Morehouse of Jersey City New Jersey is an enigma. These checks are very old. My two examples are true antiques. One example has the railroad name in an arc. This is a very early style of lettering. I will hazard to speculate that checks with arc lettering is pre 1870. This would have been a very difficult task for the die setter to accomplish. Note that the easiest way to identify a Morehouse tag is by the unique "4".
A descendant of Morehouse has been good enough to provide additional information and the image of an old piece of advertising found below. What follows in italics is a direct quote from this descendant:
I am a descendant of T.W. Morehouse and may be able to shed some light on his business. I have a business ad he placed in a book titled "The Illustrated American Biography" published in 1855. His address is listed as No 58 Green Street. He lists himself as Manufacturer of Metallic baggage checks. I am willing to send you a scan of the ad. The ad lists over 30 railroads he made tags for and also shows some illustrations of tags - bell, shield, clover shaped. I do not know of the existence of any tags that family members have - but I will look at my mother's incase we have just overlooked them before.
I also know that your Morehouse tags had to be made before 1866 because the 1866 Jersey City directory lists Thomas as selling stoves at 142 Greene street but also lists his wife Ann M. as Widow of Thomas W. tinware at 142 Greene street. He is not listed in the 1870 directory. Notice the street name spelling change. I've also seen the name spelled Moorhouse and Mohrhouse in census records.
If you have come across any information on where he came from I would love to know. I am willing to share all information that I know of T.W. with you. I do not have definite birth and death dates but the census says he was born in the state of New York.
Another characteristic of a very early check in to have different railroad names on the front and back. I have not seen any later versions with this characteristic. A later improvement was to not have to turn the check over for inspection. This would also save time in manufacturing.
Any Morehouse check can be considered to be a "real find". This type
of check is very rare and collectors put a premium on obtaining something
|Two Morehouse checks|
|The first two images are examples of a front and back for a Hudson River and Troy & Boston routing to New York. Note the interesting abbreviation of Hudson. The Morehouse hallmark is on the bottom of the second image (reverse side), which is also unusual. The second example is a beautiful "local" version for the Hudson River Railroad (the reverse is blank). Note also that the slot on the second check is slightly off center. This would also confirm an early non-efficient manufacturing process.|
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