|Fall colors at Calvary Cemetery|
When Dickson died there apparently were more liabilities than assets in Murdock & Dickson, and as the sole remaining partner all the debt fell to Murdock. He began to sell off the property in the city to pay down the debt. Then Dickson's family filed lawsuits against him, and I can see that at least until 1903 the suits were still active. One document indicated that Murdock was insolvent when he died, having assigned all of his individual estate for the benefit of his creditors. That may mean that Murdock Farm fell victim to the liquidation.
But back to why I made the trip to Calvary. Articles and books about Shrewsbury state that the city was formed on land that was once Murdock Farm, owned by John Murdock who was a general in the civil war. I have been trying to figure out where they came up with him being a general. He was not even in the Civil War as far as I have been able to find out. First of all, he was born in 1814 so that would have made him 47 when the war began. Second, generals in the Civil War were pretty well documented and I find no record of him at all. Third, I can place him in St. Louis through census records and city directories during the time period of the war. Heck, he got married here in 1855. Fourth, his obituary makes no mention of him being a general.
So I thought perhaps his tombstone might have a marker indicating his service. He and 7 of his family members are buried on the same plot as 9 members of the Charles K. Dickson family, which I think is interesting in light of the lawsuit. Imagine my surprise when I got to the plot and found this tombstone.
|Dickson-Murdock family plot|
So I will not have a tombstone to help me answer the veteran question. At any rate the man in the office at Calvary said it was up to the family whether the stone stated anything about military service. It is possible it would not have been listed anyway. I will continue to look for clues, but unless I have the wrong John J. Murdock I think someone made up a good story for how Shrewsbury got its start.
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