Samuel F. B. Morse Dispatches the First Telegraphic Message

On May 24, 1844, Samuel F. B. Morse dispatched the first telegraphic message over an experimental line from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.

The message, taken from the Bible, Numbers 23:23 and recorded on a paper tape, had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellsworth, the young daughter of a friend.

Morse is best known as the inventor of the telegraph, but he is also esteemed for his contributions to American portraiture. His painting is characterized by delicate technique and vigorous honesty and insight into the character of his subjects

An impressive demonstration occurred on May 1, 1844, when news of the Whig Party's nomination of Henry Clay for U.S. President was telegraphed from the party's convention in Baltimore to the Capitol Building in Washington.[8]. On May 24, 1844, the line was officially opened as Morse sent the famous words "What hath God wrought" from the B&O's Mount Clare Station in Baltimore to the Capitol Building along the wire.[8] These words were taken from the Bible (Numbers 23:23) and were selected by Annie Ellsworth, the daughter of U.S. Patent Commissioner Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, who had championed Morse's invention and secured early funding for it.

At about the time my father was a young practicing physician in Missouri, Samuel Morse's electric telegraph was becoming an increasingly useful and important new development. A net work of lines was being extended in all directions…. The miracle of electricity as applied to the clacking telegraph key and sounder, so absorbed my father that he… knew that he could never be fully satisfied until he had, for awhile at least, devoted his entire time to the telegraph…. it wasn't long until my father was known throughout Missouri as an expert and soon his services were in demand. When the Western Union Telegraph Company thrust their history-making first transcontinental wire through the Rockies, my father was on the payroll as an installation engineer and operator.”

— Occupational and Medical Lore

What hath God wraught?”

— First Telegraphic Message