If Civil War history fascinates you, the Murrell Home in Park Hill, Oklahoma is a must-see plantation. The Murrell Home is Oklahoma's only surviving antebellum plantation. Its original owner, George M. Murrell, was married to Minerva Ross, niece of Principal Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation. Murrell accompanied his wife on the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma in 1839. Just six years later, "Hunter's Home," today's Murrell Home, was completed. Take a photo tour of the Murrell Home and find out more about Oklahoma's Civil War heritage.
The Murrell Home, completed in 1845, is Oklahoma's only surviving antebellum plantation house.
George M. Murrell, who followed his Cherokee wife Minerva Ross Murrell to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears, built this home in Park Hill after establishing a successful mercantile business. Minerva was the niece of Principal Chief John Ross, who led the Cherokee Nation through some of the most turbulent years of their history.
This tree, like the plantation home itself, is a survivor. Notice the split in its lower trunk.
George and Minerva Murrell probably intended to live out their days at "Hunter's Home," their name for the Murrell Home, but this was not to be. Minerva died in 1855. Two years later, George wed Amanda Ross, Minerva's sister. Their firstborn child died, but their second, George Ross Murrell, lived. He was just ten months old when the Civil War came to Oklahoma. The slave-owning Murrells fled, leaving care of their home to relatives. Soldiers from both sides of the conflict raided the Murrell Home during the war years, but the plantation survived.
A creek flows behind the Murrell Home. The springhouse would have been used to for storage of cold food.
Shelves are built into the springhouse's stone walls. Before electric refrigeration was available, springhouses were commonly used in areas where natural springs or creeks flowed. The water's cool temperature helped to preserve perishable foods.
Smokehouses were also frequently used on plantations. This one is not original to the plantation; it was built in 1896.
The Murrell Home was occupied by various Murrell relatives from the time of the Civil War until the early 1900s when the lands given to the Cherokees were broken up into individual allotments. Before that time, the Cherokees held all their lands in common, including the land on which the Murrell Home was built.
This log cabin is also not original to the Murrell plantation. It was brought here from Talequah to show visitors what life in a cabin might have been like.
The state of Oklahoma purchased the Murrell Home and the surrounding 45 acres in 1948. The home became a museum in 1950. Its first curator, Jennie Ross Cobb, was a distant relative of Minerva and Amanda Ross Murrell. The log cabin and Murrell Home have been restored to reflect life in Oklahoma in 1850. Period furniture and items belonging to the Murrell family are on display. You can also view a fascinating collection of documents, including a roster of the slaves owned by the Murrells. A nature park adjoins the property.