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Sibling Saturday: The Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900

Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, in white dress is Orphan B. Roberts, her brother Guy L. Roberts, Jason Lee Roberts, his wife Juia (French) Roberts holding baby Ralph Roberts. Seated children, from left: Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts.
Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, in white dress is Orpha B. Roberts, her brother Guy L. Roberts, Jason Lee Roberts, his wife Julia (French) Roberts holding baby Ralph Roberts. Seated children, from left: Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts. (Jason’s brother George A. Roberts is the man standing on the left, with his son George Jr.)

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

The Roberts family have a legacy of feeding their own families as well as the nation by their work with the soil and food crops, as well as with livestock. Jason Lee Roberts followed in the footsteps of his father, John S. Roberts, and other ancestors, as he farmed the land for all of his working life. In fact, J.L. is listed along with his two brothers, George A. Roberts and W. E. Roberts, in the “Directory of Leading Farmers in Jasper County, Iowa” in 1901.

Jason Lee or “J.L.” was the second child of five children (one died in infancy) of John Roberts and his wife Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts. J. L. was born in Warren County, Illinois, as were 3 of his siblings; his birth was on 8 December 1859. (He was possibly born in Roseville- records vary.) J.L. would have worked on the farm as a young boy, learning the same skills his father had learned from his own father. In 1868, when J.L. was about 9 or 10, the family migrated via covered wagon to Jasper County, Iowa.  The family settled on a farm there, where J.L. and his siblings grew to adulthood.

Jason acquired his own farm “after reaching manhood,” as his obituary stated. The homestead was near Prairie City, and his son Charles farmed it after he retired.

Jason married Julia French on 22 December 1881 in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper County, Iowa. Julia had also been born in Illinois, but on 5 December 1863, to John Candor French and Susan F. Peckenpaugh. Julia’s parents had lived in Indiana, as had Jason’s, and then moved to Illinois- it was a common migration pattern. The known residences of the families were about 70 miles apart in Indiana, but only 45 miles apart in Illinois- perhaps the families knew one another? Both families were enumerated in Jasper County in 1870, so there is the possibility that they migrated together in 1868, as it was a good-sized group. We have been unable to find the French family in the 1860 US Federal Census, so finding where they were that year might give us more clues about whether or not the two families knew each other prior to removing to Iowa.

The two families were close, even if it was only once they took up residence in Iowa: Julia’s brother, Reuben H. French, married Jason’s sister, Mary Jane Roberts. (More of that story in another post.)

J.L. and Julia had seven children together: Orpha B. Roberts (1883-1948), who married Samuel Blount; Oca S. Roberts (1888-1973), who married Walter Wilkinson; Guy L. Roberts (1890-1962); Wiley A. Roberts (1895-1967); Willard Francis Roberts (1897-1943); Charles Wilder Roberts (1900-1989); and Ralph H. Roberts (1903-1977).

Little Wiley Roberts, seen in the above picture, was most likely named after his maternal grandfather, Wiley Anderson Murrell. The younger Wiley later became the Mayor of Prairie City in the 1950s. See the Facebook page Prairie City Historical Society for a photo of him as an adult.

The family can be found in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper County, from 1870 to 1910, per US Federal Censuses, and they were included in the 1905 Iowa State Census.

Julia passed away on 28 November 1917 in Prairie City at the young age of 53, and was buried in Westview Cemetery in that city. Their youngest son, Ralph, was just 14 when his mother died.

Jason married May Riley (1872-1961) on 25 October 1919. May, of Newton, Iowa, was the daughter of John and Kate (Gray) Riley.

In 1940 Jason (and presumably his wife May) were spending the winter in Long Beach, California- many farmers, even those retired, spend their winters in warmer climes than frigid Iowa, even now. In April Jason had a heart attack, and after being stabilized, he returned to Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. Sadly he spent six weeks in the hospital there, but succumbed on 26 May 1940, at age 80. He was buried in Westview Cemetery with his first wife Julia.

May was a schoolteacher, and later that year she moved to Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri, to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Rey and Alfred Mulkey. She taught 8th grade that year. May survived her husband by 21 years, and passed away on 2 November 1961. She was buried next to her sister Elizabeth (Riley) Harlan in Lone Tree Cemetery, Sioux Rapids, Buena Vista County, Iowa. She was 89 at her death.

