Munchus, George Murray (1887–1952)

By: Sybil M. Byrd

Type: Biography

Published: May 1, 1995

Updated: November 20, 2020

George Murry (Murray, Murrey) Munchus, physician, the son of Murry and Lou (Beatty or Betay) Munchus was born on August 6, 1887, on a farm in Ellis County, Texas. His parents were former slaves who traveled from a plantation near Greenville, Alabama, to Texas by horse and wagon soon after the Emancipation Proclamation. Murry Munchus was one of the first black men to own farmland in Ellis and Hill counties. To be near public schools, the family moved to Waxahachie, where George and his two brothers graduated from Oaklawn High School. Munchus received a bachelor's degree from Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson College) in Austin and earned a medical degree in 1909 from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. After completing his internship at Hubbard Hospital in Nashville, Munchus opened a medical practice in 1911 in Clarksville, Texas, and served black patients throughout Red River County. He married Jesselle Sims, a teacher and member of a prominent black Fort Worth family; they had four children, one of whom died in infancy. Munchus attracted countywide attention when he had George Powell, a black contractor, build the county's first black hospital, a two-story brick structure with space on the lower floor for a drugstore, cleaning and pressing shop, barbershop, meeting hall, and business offices. The hospital and family living quarters were located on the second floor. In 1921 a fire that Munchus believed was started by the Ku Klux Klan destroyed his hospital and home. Munchus moved his practice and his family to Fort Worth, where in 1922 Powell built a home for him on Terrell Avenue. Munchus established and administered the Negro Community Hospital (1928–45). He was active with the Masonic Lodge, the Knights of Pythias, the American Woodmen, the board of trustees of Samuel Houston College, and the National Medical Association. He served a term as president of the Lone Star State Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association and was medical examiner for the local Atlanta Life and Universal Life insurance companies. Munchus was the first black physician on the staff of the now defunct Pennsylvania Avenue Hospital. He died on May 30, 1952, at his Terrell Avenue home, which was designated a Texas historic landmark in 1985.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 31, 1952.

  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Sybil M. Byrd, “Munchus, George Murray,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995
November 20, 2020

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