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Sentimental Sunday- Murrell Family Bible, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Murrell Family Bible
Edith Roberts Luck, c1970
Edith Roberts Luck, c1970

I was never close to my grandmother when a child- she adored my sister and brother, but thought that my youngest brother and I were spoiled and she did fuss at us quite a lot. She loved talking about her family history, though, so even as a young girl, I realized that was one way to have good experiences with her. (I really was interested, too; thankfully we became close in her later years.) I can remember climbing the steep steps to the hot attic- the door is seen just to the left in this photo- with its old smell and intriguing items from the past. The house was a small 1920s bungalow, by then 40 years old, with beautiful Arts & Crafts wide woodwork and a breakfast nook. We always visited in August- there was no air conditioning until later years, and Iowa does have hot summers! (Very cold winters too- a wonder all that paper survived so well.) But Grandma’s house will always be a special place in my heart.

The Murrell Bible was stored in a big trunk, along with many pictures, newspapers, and other family treasures. I still get sentimental, and ‘shed a briny tear’ (something she said she always did as we drove away), thinking about being with Grandma as she opened the trunk. She would become a young girl again, off within her memories, talking about her days growing up on the farm and the family she loved so much. She had a wonderful childhood, rich with the mundane things of life, but all were cherished, every day.

Grandma would tell us, “You come from strong pioneer stock- you can do anything you set your mind to.” Her words still drive me when I can no longer keep going, and I know she is helping me to take that next step.

The smells, the movements, the look on my grandmother’s face as she relived her younger years and loved her family anew, and the time with her as she shared our family history come back to me in such a powerful way. Every time I open an old family bible, turn the pages of an old newspaper, and hold the old photos that were a part of her legacy, she is with me. Thank you, dearest Grandma Edie, for sharing our heritage, and loving family so much. And thank you for making such sweet memories while you were sharing them.

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Murrell Family Bible, possibly c1845.

 

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John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- Indiana, Virginia, Illinois, and Iowa

 

John Roberts, c1920s?
John Roberts, c1920s?

John Roberts was 1 of 11 children born to Jane Saylor and John S. Roberts, both originally from Kentucky. He was born 05 December, 1832 in Indiana when it was still not a very settled place. The family farmed the land in Jefferson and Ripley Counties, Indiana.

When John was 23, around 1855, he went to Illinois to work as a farmhand. There he met Elizabeth Ann Murrell, who had migrated from her birthplace in Botetourt Co., Virginia to Illinois about 1853 when she was 18. They married 08 March 1857 in Roseville, Warren Co., Illinois. They had four children in Illinois: William Edward (1858-1935), Jason Lee (1859-1940), George Anthony (1861-1939), and Mary Jane (1863-1947).

In the fall of 1868 the family of six loaded a covered wagon and migrated to Jasper County, Iowa. (Their granddaughter Edith loved to tell that story.) Here another child, Wilbert John, was born but died in infancy (1877-1878).

John and Elizabeth lived the rest of their lives in Jasper County, Iowa. They are both buried in Waveland Cemetery, Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) This information has also been posted on Find A Grave, Memorial #99632803 for John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts, Find A Grave Memorial# 99632804.

 

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Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1892

 

Family of John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- 1892.
Family of John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- 1892. (Click to enlarge.)


Having wonderful photos is such a family treasure, but not having them labeled with who each person is can be maddening to a genealogist, plus makes them of much less interest to most other family members. A dedicated and knowledgeable sleuth can piece together information that can help to identify people and places, and help to put a family into context.

Family portraits such as the above also help to show the relationships in a family. The persons are grouped by family, with the patriarch and matriarch front and center. Usually the photo is taken on the family homeplace.

Once persons are even tentatively identified in a photo, finding other photos in the future may corroborate, as happened with this photo, or give more clues to help identify persons in other photographs.

In the above photo, the identification of the George Roberts family and John and Elizabeth Roberts is certain. The other families are identified by the family-owned picture of the three brothers and their pictures in the Jasper County history, census records to determine children and ages of each family, and family bible records. The date the picture was taken was deduced by the age of Ethel Gay Roberts, who was born Feb., 1892, and was a baby being held by her mother; her older brother George, who was born June 1889, is in a stroller. Since he is so young and the leaves are on the trees, this may be early spring of 1892.

From left:

William Edward “W. E.” Roberts (oldest child of John and Elizabeth) family: wife Mary M. Main, daughters Clara and Maude (dau on right looks a bit older though there are 2 years difference in ages, so may be Maude), William Edward Roberts, and his son Orville.

Mary Jane (Mollie J) Roberts (fourth child of John and Elizabeth) and her second husband Samuel Blount holding their son Harry R.

John Roberts and his wife Elizabeth Ann Murrell.

George A. Roberts (third child of John and Elizabeth) and his son George A., wife Ella V. Daniel(s) holding daughter Ethel Gay.

Orpha & Oca Roberts with their mother Julia French to the right, son Guy L. sitting on fence next to his father, Jason Lee Roberts (second child of John and Elizabeth).

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family-owned photo.

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Income Taxes for Francis Helbling, 1886

May 1886 Excise Tax Header for Pennsylvania.
May 1886 Excise Tax Header for Pennsylvania.
May 1886 Excise Tax for Francis Helbling.
May 1886 Excise Tax for Francis Helbling.                          (Click for larger and sharper images.)

