Sentimental Sunday: Elizabeth Ann Murrell and John S. Roberts

1892- John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, cropped from larger family photo with their descendants. Taken in Jasper County, Iowa. Owned by author.

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Once the Wiley Anderson Murrell-Mary Magdalene Honts family settled in Roseville/Warren County, Illinois, their daughter and our ancestor Elizabeth Ann Murrell met a young farmhand named John S. Roberts. He had moved from the family farm of his parents, John Roberts (1805-1875) and Jane Saylor/Salyers (1806-1880), in Indiana, looking for work in the productive grain fields of Illinois. The convergence was fate, as John and Elizabeth married on 8 March 1857 in Roseville, where they set up housekeeping. Elizabeth’s brother John Henry Murrell was living with them in 1860 and working as a farm laborer. Elizabeth had already borne two sons, William Edward Roberts, born in 1858, and Jason Lee Roberts, born in 1859, so it would have been a busy farm household. Their son George Anthony Roberts (the father of Edith Roberts McMurray Luck) was then born in 1861, and finally a daughter, May Jane Roberts, joined the family in 1863, and was also born in Illinois.

We know that the Roberts family had a friendship with a Daniel family in Warren County. Charles M. Daniel (1819-1875) and his wife Elizabeth Thomas (1817-1885) had both been born in Virginia. Elizabeth and then their son, Robert Woodson “R. W.” Daniel (1843-1922), were born specifically in Rockbridge County, Virginia, just north of Botetourt. This family may have known the Murrell or Honts families even as far back as the early 1800s in Virginia, as suggested by some research that still needs more work. The Daniel family, however, decided to migrate to Missouri about 1845 (R.W. was just 2 years old), and then on to Illinois around 1864-1865. Their second migration is understandable, too, by considering the Civil War, as we did for the Murrell family. Being a border state, Missouri was a very dangerous place to live during that conflict. A farmstead could be raided by the Rebs in the morning, and then have Union troops descend that evening, also looking for food, supplies, and “spoils of war.” And then there were the border gangs that took no heed of any allegiance and were themselves committed to violence… It was challenging for a family to survive in Missouri, no matter the side they championed or who was beating on their door.

“R. W.” Daniel  enlisted in the Missouri State Military Cavalry in 1862, and served until 1865. (More on R.W. in the future.) Some sources state that he was in Warren County, Illinois in 1865, but he did marry Margaret Ann Hemphill (1839-1915) on 18 January 1866 in Pike County, Missouri. (He likely knew her from when he lived there, and may have gone to Warren Co. to recuperate from the war after his discharge.) The couple moved about 150 miles north to Young America, Warren County, Illinois, where their first child, Ella Viola Daniel, was born on 29 October 1866.

The John and Elizabeth Roberts family went to visit and congratulate the Daniel family on the birth of their child. John and Elizabeth took their sons and daughters with them for the visit, per their granddaughter, Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck. It was the first time that little George A. Roberts, about to turn five years old, saw his future wife for the very first time.

And that is why this is a “Sentimental Sunday” post!


To be continued…


Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Vital records such as birth, marriage, and census that can be found on, FamilySearch, etc.
  2. Family stories written and told by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck.


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