There are few men whose lives can be crowned with the honor and respect that were uniformly accorded Ransom Reed Murdock, nor in so large a measure have enjoyed the love and confidence of their fellowmen. A life governed by the most honorable principles, Mr. Murdock never deviated from what he believed to be right between himself and his fellowmen and in much that he did was actuated by a public spirit that found manifestation in the tangible aid which he gave to the city of his adoption. His personal characteristics, his straightforward business career and his efficient public service have made his memory sacredly cherished since he was called from this life.
He was born October 21, 1829, in the town of Ridgeway, Orleans county, New York, and was the eldest child of Seymour B. and Eliza A. Murdock, the former a farmer of considerable wealth and influence in his county.
In early life Mr. Murdock displayed a keen interest in horticulture and fortified himself for work of that character by acquiring an extensive knowledge along that line. After several prospecting trips to the west he finally decided on Paxton as a location, and here purchased large tracts of land. From the time of his settlement here he gave his heartiest efforts and loyal support to the upbuilding of the city and county. He established and conducted a large nursery, developing an extensive business in that line, and he has propagated a breed of corn known today as Murdock's Early, or Murdock's Corn. He was also the first to discover and make the test with the clay of this region which proved that it was suitable for tile. He took the clay for this purpose from the present site of the Brick & Tile Company in Paxton. In many other ways he promoted the city and forwarded its interests. His business affairs were always of a nature that contributed to public progress. He learned to correctly value life's contacts and experiences. In 1885 he removed to Chicago, where for fifteen years he was interested in real estate, handling property in both the north and the south. He was largely instrumental in the upbuilding of Hammond, Louisiana, which is now so well known as a winter resort. He likewise traveled quite extensively, taking parties to Oklahoma and thus promoting the interests of the new state.
In 1858 Mr. Murdock was married to Miss Louise S. Hoag, and unto them were born two daughters, Effie E. and Luella C, but the latter died in 1893.
While living in Paxton Mr. Murdock held many public offices, including those of trustee and alderman. He was always a stanch democrat and was connected with every public enterprise affecting the welfare of the city, especially during the early period of its existence. He was largely instrumental in securing the railroad station, the postoffice, the county seat and the courthouse. His public service was of such a nature as to render his history an integral part of the annals of Paxton. For years he was an exemplary member of the Masonic fraternity, but dropped his connection after removing to Chicago. Although never a member of any church organization, in early training and in belief through life he was an Universalist. He died at his home ill Chicago, December 20, 1907. All who knew him found him a faithful and considerate neighbor, a man of kindly thought and spirit, generous and helpful in actions. He realized as few men seem to do, his obligation to his fellowmen and to the city of his residence. He looked at life from a broad standpoint, and the simple weight of his character and ability carried him into important relations with the public and with business affairs.

Extracted 16 Oct 2016 by Norma Hass from History of Ford County, Illinois, From Its Earliest Settlement to 1908, author E. A. Gardner, Volume 2, pages 491-492.

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