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Sorting Saturday: Wiley Anderson Murrell and Genealogy Emails

Richmond Enquirer, 12 March 1840, County Committees, Vol. 36, No. 102, Page 4, Col. 1, via VirginiaChronicle.com. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

After decades of research, a printed mention of the elusive Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885) has finally been found!!

It was a serendipitous find, as I was sorting through emails.

We have a marriage bond plus censuses in Botetourt County, VA, Roseville IL, and Prairie City IA for Wiley A. Murrell, but never a mention in a newspaper or other document found online- until now. We do not know the names of his parents nor siblings. We know nothing about his life before he married at age 28, except that he was born 3 February 1805 per the family bible. And we have not found an obituary. So it has been very frustrating. (Genealogists understand.) Until now.

Sometimes I think I get too many genealogy emails, so have been sorting through to determine which ones duplicate information and can be unsubscribed from, and which have been productive enough to want to keep reading. I decided to go ahead and click on some of the links in the Elephind.com newsletter- I have found some information from their site previously, and it is a genealogy/newspaper search engine so more specific than Google. I am so glad I decided to take the time. They had the Virginia Newspaper Project (VNP) featured, so searching for one of my most elusive ancestors seemed the thing to do late in the evening. (Genealogists understand.) It took a bit of clicking on the VirginiaChronicle.com website- not super easy to use overall, but I got 30 hits using “Murrell” as my search term and setting the date filter to 1787 (their earliest paper) to 1850, when I knew he was already in Illinois.

Skimming down the page, the fourth hit included “Wiley A. Murrell”!! Oh my- I was so excited I could hardly breathe, afraid the words on the screen would go away. (Genealogists understand.) Could this be “our” Wiley? There actually are more Murrells than I ever thought there would be, especially in Virginia, and ‘Wiley’ was apparently a common name- probably short for ‘William.’ So I was hoping against hope that it would be the right man, especially since it was a Richmond, Virginia paper, and we know that after 1832, when he married, he lived about 170 miles away, in Botetourt County.

But there it was:

“Wiley A. Murrell.”

The 12 March 1840 Richmond Enquirer included a list of County Committees appointed at the Democratic State Convention on Feb. 22 1840. There was a Botetourt Central Committee with 12 men listed, and then a “Committee of Vigilance” with ~143 members. Down that list was “Wiley A. Murrell.” That had to be him! Right name, right county, right time period.

Richmond Enquirer, 12 March 1840, Botetourt County, Vol. 36, No. 102, Page 4, Col. 2, via VirginiaChronicle.com. (Click to enlarge.)

Trying to be calm and analytical was hard as I was inspired to do the Genealogy Happy Dance. (Genealogists understand.) I won’t, however, describe that here as one could never ‘unsee’ how pathetic that would be with my 3 left feet.

I knew I needed to be looking at the other names on the committee for familiar names- Elizabeth Shown Mills’ FAN (Friends, Associates, Neighbors) Club, to help me make sure I had the right Wiley. Sure enough, there was a name that clicked- Andrew Obenchain/Obernshain. The name sounded familiar, but at first I could not find it in my tree. Looking at the Honts family information compiled by the late George E. Honts, III, however, I realized that Wiley’s wife, Mary Magdalen (Honts) Murrell, was Andrew’s sister-in-law, as he had married Mary’s sister, Elizabeth B. Honts (1809-1881). So maybe we need to add a “C” to the FAN Club- for “Collateral kin.” (Includes in-laws, cousins, etc. who are not a direct ancestor but related. Not as catchy an acronym though.) There are Coffmans listed on this Botetourt committee too- the mother of Mary and Elizabeth was Catharine (Coffman/Kauffman) Honts (1784-1867).

There is also a “Jas. A. Murrell” listed- perhaps a brother, father, uncle, cousin?

So it is very highly likely that this is the correct Wiley A. Murrell.

