William B. Murdock was born on March 15, 1831 in Kingwood, Preston County, WV, the son of John S. and Rebecca (Miner) Murdock.
Not much is known of his short life, except that William and his family were active in the Kingwood Methodist Church at a time when the population of Kingwood did not exceed 200 residents. William's parents, and aunt Catherine (Miner) Hanshaw, were members of the congregation in 1842 when the first brick church edifice was erected in town.
William and his brother Israel B. Murdock are known to have been charter members and teachers of the first Sunday School class organized at their growing church. On Oct. 22, 1850, the brothers attended an organizational meeting of the Sunday School, with William named as a teacher, and Israel as his alternate. In a statement prepared by the committee, they urged:
... prompt attendance of the Sabbath School at the hour of two o'clock on each Sabbath, and that a short time be spent on singing previously to the opening of the school, and that the time of the exercises be limited as nearly as possible to one hour and a half, but that the attention to the singing and the length of the exercises of the school be regulated by the circumstances of the time, and further that the school on each Sabbath be opened and closed by singing and prayer and that to the end the interest in the school and the prosperity thereof be promoted, and that there be on the fourth Sunday of July of each year a Sunday School Celebration.
In May of 1854, when William was 23, his mother died in Kingwood. Tragically, later that same year, William came down with a fatal case of tuberculosis, or "consumption" as it was then known. Sadly, on Oct. 27, 1854, William died in Rowlesburg, Preston County.
His remains were brought back to Kingwood for burial. He rests for eternity beside his mother and father and other Murdock relatives at the Maplewood Cemetery.
The pioneering Sunday School work by William and Israel was cited in the Preston County Journal circa 1922, and later republished in the 1950 booklet, Through the Years: A History of Methodism in Kingwood, West Virginia, author Ethel Peaslee Beerbower. An original copy of the booklet is preserved in the Minerd.com Archives.
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