Francis B. Murdoch

Born Mar 21, 1805

Francis B. Murdoch was an American attorney who practiced law in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois and Missouri before becoming a newspaper publisher in California. He is best known for having initiated freedom suits for Dred Scott and Harriet Robinson Scott in 1846. Between 1840 and 1847, Murdoch filed nearly one-third of all freedom suits in St. Louis, and secured freedom for many of his clients who had been enslaved, including Polly Berry and her daughter Lucy A. Delaney. Before that, Murdoch was the city attorney in Alton, Illinois, where he unsuccessfully prosecuted rioters who killed Elijah Parish Lovejoy, an anti-slavery newspaper publisher, in 1837. After moving to California in 1852, Francis Murdoch himself became a newspaper publisher and editor of the San Jose Telegraph, which later became The Mercury News, and also founded the San Jose Weekly Patriot.
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