Murrell Home housed Cherokees prior to allotment

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
03/11/2016 08:00 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The George M. Murrell home in Park Hill, Oklahoma, is open year round excluding Mondays and all state holidays. It is designated a National Historic Landmark and a Certified Trail of Tears site. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
A dining room replication inside the George M. Murrell home in Park Hill, Oklahoma. The museum focuses on the Murrell family and other families that lived there in the 19th and 20th centuries. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
PARK HILL, Okla. – The George M. Murrell Home museum focuses on the Murrell family and other families that lived in the antebellum mansion during the 1800s and 1900s.

David Fowler, Oklahoma Historical Society northeast regional director, gave a presentation in February at the Cherokee Nation during a “Lunch and Learn” event about the women who resided in the mansion as well as those who withstood the pains of the Civil War while there.

He said aside from George Murrell and Minerva Ross, niece to Principal Chief John Ross, there was Minerva’s youngest sister, Amanda Ross, who married George after Minerva died. George and Amanda had six children. Relatives of the Rosses lived in the home through the Civil War and later because of the Murrells spending most of their time between their other plantations in Virginia and Louisiana.

Ross relatives lived there until the early 1900s when Cherokee land began being allotted, Fowler said.

“Most of the women that we talked about (during the presentation)…that have a connection to the Murrell Home, we have something of their memorabilia here,” he said. “Particularly with the Murrells and the Rosses, and then of course after the war is over with as well, some of the ladies that we talked about in the presentation particularly Mary Jane Ross, which is a sister of Mrs. Murrell (Amanda), she came to live in the Murrell Home after the war was over with because her home was destroyed.”

He said the Murrell Home had become a place that a lot of Rosses could fall back on because of the war.

“So we have a great history of the Ross family with this house,” Fowler said. “If anyone wants to learn more about the Civil War and particularly the non-combatant side of the war, they can come here to the Murrell Home and tour the house. We have a lot of great stories of the women and the younger men who were not of fighting age that lived here at the home or around the home in Park Hill. A lot of great educational information in the house about that.”

The home is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is located at
19479 E. Murrell Home Road. For more information, visit the Murrell Home’s Facebook or www.okhistory.org.

According to the Oklahoma Historical Society website, George Michael Murrell was born in 1808 to a prominent family in Lynchburg, Virginia. He moved to the Athens, Tennessee, area as a young man to pursue mercantile interests with his brother, Glenmore O. Murrell, and future father-in-law, Lewis Ross. In 1834, George Murrell met and married Minerva Ross. Minerva was the oldest daughter of Lewis and Fannie (Holt) Ross, members of a wealthy and influential Cherokee family. Lewis was a merchant, planter and National Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation. His brother, John, was principal chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 until his death in 1866. When the Cherokees were forced to leave their homes in the East during the Trail of Tears in 1838-39, Murrell chose to move with his wife’s family to the new CN in Indian Territory. In Park Hill, he established a plantation and built a large frame home similar to those he remembered in Virginia. He called the Greek Revival-style house “Hunter’s Home” because of his fondness for fox hunts. A rock building was added beside the creek branch over a cold spring to preserve food. Outbuildings included a barn with stables for his horses. Other buildings probably added were a smokehouse, gristmill, blacksmith shop, corncribs and small cabins for slaves and employees. Murrell and his father-in-law also established a mercantile business in Park Hill, later moving it into Tahlequah, the capital of the CN.

Minerva (Ross) Murrell
(1819-1855)

In 1855, Minerva (Ross) Murrell died, probably of malaria. She was buried in the nearby Ross family cemetery. The Murrells had no children, but in 1845, two of Minerva’s young cousins came to live with them. Joshua and Jennie P. Ross were educated by the Murrells and remained close to them throughout their lives.

Amanda Murrell
(1830-1896)

In 1857, George married Minerva’s youngest sister, Amanda, probably at his late wife’s request. George and Amanda had six children. The first child died as an infant. The second, however, was born in “Hunter’s Home’ in 1861 at Park Hill. George Ross Murrell was only 10 months old when troop movements and guerilla warfare began during the Civil War, and his parents left the Park Hill area. Eventually, George was to serve the Confederacy back in his native Virginia.

George, Amanda, and their family never returned to live in “Hunter’s Home” after the war. Park Hill was devastated from repeated raids, and most of the homes were damaged or destroyed. Various members of Amanda’s large extended family lived in the home during the war and through the rest of the 19th century.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᎠᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ. – ᎾᏍᎩᏃ George M. Murrell ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏍᏆᏂᎪᏗᏓᏅᎢ ᎠᎦᏎᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ Murrell ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᏂᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᏅᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎡᏆ ᎦᎵᏦᏕᎢ ᎾᎯᏳᎢ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ 1800s ᎠᎴ 1900s.

David Fowler, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎹ Historical ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ ᎤᏴᏢᎢᎧᎸᎬᎢ ᎡᏍᎦᏂ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ, ᎧᎦᎵ ᏥᎧᎸᎢ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ ᎤᏬᏂᏒᎢ ᎥᎿ ᏣᎳᎩᎯ ᎠᏰᎵ “ᏓᎾᎵᏍᏓᏰᎲᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ” ᏓᎾᏠᏍᎨᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ Ꮎ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᎨᏥᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ ᎤᎾᏕᏅᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎦᎾᏮ ᏣᎾᏟᎮᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎦᏛᎴᏒᎢ.

ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᏂᏛᏓᎴᏂᏍᎩ George Murrell ᎠᎴ Minerva Ross, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᎬᏫᏳᏒᎢ ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ ᏣᏂ ᎫᏣᏍᎫᏫ ᎤᏓᏚᏥᏴᎢ ᎨᏒᎩ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ Minerva’s ᎣᏂᎢ ᎡᎯ ᎠᎾᏓᎸᎢ, Amanda Ross, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ George ᏕᎨᎦᏨᏍᏔᏅᎢ ᎤᏲᎱᏌ Minerva. George ᎠᎴ Amanda ᏑᏓᎵᏃ ᏚᎾᏓᏘᎿᎥᎢ. Rosses Z ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏧᏅᏂ ᏓᏁᎮᎢ ᏱᎪᎯᏓ ᏓᎿᏫ ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎦᎾᏮᎢ ᏣᎾᏟᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏂᏗᏜ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ Murrells ᏭᎪᏛᎢ ᎤᏣᏘᏂ ᏙᏧᏙᏢᏒᎢ ᎥᎿ Virginia ᎠᎴ Louisisns ᏓᏁᎮᎢ ᏂᎬᏂᏏᏍᎨᎢ.

Ross Ꮓ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏧᏮᏂ ᏓᏁᎮᎢ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ 1900s ᏱᎪᎯᏓ ᎾᎯᏳᏃ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏙᎢ ᏕᎤᎲᎢ ᏧᎾᎴᏅᎲᎢ ᎠᏂᏯᏙᎯᎲᎢ, ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Fowler.

“ᏭᏂᎪᏛᎢ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᏥᏕᏗᏃᎲᎵ (ᎾᎯᏳ ᏥᏕᏓᏠᏍᎬᎢ)…ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏚᏂᏂᏴᏗ ᎥᎿᎾᏂ Murrell Home, ᎪᎱᏍᏗᏃ ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎢ ᎠᏅᏓᏗᏍᏙᏗ ᎣᎩᎭ ᎠᎭᏂ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. Murrells ᎠᎴ Rosses ᎤᎾᏤᎵᎢ, ᎠᎴ Ꮓ ᎾᏊ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏗ ᏓᎿᏩ ᎾᏍᎩᏊ, ᎢᎦᏓᏃ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᏥᏕᏗᏃᎲᎵ ᎥᎿ ᏥᏕᏓᏠᏍᎬᎢ ᎠᏏᏴᏫ Mary Jane Ross, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎠᎾᏓᎸᎢ ᎨᏒᎢ Mrs. Murrell (Amanda), ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎷᏤᎢ ᎤᏁᎳᏗᏍᏗᎢ ᎥᎿ Murrell Home ᎾᎯᏳᎢ ᎤᎵᏍᏆᏓ ᏓᎿᏩ ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏰᏟᏗ ᎤᏩᏌ ᏧᏪᏅᏒᎢ ᎤᏂᏲᏍᏔᏅᎢ.”

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᎧᏃᎮᏍᎬᎢ ᎾᏃ Murrell Home ᏥᎩ ᎾZ Rosses ᏰᎵᎢ ᏫᎬᏩᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎩ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᎭ ᏓᎿᏩ.

“ᎢᎦᏃ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎦᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎾᏍᏛᎢ ᎠᏂ Ross ᏏᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎯᎠ ᏣᏓᏁᎳ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ Fowler. “ᎢᏳᏃ ᎩᎶ ᏳᏚᎵᎠ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸᎢ ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎦᎾᏮᎢ ᏓᎿᏩ ᏣᎾᏟᎲᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏤᏟᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎥᏝ-ᎠᎾᏟᎯ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᏓᎿᏩ, ᎠᎭᏂᏃ ᏯᏂᎷᎩ Murrell Home ᎠᎴ ᏯᏂᎦᏖᏃᎵᏓ ᎥᎿ ᎦᎵᏦᏕᎢ. ᎢᎦᏃ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏗ ᎣᎩᎭ ᎦᎦᏃᎮᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎯᎢᎾ ᎠᎨᏯ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏂᏍᎦᏯ ᎥᏝ ᎢᏳᎾᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᏱᎨᏎᎢ ᏓᎿᏩ ᎤᏁᏅᏍᏗᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᏂᏙᎸᎢ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏣᏓᏁᎳ ᎠᎴᏱᎩ ᏛᏍᎦᏂ ᎠᏭᏂᏴᏍᏗᎢ. ᎤᎪᏗᏃ ᎠᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎦᎦᏃᎮᏗ ᎤᏂᎭ ᎥᎿ ᎦᎵᏦᏕᎢ,”

ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏣᏓᏕᎳ ᎠᏍᏚᎢᏐᎢ 10 a.m. 5 p.m. ᏱᎪᎯᏓ ᏔᎵᏁᎢ ᎢᎦ ᎤᎾᏙᏓᏈᏕᎾ ᏱᎪᎯᏓ. ᎥᎿᏃ ᎨᏒ ᎢᏴᎢ 19479 E. Murrell Home Road. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᏢᏅᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏱᏮᏩᏛᎯᏓ Murrell Home’s Facebook ᎠᎴᏱᎩ www.okhistory.org.

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