Murray County Historical Society
The Murray County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of Murray County’s history. The Murray County Historical Society is funded by support from its members, donations from museum visitors, contributions from the city of Slayton and local groups, and the support of the Murray County Board of Commissioners.
Exhibit: Boys in Blue
November 11– January 31, 2017
A year after our nation’s Civil War ended, an organization for Union veterans was established. The Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) became a fraternal order that limited membership to men who served the Union from 1861-1865. Reaching approximately one million members this fraternity stretched across local, state, and national lines.
Though there was only one county resident, William Duley of the Shetek settlement, who served in the military at that time, many of the early settlers who moved to the region were military veterans. Murray County was home to two G.A.R. posts, the Logan Post of Slayton and the Zachary Taylor Post of Fulda, and at least one Women’s Relief Corps.
This exhibit is a traveling exhibit originating from the Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls but will include artifacts and stories from our own county. The exhibit will highlight the legacy of this important group that set the precedent for future veteran’s organizations.
New in the Collection…
Last spring Paul Moran, of St. Joseph, MN, made a significant donation to the museum with his great-grandfather’s 1860’s Wesson rifle. The museum had a photo of Paul’s ancestor, John Moran, in a stylish fur coat, purported to be a buffalo coat. The rifle was made by the Frank Wesson Company and was patented in 1862. It is a .32 caliber with a 24 inch octagon barrel. What makes this rifle unique is it’s two trigger style. This is one of the first breech loading guns to use rim fire cartridges, removing the need to have a separate percussion cap.
Paul’s family has just called it “Grandpa’s Buffalo Gun.” John Moran, as a young adult, lived in Iowa, Neberaska, and Wisconsin before coming to the Avoca area with his father and brothers. He married Sarah Short in 1911 and they had eleven children.