Margaret Murphy Ezzell, civic leader and historic preservationist, was born on November 11, 1902, in Hillsboro, Texas, the daughter of Joshua Elmer and Linnie (Lovejoy) Murphy. She was active in civic affairs in Port Arthur, Beaumont, Nederland, and Port Neches. From 1962 to 1972 she was a member and vice chairwoman of the Jefferson County Historical Survey Committee. In 1962 she was coorganizer of the Port Arthur Historical Museum and chaired the building committee that oversaw construction of the first public library building in Port Neches. She was also actively involved in the planning and building of a clubhouse for the Nechesland Study Club. In 1972 she was the state coordinator of activities to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the battle of Sabine Pass.
From 1961 to 1976 Ezzell served on the Battleship Texas Commission. During her tenure she gathered many of the historic items that were on the ship originally and opened a museum on the ship to house them. In 1966 she became a charter member of the Historic Naval Ships of North America, an organization of groups that maintain historic vessels, and in 1975 she was elected president. She also located and presented to the legislature the reverse side of the Great Seal of the state of Texas (see SEALS OF TEXAS).
Margaret Ezzell was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She served as president-general of the DRT from 1961 to 1963 and as registrar general from 1971 to 1973. From 1963 through 1969 she chaired the DRT projects committee. Under her leadership the Long Barrack of the Alamo, which is administered by the DRT, was restored and a museum established there. She raised funds for the restoration and directed the planning and completion of the museum. From 1965 to 1969 she served on the DRT Alamo committee.
In 1966 the Texas Historical Foundation honored Ezzell for her work in historic preservation, and in 1970 the Texas State Genealogical Society recognized her for the preservation of historical documents. The Sons of the Republic of Texas awarded her a Medal of Appreciation in 1970 for her contributions to the preservation of American history.
Ezzell was married to Asa Murray Ezzell, an executive with the Texaco oil company. She died at her home in Port Neches on October 24, 1987, and was buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery in Houston. Her large library of Texana was given to the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center at Liberty.