First of all, I have to make a correction. The earlier article from the Caddo Herald listed Mr. J. S. Murrow’s wife as Jennie Kurgie, or perhaps Kurgle. However, the book “Baptist Women in Oklahoma” lists her as Jennie Ragle. What I found interesting was that Jennie was not only 87-year-old Rev. Murrow’s fifth wife, but was married to him for nearly eight years! And I know you were wondering- Jennie was fifty when she married Rev. Murrow.
Here is a brief recap of Rev. Murrow’s life and wives from the book:
“When one speaks or writes of Mrs. J. S. Murrow, some qualification of the matter is in order. That is because there were five Mrs. J.S. Murrows.
Joseph Samuel Murrow (1835-1929)became a legend in Okalahoma long before his death at 94 years of age. After graduation from Mercer University in Georgia, he came in 1857 as a missionary to Indian Territory. He was supported by the Rehoboth Baptist Association in Georgia. Murrow wore many hats. He was a preacher, educator, editor, historian, teacher, denominations statesman, and the “father of Freeemasonry” in Oklahoma.”
…he married Nannie Elizabeth Tatom on October 8, 1857. She was a beautiful woman as indicated by an early photograph. She died August 18, 1859.
He married Clara Burns, daughter of missionary Willis Burns, on October 27, 1859. “Clara endured the gruesome ordeal of the Civil War, went then with her husband for a time to Texas, and returned with him to Boggy Depot, near the present town of Atoka, in 1867.” Clara began a school for the Indian children. After months of failing health, Clara died October 7, 1868.
Rev. Murrow married Jane Henrietta Davidson in December of 1869. Jane was a Scotswoman who came to America as a young woman and became a teacher at the Goodwater Choctaw Mission School in 1859; she was well acquainted with the work needed in the area. “She was the first Mrs. Murrow to be lovingly called ‘Aunt Row’ by those with whom she labored.” She died in 1888.
Later, in July of 1888, Rev. Murrow married Kate Ellett. Kate had been a teacher and was on the faculty at Bacone College (known then as Indian University) in 1881. Then she became the assistant editor of The Indian Missionary where Rev. Murrow was editor. “The wedding was performed in the chapel at Bacone immediately after commencement in July of 1888.” This description of Mrs. Murrow was given in the report of the Northern Baptist Convention of 1915: “Out in the desolate places, into the by-ways and Godless new towns, among the Blanket Indians, in summer heat and winter’s cold, she went forth telling the old, old, story.”
Kate was a very active woman. She devoted most of her time and energies to the orphanage founded by Rev. Murrow. She was the first president of the Woman’s Baptist Missionary Society of the Indian Territory convention. She become Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist General Convention of Indian Territory at Durant in 1900 and held the position for five years. She died on January 7, 1915. “She was loved and respected almost as much and as widely as was her famous missionary husband.”
“The fifth and last Mrs. J.S. Murrow was the former Mrs. Jennie Ragle. She and Murrow were married in 1921. She labored with him as a faithful companion until Murrow’s death in 1929.”
The 1930 census shows Jennie Morrow living in Atoka. I haven’t yet found a death date for Jennie. The 1910 census shows Jennie Ragle as the wife of David Martin Ragle in Parker, Texas with eight children. However, sources list her as Mr. Ragle's second wife and the children as those of his first wife. Much more research to be done if we want the rest of the story...