascara bark, and mining for cinnabar (mercury ore) in local mines. Morton was once known as the "tie mill capital of the world" in the 1950s. The longest railroad tie dock in the world ran along the railroad tracks east of Morton. [7]

The Loggers Jubilee has been held every year since 1937 or 1938. [8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.83 square miles (2.15 km 2 ), of which 0.82 square miles (2.12 km 2 ) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km 2 ) is water. [10]

Climate Edit

This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Morton has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps. [11]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1930461 −11.7%
1940778 68.8%
19501,140 46.5%
19601,183 3.8%
19701,134 −4.1%
19801,264 11.5%
19901,130 −10.6%
20001,045 −7.5%
20101,126 7.8%
2019 (est.)1,199 [3] 6.5%
U.S. Decennial Census [12]
2018 Estimate [13]

2010 census Edit

As of the census [2] of 2010, there were 1,126 people, 461 households, and 283 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,373.2 inhabitants per square mile (530.2/km 2 ). There were 535 housing units at an average density of 652.4 per square mile (251.9/km 2 ). The racial makeup of the city was 94.2% White, 0.5% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 1.8% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.

There were 461 households, of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.4% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.6% were non-families. 29.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.83.

The median age in the city was 46.3 years. 20.3% of residents were under the age of 18 8.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24 19.5% were from 25 to 44 25.8% were from 45 to 64 and 26.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.

President Harrison connection was VP Morton

The column in this space of Jan. 27, told about the president of the United States coming to Saranac Lake with the official role of dedicating the new high school. It was located where the beautiful, restored Hotel Saranac stands today.

Of course, I wondered aloud, eh, I mean in print, asking who had the political pull to bring the President of the United States here to dedicate the high school?

Well, thanks again to my loyal and dedicated readers, I soon found out. The following information came after a phone call from Henry D. “Buz” Graves Jr., who lives just outside the village.

Now, fasten your seat belts … the Adirondack Great Camp on Eagle Island was built by Levi P. Morton in 1903. He served as Vice President to President Harrison and later was elected governor of New York state. Henry Graves Jr., great-grandfather to the above-mentioned Henry D. Graves Jr., bought Eagle Island from Gov. Morton in 1910 … here is the story as told to me by the present Mr. Graves:

“Our area has been the place for the rich, well-connected and politically situated would go to retreat and mingle and recover.

“One ends up like an octopus studying all the different people who lived here year ’round or seasonal.

“My focus is on Eagle Island and its history due to my family spending time there. To me the history includes pre and post succession.

“Levi P. Morton (1828-1920) purchased Eagle Island in 1903 and sold it to Henry Graves, Jr., and his wife, Florence, in 1910 after they rented the camp for a few years.

Levi Morton was a member of the House of Representatives from New York and Minister to France 1879-1881 and 1881-1885 respectively. While in France Levi was instrumental in engineering the Statue of Liberty being brought to the United States in 1885. The stature arrived unassembled, in New York, in 214 packing cases.

“Levi Morton was the 22nd Vice President of the U.S. from 1889-1893. He was governor of the state of New York from 1895 to 1897. As you know, Levi’s running mate was Benjamin Harrison who was the grandson of President William Henry Harrison.

“While building the Eagle Island Camp Levi Morton lived in Pine Brook Camp on the main island that had also been designed and built by William Coulter, whose work has been described as ‘mature Adirondack rustic style.’ William Coulter also built camps Moss Ledge and Santanoni.

“When Henry Graves bought Eagle Island he was an industrialist and time piece collector with interests in banking and railroads.

“After the tragic loss of his two sons, Henry Graves III and George C. Graves, Mr. Graves decided to sell the island. The Girl Scouts of the Oranges, New Jersey agreed to purchase the island but realized there would be no money to run the camp. As the story goes, Mr. Graves offered to ‘gift’ the camp and its contents to the Girl scouts which took place in 1937. In 1938 the camp opened and closed its doors after the 2008 camping year. The camp provided exceptional camping and leadership training. Because it is an island, boating, sailing, canoe and kayaking and swimming were popular. Other activities included, but not limited to, canoe camping, hiking, mountain climbing, arts and crafts, singing and play production.”

