William Inglis Morse (1874-1952), historian, author and minister of the Episcopal Church, was a descendant of Samuel Morse, a pre-Loyalist, who came to Annapolis, Nova Scotia, in 1760. William was born at Paradise, Nova Scotia, the son of Joseph Morse and Almira (Phinney) Morse. He was educated at Horton Academy and Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He served as rector of the Church of the Incarnation, Lynn, Massachusetts, from 1905-1930. Many local family names are found within this collection, in particular Gates and Ryerson. Edwin Gates was appointed high sheriff of Annapolis County in August of 1896 and he held that office for many years. His ancestor, Jonas Gates (c.1746-1823), had received a grant in the Township of Annapolis in 1765. Edwin Gates married Horatia Ryerson, a descendant of the Loyalist, Francis Ryerson (Ryarson), and they had five children: John, Francis, George, Martin and Ann. Francis, John and George all received land grants in Clements Township in 1784. Martin Gates married into the VanBuskirk family, and the children of Francis Gates, i.e. John, Simeon, Stephen, Delancey, George, Elizabeth and Frances, married into the following families: Ruggles, VanBuskirk, Killam, Harris, Easson and LeCain (Cain).
The collection consists of a wide variety of materials relating to Annapolis County and the Annapolis Valley area of Nova Scotia. At the beginning of Volume 714 there are deeds and land transactions relating, chiefly, to Francis Ryerson and family, 1792-1870; voters' lists for Annapolis County and Middleton, 1824 and 1909; pamphlets dealing with the Methodist Church, 1885-1886; other printed material on the Paradise and Clarence Seminaries, 1860; Cherry Valley (New York) Female Academy, 1856-1857; the journals of Madam Knight, 1704; the private journals kept by Rev. Mr. Buckingham, minister of the Presbyterian church in Hartford, Connecticut, of the Expedition against Canada in the years 1710 and 1711; and a letter and agreement between William H. Morrell and Joseph Howe, 1866. Volumes 714-716 concern Edwin Gates and include: official and private correspondence, 1825-1899; documents and records related to his position as sheriff, such as warrants, letters, appraisals, summons for witnesses, bills, memoranda, lists, receipts and notices, as well as business records, 1897-1913; court documents, including Annapolis County writs of execution, supreme and county courts, 1882-1913; warrants for arrest, 1892-1910; official writs of summons, county court, 1892-1912; official subpoenas, bonds and attachments, 1892-1909; orders for sale or foreclosure, notices of sheriff's sales, 1895-1912; bills of sale, mortgages, etc., 1891-1907; letters for executions, writs, etc., and jurors' lists, 1892-1912. Other miscellaneous documents include the incorporation of Annapolis Royal and Bridgetown, 1892-1897; nomination papers of J. Wilberforce Longley, 1896; official venires for petit jury and grand jury, 1899-1912; ledger, 1884-1903; account of writs of summons and executions served, 1890-1901; and the appointment of Edwin Gates as deputy sheriff, 1884.Volume 717 contains miscellaneous papers relating chiefly to the Ryerson family, 1784-1882, and includes deeds, wills, petitions, bonds, maps, surveys, appointments, etc. Family names, not already mentioned, that are found in the collection are: Barclay, Bowlby, Buller, Daniels, Delancey, Fleet, Gesner(Gisner), Gilpin, Harris, Hunt, Millidge, Milner, Mortgan, Phinney, Pickel, Ritchie, Thorn, and Willett.