The final page of entries in the Murrell Family Bible documents the deaths of Wiley Anderson Murrell and his wife, Mary M. Honts Murrell, who are both buried in Mound Prairie Township, on a hill that gets the most wonderful breezes and has a view of the farms all around. What a delightful place to be ‘quietly resting,’ especially for a couple who were farmers their whole life.
Daughter of Wile
And Mary H. [or Mag]
this Life in the
Year of our Lord and
the 6 1846
Age 7 yrs 1
Month And 12
Anne E Murrell
Died May 2nd 92
Died Mar 19th 94
W A Murrell
Life in the year
of our Lord & Savior
March 28th 85.
[? M. M.] Murrell
Departed this Life
in the year of our
Lord & Savior
July 13th 87.
Died March 23
The entries are in a number of hands, which would be necessary, of course, if the bible records were maintained by Mary Honts Murrell as she could not document her own death. Mary may have written all the birth and marriage records, as well as the record for the death of their young daughter Mary Catharine, since they are all with the same ink and hand. The 1850 US Federal Census notes that Wiley could neither read nor write, but there is no mark for Mary- was that because she could read and/or write, or because they didn’t even consider that as being important for a woman?
Mary could have written the entry for her husband W. A. since she survived him, but the writing does not have the same characteristics of her earlier script- the capital “A”s and “W”s are very different, and that style does not usually change with age, even if the size of the writing and its smoothness do change. She probably did not write the entry for their son, John Murrell, since he is listed after her death entry, even though he died in 1880, before she did. The entry for their daughter Ann E and her husband Aaron Brown in 1892 and 1894, respectively, must have been made by someone else after Mary’s death in 1887.
I do wonder who made those additional entries, so now there must be a quest to gather samples of handwriting of the Roberts and Murrell family, in hopes of clues. I am leaning toward Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts as being one of the persons who wrote in the later deaths, because she was the oldest child of Wiley and Mary, and the bible has been passed down in her Roberts family. I’ll let you know if there is any success on that front.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Murrell Family Bible, possibly c1845.
2) Daughter Mary Catharine probably died in Botetourt, Virginia, since the family is listed there in the 1850 census, and did not migrate to Illinois until 1853. The bible may have been purchased in Virginia and travelled by covered wagon to Illinois.
3) 1850 US Federal Census for District 8, Botetourt, Virginia, “Wiley A Marrill” as head of household. Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: District 8, Botetourt, Virginia; Roll: M432_936; Page: 156B; Image: 551. Accessed 2-8-14 on Ancestry.com.
4) Anne E. Murrell Brown is sometimes called Ann Elisy, Elisy, Eliza, and Anneliza. She married Aaron Brown 15 Sep 1869 and they had five children. Her parents migrated to Jasper Co., Iowa in 1868, and Ann and Aaron followed sometime between 1870-1880. Her headstone in Greenlief Cemetery/Mound Prairie, lists her as “Annelliza.”
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