Missouri's Little Dixie African American History Tour

Oak Grove Plantation near Napton, Missouri

Oak Grove, also known as the George A. Murrell House, is located in Saline County, Missouri, just outside the city of Napton. It is a traditional home in the Greek Revival style, constructed in 1854. The outbuildings that once surrounded the house, including a set of three slave quarters, no longer remain. Oak Grove was renovated and preserved in the mid-1990s and currently serves as a private residence and operating farm.

The Murrell estate sprawled to over 640 acres and operated as a Southern-style plantation growing primarily hemp. Murrell's hemp production was only exceeded by three other men in Saline County: William B. Sappington, Meredith Miles Marmaduke, and Willis Piper. The Murrell family also raised livestock and produced crops such as wheat and oats. Like many plantations in the area, the Murrells were slave owners who would provide the extensive labor needed to grow hemp. The household consisted of Murrell and his wife, Sophia, an overseer, and 13 slaves. As one can see from other plantations in the area like Prairie Park, slaves were essential to the prosperity of the Murrell estate.

George Murrell called himself a political independent. While he did not support the secession of the state of Missouri from the Union, he also did not believe the Civil War was the answer. He claimed to have voted for the moderate candidate, Stephen A. Douglas, in the 1860 presidential election. During the Civil War, Murrell allowed Union soldiers and their horses to take refuge on his estate on one occasion.

Following the Civil War, Murrell's estate shrank but still maintained high outputs in the livestock industry with the help of newly-freed slaves. He also supposedly began to vote for mostly Republicans. Murrell was involved in the founding of the local Wood & Huston Bank in Marshall, Missouri, and gave funds for a new hall on the campus of Missouri Valley College.



39° 2′ 17″ N, 93° 4′ 25″ W ~ Private property no public access.