Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Mary N. Murfree 1850 ~ 1922

 


Mary N. Murfree or Charles Egbert Craddock

For several years of her early literary life both publishers and public were in ignorance of the fact that she was a woman. She was born at Grantsland, near Murfreesborough, Tennessee, in 1850, at the family home, which had been inherited from her great-grandfather, Colonel Hardy Murfree, a soldier of the Revolution, who, in 1807, had moved from his native state of North Carolina to the new state of Tennessee. Miss Murfree's father, William Law Murfree, was a lawyer and her mother, Priscilla Murfree, was the daughter of Judge Dickinson.

The family suffered greatly from the effects of the war. Mary Murfree had poor health but began to write of the people she found about her in the Tennessee Mountains and her novel, "In the Tennessee Mountains" appeared in the Atlantic Monthly and was supposed to have been written by a man. When Mr. Howells assumed the editorial chair in the Atlantic Monthly office he requested further contributions from Charles Egbert Craddock, and a series of excellent stories from her pen were published: "Where the Battle was Fought," 'The Prophet of the Great Stony Mountain," "The Star in the Valley," "The Romance of Sunrise Rock," "Over on Tother Mounting," "Electioneering on Big Injun Mounting," "A-Playing of Old Sledge at Settlement," "Adrifting down Lost Creek," which ran through three numbers of the Atlantic, "Down the Ravine," a story for young people. It was possible for Miss Murfree to cover her identity in her nom de plume, for her style of writing and even her penmanship were masculine and she appreciated the fact that, at that time, men in the literary world had a great advantage over women writers. No one was more surprised than her own publishers at the discovery that Charles Egbert Craddock was a woman. Her great skill lies in vitalizing the picturesque characters who are the subjects of her stories.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.

 

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