Clay County - Genealogy Trails





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The Fells-Murdock Affair   


A Sad Case of Betrayal, Shame and Legal Action


Edgar, Nebraska, May 20.--(Special to The Herald.)--In the later part of February last Miss Elizabeth Fells went before the

county court of Clay County and swore out a complaint against G. M. Murdock of this city, charging him with bastardy.


She was at the time a single woman about 22 years of age and the mother of a child 1 months old, the paternity of which

she charged upon Murdock.


Miss Fells, the plaintiff, was formerly a resident of Thayer County, but nearly two years ago she came with her sister to

Edgar and they sought employment as domestics in private families.  They were given positions with some of the best

families in the city, and continued to hold their positions not withstanding the conduct of the older sister, Miss Mary Fells,

was such as to call out a good deal of unfavorable comment.   A little over a year ago Miss Elizabeth Fells, the younger, and

plaintiff in this case, secured a position as domestic in the family of G. M. Murdock, the defendant.  She was considered a

good girl to work, and gave satisfaction to her employers.  She continued to work in the family for over a year, or until her

condition became apparent and she could not be allowed to stay.


Her complaint, made last February, before the county court, charges that on the 25th day of March, 1888, Murdock

accomplished her ruin.


Mr. Murdock is a man about 35 years of age, a good business man, and has always been considered honorable and upright.  

He has been on of Edgar's most prominent business and society men for the past ten years.  No stain or tarnish has been on his

character, so far as he is known here, until the present charge was made against him.  His father and most of his relatives

reside in Illinois, and are known to many of the citizens of Edgar as highly respectable people.


When Miss Fells left the employment of Mr. Murdock she went to the residence of one Mrs. Lizzie Simpson.  After being in

the home of Mrs. Simpson a few weeks she sent a statement to Mr. Murdock, accusing him of being the father of her child,

and offering to comprise and hush the matter up for $800.  Murdock peremptorily refused to listen to any proposition of

compromise, and she has resorted to law as the only alternative.


Much interest is told in the case, and the opinion quite generally prevails that Mr. Murdock is the victim of a set of plotting

blackmailers, who are after him in hopes, first, that he would pay roundly rather than go to trial, and, second, that in case

he allowed it to come to trial they could get a judgment for the child's support.


The friends of Murdock feel quite confident that the charge against him will not be sustained, while the girl and her advisors

are equally confidnet of victory.


The defense is reticent as to what course it will pursue, but that the character of the girl will be attacked is certain.


The case will come up for trial in a few days.




Tuesday, May 21, 1889

Omaha Daily Herald (Omaha, NE)