Wow. Oh wow. (Genealogists understand.)

So sort your data, emails, papers, etc. on a regular basis, and stay up to date with what is newly available online and in archives. You never know what you will find.

 

Coming up: more about Wiley A. Murrell and the Committee of Vigilance.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Richmond Enquirer, March 12, 1840, Volume 36, Number 102, Page 4, Column 2 @ Virginia Newspaper Project, Virginia Chronicle, http://virginiachronicle.com/cgi-bin/virginia?a=d&d=RE18400312.1.4&srpos=4&e=–1787—1850–en-20–1–txt-txIN-Murrell——#
  2. Murrell Family Bible- see our series beginning at http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/09/sentimental-sunday-murrell-family-bible-part-1/. Wiley’s birth record is shown in Part 2.
  3. The Descendants of Jacob Hons/John by George E. Honts III, Fincastle, Virginia, 1999. Available only from the Botetourt (VA) Historical Society, https://bothistsoc.wordpress.com.

 

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Wordless Wednesday- The Murrell Family Bible, Part 5

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Murrell Family Bible

Ephemera tucked into the Murrell Family Bible:

Murrell Family Bible Ephemera- History of the World order.
Murrell Family Bible Ephemera- History of the World advertisement or order. The Mexican War with the US was 1846-48, so this would have been printed after that time.

 

Murrell Family Bible Ephemera- Bible reading note on reverse of Railway Employees of Iowa paper.
Murrell Family Bible Ephemera- Bible reading note on reverse of Railway Employees of Iowa paper, Dec. 17, 1893.

Murrell Family Bible-Ephemera_To the Railway Employees_1

As this is dated 17 Dec 1893, it must have been from the second owner of the bible, as Wiley A. Murrell and Mary M Honts Murrell had both passed away by this time. Their daughter, Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts was a church-goer, so it may be her handwriting. (Sorry, just can’t do a totally “Wordless Wednesday” but I’m trying.)

Murrell Family Bible Ephemera-Ecclesiastes note.
Murrell Family Bible Ephemera-Ecclesiastes note.
Murrell Family Bible Ephemera- Make Room for the King note.
Murrell Family Bible Ephemera- Make Room for the King note.
A sample funeral card with the name "Geo. A. Roberts" written at the top. George A. Roberts died 18 Apr 1939.
A sample funeral card with the name “Geo. Anthony Roberts” written at the top. George A. Roberts died 18 Apr 1939.
Reverse of a sample funeral card with the name "Geo. A. Roberts" written at the top. George A. Roberts died 18 Apr 1939.
Reverse of a sample funeral card with the name “Geo. Anthony Roberts” written at the top. George A. Roberts died 18 Apr 1939.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Murrell Family Bible, possibly c1845.

 

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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.

 

Time Travel Tuesday: The Murrell Family Farm in 1880

Tipton, Cedar Co. Farm- Engraving
Tipton, Cedar Co. Farm- Engraving (relatively near to Jasper Co. and the Murrell Farm.)

 

It is seldom that we can travel to a time and place long ago, and almost hear the sounds, smell the odors, touch the items in the scene, and have it seem so very real. Unless we have a diary, journal, or detailed written account such as in a county history, it is hard to imagine exactly what life was like for our ancestors.

The Agricultural Schedules of the U. S. Federal Censuses are just the vehicle to take us to a place unknown except to our ancestors. While there are still ag censuses being taken, the ones most interesting to today’s genealogists will be those taken during the 1850-1880 U. S. Federal Censuses, and for any states that also took a census in 1885. Very few of these images have been digitized, and there are also Manufacturing Schedules, Social Statistics Schedules, and even a Business schedule completed in 1935. Not all farms or businesses will be found listed, however, as the criteria for inclusion changed throughout the years, for example, in 1850, small farms producing less than $100 of products annually were excluded; in 1870, to be excluded a farm had to have less than 3 acres or produce less than $500 worth of products.

