Wedding Wednesday: Cordelia Talley and William Anderson Murrell

William Anderson Murrell and Cordelia (Talley) Murrell- possibly wedding photo? If so, would have been taken 1 Oct 1867 in Warren Co., IL.

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

We last left William Anderson Murrell on his long-awaited Independence Day- 4 July 1865, when he was officially mustered out of the victorious Union Army.

Willie, as he was called, returned to Warren County, Illinois, where he married Cordelia “Delia” or “Adelia” Talley (1850-1941) on 1 October 1867; she was the daughter of Richard and Permelia (Carter) Talley.

The next year Mary Cathryn Murrell was born, followed by Permelia Jane Murrell  in 1870. George Overton Murrell was born 24 March 1872, but then, sadly, little Mary Cathryn passed away on 7 August. Another son, named William Anderson Murrell, after his father and probably paternal grandfather, was born in 1876. In 1900, the census indicated that Delia had borne 6 children, but only 4 were still living. Perhaps another child was born sometime between 1872-1876? We have found no record of another child.

The family lived in Swan Township, Warren County, Illinois, and are found there in the 1870 US Federal Census. The 1877 publication of  “The Past and Present of Warren County Illinois” by H. F. Kett & Co. noted that Willie “Murrill” was a farmer with land in Sec. 15 of the county. It also noted that he was born in Ohio- was that an editor’s error, or did Willie not want it known that he was born in Virginia, a Confederate state? It was less than 15 years since the Civil War, and emotions still ran high in our country concerning how our country had been torn asunder. Veterans struggled with war injuries, and their problems likely increased as they returned to farming or manual labor, or even an office job- and they also would have grown worse as they aged. Willie was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a service organization that cared for veterans and helped pass legislation to benefit them, such as the pension acts. These facts may help support the idea that the family had abolitionist leanings.

Roseville, where they eventually lived but probably sold their grain, cattle, etc., and purchased their goods, had been a stop on the Underground Railroad. We will probably never know if the family aided escaping slaves, but it is a definite possibility knowing that the Murrells had two sons who went off to fight for the Union Army.

In the 1880 US Federal Census, the family was still found in Swan Twp, with Permelia, George, and William all under the age of 10 and living in the household of their farming father.  The birthplaces of Willie and Cordelia were listed as ‘West Virginia’ which was formed during the Civil War of Unionists who refused to secede in 1861, like their parent state of Virginia.

In 1889 Permelia married John Calvin Manuel (1865-1950); they had ten children and lived in Roseville.

In 1898, there were two more marriages in the Murrell family. William Anderson Murrell (Jr. or III?) married Etta “Etty” Viola White (1880-1940) on 28 July 1898; they had five children, but apparently divorced sometime before 1916 when his wife remarried. His brother George Overton Murrell married Nora B. Cunningham (1875-1982) about a month later, on 24 August 1898 in Warren County, Illinois. George and Nora had six children, and also lived in Roseville for the rest of their lives.

Marriage certificate of George O. Murrell and Nora B. Cunningham.

William and his wife, listed as “Fredilia” Murrell, were still in Swan Twp. for the 1900 US Federal Census, and they had a servant living with them. Willie was 61, and Delia 49. They moved to Roseville after that, and Willie was listed as a laborer “working out” in 1910. By 1920 he had retired. He died just two years later, on 1 August 1922, in Roseville at age 81.

Cordelia was head of household and lived with their son, Willie, who, in 1930, was listed on the census as divorced. In 1940, they were in the same household, although Willie as listed as the head, and Cordelia erroneously is listed as his wife, with her age transcribed as 29 instead of 89. She died the next year, on 13 February 1941.

Headstone of William H. Murrell and his wife Cordelia (Talley) Murrell in Roseville Cemetery, (Sec. 3), Roseville, Illinois. Find A Grave, used with kind permission.

She is buried with her husband in Roseville Cemetery, Section 3 near the mausoleum. Twelve other Murrells, including their children and grandchildren, are buried in the same cemetery.


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. William and Cordelia had 20 or more grandchildren upon their death (obituaries vary), and seven great-great grandchildren at Willie’s death, so many more by the time Cordelia died 19 years later in 1941.
  2. William’s Find A Grave Memorial is #75836198; you can link to the rest of the family memorials from his.
  3. Interestingly, the wife of William Anderson Murrell (b. 1876) remarried after their divorce, to John Helm Blount (1866-1949). A Blount family also married into the Roberts family- William’s aunt Elizabeth Ann Murrell married John Roberts. Wonder if there is any connection?
  4. Family photos and records- thanks to all the cousins who shared, esp. Cousin Diane who is a fantastic Murrell researcher!
  5. Please contact us if you are descended from any of these Murrells, and have done or would like to do a DNA test. We are still trying to determine the parents of Willie’s father, Wiley Anderson Murrell, and have conflicting/confusing data. Also, we would love to hear from other cousins and share family treasures!


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