A marker designation commemorating the life of the late Clinton Williams Murchison, Sr. was held Nov. 22 in Athens Cemetery.
The commemoration of Murchison, also known as Clint, was announced by the Texas Historical Commission and the Athens Cemetery Association.
Clint Murchison’s grandson, Robert Murchison told the audience at the commemoration that it was in June 1956 that his grandfather composed words for the 1956 Centennial Celebration Edition of the Athens Daily Review, an edition that would commemorate the 100th birthday of Athens.
It read as follows:
“One hundred years is a long time in the memory of men, but a mere yesterday in the lives of communities and people.
“Our families set their roots in the soil and society of Athens over three generations ago. Our character and youthful ambitions were first nurtured in the environment.
“WE CAN REMEMBER –
When Dilsy Branch was chin deep to us;
When Dr. Bruce neither spared the rod, nor spoiled the child;
When Old Man Pickens had the best bunch of Red Polled cattle in East Texas;
When the Deen Hotel was the early winter meeting place of all bird hunters and their dogs;
When Will Henry gave us our first painful lesson in ‘hoss trading;’
When Miss Sally Coleman was still a bride.
“AND ABOVE ALL –
We will have and still cherish our memories of our youthful association with those fine old families whose righteous regard for truth and tolerance and charity shone as the brilliant star upon which we set our future destiny.
“Even though the old oak has yielded to the demands of time, it has left its seeds and the seeds have made their roots.
“We are proud to think that we will always be of those roots, and we want to congratulate those people who are so fortunate to be able to call Athens
Murchison was born in Athens in 1895, a descendant of Henderson and Smith County pioneer families. As a young man, he left the family banking business in Athens, and entered the wheeling and dealing of the new oil and gasoline business.
He eventually became one of the most significant oil magnates of the Texas Oil Boom.
His influence reached not only the oil industry, but many other areas of business and commerce.
Robert Murchison termed the message he had read which was composed by his grandfather, was a “public love message to Athens.”
Robert said Clint Murchison had business partnerships with friends like Sid Richardson, Ike and E.B. LaRue, Wofford Cain and Arch Underwood, as well as siblings Frank, John W. and Kenneth.
“He helped many entrepreneurs like Bill Perryman, and financed Myer Donosky’s acquisition of the Athens Daily Review,” Robert said. “When a job needed to be done, it delighted him to hire a capable person from Athens.”
Among those Robert named were Clem England, Ralph Briggs, Willie Franks, Gene Goodman, Ernie Shelton and Winston Nowlin.
Robert said that young Athens football players were given summer job opportunities to work on Clint’s pipeline construction crews, after which they went to his Dallas estate for pre-season practice.
Also mentioned by Robert were Clint Murchison’s grandchildren, Jimmy and Eunice Forester, who grew up with him.
Robert said “Pop” passed time by driving to his many area ranches and business interests with Warren Tilley at the wheel and Jimmy Forester in the back seat.
“I am sure many of you will remember being stuck behind him on Highway 19 as they putted along at 35 miles per hour.”
Robert ended his speech at the commemoration by thanking those present, along with the community.
“Our family is grateful and thankful of how the City of Athens has honored the legacy of our grandfather by naming the library after him, and here we are once again commemorating his legacy with this historical marker. On behalf of the Murchison family, I’d like to thank the historical commissioners of Texas and Henderson County, the Cemetery Association, and Ginger Murchison’s foundation for making this dedication possible. I’d personally like to thank those who have helped me in the planning process – Mary Ann Perryman, Sarah Smith and Steve Grant. Finally, we would like to thank each of you for allowing us to call Athens ‘My Home.’”
In his late years, Clint and his wife, Virginia, “Ginny,” retired to his beloved Glad Oaks Ranch, where he enjoyed the country life. He died there in 1969.