Remembering Onslow Couny's, G0NE WITH THE WIND from the Daily News,November 02, 2008 ------BY Carolyn Alford, staff columnist
Hello, friends and neighbors. It is good to see you here.
There is more than one way to give your life for your country. The Murrell Family had to give up their way of life at Montford Point for their country when Camp Lejeune came to Onslow County in 1941.
This is his family's story as told by Dr. Stratton C. Murrell. It is a story about the trials and tribulations of the people who lived in a military town and how they adjusted to changing times.
Many old timers referred to Montford Point as Onslow County's French Riviera. Z. E. and Louise Murrell owned an amusement center at Montford Point long before Camp Lejeune was built and named. The family's living quarters were on the top floor(of the main building). At Montford Point, there was boating, swimming, and fishing plus many Sunday School picnics
Montford Point was the headquarters of the first command for combat troops) of the Marine Base which eventually became known as Camp Lejeune. On May 1, 1941, Lt. Col. William P.T. Hill became the first commanding officer of the Marine Barracks at New River in Onslow County. He served as the liaison officer in charge of construction and purchase of property. The first troop command was temporarily at the Murrell's home. As this project proceeded, land owners were forced to leave. The black recruits were stationed there at a later date.
The Murrell family was preparing to move out as the Marines moved in. On Sept. 15, 1941, Colonel David L. S. Brewster, commanding officer of the Marine Barracks at New River, decided to set up his headquarters at Uncle John Burton's House. John Burton owned the Bank of Onslow in Jacksonville. He and his family lived in Jacksonville. Burton's place (his summer home) was just up the hill from the Murrell home. As the men were making certain alterations there, Colonel Brewster used the Murrell home as his temporary headquarters.
On July 4, 1991, Dr. Murrell brought his mother, Louise, back to Montford Point for a visit where he took her photo. The significance of the picture is that my mother is pointing out across the way as she said, "at one time, this was our land."
"Mother loved Montford Point," Dr. Murrell said. "Many people probably said the same thing as they left their property in the 1940's and the good old days faded away." (Gone With The Wind)
Dr. Murrell's wife, Billie Jean, painted a picture of the first troop command post at Montford Point. It was the riverfront building owned by the Murrell family Dr. Murrell added a photo of Montford Point in the 1920's in the lower left hand corner of the oil painting and entitled it "Onslow County's Gone with the Wind." (see the Montford Point story).
Dr. Murrell's stories have never been published (in a book) but (they) add a new twist to the story of Onslow County. Although the stories are fun to tell now, he said, they were serious back in the '40s.
added notes:3-26-2012---I have known Carolyn for a long time and we have swapped many stories and exchanged a lot of information. She even went with me on a ghost hunt for Joe Baldwin,one of the most famous ghosts in American Folk Lore.She even wrote a story about our adventure.
9-28-2012: It's about time for another reunion for those people who owned property which is now part of Camp Lejeune. The reunion is on the first Sunday of October and this year it will be Oct 8, 2012. I went with Albert Hurst and his wife, Linda last year and I will be going with them again this year because they have a Marine Base license tag. Before the Base, the Hurst family owned one and half miles of beach front and it was known as Hurst Beach. According to K. B. Hurst, The federal government purchased this property for $1,000.00.
I was checking my records and I found some notes concerning Parsons Brown and his book, The Commonwealth Of Onslow-- A History,which was published in 1960. He was Onslow County's official historian. One of the things he did was to present a picture of Sir Arthur Onslow to the county. The Onslow County Historical Society did a lot of research and found that Arthur Onslow was never knighted and did not have the title of SIR. He was a highly respected person who was the Speaker of the House of Commons from 1732 to 1745. If he had been knighted he would have to resign his position in the House of Commons and serve in the House Of Lords. This question was settled a long time ago and Arthur's picture was hung in several different places in the Court House because this was where the original presentation took place. And then about five years ago (in 2009)I thought it would be a good thing to find the picture of Arthur Onslow to make sure that the picture was in it's proper place of honor. Much to my dismay some of the people at the courthouse were not exactly sure what I was talking about. It seemed to be like what is one man's trash is another's treasure and I was looking for the treasure.
I talked to several people at the courthouse (including the janitors), but the picture couldn't be found. I then contacted Lisa Whitman Grice, Director of the Onslow County Museum, and she and I made some inquires. She told me that the picture was in the Magistrate's office behind the door in one of the rooms there and I made some notes about the location and talked to some people that this important picture should be hung in a more honorable place. And then in 2014 I was checking through my notes and I decided to see if the picture was in the honorable position as I had suggested. And the situation was much like what I suspected. I found that that the picture was not only absent from an honorable position; it couldn't be found at all. call Albert Hurst to hlp me find the location of Arthur Onslow's picture. This was a significant choice in that Albert's uncle K.B. at one was the Magistrate. Albert checked the present Magistrate's office and found that the picture was missing .... again. It may have been thrown away... But then Albert found the name,Shelby Jones. She may know what happened to the picture. I called her. She told me a most unusual story. Shelby told me that she was employed at the Courthouse