MURCHISON, FRANCES A. (1832 ~ 1909). Confederate widow Frances A. Alston Murchison was born in Jackson, Madison County, Tennessee on September 5, 1832. She was adopted by John R. Alston and Lydia A. Alston.
Frances Alston married Murdock Murchison of North Carolina on May 8, 1851, and the two settled in Denmark, Madison County, Tennessee. Murchison attended and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Medicine in 1850-1851 and set up a private practice in Denmark. He remained in Denmark until the start of the Civil War and was mustered into Company D, of the 51st Tennessee Regiment. He was promoted to Captain. His regiment left Corinth, Tennessee and Murchison fought throughout the war and returned to Denmark upon its end.
Nine months after their marriage, Frances Murchison gave birth to an infant daughter. The daughter did not survive. The daughter was born February 9, 1852, and died the same day. Almost a year later, Murchison gave birth to John A. Murchison on May 28, 1853, but the child did not survive to his 2nd birthday. John A. Murchison died on January 12, 1855. She became pregnant again and gave birth in 1856 to a son (William) who lived to adulthood. He became a physician like his father. Murchison gave birth to another son, Duncan, who lived to adulthood. On July 26, 1865, she gave birth to a daughter, Anna O. Murchison. Anna Murchison died on March 16, 1869, four months before her fourth birthday.
In 1866, Frances Murchison's adoptive father John Alston sold 100-acres of his land for $2,500 to support Frances Alston Murchison and her children.
Frances Murchison raised her children across the street from her husband's practice in Denmark until his death on September 9, 1889. Their son William Murchison lived in Texas at the time of his father's death and was married with two children. Frances Murchison sold the land, practice, and some belongings and headed to Texas to live with her son.
In 1900, William Murchison, his family and his mother, lived in Weimar, Colorado County, Texas. However, in 1904, Frances Murchison was admitted to St. Joseph's Infirmary in Houston, Harris County, Texas. It is likely that she suffered from yellow fever as Harris County suffered from an epidemic of the disease at the time.
By 1908, Murchison left the infirmary. She applied for her late husband's pension on May 1, 1908, but the application was rejected. By 1910, William Murchison had died and his wife Mary Lily Murchison had moved to San Marcos to run a boarding school for girls.
Frances Murchison was admitted to the Confederate Women's Home and was living there in April of 1910 with fourteen other inmates, the headmistress, and a cook. She outlived all five of her children and her husband of thirty-eight years and never remarried. She probably died July 9, 1910 and was buried at the Texas State Cemetery.
Historian's Note: Her headstone at the Cemetery reads that she died in July of 1909, however, since she was enumerated on a 1910 census, her death date is likely July 9, 1910; three months after the census was enumerated. Her birth date on her headstone should read September 5, 1832, and her death date should possibly read, July 9, 1910.
Sources: 1850 Madison County, Tennessee Federal Census; 1860 Madison County, Denmark, Tennessee Federal Census; 1900 Colorado County, Weimar, Texas Federal Census; 1910 Travis County, Austin, Texas Federal Census; www.hcms.org/Template.aspx?id=67 Medicine in early 1900s; www.tngenweb.org/madison/cemetery/dnpres.htm Burial listing of Murchisons; www.tngenweb.org/goodspeed/madison/bios.html#murchison biography of Dr. M. Murchison; www.tngenweb.org/records/madison/cemeteries/ffma-03.htm Alston-Johnston Cemetery listings; www.tngenweb.org/records/madison/smith/gmmc2-23.htm Madison County Chancery Enrollment Book January 1872-October 1874; www.tngenweb.org/records/madison/history/denmap2.jpg Denmark, Tenn. map during the Civil War; http://www.rootsweb.com/~txcolora/cemeteries/weimarcems2.htm Listing of William and Mary Lily Murchison burial records and obituary of Mary Lily Murchsion; Pension application of Mrs. Murdock Murchison, 00728; www.itd.nps.gov/cwss information on the service of Murdock Murchison; and Karen Matheson, a genealogist who provided records and other valuable information.