George R. Murrain’s journey.

On 30 July 1928, Presbyterian minister A.H. George conducted the marriage ceremony of George R. Murrain, 25, of New York, son of George R. and Elizabeth Murrain, and Della Mae Whitehead, 21, of Wilson, daughter of Henry and Victoria Whitehead, in Wilson. Witnesses were Elizabeth Brodie, H.M. Fitts, and Pennie A. Bynum. The license notes that Murrain’s father was dead, but his mother resided in Africa.


Immigration documents reveal that George Richard Murrain was the son of George Richard Murrain and Elizabeth Burnette Murrain, missionaries who traveled the world on behalf of the Church of the Brethren, one of the three historic peace churches. The elder Murrains moved for decades between South America, Africa, Europe and North America, a peripatetic international existence that George and Della Murrain also briefly carried out.

Digitized immigration records show some of the Murrain family’s travels.

“List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival” details passengers sailing from Liverpool, England, 31 July 1913, on the S.S. Adriatic, arriving at the Port of New York on 8 August 1913. The manifest included George Richard Murrain (the elder), 45, wife Elizabeth, 43, and their children Frederick, 15, Stanley, 13, Jeanie, 12, George, 10, Joseph, 8, Mona, 6, and Elliott, 5. The family’s last permanent residence was Hualondo, Africa, and their contact was Missionaries of Christian Brethren, Bile, West Central Africa.


This “List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival” shows passengers sailing from Southampton, England, 10 January 1922, on the S.S. Olympic. The manifest lists missionary Mary Augusta Murrain, 29, and students George Richard, 20, and Mona Elizabeth Murrain, 18. All were citizens of Great Britain whose last residence was Hualondo, Africa. Their father was G.R. Murrain, Missan Ingleza Bie Angola, and their final destination was Enfield, North Carolina.


Mary, George and Mona Murrain apparently were detained upon arrival in the United States and appear on a “Record of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry.” The codes do not readily reveal the reason for their detention or how long they were held.


On 27 July 1924, the Murrains arrived at the Port of Southampton, England, on the Zeelandia. The ship sailed originally from Buenos Aires, and the family boarded in Lisbon. Below is a portion of the “Names and Descriptions of British Passengers” showing George R. Murrain, 55, wife Elizabeth Augusta, 53, and sons Joseph Nathaniel, 20, and Elliot Sydney, 16. Angola was listed as their country of last permanent residence.


On 29 August 1924, George R. Murrain the elder set sail to Canada on the S.S. Montclare. His “Declaration of Passenger to Canada” shows that he was married to Elizabeth Agusta; that he was a missionary; that he was born in the West Indies; was colored; was British; his religion was Brethren; was going to Canada for vacation; that he had visited the country before; that he first arrived in Canada via New York in 1914; and that his destination was Toronto.


The trip ended in tragedy.


There was no “British Guinea”; Murrain was likely from British Guiana, now Guyana, on the northeast Atlantic coast on South America. From “The Believers’ Magazine: For the Ministry of the Word and Tidings of the Work of the Lord,” John Ritchie, editor, volume 25, page 26 (February 1925).

Twenty years after George Murrain Jr. and Della Whitehead married, part of the family appeared on the “Manifest of In-Bound Passengers (Aliens)” arriving tourist class at the Port of New York, from Southampton, England, on the Queen Mary on 13 September 1948. The manifest shows Della Murrain, age 41, and her three children George, 11, Fitzgerald, 9, and Kenneth, 16. Della, George and Fitzgerald were United States citizens; Kenneth was British. The younger boys were born in West Africa.


Another manifest dated 18 months later shows British citizen George Richard Murrain, age 47, of Route 4, Box 35, Wilson, North Carolina, arriving first class at the Port of New York on the Washington on 24 January 1950. The ship had left Southampton, England, a week earlier.


George Richard Murrain died 31 August 1982 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 23 June 1902 in Silva Porto [now Kuito], Angola, West Africa, to George Richard Murrain and Elizabeth Burnette Murrain; was married; was a retired carpenter; and resided at 105 Tacoma Street. Della Whitehead Murrain was informant.

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957; U.K. Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960; U.K. Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 [databases on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.

A.M.E. missionary.

From Richard R. Wright Jr.’s Centennial Encyclopedia of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Containing principally the Biographies of the Men and Women, both Ministers and Laymen, 
whose Labors during a Hundred Years, helped make the A.M.E. Church What It Is; 
also Short Historical Sketches of Annual Conferences, Educational Institutions,
General Departments, Missionary Societies of the A.M.E. 
Church, and General Information about 
African Methodism and the Christian Church in General 
Being a Literary Contribution to the Celebration of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the 
Formation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Denomination by 
Richard Allen and others, at Philadelphia, Penna., in 1816 (1916) —

Clark, Thomas Garriett, son of Harry and Flora Clark, was born in Wilson county, near the town of Wilson, N. C., July 10, 1876, on the homestead place. There were nine children. Here he grew up on the farm and attended the country and also public school. He entered Lincoln University, Pa., at twenty-two years of age, was converted May 22, 1899, and connected with the Presbyterian Church; entered the Divinity School, Howard University, Fall of 1902, graduating from the Classical Department May, 1905.

He joined the A. M. E. Church in 1906, and was licensed in February, at Bethel A. M. E. Church, Sixth and Lombard Streets, Philadelphia, where he labored till the year 1908, when he received his commission to the African field under Bishop William H. Heard, D.D., December 5. He was ordained Deacon at the Philadelphia Annual Conference, June 14, 1908, at Carlisle, Pa., by Bishop Gaines, and was also transferred to the Liberian Annual Conference, West Coast Africa, June 15.

He sailed for Africa with Bishop Heard and other missionaries December 5. He preached his first sermon in Africa January 1, 1909, Rom. 12:1. Met first Annual Conference January 27. He was ordained Elder January 31 and appointed to the Eliza Turner Memorial Church, Monrovia. He was reappointed January 26, 1910, and made Principal of the Mission School. The students enrolled numbered one hundred and thirty.

He raised and contributed October 10 the first one hundred dollars to the “Building Fund” for re-building the church at this charge. He was appointed to the Bethel A. M. E. Church, Lower Buchanan, Grand Bassa, March 20, 1911, and established a mission station among the Kroo Tribe at Kroo Town, November 26. He baptized seventy-six persons while in Africa.

He was appointed General Missionary at the Annual Conference held at Monrovia, March 15, 1912, and returned to the United States with a native boy, “Uleh,” from the mission station, for the purpose of educating him to return and teach among his tribe. He arrived in America April 10 and was married to Miss Sarah B. Wainwright April 21.

July 1, 1912, he was appointed to Victor’s Chapel A. M. E. Church at Mont Clair, N. J. He pastored St. John’s A. M. E. Church, Catskill, N. Y., May 26, 1913, to May 31, 1914. Rev. Clark has written a work entitled “Liberia, the African Republic,” setting forth the colonization and steady development and appalling conditions. He shows how non-recognition by foreign power forces decided action on the part of the colonist and retards the formation of a Government modeled after that of the United States.

tg clark


In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County, farmer Henry Clark, 39, wife, Florah, 38, and children John, 16, Mary J., 14, Ella, 12, Henrietta, 9, Henry, 8, Augustin, 5, Thomas, 3, and Margaret, 10 months.