From: A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelly, secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society of Topeka, in five volumes, published 1918 by Lewis Publishing Co. of Chicago and New York Denver Public Library call number G978.1 C762st Vol. 3, pp. 1223-24 MARSHALL M. MURDOCK, a pioneer journalist of Kansas, the founder of the Wichita Eagle and one of the marked men of the commonwealth, was born in the Pierpont settlement of what is now West Virginia, in 1837. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry, and his father married into the Governor Pierpont family. Soon after his marriage the family moved to Ironton, Southern Ohio, and there Marshall Murdock attended the public schools and commenced to learn the printer's trade. Thomas Murdock, the father, was unsuccessful in his business venture, and, as he had an abhorrence of slavery and Kansas was then the most pronounced champion of abolitionism in the West, he decided to try his fortune in that part of the country. The family and the household goods were loaded into two covered wagons and a start was made for Kansas; the father drove one team and Marshall, the son, the other. After an overland journey of several weeks they rearched their destination and Thomas Murdock settled on a farm near Topeka. When gold was discovered in the Pike's Peak region, Marshall Murdock started for the excitement, and is said to have been the first to have discovered silver on the site of Leadville. While he was in the gold fields, the Civil war broke out, and his father and two of his brothers enlisted, and he returned to Kansas to care for the younger members of the family. He found employment in the printing office at Lawrence, narrowly escaped the Quantrill raiders and at the threatened invasion of Kansas by Price entered the Union service as lieutenant-colonel of the Osage and Lyon county militia. In 1863 Colonel Murdock located at Burlingame, where he established the Chronicle and served as state senator. With the projection of the Santa Fe line toward Wichita, in 1872, he moved his printing office to that point, and founded the Eagle. Soon afterward he was elected state senator and served as postmaster of Wichita for many years, holding that position under appointment of President McKinley, at the time of his death January 2, 1908. A recent writer says of him: "As he was by far a bigger man than the offices he held, his place in the world must be measured in other ways. He reached his highest stature in his profession. In brilliancy he had no superior, and in public usefulness it is doubtful if he ever had an equal. He was the greatest town boomer and town builder the Middle West has ever known. And he was honest in both. He saw, as through a vision, the future glory of the hamlet with which he had cast his fortune. He believed sincerely that it was destined to become the commercial center of the plains, and advocated every public enterprise that could contribute in any way to make it such. He mad the Eagle the oracle of the people, and to those inquiring for the land of promise it was never dumb." The two sons of the deceased, Victor and Marcellus, have been a credit to their father's ability -- the former as a radical member of Congress and the latter as editor and proprietor of the Eagle. Vol. 5, pp. 2449-51 MARY ALICE MURDOCK probably deserves to rank first among Kansas women in the field of journalism. As editor and manager of the El Dorado Republican, she is continuing a publication and an influence which were dignified and ennobled by her honored father, the late Thomas Benton Murdock. She was born at Emporia, Kansas, February 28, 1870, and four days after her birth her parents removed to El Dorado, where she grew up and was educated in the public schools. She worked nearly through the senior year in high school, and finished her education in Mount Washington Seminary at Baltimore, Maryland. She grew up in the atmosphere of journalism and fitted herself into practically every detail of her father's paper. Thus she was a thorough newspaper woman at the time of her father's death on November 4, 1909, and on December 1 following she took an active part in the management of the Republican and largely directed it until April 1, 1910. Then, under appointment from President Taft, she filled for four years the office of postmaster of El Dorado. On May 1, 1914, Miss Murdock took active charge of the El Dorado Republican, and has since been its editor. The El Dorado Republican has a large circulation over Butler and surrounding counties, and its influence is practically state wide. It is now and has been for the past two years the official county and city paper. The plant and offices are on East Central Avenue, and Miss Murdock owns the building in which it is published. Miss Murdock is the director of the Carnegie Library, a member of the Avon Club and of the Episcopal Church. Through her career as a newspaper woman Miss Murdock has felt that the greatest ideals she could set before her was the example and character of her father. In a period when Kansas and Kansas men gave so much to the world, Thomas Benton Murdock was typical of many of the best virtues and at the same time was distinctively individual. As a boy he knew Kansas when the territory was torn in the factional struggle over freedom and slavery. He lived here more than half a