We know there are other Roberts descendants out there, and would love to share information. Please also let us know about anything that you think is incorrect in this series of family posts, and if you have some stories to add.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image cropped from original large descendant photo. See “Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900” at  http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/13/treasure-chest-thursday-the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1900/
  2. Family interviews with Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck, her sister and brother, and some of her cousins during the 1960s.
  3. “Directory of Leading Farmers in Jasper County, Iowa,”  in the Standard Historical Atlas of Jasper County, Iowa. The Huebenger Survey and Map Publishing Co.,Davenport, Iowa, 1901.
  4. Iowa Marriage Records, 1880-1937 on Ancestry.com
  5. Census records on Ancestry.com.
  6. Jason Lee Roberts obituary: The Jasper County Mirror, Thursday, May 30, 1940 – Page 2, Col. 5. http://iagenweb.org/boards/jasper/obituaries/index.cgi?review=252697
  7. See Find A Grave Memorials for images of headstones for Jason and Julia.
  8. Jason Lee Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #76815012 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76815012
  9. Julia (French) Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #76815050 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76815050
  10. May (Riley) Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #169716084 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=169716084&ref=acom
  11. Some sources state picture was taken in 1900, some state 1904. I tend to agree with the 1900 date, as Edith Roberts was born 10 October 1899, so would have been 1-1/2 or 2 when this image was taken. That seems more consistent with her size, as if the photo was from 1904, she would have been 5 years old.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), 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.
 

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Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Farming Friday: The Murrell Farm in 1850s Virginia

"Tippecanoe Waltz" sheet music. Cornell University Collection of Political Americana, with kind permission of Cornell University Library; no restrictions.
“Tippecanoe Waltz” sheet music, 1840. Cornell University Collection of Political Americana, with kind permission of Cornell University Library; no restrictions. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Since farming has been such an important part of the American economy, especially for most of our ancestors, we are starting a new type of post called, “Farming Friday,” that will tell us a bit more about the places so many of our ancestors called “home.”

Farms varied greatly, and that plot of land wasn’t just “home” either. It was the family’s livelihood and place of business, whether that meant tilling the soil or churning butter and manufacturing cheese to sell to neighbors or in town. It was a place for social activity- barn raisings come to mind, but of course, there was all sorts of visiting between farms on an individual and small group basis, in addition to parties and special events like weddings. Even more special events took place on the farm too- quite a lot of our ancestors were born right in the bed they probably were conceived in, and may have later inherited for the circle to continue with their children.

Many of our ancestors held ‘unimproved land’ that most likely was wooded; the wood from these trees was an energy source for the fireplace for warmth, the cookstove for food, and even a place to hunt to provide meat to be cooked on that wood-fired stove or even earlier, in the fireplace. The woods were also a fun place for farm kids to hang out away from the prying eyes of adults, climb trees, and play tag. There was likely a bit of courting that went on in the woods, too, and maybe even a stolen kiss.

Agricultural schedules were taken along with the population census in the years 1850-1880, plus some states conducted an 1885 census that also enumerated farmers and their acreage, livestock, and products. Not all of these can be found today, as with most records, but we will tell the story of our family’s farms as we can with those schedules that have survived. Tax records and deeds also sometimes tell the story of a farm, so we will share those as well.

We have already told the story of Robert Woodson Daniel (1843-1922) and his wife Margaret Ann Hemphill (1839-1915) in an earlier post- see Those Places Thursday: Robert Woodson Daniel’s Iowa Farm in 1879. Today we will start our official new topic with the farm of Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885) and his wife Mary Magdalen Hontz (1806-1887). The Daniel, Murrell, and Roberts families lived in Warren County, Illinois, at the same time, and we know that they knew each other. They may have migrated together, or encouraged each other to move after one family had made the trek to Jasper County, Iowa. The Murrells married into the Roberts family, as did the next generation of Daniels and Roberts.

If we look at the US Federal Population Schedule for 1850, it tells us that Wiley, age 41, and Mary, age 44 (ages were not always correct, whether on purpose or just ‘misremembered’), were living on their farm in District 8, Botetourt County, Virginia. Their daughter Elizabeth Ann Murrell (the maternal grandmother of our Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck) was 15 and the oldest. She was probably often in charge of her brother John Henry Murrell, 13, William Murrell, age 9, James E. Murrell who was 8, and little Ann Elisy Murrell, then just 5. Wiley was listed as a farmer, but it was also noted that he could not read nor write. The whole family was born in Virginia, and none attended school within the year per the 1850 US Federal Census.

