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Harrell Family

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Golden Age, Vol 1, No 29,
New Boston, Ill, Weds, May 4, 1853

Links - Alyea, Thomas Willits on James Willits page, Isaac Willits on Isaiah Willits page, Boyd, Shoemaker

Contacts - Edwin Broadus and Lyndon Irwin

Edmund Harrell was born in Franklin County, Indiana, June 29, 1809 (note: his daughter Drusilla gives him as born Ohio in her 1880 census record). He was the son of Chester Harrell of Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana, and his second wife Betsy Stephen Harrell. Parents Chester and Betsy were married June 2, 1789, in Nelson County, Kentucky. Edmund was their ninth child.

The first record of him in Mercer County is as a charter member of the Methodist Episcopal Church Society at its organizational meeting July, 1838. He is listed as Dr. Edmond Harrell and is with a number of Alyea family members (History of Mercer County 1882). Edmund no doubt came to Mercer County with the Alyea family as he was married to Rebecca Alyea May 7, 1831, in Franklin County, Indiana.

Rebecca Alyea Harrell came to Mercer County with her husband, as the family is found next door to Joseph Alyea in the 1840 census in New Boston. There are five males age 20-30, 1 male 30-40, 1 female 20-30, 1 female 30-40, and 2 females, age 5-10. Edmund & Rebecca's daughter Drusilla would have been one of the females, age 5-10, but we do not know who the others are. They could have been Harrell relatives, friends from Franklin County, or boarders. The census indicates there were two males engaged in trade, and four professionals. One possibility is that the male 30-40 and the female 30-40 were Dr. Thomas Willits and his wife Catherine. Various Mercer County histories indicate that Dr. Willits started practice in New Boston in 1840 and also that he was a partner with Dr. Harrell. Dr. Willits and family are not found elsewhere in Mercer County in 1840 and they may have been staying temporarily with Dr. Harrell. Their children may have been with other relatives except perhaps the other young girl shown in the census. Dr. Mark Willits cousin of Thomas, also may have been in on the partnership but he is found elsewhere in the 1840 census.

Rebecca Alyea died in Mercer County but no tombstone is found for her. On her death, Edmund Harrell next married Sabra Ann Williams on 10/29/1843 in Fayette County, Indiana. There is a remark on the marriage record that he is from Mercer County, Illinois. He no doubt went to Fayette County for a bride as his older brother Elisha lived in Fayette County.

Edmund Harrell submitted a bill to the estate of Isaac Willits (father of physician Mark Willits and uncle of physician Thomas Willits) in 1844 for $44.25 for treatment of Isaac from November 1, 1842 to October 29, 1844. Since he was treating Isaac during that time period he probably was not gone long to Fayette County.

According to a tax list in the March 24, 1849 Mercer County Advertiser, Edmund Harrell owned Lot 6 Block 7 in New Boston. This would have been at the Northwest corner of Third and Main, second lot to the north (see New Boston survey linked on the home page).

The family is found in New Boston in the 1850 census. It consists of Edmund Harrell, age 38, physician, real estate valued at $1500, born Indiana; Sabra Ann Harrell, age 24, born Indiana, Drusilla Harrell, age 15, born Indiana, Sarah E. Harrell, age 6, and William C. Harrell, age 1, born Illinois. The last two were children of Edmund and Sabra.

When Thomas Alyea gave notice of the opening of his new drug store in New Boston, May 4, 1853, his ad stated: "I will just say to those who may want medicines, that they can rely on getting the article called for, as I will have the assistance of Dr. E. Harrell in making tinctures and compounding the various kinds of medicines." Alyea mentions "The celebrated Graffenberg Medicines for sale." We have attempted to learn what these are with no success, although we found a few mentions in advertising. Would like to hear from anyone who knows. When Thomas Alyea's son was born in 1853 he was named Thomas Edmund. Thomas Edmund Alyea later became a physician, following in the footsteps of his namesake.

Daughter Drusilla Harrell married Mahlon Boyd on supposedly on 7/12/1855 in Mercer County, but the record of their marriage is actually found in Franklin County, Indiana on 12 January 1855 (Book 7, page 142). Was Drusilla visiting there? They are found in the 1860 Census in New Boston Township: Malon Boyd, 32, printer, born Indiana; Drusilla, 25, born Indiana; Milton, 2; Ruth 3/12, both born Illinois. Mahlon Boyd enlisted in Company G of the 27th Illinois Infantry on August 20, 1861, from New Boston. He is listed as discharged on March 3, 1863, disabled. However, he is listed on the Soldier's Monument in Aledo, indicating he died in the Civil War. There are pension records available for him for interested descendants (see Boyd page link at the top of this page). Drusilla Harrell Boyd married Adam C. Shoemaker, son of Thomas and Ann Laurence Shoemaker, sometime between 1866 and 1873. Again we do not find a marriage record but she is found as second wife of Adam Shoemaker in the 1880 census in Conway, Taylor County, Iowa (see Shoemaker page - link at top of this page). Milton is with them. She had several Shoemaker children.

Edmund Harrell died August 23, 1857, and is buried in New Boston Cemetery next to Joseph Alyea's infant son, Charles Wesley. Thomas Alyea was named estate administrator and guardian of the Harrell children.

We find no record of Sabra Ann Harrell and her two children (there may have been more) in the 1860 census in Mercer County (or anywhere else), nor do we find a remarriage for Sabra. Since Sabra Ann came from Fayette County, Indiana, she no doubt had relatives there and Edmund's brother, Elisha, also lived there. We are fairly certain the family returned to Fayette, Indiana, but find no record.

Edmund Harrell evidently invested in land, as in a May 14, 1861, tax list there are the following notations:
New Boston Township (14N5W) - NENE & NWNE Sec 33, 80 acres, Thomas Alyea (guardian)
Eliza Township (15N5W) - N/2 Sec 31, 80 acres, Thomas Alyea (executor)

Additionally in the Aledo Weekly Record, March 29, 1864 delinquent taxes are shown on the N/2 NE Section 33 T14NR5W, Thomas Alyea, Guardian; Part of Bald Eagle Lake in Section 1 T14NR6W, and Lot 8, Block 2, 42 feet east side Lot 2, Block 10, and Lot 8, Block 15, City of New Boston, Thomas Alyea, Administrator of Estate of E. Harrell. On the New Boston Survey Lot 8, Block 2 is at the NE corner of block 2 at the corner of Fourth and Washington. The land in Block 15 is at the east end of Fourth Street at a dead end. The first was probably Harrell's office and the last was probably his residence. The land on Bald Eagle Lake near the River was probably recreational and/or hunting land. The land in Section 33 (owned by Dr. Thomas Willits in 1875 - see plat map) was right along the Edwards River and might have been recreational land or their source of firewood.