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Many of these devout pioneers from Tennessee were slaveholders. From letters written by J. H. Armstrong while he was away in the Confederate Army, we can see that the relationship between the Armstrong family and their slaves was affectionate and benevolent. Many of the slaves took the Armstrong name when they were freed, and some of their descendants have lived here ever since. The Armstrong home was built by Mr. Armstrong and his slaves. It was considered a fine home for its time.

Although J. H. Armstrong was in his 40s when the war broke out, he was finally called to serve. His son, James W. Armstrong was in a nearby unit and Mr. Armstrong took with him a faithful slave named, Daniel. In letters to his wife, Armstrong regularly sends greetings from both Jimmy and Daniel.

W. L. Coppedge became a captain in Confederate service, and died of disease far away from his East Texas home. The Murray Institute never opened again, except as an elementary school. Their hopes dashed, their fortunes lost, many of the people moved away when the war was lost. Even the church had to close and the people became members of the Coffeeville Methodist congregation.

After the death of James H. Armstrong and his wife, Martha Coppedge Armstrong, the farm became the property of their youngest daughter, Lula Caroline, and her husband, John Wesley Williamson. The Williamson family lived in the old Armstrong home.

Around 1910, a commercial company led by Col. F. E. Featherstone was formed to mine the iron ore in the East Texas hills. A site for a company town was selected which happened to be right on the Armstrong farm. The land for the city was purchased from the Williamsons and streets and lots were laid out. A new home was built for the Williamson family and the old Armstrong home torn down.

The J. H. Armstrong
Home in Murray League

Their hopes dashed, their fortunes lost, many of the people moved away when the war was lost.

Click on picture above
for larger view

Click on picture for larger view

Williamson House built 1910

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