Marcellus Hugh Murdock was born in November 1833 (or 1835) in Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the son of John Smart and Rebecca (Miner) Murdock.
For many years he was a business partner with his prominent father, including in real estate holdings in Kingwood.
He learned the trade of blacksmithing in his growing up years. At the age of 24, in 1860, and then again at age 36 in 1870, the bachelor Marcellus worked at this trade in Kingwood and lived with his father and stepmother.
In 1868, he may have sold a one-acre tract to his cousin, James Miner Carroll. The acreage was known as the Cresap coal bank. The deed was not filed until May 1870, and it's not known if the property was used for mining.
Marcellus also may have been an early church school teacher. An 1870 report published by his brother James, who was secretary of a school organization called the “Kingwood Juvenile Missionary Society,” listed "M.H. Murdock" as a teacher. James stated that the success of the effort was, “without doubt, attributable to the co-operation of teachers with the scholars, and I would recommend that the teachers of classes engage more frequently in those exercises, as their influence and example tend greatly to stimulate and encourage the younger members."
Circa 1872, when Marcellus was about age 38, he was united in holy matrimony with Lydia "Liddie" Caldwell (May 1840-1907). The federal census enumeration for 1880 shows the couple together in Kingwood, next door to his father and stepmother, with Marcellus continuing his longtime work as a blacksmith.
The pair did not reproduce.
The Murdocks were regular attendees of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Kingwood. In mid-1877, Lydia's personal book of hymns went missing, and she suspected that someone might have taken it in error. The Preston County Journal carried a short article about the matter: "Mrs. Hugh Murdock would be obliged for the return of her M.E. Hymn-book, which was taken from the church some months ago. A flyleaf on the book bears her name thus: 'Lydia C. Murdock'." During 1878-1879, when a new church building was erected, Marcellus and his parents and brother James Eyster Murdock Sr. contributed funds for the work. The dedication service was held on May 25, 1879.
Marcellus and brother James are believed to have been charter stockholders of the Kingwood Railway Company, formed on Jan. 9, 1882. In 1887, after Marcellus and his father had "amicably" dissolved their business partnership, they sold off numerous properties.
The U.S. Census of 1900 shows the childless couple inKingwood, having been married for 28 years. Their next-door neighbors were his cousins Patrick Joseph and Luella "Ella" (Fawcett) Crogan.
Marcellus' sister Susan Gribble apparently enjoyed visits to her old hometown to see her brothers. A story in the Sept. 20, 1888 Preston County Journal reported that "Mrs. James E. Gribble, of Uniontown, Pa., who has been visiting here for a week, will return home to day. [She] is a daughter of Squire John S. Murdock, and a sister to Messrs. J.E. and M.H. Murdock."
It's believed that Lydia may have sued Marcellus for divorce or other type of financial support in the late 1890s. The West Virginia Argus, published in Kingwood, reported on Oct. 14, 1897 that "The case of Lydia C. Murdock vs. M.H. Murdock, her husband, to have committee appointed was continued till Oct. 25, when a special session is called to try the case."
Marcellus died in 1905, at the age of 70. The cause of death is unknown.
Lydia passed away two years later.
They are buried at Maplewood Cemetery in Kingwood, with their graves marked by a massive memorial stone bearing the words, "M.H. MURDOCK."
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