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Charles Edgar Murdock
(1851-1921)

Charles Edgar Murdock was born on Sept. 8, 1851 in Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the son of John S. and Rebecca (Miner) Murdock. He has been called “one of the pioneer residents of Ironton,” Lawrence County, Ohio.

When Charles was age three, in 1854, his mother died. His father thereafter remarried and remained in Kingwood, where Charles was raised to manhood.

In January 1873, Charles joined with other young men of the Kingwood Methodist-Episcopal Church and organized a Young Men's Prayer Meetings Association, "to hold meetings at 4 p.m. each Sabbath," according to the 1950 booklet entitled Through the Years: A History of Methodism in Kingwood, West Virginia, and authored by Ethel Peaslee Beerbower. His brother James Eyster Murdock Sr. was elected president of this prayer association.

When Charles reached age 22, later in 1873, he moved to Ironton, where many of his siblings were already living. “For a time,” said the Ironton Daily Register, [he] “was connected with the W.A. Murdock wholesale grocery….” A listing for the Murdock grocery in 1887 shows it was located at the corner of Second and Lawrence Streets. As well, the firm of Murdock & Co. operated a receiving, forwarding and commission merchant business with its office at the "Wharf-boat."

Atlas of Lawrence County with a red star showing W.A. Murdock's 15-acre property in Ironton, where Ice Creek empties into the Ohio River, 1887

On Jan 4, 1876, at the age of 25, Charles married 22-year-old Missouri L. Stone (1854-1921), also a native of Kingwood and the daughter of Clayburn Stone.

1887 Atlas of Lawrence County

Charles and Missouri had three daughters – Minnie Dodds, Adalyn "Addie" Johnston and Julia Helen Fisher.

The Murdocks resided at 318 South Eighth Street in Ironton. Charles was a member of the First Methodist Episcopal Church and was "secretary of the Men’s Bible class for over twenty years. He was justly proud of his attendance record, having been absent but six times in the past thirty years." They were enumerated at this address when the 1900 census was taken.

Ironton Daily Register, 1921

The Semi-Weekly Irontonian said that Charles "for many years conducted a grocery in West Ironton, where he was widely known and very highly respected. After giving up business he still was identified with local groceries and up to the time he became incapacitated was employed at the Freeman stand at Third and Vernon streets."

In early February 1921, at the age of 69, Charles suffered a cerebral hemorrhage, and died a week later, on Feb. 13, 1921. He was buried at Woodland Cemetery in Ironton. On his official Ohio death certificate, his mother's maiden name was spelled "Minard."

His death, said the Daily Register, was like "a bolt of lightning from a clear blue sky, … thus removing from this city a noble and upright citizen, a kind and devoted husband and father. The news of Mr. Murdock’s death cast a gloom of sorry throughout the city as his many friends were not aware that he had been ill." On his death certificate, with information provided by son in law J.M. Johnston, the maiden name of Charles' mother was spelled "Minard." 

Missouri only survived Charles by seven months. She moved to Xenia, Greene County, OH, to live with her married daughter, Mrs. J.C. Dodds. 

Sadly, in late September of 1921, Missouri came down with a fatal case of meningitis, with "cerebral exhaustion and muscular uncoordination," wrote her physician. She suffered for about 10 days, and died at the age of 67 on Oct. 10, 1921. 

~ Daughter Adalyn (Murdock) Johnston ~

Daughter Adalyn Murdock (1881- ? ) was born in 1881. She married at the age of 30, in about 1911, to 40-year-old North Carolina native John M. Johnston (1879- ? ). John was of of medium height and slender build, with brown eyes and hair. 

Ironton's 2nd Street, looking west

When he was required to register for the military draft during World War I, he listed his nearest relative as Mrs. R.L. Troutman of Independence, MO.

They resided in Ironton circa 1920, on South Fourth Street, and in 1930 on Sixth Street, where John was a salesman for a monument company. His employer was his brother in law John "Charles" Dodds, a partner and executive in the family-owned George Dodds Sons Granite Company of Xenia, OH.

Seen here is a rare old postcard view of Ironton's Second Street, looking west, circa 1912.

The Johnstons are not known to have reproduced. The 1930 federal census shows them childless with John at age 52 and Adalyn at age 49. 

Their fates will be added here when discovered.

~ Daughter Minnie (Murdock) Albright Dodds ~

Daughter Minnie Murdock (1876- ? ) was born on Dec. 4, 1876 in Ironton. She attended Ironton High School and graduated in the class of 1898.

She was married twice. Her first husband was Emory P. Albright (1879- ? ), son of L.M. and Jennie (Gibson) Albright of Albrightsville, Preston County. She was age 29, and he 27, at the time of marriage, which was held on June 14, 1906, by the hand of Rev. R.F. Bishop.

Emory was an insurance agent residing in Kingwood, and Minnie a sales lady in Ironton. Tragedy struck the year after marriage, when Emory died, of causes not yet known. He was laid to rest in Kingwood's Maplewood Cemetery. 