1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 1. Ancestry.com
1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 1. Ancestry.com. (Click to enlarge.)
1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 2. Ancestry.com
1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 2. Ancestry.com. (Click to enlarge.)

Although a small farm, the whole family would have been needed to make their living from it. The farm schedule was completed on 7 October 1850, and indicated that the Murrells had 45 acres of improved land to farm, and 85 acres unimproved. The entire cash value of the farm was $800- it was one of the smallest in the area. The farm implements and machinery were worth about $75- even adjusting for inflation, today’s farmers would scoff. Wiley’s implements and machinery would have be valued at about $2,240 in today’s money, which might not even buy a tire for one of the big tractors or combines used today.

Livestock was a mainstay on our ancestor’s farms- they did not have the ‘luxury’ of factory farming and concentrating on just one species of animal or one type of grain. They had to supply much of what the family needed, plus have a little surplus to sell for the necessities that they could not make on their own, such as cloth or sugar. So Wiley and Mary had 2 horses- likely draft horses for pulling a plow and a buggy or wagon; 1 ‘milch’ cow for making butter (the ladies manufactured at least 50 pounds) plus milk for baking and drinking. They also had 2 other types of cattle, possibly for beef. They did not list any oxen, which is why we think the horses would have been the sturdier work horses.

The Murrells also had 7 sheep, and they produced 17 pounds of wool in the previous 12 months. Mary and Elizabeth may have spent some of their evenings spinning the wool into yarn. They might have had their own loom, or provided the yarn to a neighbor who did have one, and then the neighbor would make the cloth and keep some of the yarn for herself in payment. Instead, they could have just sold the wool outright.

The total value of “home manufactures” was $30 per the 1850 Agricultural Schedule.

1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 3. Ancestry.com
1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 3. Ancestry.com. (Click to enlarge.)
1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 4. Ancestry.com. (Click to enlarge.)
1850 Agriculture Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell, part 4. Ancestry.com. (Click to enlarge.)

Pork has always been a staple in the American diet as pigs reproduce and grow quickly and without much fuss- one can even let them loose in the unimproved parts of the property to graze on acorns, etc., and fatten up. “Slopping the pigs” meant all the leftovers from mealtime, which some of us today would compost, went into a bucket and the contents were thrown out in the pig pen, to be biologically recycled into tasty bacon and ham. The Murrells owned 7 swine in October of 1850. The total value of all their livestock was about $165. They slaughtered animals worth $48 the previous year, and those may have been for home consumption and/or sale in town.

Mary and Elizabeth also probably had chickens and a large home garden with vegetables, herbs, and maybe some fruit trees. Of course, this was a part of “women’s work” so would not have been listed on the Agricultural Schedule. It probably is what helped keep the family alive, however, and women often sold eggs, cakes, etc. in town for a little extra money for the family.

Of course, one has to feed the livestock, and provide grain for the family, a little extra to pay the miller, and hopefully have some good seed for the next year. To that end, the Murrells harvested 91 bushels of wheat, 300 bushels of ‘Indian corn,’ and 33 bushels of oats, which would have been used as feed. If the family was of Scots-Irish descent (which we do not yet know), they may have also made porridge from some of the oats for many of their meals.

The Murrells also produced 200 pounds of flax, which was a fiber used to make linen, cording, etc. Linen was used as sheets and clothing until cotton became more available and less expensive. Wiley and family also produced 1 bushel of flaxseed, which could have been pressed for use as an oil and lubricant, or saved or sold as seed for the next year’s crop.

 

Wow, we have time-travelled through a farm year with Wiley and Mary Murrell in Botetourt County, Virginia. Looking at the population census and the agriculture schedule for the same year gives us great insight into what life was like for the family.

I am tired just writing about it. They must have quickly fallen asleep each night after such hard work, day after day. Gives one a new respect for our forebears, and makes one realize that the “good ole days”  were maybe not that great after all.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. See also Robert Woodson Daniel  http://heritageramblings.net/2015/04/30/those-places-thursday-robert-woodson-daniels-iowa-farm-in-1879
  2. 1850 Population schedule for Wiley A. Murrell & family. Census Place: District 8, Botetourt, Virginia; Roll: M432_936; Page: 156; Image: 547. 1850 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, online publication – Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data – United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1850. M432.
  3. 1850 Non-Population schedule for Wiley A. Murrell & family. Census Year: 1850; Census Place: District 8, Botetourt, Virginia, “Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880,” Ancestry.com online publication – Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  4. Inflation calculator- http://www.in2013dollars.com (but it does go to 2016).
    5. This post will be published on Murrell Family Genealogy: A One-Name Study blog under another name.