Background on Eagle Island

Historic Saranac Lake Wiki site has this to say:

“In 1910 financier Henry Graves, Jr., of New York City and Orange New Jersey bought the camp from Morton after leasing it for two summers. He bought it complete with its furnishings, including Gustave Stickley furniture and fine oriental carpets. Graves added a second boat house to house his four motorboats, four canoes and four guide boats. In 1937 after their two adult sons died in separate automobile accidents, the Graves family gave the island to the Maplewood-South Orange, New Jersey Girl Scout Council.

“New York Times – Saranac Inn, N.Y. July 25 – Ex-Gov. Levi P. Morton has joined Mrs. Morton and Miss Morton at the new Morton camp, on Eagle Island, in the Upper Saranac Lake. The Morton Camp is connected with the outside world by its individual telephone and telegraph wires, which are carried in cables laid through the waters of the lake to the island. Another feature is an electric plant, which furnishes light for the buildings and supplies many large lamps along the boat landing.” (1903)

A very condensed version of what has now transpired – The Girl Scouts did not open for the summer season of 2009 and the Council voted to sell the camp. ‘Friends of Eagle Island’ was formed to oppose the sale and in 2015 an anonymous donation allowed the Friends to purchase the island. The Graves family had intended that the island be used for a children’s camp in perpetuity. The group hopes to reopen the island as a girls’ camp in 2018.

[In the late 1940’s I worked at Eagle Island for camp caretaker Tom Dacey, cleaning up preceding the camp opening. I was in my teens and out of high school. There was repair work going on at the camp and supplies were brought across the lake on a metal barge lashed to a 30 foot wooden boat. I rode across with the workers a couple of times and was frightened the way it would roll in the big waves. I found a better summer job and the day after I quit at Eagle Island the barge capsized and two people drowned. I won’t go into detail with the names because I have written about this before.]

The Torah suggests that the name Levi refers to Leah's hope for Jacob to join with her, implying a derivation from yillaweh, meaning he will join, but scholars suspect that it may simply mean priest, either as a loan word from the Minaean lawi'u, meaning priest, or by referring to those people who were joined to the ark of the covenant. Another possibility is that the Levites originated as migrants, and that the name Levites indicates their joining with either the Israelites in general, or the earlier Israelite priesthood in particular. [3] In the Book of Jubilees 28:14-15 it says that Levi was born "in the new moon of the first month", which means that he was born on 1 Nissan. [4]

In the Book of Genesis, Levi and his brother, Simeon, exterminate the city of Shechem in revenge for the rape of Dinah, seizing the wealth of the city and killing the men. [5] The brothers had earlier misled the inhabitants by consenting to Dinah's rapist marrying her in exchange for the men of the city to be circumcised, and when Jacob hears about their destruction of Shechem, he castigates them for it. [6] In the Blessing of Jacob, Jacob is described as imposing a curse on the Levites, by which they would be scattered, in punishment for Levi's actions in Shechem. [7] Some textual scholars date the Blessing of Jacob to a period between just one and two centuries prior to the Babylonian captivity, and some Biblical scholars regard this curse, and Dinah herself as an aetiological postdiction to explain the fates of the tribe of Simeon and the Levites, with one possible explanation of the Levites' scattered nature being that the priesthood was originally open to any tribe, but gradually became seen as a distinct tribe itself. [3] Nevertheless, Isaac, Levi's grandfather, gives a special blessing about the lineage of priests of God. [8]

In the Book of Genesis, Levi is described as having fathered three sons—Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. [9] A similar genealogy is given in the Book of Exodus, where it is added that among Kohath's sons was one—Amram—who married a woman named Jochebed, who was closely related to his father, and they were the biological parents of Moses, Aaron, and Miriam [10] though some Greek and Latin manuscripts of the Torah state that Jochebed was Amram's father's cousin, the Masoretic Text states that she was his father's sister, [11] and the Septuagint mentions that she was one of his father's sisters. The Masoretic Text's version of Levi's genealogy thus implies (and in Numbers 26:59, explicitly states) that Levi also had a daughter (Jochebed), and the Septuagint implies further daughters. The names of Levi's sons, and possible daughter, are interpreted in classical rabbinical literature as being reflections on their future destiny. [12] In some apocryphal texts such as the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the Book of Jubilees, Levi's wife, his children's mother, is named as Milkah, a daughter of Aram. [13] [14]

