Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An Early East Tennessee Flyer

The Citizen Tribune (Morristown, Tennessee) has an interesting story about Melville Murrell. It seems Mr. Murrell tried out his flying machine before the Wright Brothers. His flight was a little less successful, but it seems to have created a sensation in the area.

He appears to be the five-year-old M. M. Murrell in the home of M. R. and R. Murrell in Jefferson County, Tennessee in the 1860 census. Interestingly, all the children in the household are listed as M. M. Murrell. [1860 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Jefferson County, Tennessee, p. 164 (written), dwelling 1150, family 1189, M. R. Murrell household, page 164 (written); digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 November 2008); citing National Archives microfilm publication M653, roll 1258.] His father is listed as a merchant in the census. (The article states he was a grocer.)

In the 1870 census, the family is enumerated in Civil District 11 of Jefferson County, Tennessee with the Witts Foundry post office listed. His presumed father Mark R. Murrell is listed as a farmer in this census. His presumptive mother's name is given as Rebecca M. His older presumed brother is Mabry M. [1870 U.S. Federal census, population schedule, Jefferson County, Tennessee, Civil District No. 11, Witts Foundry post office, p. 20 (written), dwelling 155, household 155, Mark R. Murrell household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 November 2008); citing National Archives microfilm publication M593, roll 1540.]

Hamblen County was formed from Jefferson in 1870.

Melville is still residing with his parents in the 1880 census in the Panther Springs area of Hamblen County. [1880 U.S. Federal Census, Population Schedules, Hamblen County, Tennessee, s.d. 1, e.d. 69, p. 321 (stamped), dwelling 104, family 104, Mark R. Murrell household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 November 2008); citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 1258.] Both he and his father are listed as farmers. His presumed brother Mabry M. is residing next door with a new wife Louisa and son Raymond and is listed as a sewing machine agent. [1880 U.S. Federal Census, Population Schedules, Hamblen County, Tennessee, s.d. 1, e.d. 69, p. 321 (stamped), dwelling 105, family 105, Mabry M. Murrell household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 November 2008); citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 1258.]

By 1900, Melville is married to Matilda F. and has four sons and one daughter residing with him. His mother Rebecca, now a widow, is also living with him. [1900 U.S. Federal Census, population schedule, Hamblen County, Tennessee, s.d. 1, e.d. 54, sheet 2B, dwelling 39, family 40, Melville M. Murrell household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 November 2008); citing National Archives microfilm publication T 623, roll 1575.] The 1900 census says that Melville was born in November 1854, rather than 1855 as the newspaper article states. He had been married 15 years at the time of the census.

I have been unable to locate the patent at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office database. I tried several combinations of dates, names, terms, etc. but still could not find it. If anyone has better luck, please post the link!

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