 

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Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Typewriters on Tuesday- Roberts, Daniel(s), Murrell Family History

Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 1 of 3.
Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 1 of 3. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Daniel Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Apparently today, 23 June, is the anniversary of the first typewriter patent. Like all inventions, it would have stood on the work of many before, including an early machine that impressed letters into paper, invented in 1575 by an Italian printmaker.

It is hard to imagine life with only printing presses and the pen- the typewriter made it possible for the average person to easily communicate in a legible fashion. My grandmother had terrible handwriting, so her typewritten letters, with all their mistakes and correction fluid/tape, and the carbon copies, are invaluable. They are especially important since cursive writing is no longer being taught in school, and younger generations cannot really read it sometimes, much less write it.

How many family histories were typewritten, like the above? Some were bound into books or booklets, or just fastened with a staple as the Roberts-Murrell family history in this post. The folks listed in this history are at least 3 generations ago, so some of this information might be lost but for the painstakingly typewritten treasures some of our families are lucky to have today.

My grandmother, her contemporaries, and their ancestors would be so amazed at the leap in communication with today’s word processors and OCR technology.

Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 2 of 3.
Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 2 of 3. (Click to enlarge.)

The images in this post are a report for the 1946 family reunion of the Roberts family in Jasper County, Iowa. I received it back in the late 1960s, from a Roberts descendant in Newton, Jasper, Iowa. Click on our new “Family Documents” section to download the entire pdf of this file more easily than the images in this post: Roberts, Daniel(s), Murrell Family History, 1946.

Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 3 of 3.
Roberts-Murrell Family History, 1946. Part 3 of 3. (Click to enlarge.)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have some pictures from that reunion? They are probably out there somewhere… hopefully labeled with names and the date! If any of our dear readers have such pictures, please let us know through a comment on this post or our “Contact Us” form. We would love to share other Roberts, Murrell, Daniel(s), and Blount treasures.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest item received in the 1960s.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), 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.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
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George Washington and Our Ancestors

Washington Receiving a Salute after the Victory at Trenton, NJ on 26 dec. 1776. William Holl engraving c1860 after a painting by John Faed. Library of Congress

Washington Receiving a Salute after the Victory at Trenton, NJ on 26 Dec. 1776. William Holl engraving c1860 after a painting by John Faed. Library of Congress. (Click to enlarge.)

McMurray Family, Horn Family

Those of us ‘of an age’ to remember the days when our two greatest presidents were born, and those births celebrated separately, so that one could reflect on the accomplishments of each, know that today is the anniversary of the birth of George Washington.

Back in those days, on February 12th, schoolchildren learned about the horrors of the Civil War and how a lanky farm boy from Illinois held our country together and freed the slaves, and was so eloquent that he could sum up the deep emotions of our citizens in the 10 short sentences of the Gettysburg Address. On February 22nd, schoolchildren listened to the myth of the cherry tree and learned lessons about honesty. That lesson modeled how such a solid, moral foundation could make a middle-born person great enough to help a small group of citizens fight and earn the rights of a democracy, even against the greatest power in the world at the time, Great Britain. Of course, all that learning, reflecting, and honoring individuals ended with the federal government’s “Uniform Monday Holiday Act” that took effect on 1 Jan 1971, and the commemoration of these two great men became a 3-day holiday for bank and federal workers on the third Monday in February. (And don’t forget the commercial President’s Day sales.)

Technically, today is the date George Washington may have celebrated his birth once he was 20 years old, when England changed to the Gregorian calendar. Contemporary records (those created at the time) had dated his birth as 11 February 1731 using the Julian or Old Style (O.S.) calendar. In 1752, England finally came around to the calendar the rest of the world was using, the New Style (N.S.) or Gregorian calendar. This calendar changed the first day of the year to 1 January, instead of 25 March, so any events between those dates had a number of days added- it depended on which year as to how many- plus the year was corrected to the next. So George Washington’s birthday then became 22 February 1732.