century, and to the last was a vigorous fighter for the ideals to which he dedicated his life. He fairly earned a place among the great men of Kansas, and it is singularly appropriate to include in these pages the following biography and character sketch. In 1841 Thomas Benton Murdock was born in the mountains of Virginia. He was one of the five children who lived to maturity of Thomas Murdock and Katherine Pierrepont. On the mother's side came the pride of the Pierrepont; from the father's the insurgent instincts of the Irish Murdocks who left Ireland after the Irish rebellion failed in 1798. Though reared in the mountains among the most simple people and most primitive surroundings, the Murdocks who have been known in Kansas for half a century have proved soldiers of the militant democracy. They have been fighters who led naturally, by instinct and training, but never fighters for the old order. They always were pioneers, always moving out into new territory of thought an action, looking forward. Thomas and Katherine Murdock could not endure the iniquity of slavery, so in 1849 they freed their slaves and left the slave country for Ohio. They settled near Ironton, along the Ohio River, but lost everything they had in the panic of 1855. Loading their household goods upon a boat, they went down the Ohio to the Mississippi and journeyed as far west as Mount Pleasant, Iowa. There the family spent the winter, and the father went to Kansas and found a location. He brought his family to Topeka in the winter of 1856-57. They rented a little hotel and kept tavern, among others having for guests Jim Lane and A. D. Stevens, famous as a border fighter under Montgomery and afterward killed at Harper's Ferry under old John Brown. Going and coming in the little Kansas town of the Virginia abolitionist were the men who made Kansas famous in the great conflict that began at Lawrence and ended at Appomattox. In this atmosphere of strife and patriotism young Benton Murdock, a youth in his late 'teens grew up. In 1860 the family homesteaded at Forest Hill near Emporia, and the father and mother spent the remainder of their years there. The former died in 1896 and the latter 1887. When the Civil war broke out, Thomas Benton Murdock enlisted with his father and brother Roland in the Ninth Kansas Cavalry and served until the end of the war. He served in the Rocky Mountains in 1863, and there met J. H. Betts, afterward an honored citizen of El Dorado. Seven or eight years later these two men again met in El Dorado. John Betts kept looking at Murdock and finally said: "Say, aren't you the chap that relieved me of that army overcoat out west?" Murdock's company was engaged in confiscating Government property wherever found. "Well, I guess I am. But I'm here to start a newspaper. What's the chance?" "Bully," returned Mr. Betts, willing to let bygones be bygones, and they remained friends for forty years. Returning from the army where he had gone "snow blind" on the plains--a calamity that hung over him all his later days--young Murdock, who had been a hod carrier and general workman as a youth around Topeka, learned the printing trade. He worked in the office of the Emporia News, then owned by P. B. Plumb and Jacob Stotler. Mr. Stotler had married Leverah Murdock during the war. His brother Marshall, who had worked at the printer's trade during the war, was running the Burlingame Chronicle at the end of the struggle. Young Benton went back to Ironton, Ohio, married the sweetheart of his boyhood, Frances Crawford, and came to El Dorado March 4, 1870. Here he founded the Walnut Valley Times, with J. S. Danford. His wife lived only a few years, leaving at her death a daughter, Mary Alice, now editor of the El Dorado Republican. From the first Mr. Murdock became a leader of politics in Kansas. He stood for the Walnut Valley and the kingdom of Butler. In 1876 he was elected a member of the State Senate. He served with such men as E. N. Morrill, Charles Robinson, J. M. Hadley, father of the former governor of Missouri, Benjamin F. Simpson, J. R. Hallowell, D. W. Finney, W. A. Johnston, chief justice of Kansas, all members of the Senate; while in the house were Lyman U. Humphrey, John Gilmore, A. W. Smith, L. B. Kellogg, and P. P. Elder. His political career was fostered and guided by Mrs. Antoinette Culbreth-Murdock, who for a generation was wife, friend, comrade, guide and inspiration, and bore him five children, of whom Ellina Murdock is the only one now living. Mrs. Murdock survives him with his two children. In 1880 he ran for the Senate again, but was defeated, unfairly he thought. He sold the Times and moved to Topeka and became connected with the Topeka Daily Commonwealth, then controlled by the Baker family. But his heart was in El Dorado, and he returned in 1883 and founded the El Dorado Weekly Republican. A daily followed the weekly in 1884, and the paper at once took a prominent place in the affairs of Kansas. Mr. Murdock was a staunch friend and ally of P. B. Plumb throughout the latter's career. In 1888 Mr. Murdock was again elected to the State Senate. He served until 1892, and was on the committee that tried Theodosius Botkin and went over the old county seat troubles of Kansas. He was defeated for re-election by the populist wave, and until appointed game warden by Governor Stubbs held no other public office. However he was a public man