We made it back home safe to the heart of Dixie after visiting the Indian Nations territory. Perhaps you are unaware that during the war between the States all five of the Civilized Indian nations officially aligned with the Confederacy. They even committed Indian troops to the fray, among which were the notable Cherokee Braves and Choctaw brigades. Since the Indian territory was not officially a state yet Oklahoma can’t precisely be called a Confederate or Southern state. However it was Confederate territory. Among other things, this fact affirms the diversity of ethnicity and culture in the Confederate South.
While there are several sites of interest to lovers of Dixie in Eastern Oklahoma we were only able to visit one, the Murrell home, formerly known as “Hunter’s Home”, located near the city of Talequah, Oklahoma in the heart of Cherokee Nation.
The Murrell home is the last surviving antebellum home of the civil war period in it’s vicinity, a singular testament to Southern Culture as exemplified in period architecture and plantation life. All other buildings of the era were destroyed during military raids.
A brief history of the Murrel home and family follows:
George Michael Murrell was born to a prominent family in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1808. He moved to the Athens, Tennessee, area as a young man to pursue mercantile interests with his brother, Glenmore O. Murrell, and future father-in-law, Lewis Ross.
There, in 1834, George Murrell met and married Minerva Ross. Minerva was the oldest daughter of Lewis and Fannie (Holt) Ross, members of a wealthy and influential Cherokee family. Lewis was a merchant, planter, and National Treasurer of the Cherokee Nation. His brother, John, was Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 until his death in 1866.
When the Cherokees were forced to leave their homes in the East during the “Trail of Tears” in 1838-39, Murrell chose to move with his wife’s family to the new Nation in the West. In Park Hill, Indian Territory, he established a plantation and built a large frame home similar to those he remembered in Virginia. He called the Greek Revival-style house “Hunter’s Home” because of his fondness for the fox hunt.
Please enjoy the pictures of our visit to the stately old home, and be sure to make a visit yourself if you’re ever in the area. There’s lot’s more to see and enjoy, both at the home and in Cherokee nation itself.
God save the South!