Family tree Edit

Sarah [15] Abraham Hagar Haran
Ishmael Milcah Lot Iscah
Ishmaelites 7 sons [16] Bethuel 1st daughter 2nd daughter
Isaac Rebecca Laban Moabites Ammonites
Esau Jacob Rachel
Edomites Zilpah
1. Reuben
2. Simeon
3. Levi
4. Judah
9. Issachar
10. Zebulun
Dinah (daughter)
7. Gad
8. Asher
5. Dan
6. Naphtali
11. Joseph
12. Benjamin

Jacob Leah
Gershon Kohath Merari
Libni Shimei Izhar Hebron Uzziel Mahli Mushi
Jochebed Amram Mishael Elzaphan Zithri
Miriam Aaron Moses Zipporah
Gershom Eliezer

In accordance with his role as founder of the Levites, Levi is referred to as being particularly pious. The Blessing of Moses, which some textual scholars attribute to a period just before the deuteronomist, speaks about Levi via an allegorical comparison to Moses himself, [17] which hagaddah take to support the characterisation of Levi (and his progeny) as being by far the greatest of his brothers in respect to piety. The apocryphal Prayer of Asenath, which textual scholars believe dates from some time after the first century AD (scholarship in regards to the dating is currently quite contentious, with dates ranging from near the first century, to the fourth or fifth centuries), [3] describes Levi as a prophet and saint, able to forecast the future, understand heavenly writings (astrology? weather trends?), and someone who admonishes the people to be forgiving, as well as in awe of God. The Book of Malachi argues that the Levites were chosen by Yahweh to be the priests, because Levi as minister of God, [18] was specified only the true religious regulations, was reverent, revered Yahweh, was in awe of the God's name, upheld peace, was a model of good morality, and turned many people from sin. [19]

Testament of Levi Edit

The Testament of Levi is believed to have been written between 153 BC and 107 BC, and closer to the latter date. [20] On his deathbed, Levi gathered all his children to narrate the story of his life to them, and prophesied unto them what they would do, and what would happen to them until judgment day. He also told them that God had chosen him and his seed as priest of Lord unto eternity. [21] In this testament, Levi is described as having had two visions. The first vision covered eschatological issues, portraying the seven heavens, the Jewish Messiah, and Judgement Day. The second vision portrays seven angels bringing Levi seven insignia signifying priesthood, prophecy, and judgement in the vision, after the angels anoint Levi, and initiate him as a priest, they tell him of the future of his descendants, mentioning Moses, the Aaronid [22] priesthood, and a time when there would be priest-kings this latter point was of particular interest to the Maccabean period of John Hyrcanus, who was both a high priest, and warrior-king.

The Book of Jubilees similarly has Isaac telling Levi of the future of his descendants, again predicting priesthood, prophets, and political power, [23] and additionally describes Jacob as entrusting Levi with the secrets of the ancients, so that they would be known only to the Levites [24] however, like the Testament of Levi, the Book of Jubilees is regarded as a Maccabean-era document. [3]

This Place in History: Levi P. Morton

At ‘This Place in History’, we stop in Shoreham with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins, who introduced us to native Levi Morton, born in 1824.

“He’s one of those classic, self-made guys. He was born to a reverend, who was a reverend at the church here behind us in 1824 and grew up in Shoreham. Then, later he moved to Springfield, Vermont. His parents couldn’t really afford to send him to college, so he learned a trade. He started working in country stores. He worked his way up from a clerk to a manager to, let’s call it a branch manager, for a store in Hanover, New Hampshire,” explained Perkins.

