By Bill Ladabouche



In the last few years, I have had the occasion to get my hands on a number of ancient 8MM home movie segments on early stock car racing in the Northeast. While it is probably not necessarily so, it seems like over half of this footage shows a man named Charlie Morse dominating the opposition at various tracks. I have to admit that I know very little about this man; but his excellence in those rudimentary early days of the sport parallels that of better – known legends such as Steve Danish.

Courtesy of C.J. Richards
This is the best of the few Charlie Morse photos I have. He is winning, as usual and the O.K. Rubber Welders [turns out that was what they
called recapping back then]  ad is very prominent. I think this was an Ed Winn car. Below – Perhaps only Steve Danish
was Morse’s equal in their particular racing sphere.

Danish Family Photo

I am not even sure where Morse was from; It appears as he came from the northern Massachusetts town of Williamstown. Thus far, the tracks that I have seen him racing upon include Mettawee Speedway, Granville, NY; Pico Raceway, Rutland, VT; Stateline Speedway, No. Bennington, VT; Fairmont Park Motor Speedway, Fair Haven, VT; and Rhythm Inn Speedway, Millers Falls, MA. Doubtless, he also ran at the early Lebanon Valley Speedway, West Lebanon NY; the Cheshire fairgrounds, Keene, NH; Brattleboro Speedway, West Brattleboro, VT; the old Hinsdale, NH track; the Manchester, VT fairgrounds; and numerous other Massachusetts tracks with which I don’t much familiarity yet.

From Dan Ody’s 8MM DVD
Charlie, in Victory Lane at Stateline Speedway [top] and at the old Fairmont Park Motor Speedway [bottom].

From Dan Ody's 8MM Old Speedways DVD

In most any film segments you see, Morse is featured by the camera person because he is usually way out ahead of the competition. From what I can gather, Charlie Morse did most of his racing in Ed Wynn’s #467 – usually a coupe. I was familiar with Wynn thanks to Butch Jelley, a later Wynn driver in the very late 1950’s and into the 60’s. Jelley had described Wynn to me as being like a father to him in those days. At the time of the Jelley driving stint, the yellow and white Wynn cars were the M2 [Frank Hatch, driver] and Jelley’s #Y.

Bob Frazier Photo Ladabouche Collection
Two Wynn cars winning races at C.J. Richards’ reborn Fairmont Speedway: [Above] Butch Jelley in the Y. {Below] Frank Hatch in the Mays Auto Parts M2.

Bob Frazier Photo Courtesy of C.J. Richards

I am sure that, as a small child, I must have seen Charlie Morse at either the Fairmont or the Pico track; but I cannot recall. Film footage taken by the Dave Brooks family of Manchester show Morse at Fairmont – way ahead of the competition. Other footage of Fairmont shows Charlie having close battles with the also – dominant Cropseyville, NY runner, Steve Danish. Believe me, having a close battle with Danish was very improbable, and beating him in those days was rare, indeed.

Top regional drivers in the world of Charlie Morse included Danish; Jeep Herbert, of Rotterdam, NY; Spence Parkhurst, from Saratoga Springs; Brooks, of Manchester,VT; Leon Goddard, Granby, CT; Pete Corey, Cohoes, NY; Al Parry of Saratoga; and Connecticut’s Ted Langlois.Local drivers from my area who could match up with Morse included George Rogers, Castleton, VT; Gene Tetrault of Manchester Depot, VT; and Rutland, VT drivers Jerry King and Al Romano. Racing had not quite yet broken up into the NASCAR – regulated Fonda drivers and everyone else in the northeast.

From Dan Ody’s 8MM Old Speedways DVD
Only Danish and Al Parry [Above] beat out Morse in the 1952 Stateline points battle that included a Who’s Who of area stock car drivers.
[Below] Spence Parkhurst, who usually joined Morse and Danish in heated battles at Fairmont Park Motor Speedway.

Courtesy of C.J. Richards


The Morse #467 appears in old 8MM movie footage to be either a bluish gray or silvery blue Ford coupe. Someone told me that the ever – present advertisement on the side for “O.K. Rubber Welders, North Adams, Mass.” was that of Wynn’s. The other prominent ad was for “R.C. Moore”, Williamstown, Mass.; but there is no indication if that is related to the trucking company in Maine the ownership of which has produced prominent race drivers.

