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Thursday, August 2, 2018

John Merrill, elected constable in 1878

In honor of Election Day, today we remember that on this date in 1878 John Merrill, an African American man, was elected constable in Williamson County. This was a remarkable accomplishment during a time of strict Jim Crow segregation and the suppression of black voting rights. 

John Merrill was born around 1822 and worked as a carpenter in Franklin. Merrill lived in the Hard Bargain neighborhood. He was a leader in the community; he was a member of organizations such as the Mosaic Templars of America. He moved to Nashville around 1909 but upon his death in 1923 was buried in Franklin’s Toussaint L’Ouveture Cemetery

John Merrill
b. 1922, death April 25, 1923
His legacy lived on through subsequent generations - his great-grandson Robert Murdic Jr was a Tuskegee Airman in World War II.

Robert Murdic, Jr
Class 44-F
Flight Officer

Photograph of Tuskegee airmen - including Robert Murdic Jr - attending a briefing in Ramitelli, Italy, March 1945
Courtesy of the Library of Congress

John Merrill's great-great- grandson Tom Murdic was past president of the African American Heritage Society of Williamson County.

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