all the time. His influence on the state has been more rather than less because of the fact that he was not in office. In every republican state convention for forty years Mr. Murdock was a power of the first class. Yet he sacrificed that power and worked for the primaries which put convention politicians out of power. He was never selfish, never little, never mean, and so it happened he was large enough to retain his influence in the state and multiply it through the primary. Gradually he grew in strength with the people of Kansas, and after 1902--his last alignment with the old political machine--he was easily the leader of the forward movement in Kansas republicanism. Others have had the honor; but he made them. He has expressed as no other man has been able to express it, the sentiment of popular protest against the wrongs of government by ring rule. He was the voice of the people--an indignant people clamoring for a larger part in their state government. He fought with arms for freedom in his youth; he offered his body then; he gave his life to freedom in this latest struggle, and fought with his spirit--a brave, successful fight. As an editor he was equipped as few men are equipped--with an individual style. He expressed something more than an idea. He reflected an ideal plus a strong unique personality. He therefore in a way dramatized whatever he wrote--made it the spoken word of a combatant in the conflict, the defiance of a partisan in the contest. So thousands of people knew him as a voice who did not know him as a man. Here in his home town was his real life, his real friends, his real success. For before he was a Kansan he was a Butler County man, an El Dorado man. He always stood by the home folks. Of course he took part in local matters, and having taken part had to take sides. He was never neutral in any important contest here at home. But he always fought in the open and he always fought fair. He never abused a man, he attacked causes, movements, orders, administrations, organizations and principles of his opponents--but the personal character of the men he opposed-- there was the limit. He never returned abuse for abuse. He had no newspaper fights. He never made his personal enemies objects for newspaper ridicule. He had no office blacklist. Every man or woman in Butler County received exactly the same treatment from the Republican under Mr. Murdock that every other man or woman received, no matter whether he or she was friend or enemy. He strove to be fair. Many is the politician in this county in the old days who fought Mr. Murdock knowing he could always depend on Mr. Murdock to be fair, to keep to the issue, to be silent on old scores, to leave personal matters out of the question. Men have risen to power in this community opposing Mr. Murdock who have capitalized on his innate decency and have risen more by reason of his charity and humanity than by their own ability. He was a gentleman of the old school, was Thomas Benton Murdock, and that fact gave more power to those who opposed him often than their own works should have given to them. As his best qualities grew intenser, as people grew nearer to him, as they who knew him best here in his home community thought more of him than those who knew him in the state, so even better than they knew and loved him in the town did they know and love him in his home. Mr. Murdock was a home man clear to the core. He was best known there and best beloved, for he showed always his best side. He kept the finest part of his heart and mind and soul for those who met him in his home. There he was in his kindest, his gentlest, his most human aspect. Home was his Heaven. There he brought all his joys. There he left the world behind. When blindness threatened him, as it did for a quarter of a century, off and on, it was in his home that he found his only solace. When enemies pursued him, when cares overcame him, when troubles encompassed him about, he turned always up the hill-- always homeward. There he drank the elixir of life and returned full armed, new and strong to the contest. His old home, now occupied by his widow, is at 1000 Walnut Hill and has been the family homestead for the past twenty-eight years. Mr. Murdock died in a hospital at Kansas City November 4, 1909, but was buried in the West Cemetery at El Dorado. The Murdock memorial fountain in the courthouse grounds was erected to his memory by friends from Maine to California, a committee of El Dorado men fostering it. The contributions made up in small amounts of $1 or more. When his soul went out into the greater soul that gave it, how lovingly he must have followed that last ride of his shattered clay tenement as it journeyed through the Kansas that he loved, down the west branch into the Walnut Valley that loved him, up the hill and through the gloaming into the home that was his first Heaven. For it was a journey with a climax in love, and when those whom he knew best and loved best gathered about his wasted body of death, his soul triumphant in the new life must have glowed even through the dark veil the warmth of an affection too deep for words or fear. So his last wish was granted. And after "taps" had sounded, we left all that was mortal, only a withered hut of the exalted and risen soul of Thomas Benton Murdock, under the prairie grass out in the sunshine. Sunshine and prairie grass--and the end.