It is probably no coincidence that the first time I remember seeing a car numbered 4F was at the second version of Fairmont Speedway, circa 1963. The car arrived in a dump truck and was driven by Carl Moore [no doubt, someone from that R.C. Moore family]. The Moore 4F was pretty darned racy, and the track announcer insisted that it was a Lebanon Valley car. The car and driver were either from North Adams or Williamstown, Massachusetts – the area Morse was from. The only car from that area, however bearing 4F in the earlier days was that of Phil Baker.

Courtesy of Bob Kilburn
This photo of Butch Jelley with a car numbered 467 sort of cements that connection with Morse and Winn. Jelley was a Winn driver early in his career, and Morse3 drove a 467 almost exclusively. Below - Carl Moore’s 4F prepares to leave Fairmont Speedway after races in 1963.

Ladabouche Photo


That particular version of the Morse 467’s always had a trademark tin flag sitting on the roof with the number of the car on it. Judging from the myriad dents in one segment of footage on Morse, that flag must have been flattened onto that roof at least once. That particular car was lettered roughly, likely by someone on the crew; but a photo taken by the Don LeFrancois family around 1951 at a Vermont track shows a 467 sitting on a flatbed truck with professional lettering. By now, Morse had picked up different sponsors and one ambiguous sign on the side suggested someone named Cliff Giroux might drive the car, on some occasions.

A Dave Brooks photo, which could be from as early as 1949, shows the 467 at the Manchester, VT fairgrounds track, This car was a two – tone affair and appears to be a different year of body than the typical Morse car. Racing at that location was brief because one of the Massachusetts mechanics was struck and killed by a race car and the promoter, Bob Fucci, wanted nothing more to do with racing, according to reports.

Courtesy of Bud Brooks
The earliest of 467 seems to be this one at the Manchester fairgrounds around 1949. It would be nice to know who the men are. [Below] The professionally – lettered version seen at some Fairmont races - A rare photo of this particular Morse car.

Courtesy of Mark LeFrancois.


One of my favorite Morse shots shows a 1937 Ford #467 in a darker blue, with larger numerals than the usual. Morse has worked his way under the “little red” 9Jr.of Walt Roberts and is about to distance himself from the Catskill, NY driver whom he raced at Pico and Stateline. On the front of the roof, just above the windshield, Morse and Wynn usually had some sort of hood ornament mounted. It looks in the photos to be something like a Packard ornament. This photo by Bob Hoffer, a driver from Argyle, NY, might have been snapped at the Garnsey – owned Hudson River Speedway in Schuylerville.

      Courtesy of Ron Hoffer
The Morse / Wynn entry possibly at the Schuylerville track.

Although the tow would be considerable, Morse may have run at the old McGregor Speedway, near Wilton, NY. This track was established by a group including several drivers who were known to have raced against Morse elsewhere: Smokey Stover, Parkhurst, George Baumgardner, and Jack Barney. I have never heard or read much about Charlie Morse after the end of the 1950’s. It is likely he either had to stop for some reason or – like Danish – he may have been older than many of the other drivers of that era.

Some day I will run into someone who will have a lot of information on Charlie Morse. Perhaps this blog will attract a response. Much like Howie Westervelt, many of whose wins [particularly at the Valley] have been lost in time, Morse was one of the most successful drivers in that area that encompasses southern Vermont, northern Massachusetts, and eastern New York. Like Howie, he is not getting the proper recognition for how he did back then. Hopefully, someone from his neck of the woods can lead a campaign to do something about that.

From the Lebanon Valley Classics Site
Ironically [or maybe not so ironic] Carl Moore ended up driving a 467 coupe at Lebanon Valley in the late ‘60’s. Ed Winn's name on
the side leaves little doubt about the connection. [Below] Lyle Jelley, a brother of Butch, used the 467 number on a late model in the late 1960’s.

From the Lebanon Valley Classics Site

Please email me if you have any photos to lend me or information and corrections I could benefit from. Please do not submit anything you are not willing to allow me to use on my website - and thanks. Email is: . For those who still don’t like computers - my regular address is: Bill Ladabouche, 23 York Street, Swanton, Vermont 05488.


Return to the Main Page
Return to the Main News Page
Return to the All Links Page
Return to the Weekly Blog Links Page