Minnie wed again, at the age of 31, to 35-year-old John "Charles" (or "J.C.") Dodds (1874- ? ), son of George and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Dodds Sr. In a most remarkable twist, the wedding occurred at the Kingwood home of Minnie's former father-in-law, L.M. Albright, officiated by Rev. J.H. Hess of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Charles was of medium height and build, with brown eyes.

Ad for Dodds Granite in a national magazine

How Minnie and Charles met is unknown. He resided in Xenia, Greene County, OH; had been married once before to Elizabeth Hartsook Stephens; and brought three children to his marriage with Minnie: John Charles Dodds Jr., Mary K. Murphy and Elizabeth B. Prewitt. He and Minnie had no children of their own. In 1910-1930, their residence was at 218 Hill Street in Xenia. 

As World War I raged in Europe, Charles was required to register for the military draft, at the age of 44. He listed Minnie as his next of kin on his registration card.

He and his brothers were partners in George Dodds Sons Granite Company of Xenia, founded by their father George Sr. and uncle Andrew in 1864. The firm had subsidiary businesses known as Victoria White Granite Company, with quarries in New Hampshire, and Milford Pink Granite Company, in Massachusetts, considered among the finest in the eastern United States. Brother Earl was based in the firm's Chicago office; brother Ralph in Indianapolis; brother Leslie headed the wholesale department of Wilson Brothers in Chicago; and brothers Frank and George were in Xenia with John. They are mentioned in the 1918 book, History of Greene County, Ohio: It's People, Industries and Institutions, compiled by editor in chief M.A. Broadstone. 

Their headquarters building in Xenia "is built of stone with polished Quincy granite columns and is by far the finest building in the city," said the trade journal The Reporter in May 1911: 

The space above the first floor is occupied by ten handsome apartments, modern in every respect and finished throughout in quartered oak and marble. The offices of the company on the first floor are handsomely furnished and finished with marble floors and wainscot. The entire building is heated by hot water and is most conveniently arranged. The building was designed and planned by J.C. Dodds and was built complete by the firm's own workmen.

    

Above, left: typical granite quarry in New Hampshire. Right: offices of the Victoria White Granite Co. in Keene, NH

In 1911, Charles held the title of vice president and general manager. He was a member of the I.M.G. Producers' Association and attended their conferences. He also was known for helping build mausoleums in and around Lima, Ohio.

In about 1919, when famed American sculptor George Gray Barnard offered to make bronze statues of Abraham Lincoln for Russia and France, Charles offered to donate the pedestals for the effort. 

Later in the 1930s, Charles transferred to New York City, with his offices based at 814 Pershing Square Building. 

He died in Pittsfield, Berkshire County, MA, on Jan. 17, 1937, apparently while visiting one of his quarries. His remains were returned to Xenia for burial in Woodland Cemetery. A one-sentence obituary was printed in the next day's edition of the New York Times, noting that he was president of the company, lived in Xenia and was 64 years of age.

Minnie outlived her husband by 34 years. She died on Aug. 19, 1971 in Columbus, Franklin County, OH. She rests for eternity beside her husband. [Find-A-Grave link

Minnie's stepson John Charles Dodds Jr. (1898-1990) is believed to have died in Keene on April 23, 1990.

~ Daughter Julia "Helen" (Murdock) Fisher ~

Daughter Julia "Helen" Murdock (1894- ? ) was born in 1894. She married Harry Andrew Fisher (1892- ? ). They were wed in about 1917, when Helen was age 22 and Harry 38. He was tall and slender, with grey eyes and light hair.

They had four children -- Harry Edgar Fisher (1918-1921), Jeane Elizabeth Morrison, John Andrew Fisher and Joyce Miles. 

Harry was required to register for the military draft during World War I. He disclosed his occupation as linotype operator for the Ironton Publishing Company.

They resided at 422 Walnut Street in Ironton when the census was taken in 1920 and 1930. Harry's employment during that period was as circulation manager for the local newspaper in Ironton. In 1930, their residence was on South Ninth Street.

Sadly, son Harry died at the age of three on Oct. 4, 1921, in Ironton. Burial was at Woodland Cemetery. 

Harry Sr. may have died on Dec. 11, 1978, with burial in Ironton's Woodland Cemetery, but this needs to be verified. Helen's story is lost to history for now.

Daughter Jeane Elizabeth Fisher (1921-2011) was born on March 30, 1921 in Ironton.  On St. Patrick's Day 1946, when she was nearing her 25th birthday, she married Charles Elisha Morrison.  They had one daughter, Juliane McGowan. Residing in Ironton, Jeane was a homemaker and was employed for a time as accounts payable clerk for Ashland Oil. She also was a member of the First United Methodist Church and was a Sunday School teacher and member of the adult choir and the Women's Society. Later, the Morrisons moved to Portsmouth, OH. Jeane died in Portsmouth at the age of 89 on Jan. 28, 2011. Her remains were returned to Ironton for burial in the Woodland Cemetery, the family's longtime resting place of many generations.

Son John Andrew Fisher married Charlene (?). They made their home in Dyersburg, TN. 

Daughter Joyce Fisher married Harold Miles. They have two children-- Jeffrey and Janet -- and make their home in Columbus, OH.

Copyright © 2001, 2008, 2011-2012, 2014 Mark A. Miner