I do ramble about our heritage (hence the most appropriate blog name), but there is a reason to mention George Washington when one discusses our family history. We have no proof that a family member met George Washington, but there certainly was opportunity. At least three ancestors may have been in the same place as George Washington at the same time, and, of course, a number had their lives permanently altered because of his actions. These men are Jonathan Benjamin, Henry Horn, and Wiley Anderson Murrell; Washington surely influenced many other ancestors from that time and since. These next few weeks we will be learning more about these men and their families, so stay tuned.

[Is this just name dropping? Hopefully dear reader, you are not thinking that. We are merely interested in putting our ancestors in the context of the times, and knowing ‘famous’ persons would have been a part of that history. It is just as important as a young man fighting a Civil War battle,  a couple taking their friends to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis as newlyweds (Anna May Beerbower and William Gerard Helbling), a woman casting her first vote in 1921, our generation watching men walk on the moon for the first time, or any relative participating in any big event, or even the mundane ones- all context.]

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington’s_Birthday

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), 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.
 

Copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
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“A Maine Law Wanted”- Murrell Family Bible, Part 6

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

A Maine Law Wanted, c1852, Page 1
A Maine Law Wanted, c1853,     Page 1 [Click to enlarge.]
This pamphlet printed on very thin paper was tucked into the family bible of Wiley Anderson Murrell and Mary Magdalen Honts Murrell. (See previous posts in this series.)

The latest date of statistics cited is October, 1852, so it must have been printed some time after that.

Liquor flowed freely in early America, whether to keep one safe from water-borne illness, to help warm up on cold winter days and nights, or to free one for a short while from the dreariness of the hard, constant drudgery of being a working-class man.

A Maine Law Wanted, c1852, Page 2
A Maine Law Wanted, c1853,     Page 2 [Click to enlarge.]
In 1851 the Temperance Movement in the United States was growing. A law  was passed in Maine that year that only allowed the sale of alcoholic beverages for “medicinal, mechanical or manufacturing purposes.” Twelve other states passed similar laws by 1855, although a number of those laws were overturned by State Supreme Courts- there were even riots over the laws in some states. Iowa lawmakers passed a “Maine Law” in 1855 and it was quickly ratified by Iowa voters that year. This pamphlet may have been provided by the Temperance Movement and churches to encourage Iowa voters to support a “Maine Law” in their state.

Temperance was very unpopular, especially among working class men. Many churches and women worked for the temperance movement, as they knew that women and children suffered the most (economically, psychologically, and physically) when alcoholism affected the breadwinner of the family. Mary Honts Murrell came from a broken family, and had a father who was often unreasonable and had a temper- could that be why this pamphlet was in her bible? Had her father, Henry Honts, been an alcoholic? That is a story that we probably will never know.

Women worked to get the vote during this time period as well, but with little success. ‘Big liquor’ and powerful politicians who bought votes with free liquor right before elections knew that women would tend to vote for any attempt to limit alcohol sales, and thus they banded together to keep the right of suffrage from women until 1922.

A Maine Law Wanted, c1852, Page 3 [click to enlarge]
A Maine Law Wanted, c1853,      Page 3
[Click to enlarge.]
 Interestingly, page 3 of “A Maine Law Wanted” states, “Four-fifths of those swept away in Buffalo, by the cholera, have been in the habit of using ardent spirits as a beverage.” (Italics in pamphlet.) Actually, in the 1850s, drinking “ardent spirits” instead of local water from a river or stream would have protected drinkers since the alcohol kills bacteria. Of course, at that time the germ theory of disease was not widely accepted, and it was not understood that fecal contamination of water was the cause of cholera. There have been numerous pandemics of cholera, including one in the United States and Europe from 1827-1835, which killed 150,000 Americans. Within a year or so of the (estimated) publishing date of this pamphlet, in 1854, John Snow of England recognized a clustering of cholera disease around contaminated water, thus beginning the science of epidemiology and successful steps to eradicate this lethal disease.

A Maine Law Wanted, c1852, Page 4 [click to enlarge]
A Maine Law Wanted, c1853,     Page 4
[Click to enlarge.]
Note the publication information on the last page: “Hoover & Co., 118 Nassau street, New York, office of the New York People’s Organ, a weekly Temperance and Family Companion, at one dollar a year.” Sadly I could not find specific information for this group online, but hopefully some scholars will find this post and add this pamphlet to other historical documents of the era.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Murrell Family Bible, c1845?

2) Wikipedia article for “Maine Law,” accessed 2-8-14 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_law.

3) Wikipedia article for “Cholera,” accessed 2-8-14 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholera

 

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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.