Sunday’s Obituary: Samuel Murrell of Kentucky

Freemason symbol, sometimes used without the G in the center. Via Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Freemason symbol, sometimes used without the G in the center. Via Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

“Death of the Oldest Mason in Kentucky” was the headline of the Plain Dealer of Cleveland, Ohio, on 21 September 1890. The oldest Mason they spoke of was Samuel Murrell.

Samuel was born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, per his obituary, to Colonel George Murrell and Sarah Blain on 24 June 1792. The Find A Grave memorial for Samuel states he was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, but censuses state Kentucky.

While he was a youngster, the family moved to a place near Glasgow, in Barren County, Kentucky, per his obituary.

Map indicating Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, via Wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Map indicating Glasgow, Barren County, Kentucky, via Wikipedia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Just 20 years old when the War of 1812 broke out, Samuel became a soldier to protect our new republic from the British invasion.

Samuel joined the Freemasons, a fraternal order, while living in Glasgow. He attained the Master Mason degree in the year 1816 at the Allen Lodge, No. 28, in Glasgow.

In 1850 Samuel and his wife Elizabeth were listed with presumably their children Mary Ann Murrell (age 22), Sallie B. Murrell (20), Maria S. Murrell (17), Ellen Jane Murrell (14), Eliza F. Murrell (12), Chalia Murrell (9), George M. Murrell (24, listed as a laborer but their only son), and Mary Sterritt (74). Mary Sterritt was probably Elizabeth’s aged mother, and was born in Virginia, as was Elizabeth, and Mary owned $2400 in real estate. Samuel was listed with $17,700 in real estate, almost three times as much as others on that same census page, although one farmer on the previous page had land worth $70,000. So apparently there were a few big farmers, and many more with smaller holdings in Warren County, Kentucky, which is just west of Barren County.

There was a “Murrell Hotel” in Glasgow by at least  1899- more research will be needed to see how this relates to Samuel. We do know also that a C.H. Murrell lived in Glasgow in 1866, but currently do not know the relationship, if there is one.

Samuel Murrell was granted a pension for his service in the War of 1812. When he filed, he was one of the few survivors left from that war, and one of the very last to apply for a pension from that war with the British.

Samuel and Mary Logan Briggs House in Stanford, Barren County, Kentucky. Samuel Murrell likely knew this house, as it was built in the 1780s and used as the Presbyterian church, as a house, later as the library, and today as the historical society museum. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Image taken on 26 July 2014, public domain.
Samuel and Mary Logan Briggs House in Stanford, Barren County, Kentucky. Samuel Murrell likely knew this house, as it was built in the 1780s and used as the Presbyterian church, as a house, later as the library, and today as the historical society museum. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Image taken on 26 July 2014, public domain.

Samuel died at the home of his grandson, Samuel Young, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, just a few weeks after he was granted his pension. It was 18 September 1890 when Samuel went to his final rest. He was 98 years old, and the oldest Mason in Kentucky; he was also considered one of the oldest Masons in the world.

[Through DNA connections, we believe this Samuel Murrell is related to our Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885), but have not yet proved the connection with paper documentation.]

Notes:
  1. “Death of the Oldest Mason in Kentucky,” Cleveland Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio], 21 September 1890, page 2. The story line was from Bowling Green, Ky. GenealogyBank.com. The death notice was picked up in other newspapers as well. The date of his death varies in some of the papers.
  2. “G. A. R. Encampment at Glasgow,” Lexington [Kentucky] Morning Herald, 28 April 1899, page 5. GenealogyBank.