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Samuel Murdock

MURDOCK

Posted By: Debbie Clough Gerischer
Date: 3/5/2004 at 19:47:13

SAMUEL MURDOCK was born near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, March 13, 1817. After obtaining a common school education he taught several years, then studied law. In 1841 he came to Iowa, locating at Iowa City, where he opened a law office. In 1842 he removed to Clayton County, making his home near Jacksonville (now Garnavillo). In 1845 he was elected to the Territorial Legislature, serving two terms. In 1855 he was elected judge of the Tenth District which included ten counties of northeastern Iowa. In several of these counties he held the first courts, riding on horseback from one county-seat to another. Judge Murdock was a Democrat but upon the organization of the Republican party became a member as he was strongly opposed to the extension of slavery into the Territories. In 1869 he was elected to the House of the Thirteenth General Assembly. In 1876 he was appointed by the Governor to fill Iowa's Department of Anthropology at the Centennial Exposition. He gathered and there exhibited some of the most interesting specimens of prehistoric man ever found on the continent. Judge Murdock had for many years been investigating the work of the "Mound Builders" and delivering lectures upon the prehistoric races of America. His last public service was at the Semi-Centennial gathering at Burlington in October, 1896, where he was the principal speaker on "Pioneers' Day." He was the first lawyer in Clayton County, the first judge of the Tenth District and one of the few survivors of the Territorial lawmakers. He died on the 27th of January, 1897.

-source: History of Iowa; B. F. Gue; Vol 4; 1903

-transcribed by Debbie Clough Gerischer, IAGenWeb Special History Project

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Added by Cheryl Moonen 5/8/2017:

Thursday, October 28, 1875
Paper: Dubuque Daily Times (Dubuque, Iowa)
Page: 4

Hon. Samuel Murdock, of Garnavillo, the scientist, contemplates a visit to the mounds of the mound builders on the Illinois shore, near Dunleith.


 

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