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Capt. Alex. Murchison

Michele Bonham

Printed in the Toulon, Stark County, Illinois, Friday, February 6, 1903 newspaper

Capt. Alex. Murchison

Dr. A. C. Murchison was called to Kewanee the first of the week by the death of his father. The Star-Courier says: "Capt. Alex Murchison, one of the best known and most highly respected residents of this community, quietly passed away Tuesday morning at 5:00 o'clock at his home on Division street, after an illness dating back two months. At times it seemed that he would win in the struggle with disease and strong hopes for his recovery were entertained within the last few weeks. Last Friday, however, a change for the worse was manifested and gradually his condition grew more serious until death came.

"Capt. Murchison served with distinction as an officer in the Civil war, and leaves an honorable record for brave service in the cause of freedom and the Union, and in the path of peace he also won an enviable reputation through the sterling qualities which go to make a good citizen. His residence in Illinois dated from September 12, 1849, when he located in Stark County, where he lived until 1866, and for many years he was actively identified with farming interests.

"A native of Scotland, Mr. Murchison was born in Rosshire, July 7, 1831, and therefore had he lived until next July would have been 72 years old. He had but limited school advantages and could be called a safe-made man. In 1849 he emigrated to the new world with his father and the other members of the family, taking passage on a sailing vessel at Glasgow. Nine weeks afterward they dropped anchor in the harbor of Quebec. The family proceeded up the St. Lawrence River and through the Great Lakes to Chicago, by canal to Peru and by team to Elmira.

"Captain Murchison first worked by the month, herding sheep, which occupation he followed for two years. During the following three years he worked as a farm hand at Elmira and then purchased a team and commenced breaking prairie, devoting his energies to the pursuit for nearly four years. He next purchased and operated a threshing machine and reaper. In 1852 he bought 200 acres of land in Stark and Henry counties. This place was sold three years later.

"On March 4, 1860, he helped to organize a military company which he drilled, and when the Civil war broke out in 1861, at the call of troops, he entered the service in Company B., 33rd U. S. Infantry. Mr. Murchison was commissioned second lieutenant, but the following October was promoted to first lieutenant and was made captain of this company soon after, with which rank he served until mustered out when his term of enlistment expired.

"As part of the army of the Cumberland, the regiment participated in the battle of Stone River, the Tullahoma campaign, and then drove General Braggs command across the Tennessee River after some hard fighting. On September 16, 1863, they took part in an all-day engagement at Dug's Gap, where two of Capt, Murchison's men were killed and one wounded. They were in the battle of Chickamauga on Sunday, and Mr. Murchison was rendered unconscious by being hit by a piece of a shell, but the following day resumed command of his company.

"He had command of his regiment in an engagement in front of Dalton, in February, 1864, at which time he lost two of his own company. He was at the battle of Resaca, Ga., and was under almost constant fire for nearly a month during the Atlantic campaign. His command was ordered back upon reaching Marietta, and he received an honorable discharge at Chicago, July 9, 1864.

"Returning to his home he resumed farming, having previously purchased 160 acres of land in Stark County, and later bought 80 acres adjoining, in Henry County. This he fenced, broke and improved and erected thereon one of the best country residence in the community, together with good, substantial outbuildings. In connection with the cultivation of his land, he engaged in the raising of cattle and hogs and in his business affaires met with excellent cusses. Having acquired a comfortable competence, he retired from active labor in 1897, and renting his farm, moved to Wethersfield, where he made his home until the time of his death.

"Capt. Murchison was married in Stark County, July 3, 1866, to Miss Margaret Weede, daughter of Rev. M. C. Weed, a native of Pennsylvania, and one of the pioneer preachers of Stark County. To this union three children were born, all of whom, together with the bereaved wife, remain to mourn his death. The children are A. Clarence, engaged in the practice of dentistry at Toulon; Lorena K., wife of W. C. Palmer, of this city, and Miss Frances, also of Kewanee.

"Since casting his first presidential vote for John C. Fremont, in 1856, Capt. Murchison was affiliated with the Republican Party and was a staunch advocate of its principles. He served as a delegate to the county, congressional and state conventions, and for thirty years was a member of the Republican central committee of his township, serving as chairman most of the time. For some years he was a member of the school board and also filled the office of supervision and township trusts.

"He was a prominent member and past commander of the Grand Army Post of this city and stood deservedly high in the esteem of his fellow citizens. Throughout his career of continued and far-reaching usefulness, his duties were performed with the greatest care and his business interests were so managed as to win for him the confidence of the public and the prosperity which always attends honorable effort."

The funeral services were held yesterday afternoon, the G. A. R. being in charge, Rev. W. J. Drew, formerly pastor of the Elmira U. P. church, preached the sermon. The burial was in the Kewanee cemetery.

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