The following is a simple narrative transcription of the raw data found in the 1880 Agricultural Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell’s farm, using the column headings of the Schedule and including the data for WA’s farm. This information could easily be woven into the story of WA’s life, and that of his family, with richer language to make it a bit less dry. Also, looking at the data for other farmers on the same page will help give a sense of relative income and possessions owned by your ancestor. The Agricultural census may even help to distinguish one person from another with the same name.

JASPER COUNTY IOWA
1880 AGRICULTURAL CENSUS
MOUND PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP
Page No. 8 (D.), Supervisor’s District: No. 3, Enumeration Dist: No. 96, Line No. 6. Enumerated 08 June 1880.
W.A. MURRELL rented for shares of production 240 acres of improved land [Tilled, including fallow and grass in rotation, (whether pasture or meadow.)] and 0 acres unimproved land. The value of the farm included land, fences, and buildings worth $6,000; the value of farming implements and machinery was $300; and value of livestock was $2,200. The cost of building and repairing fences in 1879 was $50, and there was no cost for fertilizers purchased in 1879 listed.
The amount paid for wages for farm labor during 1879, including value of board was $150, with no value listed for the weeks hired labor in 1879 upon farm (and dairy) excluding housework.
The estimated value of all farm productions (sold, consumed, or on hand) for 1879 was $1600. [equivalent to about $36,000 in 2010.]
Of the farm grasslands, in 1879 30 acres were mown, 10 acres were not mown. Hay production was 40 tons, with no clover or grass seed harvested in 1879.
There were 7 horses of all ages on hand June 1, 1880 and no mules and asses.
Neat cattle and their products:
On hand June 1, 1880 were 22 working oxen, 3 milch [milk] cows, and 23 other cattle. 6 calves were dropped. [born] None were purchased, 20 cattle sold living, none listed as slaughtered, and 2 died, strayed, [or] stolen and not recovered. No milk was sold or sent to butter and cheese factories in 1879. 300 lbs. of butter were made on the farm in 1879, but no cheese.
No sheep were on the farm but it included 100 swine and 50 poultry (not barnyard) on hand June 1, 1880. 100 dozen eggs were produced on the farm in 1879.
There was no barley or buckwheat grown in 1879. The farm had 85 acres in Indian Corn, producing 4,000 bushels; 6 acres of oats which produced 225 bushels; 4 acres of rye that produced 100 bushels, and 37 acres of wheat produced 540 bushels of crop. There were no crops of pulse [legumes- soybeans], flax, or hemp. No sorghum or maple sugar was produced, nor broom corn. No hops, potatoes (Irish or sweet), tobacco, or orchard trees (apple, peach) were grown. There was no acreage in nurseries, vineyards, market gardens, or forest products (wood cut and sold or consumed) in 1879. No honey or wax was produced by bees kept on the farm in 1879.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) To determine the non-population schedules of the US. Federal Census that are available, and where they may be found, see http://www.archives.gov/research/census/nonpopulation/

2) The FamilySearch Wiki has an article on the Agricultural Census: http://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Census_Agricultural_Schedules

3) Source citation: Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Mound Prairie, Jasper, Iowa; Archive Collection Number: T1156; Roll: 25; Page: 9; Line: 6; Schedule Type: Agriculture.

Accessed online 22 May 2011: http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=1276&iid=31643_218858-00386&fn=J ohn+M&ln=Mench&st=r&ssrc=pt_t4049043_p-1651968883_kpidz0q3d-1651968883z0q26pgz0q3d32768z 0q26pgPLz0q3dpid&pid=577872

4) Even soil fertility and differences with modern agricultural practices may be compared with these schedules. In 1880 the farm produced 4,000 bu. of Indian corn on 85 acres, for a yield of 47 bu./ac. Today’s yields, with modern planting equipment, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer, provide yields up to 225 bu./ac for various corn varieties.