From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Murrell, Edward Estill, and Howard Enos Murrell

Edward E. Murrell, born 1879 in Glasgow, KY, and Howard E. Murrell Jr., born 1873 in Lancaster, KY, were the sons of George Ann and Howard Murrell [source: 1880 U.S. Federal Census]. The brothers lived in Frankfort, KY for a brief period, they were students at Kentucky State University and boarded at the Robert Todd home before moving on to Cleveland, Ohio [source: 1900 U.S. Census].

Edward was the father of Jean Murrell Capers, and is known for his own accomplishments as co-owner of a printing business with his brother, and co-owner of a publishing company in Cleveland, Ohio. Edward and Howard's printing business was located in their basement. Around 1922, they would become co-owners of the publishing company that printed the newspaper that had previously been the Cleveland Call owned by Garrett Morgan who was from Paris, KY [source: "Additional Locals," Cleveland Gazette, 07/07/1922, p.2].

The other owners of the publishing company were banker Herbert Chauncey originally from Georgia, and James L. Smith [source: "Cleveland's Call and Post," The Crisis, December 1938, pp.391 & 404]. Together, the four men formed Pioneer Publishing Company, Inc. with Edward Murrell as typesetter and his brother Howard as the editor. The brothers were the first African Americans to operate a typesetting machine in Cleveland, Ohio. Mrs. Ida Morgan would become their first full-time employee and she took over the typesetting duties.

The operation hit a few snags concerning management, and there was a lot of infighting between The Call newspaper stockholders and the four owners of the Pioneer Publishing Company, Inc. The Murrell brothers withdrew their printing equipment, and the brothers along with the two other owners, ended their relationship with the publishing company. In January of 1923, the operation of The Call was taken over by a major stockholder, Mrs. Cresta A. Taylor [sources: "New company starts Cleveland Call," Negro Star, 01/12/1923, p.1; and "Cleveland's Call and Post," The Crisis, December 1938, pp.391 & 404]. A new managing editor was hired and new equipment was purchased, but with the cost of rent and other bills, the company fell behind in payments and the new equipment was claimed by creditors and the press work was then outsourced.

Meanwhile, the former owners of the Pioneer Publishing Company, Inc. formed the Murrell Printing Company and launched a new newspaper, The Post, the organ of the fraternal organization called the Modern Crusaders. Little more than a year had passed when the Pioneer Publishing Company, Inc. regained The Call; the paper had proven to be too much for the most recent owners, Mr. and Mrs. William F. Jackson [source: "Again, suspended animation"," Cleveland Gazette, 05/10/1924, p.2].

In 1925, there was a walk-out at the Cleveland Call; some of the employees were dissatisfied about the salaries and the pay [source: "Cleveland social and personal," Cleveland Gazette, 09/19/1925, p.3, col.1, paragraph 7]. The following year, 1926, Howard E. Murrell died. Two years after that, in 1928, the newspapers were merged into the Cleveland Call and Post which Edward Murrell initially refused to print due to unresolved bills. The Murrell printing company then joined with the Cheeks printing company to form the Murrell-Cheeks Holding Company, with Eugene Cheeks in charge.

Eugene Cheeks quit the company after the sudden death of Herbert Chauncey who had pushed the newspaper forward. Herbert Chauncey died June 22, 1930, and his brother Coleman (1886-1940) took over the holding and interests in the newspaper [source: Ohio Death Incex]. With Coleman at the helm and with the dedication of Edward Murrell and Mrs. Ida Morgan who had remained with the newspaper over the years, the three kept the Cleveland Call & Post from going under. The newspaper is still in operation today.

Howard Murrell died July 18, 1926 and is buried in the Highland Park Cemetery in Cleveland [source: Find A Grave]. He was a WWI veteran, and had been a school teacher, an auto operator and a railway postal clerk in Cleveland. He was the husband of Grace Shirley, the couple married in Ohio on December 26, 1906 [source: Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes].

Edward Murrell died July 7, 1973 and is buried in Highland Park Cemetery in Cleveland [source: Find A Grave]. He was the husband of Dolly Cornelia "Nellie" Ferguson Murrell. The couple was married July 6, 1904 in Bowling Green, KY [source: Kentucky Marriage Records]. in addition to his publishing career, Edward Murrell had attempted to get into politics when he unsuccessfully ran for the Cleveland City Council in 1923 [source: "Cleveland social and personal," Cleveland Gazette, 10/18/1924, p.3].

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Barren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Garrard County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bourbon County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Warren County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Franklin County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Glasgow, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lancaster, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Paris, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bowling Green, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Frankfort, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Murrell, Edward Estill, and Howard Enos Murrell,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-06-09 13:40:21