Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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MOREY, Samuel, inventor, born in Hebron, Connecticut, 23 October, 1762; died in Fairlee, Vermont, 17 April, 1843. He was a son of Israel Morey, who moved with his family from Hebron to Orford, New Hampshire, in 1766. The son was endowed with great ingenuity and superior mechanical and scientific talents. He acquired large landed estates on both sides of Connecticut river, at Orford, New Hampshire, and Fairlee, Vermont The last seven years of his life were spent on his Fairlee estate, where for many years he had been extensively engaged in lumbering. There his engineering skill is traceable in the remains of chutes built on West mountains to slide the pine logs from inaccessible steeps to Fairlee pond years before Napoleon procured lumber in the Alps by the same means. When an attempt was made to open the Connecticut to navigation from Windsor, Connecticut, to Olcott's Falls, Lebanon, New Hampshire, he planned and built the locks at Bellows Falls. As early as 1780 he began to devote his time to the investigation of steam, heat, and light. He was early in correspondence with Professor Benjamin Silliman, of Yale college, and contributed articles to the "Journal of Science," in which he described a revolving steam-engine, patented by him, 14 July, 1815. As early as 1790 Captain Mercy turned his attention to the matter of " improving the steam-engine, and in applying it to the purpose of propelling boats," at Orford, New Hampshire, on the Connecticut. He built a boat and placed in it a steam-engine of his own manufacture, and with one companion navigated the river at a speed of four miles an hour. The boat was propelled by a paddle-wheel in the prow. When arrangements were sufficiently matured for exhibition, he went to New York, on request, built a boat, and spent three successive summers there in experimenting with it and propelling it. Family sickness called him home, , and he had the boat taken to Hartford, Connecticut, as a more convenient place, and ran it in the presence of many persons. The next season, having made improvements in the engine, he returned to New York and applied the power to a wheel in the stern, which impelled the boat at a speed of about five miles an hour. With this steamboat he made a trial-trip from the ferry to Greenwich and back, accompanied by Chancellor Robert R. Livingston and others, who expressed great satisfaction at the boat's performance. Chancellor Livingston had visited Mercy at Orford, where he had seen and ridden in his first steamboat; and, at Livingston's request and expense, Morey visited him at Clermont. Morey continued his experiments another suInmer, encouraged by the chancellor's promises that, if he succeeded in running the boat eight miles an hour, he would give him a considerable sum, which was understood to be $100,000. For what had been accomplished Livingston offered Morev $7,000 for a patent for the North river to Amboy. Morey did not accept this offer. On 25 March, 1795, a patent was issued to Samuel Morey for a steam-engine, the power to be applied by crank motion to propel boats of any size. This patent is now in the custody of the New Hampshire historical society, in Concord. The patent-office records show that on 27 March, 1799, and 17 November, 1800, patents were issued to Morey for the application of steam, and another in 1803 for a steam-engine. Morey continued his exertions, and in June, 1797, built another steamboat at Bordentown, New Jersey, on the Delaware, which he propelled by means of two paddle-wheels, one on each side. These wheels were more effective than any method tried, and the boat was openly exhibited in Philadelphia. By these successes Mr. Morey became widely known in New England and the middle states. From 1790 till 1820, seven or eight patents were issued to him for improvements to the steam-engine and the application of steam. Every obstacle seemed to Captain Morey to be overcome in the construction of steamboats on a large scale, and arrangements were made with capitalists to put steamboats into practical operation, but a series of misfortunes to him and others deprived them of the means of prosecuting their design.
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