Engaged in shipping business while in college, 1873-1877. Formed C. W. Morse & Company, ice and lumber shipping firm. Moved to Wall St., New York City, 1897, organized Consolidated Ice Company, merged with other companies to form American Ice Company, 1899.
Manipulated stock through Ice Securities Corporation (holding company), made over $12,000,000 before irregularities and corruption ended his company’s control of ice market. Formed Consolidated S.S. Company, 1905, had near monopoly of shipping along Atlantic coast by 1907, came to be called “Admiral of the Atlantic Coast”. Gained partial control (with F. A. Heinze and E. R. Thomas) of 12 New York banks including Bank of North America, Merc.
National Bank; investigated and indicted (with associate) as result of panic of 1907, imprisoned Atlanta (Georgia) Penitentiary, 1910-1912. Retained H. M. Daughtery (later attorney general under Harding) for fee of $5,000 to help secure his release from prison. Pardoned by President Taft on report that he was dying (actually had drunk mixture of chemicals and soapsuds calculated to produce grave symptoms).
His Hudson Navigation Company was sued for unfair competition, 1915. Proposed organization of a transoceanic shipping company, 1916. Contracted by Shipping Board to build 36 ships during World War I, borrowed capital to build ships from Emergency Fleet Corporation.
Indicted for conspiracy to defraud government when an investigation after the war revealed that he had used much of borrowed money to build shipyards instead of ships. Also indicted for using mails to defraud prospective United States steamship investors. United States Government was awarded $11,500,000 from his Virginia Shipbuilding Company, 1925.
Placed under guardianship of probate court of Bath, 1926.
Born October 21, 1856
Died January 12, 1933