“He ended up owning a series of stores, then he started trading in dry goods and textiles, even across the Atlantic Ocean. That turned into such a large enterprise, that he founded an investment bank. Now, all of this is happening around the time of the American Civil War and shortly after. This transatlantic banking made a ton of money for a lot of people. Morton was one of them. Another guy you made have heard of was J. Pierpont Morgan and his father, the House of Morgan. They were huge bankers. We called these guys ‘robber barons’ of the day. Morton was one of them. He ended up living in Manhattan. He had a beautiful home in Rhinebeck and a cottage in Newport.”

“He decided to shift his eyes towards politics. He was a congressman first from New York, representing Manhattan. He was a ‘big wig’ in the Republican Party. He ended up becoming Harrison’s running mate. So he was elected in 1888 and became Vice President in 1889, serving for one term. Then, he came back to New York and ended up running for governor and served a term, as well. He also in there served as Ambassador to France and then lived out the rest of his life as a country gentleman,” said Perkins.

“I did do a little digging in the Historical Society Archives and I thought this was safe enough to bring out on a snowy day. This is an election medal for when Harrison and Morton were elected President and Vice President. They would hand these out. So it has Washington D.C. on one side, and then this really cool double portrait of both Harrison and Morton on the other side. A little bit of presidential politics right here in Vermont!” concluded Perkins.

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Levi Morton - History

Details of broken shackle and chain.

Translated, the Deed of Gift (reproduced above) reads:

The Fourth of July, 1884, Anniversary Day of American Independence.

In presence of M. Jules Ferry, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France, and President of the Council of Ministers.

Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, in the name of the Committee of the Franco-American Union, and of the national manifestation of which that Committee has been the organ, has presented the colossal statue of "Liberty Enlightening the World," the work of the sculptor Bartholdi, to His Excellency, Mr. Morton, United States Minister at Paris, praying him to be the interpreter of the national sentiment of which this work is the expression.

Mr. Morton, in the name of his compatriots, thanks the Franco-American Union for this testimony of sympathy from the French people he declares that, in virtue of the powers conferred upon him by the President of the United States, and the Committee of Work in America, represented by its honorable president, Mr. William M. Evarts, he accepts the statue, and that it shall be erected in conformity with the vote of Congress of the 22nd of February, 1877 in the harbor of New York, as a souvenir of the unalterable friendship of the two nations.

In faith of which there have signed:

In the name of France:
Jules Ferry—Jules Brisson.

In name of the Committee of the Franco-American Union:
Ferdinand de Lesseps—Edmond de Lafayette.

In name of the United States:
Levi P. Morton.

Above is a reproduction of the proces-verbal, signed by those taking part in the presentation of the Statue of Liberty by France to the United States in Paris, July 4, 1884.

When the Statue of Liberty was shipped to the United States and erected on its pedestal at Bedloe's Island, in 1886, photographs, which are now in the Library of Congress, of both Deed of Gift and the proces-verbal were sent with it. The originals are in the Paris Archives.

Levi Morton - History

Extremely bold signature of Morton on a card

Levi Parsons Morton, 1824�. Vice President of the United States, 1889&ndash1893 Governor of New York, 1895&ndash1896. Bold signature, Levi P. Morton / March 10, 1895, on a card.

Morton has signed this 2¼&rdquo x 3½&rdquo card two months into his term as the Governor of New York. An ally of powerful New York political boss Roscoe Conkling, Morton turned down the Republican vice presidential nomination at Conkling&rsquos urging when James A. Garfield offered it to him in 1880. But he accepted the nomination to run with Benjamin Harrison in 1888 and served one term as Vice President under Harrison. He did not seek renomination in 1892, largely because Harrison disliked him, but he won the New York governorship in 1894 and served a term as Governor.

Morton died on his 96th birthday, making him the second-longest living Vice President in American history. Only John Nance Garner, Franklin D. Roosevelt&rsquos first Vice President, who died fifteen days short of his 99th birthday, lived longer.

Morton has signed this card and dated it in dark black ink. The card has a bit of soiling and an old collector&rsquo number in pencil at the lower left. There are mounting traces in the corners on the back. Overall the card is in fine condition.

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