Robert W. Murchison biography

ROBERT W. MURCHISON, a cattleman of San Angelo, born in Lafayette county, Mississippi, February 7, 1841, is a son of Murdock and Sarah (Ross) Murchison. The father came with his family to Texas in 1846, settling first in Rusk county, whence in 1849 he removed to Guadaloupe [Guadalupe] county, where he spent his remaining days. Throughout his business career he followed the occupation of farming. His wife, a native of Tennessee, also passed away in Guadaloupe [Guadalupe] county.

Robert W. Murchison was reared to farm life in that locality and in 1861 went to Fort Worth, where at the age of twenty years he responded to the call of the south and enlisted in Company A of R. N. Gano‘s squadron of cavalry for service in the Confederate Army. Not long afterward Colonel Gano took his two companies, A and B, to his old home in Kentucky and joined the Third Kentucky Cavalry which became a part of John H. Morgan‘s raid through Ohio, crossing the Ohio river at Brandenburg into Indiana, thus marching through the Buckeye state. Morgan had between and twenty-five hundred men under his command in that raid. They made a rapid dash through Ohio, reaching the eastern part of the state and there the forces scattered preparatory to re-crossing the river. Mr. Murchison was with a squad of three or four hundred men hiding in the brush from the pursuing enemy and thus waiting for darkness so they could cross the river but they were led into a trap which had been laid for t hem and were captured. He was first taken to Camp Chase, at Columbus, and afterward to Camp Douglas, Chicago, where he was held until March, 1865. He was then transferred to Richmond, Virginia, where he was exchanged and released at the close of the war. General Morgan, who was captured soon after Mr. Murchison, was taken to the penitentiary at Columbus but tunneled out and made his escape at Chicago, got command of another body of troops and while on active duty was killed at Greenville, Tennessee.

When the war was over Mr. Murchison returned to Guadaloupe [Guadalupe] county, where he engaged in farming for four or five years and later devoted considerable attention to stock-raising. He resided in that locality until 1876, when he went to Concho county, taking with him a small bunch of cattle and located on the Concho river. In 1880 he removed his headquarters to Tom Green county, and in 1888 moved to Schleicher county, and in that locality has since operated as one of the most prominent cattlemen of western Texas. His ranch in Schleicher county consists of fourteen sections, which with the four sections belonging to his son, J. F. Murchison, comprise a most extensive ranch of eighteen sections in one unbroken body. The son acts as manager of the ranch, while Mr. Murchison has maintained his home in San Angelo since 1902. He belongs to the Texas Cattle-Raisers’ Association.

Mrs. Murchison bore the maiden name of Rachel Young, and was born and reared in this state. Seven children have been born of this marriage, four living: J. F. Murchison, Mrs. Agnes Silliman, Mrs. Maggie Silliman and Mrs. Bertie Bailey, and the deceased children are Sallie, who married W. B. Silliman, Mamie and Joe.

Mr. Murchison has had the usual interesting and exciting western experiences of the frontiersman, who was locating on the broad prairies of Texas found that he must not only meet the hardships and privations of frontier life but that he was always menaced by Indian outbreaks. His western experience if written in detail would furnish a most thrilling chapter in this history. He has, however, lived to see great changes and a wonderful transformation as the country has become quickly settled with a congenial and prosperous people, the ranches being stocked with high grades of cattle, horses and sheep, while substantial residences indicate the prosperity and progressive spirit of the farmers and stockmen. Mr. Murchison has done his full share of civilization and in the capable control of his business affairs has met with excellent success.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 318-319.