Marshall Murdock

Date: 1/31/2022
Contact: James Vannurden |

Doing research for a future project, I read a 2012 thesis by Carl Fenn Dittemore about Marshall Murdock. Colonel Murdock, as he was regularly called, started The Wichita City Eagle newspaper in 1872 and ran the business until his death in 1908. Carl argued that Wichita would not be the successful town it was without the help and promotion of Marshall Murdock.

Murdock was in the printing business one way or another for most of his life. He was an apprentice in Ohio. After his family moved to Kansas, he worked on the printing staff of the Lawrence Tribune beginning in 1862.

After marrying his wife Victoria, the two set out to start a life in Burlingame and begin his own newspaper. His paper was called the Osage Weekly Chronicle. The first issue hit the press on Sept 26, 1863. This was a stalwart Republican newspaper where he focused on issues of the day, such as politics in the new state of Kansas as well as the Civil War.

During his time in Burlingame, Murdock was very active in the Kansas state government. Among other things Murdock was elected secretary of the Kansas State Convention of 1864, chairman of the Osage Co. Republican Party, and State Senator from Osage and Coffey counties.

His service as newspaper editor and state politician helped him when he arrived in Wichita. Originally located at 3rd and Main Streets before its move to the Eagle Block on Main and Douglas, the Eagle promoted Wichita as the town to find success, whether that be in real estate, farming, cattle, business, or any endeavor.

In addition to being editor of the Eagle, Murdock wore other hats around Wichita. The Colonel served as post master on and off. He became a Free Mason in 1878. Murdock was elected Director of the Wichita and Southwestern Railroad in 1880. He even became president of trustees of Wichita Academy 1882. He poured all of his time into making Wichita a vibrant city on the plains of Kansas.


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