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Samuel Morse (1791-1872)

Morse was the founder and first president of the National Academy of Design in New York. He was a gifted and prolific painter of portraits and historical scenes. However, this aspect of his life has been completely overshadowed by his invention of the telegraph and the ‘Morse Code’ (which he devised for use with the telegraph). These inventions were the product of his keen interest in electricity. Morse was a profoundly religious man, a fact reflected in the first message which he transmitted between Washington and Baltimore on 24 May 1844: ‘What hath God wrought?’ His Ulster-Scots ancestors hailed from Mullabrack, County Armagh.

Further reading: Kenneth Silverman, Lightning Man: The Accursed Life of Samuel F. B. Morse (2008).

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