Wedding Wednesday: The Marriages of James Edward Murrell

7 November 1867- Marriage Record for James E. Murrell and Mary E. Robinson. (Click to enlarge, but scan very hard to read.)

Murrell Family, Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

James Edward Murrell received his final pay and discharge in Illinois after serving in the Union Army of the Civil War. We do not know if he returned to the family farm in Warren County, Illinois, right after the war, or if he moved back to Missouri (where he had worked in 1860).

We do know, however, that he married Mary E. Robinson about two years after his discharge, on 17 November 1867 in Pettis County, Missouri. (Wonder if he had met Mary when he and his brother William Anderson Murrell were working in Missouri before the war?) The marriage record states that they were married at the home of the bride’s father, and all were “of Pettis County,” Missouri.  So James had moved back to Missouri sometime after the war, and set down roots.

The parents of James migrated to Iowa in 1868, and some of their children went with them. Maybe, since some of their other children had moved far away from Warren County, Illinois, Wiley Anderson Murrell and his wife Mary Magdalen (Honts) Murrell had an easier decision as to whether or not they would migrate west. (See previous posts for details on this migration.)

We don’t know Mary E. Robinson’s history before the marriage, nor the names of her parents, so this is some additional research to add to the list.

James and Mary had 6 children born in Missouri: William Murrell b. 1869, James R. Murrell (1871-1951), Ida J. Murrell (1873-1917), Luther George Murrell (1877-1929), baby 1879-?, and Clifton Clemons Murrell b. 1882.

The family was in Elk Fork Township, Pettis, MO at the 1870 census. James was listed with Mary and 2-year-old son William. He was noted as a farmer with $200 in personal estate- no real estate value was listed. This suggests that he did not own land, so taking a look at his neighbors was the next research, as he may have been farming for them or a family member. Sure enough, on the census page prior, is his brother John Murrell with wife Lydia Rayburn and their two children. (John and Lydia had moved to Pettis sometime between their marriage in Warren Co., Illinois in 1862 and the 1870 census.) John was enumerated as a farmer with $1740 in real estate value, and $500 in personal estate value. Between entries for John and James a Benjamin Robertson and his wife and son were listed, and Benjamin was a farmer born in Missouri— he could be Mary’s older brother if the names were confused (Robinson/Robertson). Benjamin had $1950 in real estate and $300 in personal estate. Both Benjamin and John were 5-10 years older, so could have been the big brothers, helping their younger sister and brother (respectively) get started in farming. None of these farmers are found in The History of Pettis County, Missouri, including an authentic history of Sedalia, other towns and townships, together with … biographical sketches… by I. MacDonald Demuth, 1882, unfortunately, so it is hard to know more about their life and relationships.

James and Mary Murrell were still in Pettis County at the 1880 census, and in Calhoun, Henry, MO by 1900. Mary died 20 February 1905, and in 1910 James was living with his son James & family at age 68. Son James was listed as a farmer in Bowling Green Township, Pettis County, and they are noted as being on the Ag Schedule; they probably were living on the farm, maybe even the family farm?

In 1912 at age 70 James was in a US National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Delaware, Leavenworth, KS and is noted there multiple times through 1922.

Life changed for James E. Murrell on 22 March 1924. He married Dillie E. Fox on that date in Clayton, St. Louis, Missouri. That is on the other side of the state from Kansas- wonder how this marriage came about? And how did we learn about this marriage?

James Edward Murrell and his wife, likely Dillie E. Fox, in the early 1920s at Seymour, Missouri.

The above picture was kindly provided by cousins (thank you!) but it did not seem to be taken before 1905, when Mary E. (Robinson) Murrell died. Additionally, Mary was only about four years younger than James, and the unnamed woman in this picture appears quite a bit younger. Finding the death certificate of James helped solve this mystery- the informant was “Dillie E. Murrell” of Seymour, Missouri. So this image is likely of James with his second wife. A search brought up a Missouri marriage record for the pair:

22 March 1924 marriage record for James Edward Murrell and Dillie E. Fox, via “Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002” on Ancestry. (Click to enlarge.)

James and Dillie were to have two years together as husband and wife.


The rest of their story will be in a future post.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. James Edward Murrell, Find A Grave Memorial #60556601
  2. Mary E. (Robinson) Murrell, Find A Grave Memorial #60556678
  3. Re: Find A Grave Memorials- please note that this author wrote the biographies on the memorials, so we are not plagiarizing in this post.
  4. “The History of Pettis County, Missouri, including an authentic history of Sedalia, other towns and townships, together with … biographical sketches…” by I. MacDonald Demuth, 1882.


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