 

Happy (??) Belated 101st Anniversary to the 16th Amendment, which was ratified February 2, 1913.

As our income tax information comes in this month and we scramble to understand the complex laws that will determine how much we owe Uncle Sam for last year’s income, it is worth noting that the US did not have an income tax for most of its early history. The few tax records remaining, however, will provide interesting information to family historians.

An income tax was proposed during the War of 1812, based on the British Tax Act of 1798. (A few levels of irony there…) The proposal was made in 1814, but because hostilities ended with the Treaty of Ghent in 1815, this progressive tax of 0.833% to 10% was never implemented.

By the time of the Civil War, however, the need for a federal income tax was apparent to pay the high costs of war, and income taxes were imposed on personal income in 1861. Any income over $800 was taxed at 3%. The Revenue Act of 1861 was repealed but another tax was implemented in 1862.

In 1894, an income tax was again passed to compensate for the reduction of federal income due to the Wilson-Gorman Tariff, which also reduced tariffs. Income over $4,000 was taxed at 2%, which only affected about 10% of the households in the United States. In 1895, however, a Supreme Court ruling effectively made this an impractical tax to impose, due to constitutional limits on direct taxes needing to be apportioned by the states per the census enumeration. Thus technically no ‘income taxes’ were paid to the federal government until ratification of the 16th Amendment on 02 February, 1913.

Amendment XVI to the US Constitution:

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

“Excise” taxes, however, were imposed before this time, because it was possible to tax on property; such records may be found in the NARA records for the IRS. Some are available on Ancestry.com, such as the record above that shows Francis Helbling paid 85 cents excise tax on his two cattle (40 cents each) and one calf (5 cents tax). I have not proved that this is my ancestor, but it is possible since Francis X. Helbling was a butcher and lived in Pennsylvania at that time. Many families kept some cattle for their own use, too. I have also seen Civil War IRS records for other family members, but am not sure how to find those on my Ancestry tree without going through each head of household’s data sheet for the proper time period. It is great to find these records, though, as they tell us a bit more about daily life for our ancestors.

 

And I’ll bet our ancestors complained about paying taxes just as much as we do.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: National Archives (NARA) microfilm series: M603, M754-M771, M773-M777, M779-M780, M782, M784, M787-M789, M791-M793, M795, M1631, M1775-M1776, T227, T1208-T1209. Accessed 02/01/14.

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_tax_in_the_United_States. Accessed 02/01/14.

3) Of course, other taxes were imposed such as road taxes, a poll tax to vote, etc. Those records are sometimes available as well.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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Mystery Monday- Murrell Family Bible of 1815

W. A. Murrell and Mary M. Honts- Headstone in Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa. Posted with permission of photographer.
W. A. Murrell and Mary M. Honts- New Headstone in Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa. Posted with permission of photographer.

One of my wonderfully dedicated Murrell cousins brought my attention to a post on GenForum (http://genforum.genealogy.com/philips/messages/649.html) for a Murrell family bible that contains family history from 1758-1869. This cousin is so good about following up clues and revisiting information, and she has made great leaps in our knowledge  of what had been one of my brick walls for years. We are still looking for the parents of Wiley Anderson Murrell, however, and this family bible may contain clues.

Sadly the message was posted on November 30, 2007, and the email addresses no longer work. (IIRC, I had also tried the emails years ago.) A good genealogy samaritan had posted a note about a post he read on a website called “Treasures Lost and Found” by “Rmay424727@aol.com.”  Rmay was also a good genealogy samaritan when he purchased this bible in a second-hand store in El Paso, Texas, and then tried to find descendants who should own it.

The post stated that the bible listed that an Elizabeth Phillips had married a Murrell in 1799. Two funeral notices were on the inside cover, for Mr. George Simmons, with the date being 11-3-1866, and another for Capt. W. E. Murrell, 11-24-1869.

I had corresponded with a R. May many years ago, but he was elderly then so may already be hanging out with his ancestors. I have posted a reply- should have done that years ago- and reposted on the Virginia, Illinois, and Iowa lists. I love that GenForum has a box to check so you can be notified if anyone replies to your posts.

I also stated in my reply that I would be posting the Murrell Bible I have copies of, sometime this week. I’ll have to tear myself away from RootsTech webinars if I procrastinate too long, so look for those posts in the next couple of days.

Looks like we have a few new clues to research, with the 3 new names and some dates. Too bad we don’t know where Elizabeth Phillips married Mr. Murrell, but it will be fun to search for that information.

It would be nice to know who placed the new headstone for W. A. and Mary M. Honts Murrell, too- it surely isn’t 125+ years old. Not sure how to go about that since the cemetery is not really ‘run’ by any group that I know of, but maybe the local genealogy society will have some information.

By the way, RootsTech is a great conference with live-streamed, FREE events/lectures starting at 8:30am (Mountain time) on Thursday, Feb. 6th. The conference has been excellent in years past and looks promising again this year. You can even download all of the syllabi for the conference (https://rootstech.org/about/syllabus-materials/)- thank you, RootsTech! See roots tech.org for more info.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.