Perhaps a White?

Mark Neuzil

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The brass plate on this Morris-style canoe reads #241. There are only three numbers, which is stumping me. The seller says it has been in the family 20 years and that's all she knew about it. They lived in west-central Minnesota.
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Wow. Even I'm excited and I'm just learning about Morris canoes. I'm laughing cause I did take a nice close look at the rail cap on the short deck. A very low number with a rectangular tag on the splayed stem. I zoomed in on the pic and it sure looks like there aren't any other numbers hiding.

Here's a link to the Morris S/N database if you haven't seen it.
I've got no better photographs of the tag. And the fellow who looked at the boat after me bought it. I checked all the usual spots for serial numbers, names, decals, etc.
AHA! Buyer just emailed me. After scraping varnish, the real # is 12416, which makes it about a 1915 Morris, correct?

Dan, it was in Richfield. Had a cool bullet hole in the hull, which would have been heck to fix.

I passed on it because... Um... I didn't get the vibe when I saw it. Or something.
Morris c.1915, yes... and that orientation of the serial number plate is seen from about 1912-1916... one factory-worker's personal "stamp"!

If a Morris canoe has a low serial number (genuinely low and not as this one was) and the number is on a rectangular plate with clipped corners that is on the stem, then it's a Veazie Canoe Company canoe-- or a factory-direct Morris, possibly trimmed in hardwood other than mahogany (rather like CS grade, but the buyer could opt for mahogany trim). If the real number was 241 we could have suspected it was a Veazie and been able to put it in the c. 1912-1916 range because of the orientation of the plate.

Veazies in the teens usually have the curved Morris deck... early Veazies (1905-1911-ish) have the curved deck with the extra 'keyhole" cut out. There is one suspected Veazie with a heart deck though. They may have used what was available. I've seen two Veazies with mahogany decks, maple thwarts and seat frames and spruce rails that were all stained the mahogany color... both had low serial numbers on the stem.

Anyway-- this canoe appears to be a full-fledged BN Morris... I just wanted everyone to know that very low serial numbers exist on both the BN Morris and Veazie canoes-- the lowest are two-digit but I'm assuming there were lower numbers that that... and then there are the ones with no s/n plate.

The open gunwale on a BN Morris with a low s/n would be odd as MGC says, as the open gunwale didn't come into being until about 1905... so if 241 had been the number, there'd be another reason to suspect it was a Veazie and not a BN Morris.

And a Veazie IS a Morris... it's just Bert and Charlie's way of offering a second-grade canoe while maintaining that all BN Morris canoes are first-grade... and by-passing the dealerships.

Richfield!!! :)

How or where was is advertized? I don't remember seeing it. Or maybe I've just been too distracted lately.

CL for a few days. I finally got time to go over and see it and two guys came after me. The second guy bought it. No one had looked at it prior to me.
So I have to ask, what did he want for it?

Oh, are you looking for a project? if so, I have several I would part with.


Ya, I knew it would be something like that. Wonder who got it.
The last one I saw in the area was in poor condition and they wanted/got $800 plus for it.

There are a number of W/C folks here in the Cities, many that I've never met/heard of, I just know they are out there.


Wouldn't that Kennebec style cap on top of the inwale/outwale at the stems tell you this one was a Morris built by Kennebec?

Have a Morris 15xxx with the same caps. All other features distinctively Morris. There may have bee more to the Morris/Kennebec connection. For example, some accessories are essentially identical in catalogs- like backrests. So similar caps appear to have been used by both.

Hi Hector,

Yes, Morris and Kennebec used the same supplier for accessories, and it seems back then the various canoe builders looked over each other's shoulders from time to time and used each other's ideas.

Kennebec received hulls from Morris and finished them as Kennebecs (so there are Kennebec canoes with splayed stems).

I've poured through the genealogy of the families and can't see that there was a marital connection... so perhaps there was friendship and camaraderie going on... we know some builders had "secret recipes" for fillers, but maybe canoe construction has always been a friendly thing, the way it is now with WCHA members!

Hi Paul-- Sorry I didn't see your question until after posting re Hector's and then my computer decided to go on a brief vacation.

Morris certainly came up with the gunwale detail before Kennebec did, as Morris was in business nearly 20 years before Kennebec. But as far as I know (which isn't as far as others perhaps), all Morris did was provide hulls from time to time, and didn't do any of the finishing.

It's my belief that Bert and Charles Morris didn't especially like the look of the open gunwale and devised the trim as a way to ease the eye from the deck to the open part of the rails. We know Morris provided hulls for Kennebec in 1910-- so, early-on the Kennebec fellas were looking over the shoulders of the guys at Morris, perhaps taking note of details like that rail cap detail... which became one of their signatures. Morris didn't build many open gunwale canoes, but Kennebec did... and they were in business twenty years after Morris... so, that gunwale trim became identified with them. It's used by some other builders too and probably someone will have pictures.

Kennebec - Morris connection

We know Morris provided hulls for Kennebec in 1910

I am just curious about this. Do we know this, and if we do, how is it documented?

A few weeks ago, I posted the serial number of a Kennebec built in 1912 with a splayed cedar stem. It showed up on the ledgers with about 22 other canoes with cedar stems.

Dan responded that there are no notations in the ledgers indicating they came from Morris.

With that many canoes being built with cedar stems, I'm inclined to think that someone at Kennebec liked to build them that way or had Morris training.