The Murray Family, p. 199

MURRAY. -- This family in Washington county, of whom William M. and J. W. Murray are worthy representatives, is descended from one of the dukes of Athol (Scotland), a son of whom, Lord Murray, having become involved in a political conspiracy against the reigning monarch, was compelled to seek safety in flight. It was no easy task, however, to elude the vigilance of his pursuers, especially as a price was placed upon his head, but friends devised a means of escape for him, novel if not risky. I is a historical fact that they placed Lord Murray inside an empty hogshead, then headed it up, being careful to leave some apertures for the admission of air, carted him a considerable distance to a convenient seaport (where was, fortunately, a ship about to sail for America), got their "freight" on board, one or two of the friends accompanying "it", and as soon as the vessel was well out to sea, they liberated the contents of the cask, and set the cooped-up scion of a noble house on deck, once more a free man. Ultimately they reached the shores of America in safety, where the hero of the adventure was no more inquired after by the English Government. In this country Lord Murray married and had a family of children, but the names of all are lost except that of Nicholas, the direct ancestor, in America, of the subject of this memoir. This Nicholas Murray, who was a sea captain nearly all his life, married, in April, 1775, Temperance Bond, of Baltimore, Md., and the names and dates of birth of their children are as follows: Nicholas, April 16, 1776; Benjamin, October 8, 1778; Ruth, October 25, 1781; William, March 1, 1784; Christopher, October 26, 1786; Charles, March 7, 1792; Kizia, September 23, 1789, and Sarah, December 11, 1794. The father of this family died April 10, 1812, the mother April 20, 1828.

William Murray, third son of Nicholas and Temperance (Bond) Murray, was reared in the State of Maryland, where he was married to Nancy Roberts, and their children were Samuel, Nicholas (professor in Washington and Jefferson College), Hanson, Elzy, Charles and William. At an early day Mr. Murray migrated to Virginia, and made a settlement near West Liberty, Ohio county, in that State, becoming a prominent agriculturist. He was one of the first members of the Presbyterian Church at West Liberty, and in his political sympathies he was a lifelong Democrat.

Charles Murray was born in Ohio county, Va., in 1814, where he was educated. He was there married to Elizabeth J., daughter of William Reed, of that State, but a native of Scotland, whence he came when a young man to America, making a settlement in what is now West Virginia, at that time a wild, uncultivated region. He there married Martha Ashinghist, of Washington county, Penn., and the children born to them were Ellen ( Mrs. William Brackenridge), Nancy (deceased wife of Elijah Moore), Oliver, Elizabeth J. (Mrs. Charles Murray), Margaret ( Mrs. James Mc Murray), William (deceased), Catherine (Mrs. James H. Brackenridge). Mr. Reed followed farming all his days, in which he met with success. He was a strict Presbyterian, and a member of the Three Ridge Church at West Alexander, Penn.; in politics he was a Democrat until the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion when he became a Republican. He died in Ohio county, Va., about 1861, and is buried in West Alexander cemetery by the side of his wife, who departed this life in 1861. After marriage Mr. and Mrs. Charles Murray settled on a farm in Ohio county, W. Va., where they passed the remainder of their days, dying, the father January 10, 1860, the mother May 30, 1874, at the age of fifty-two. They were consistent members of the West Alexander Presbyterian church, and in politics Mr. Murray was a Whig until the formation of the Republican party, when he enrolled himself under its banner. The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Murray were William M., J. W., Oliver E. and Hanson E. (twins, Hanson being deceased), Johnston R. (in Wheeling, W. Va.), Alfred N., Charles F. and Joseph L. (all three deceased), and Elijah T. (in Ohio).

William M. Murray, a prosperous merchant of West Alexander, was born in Ohio county, W. Va., the eldest son of Charles Murray. He was reared and educated on the home farm, and on August 14, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, Twelfth West Virginia Infantry, and was then sent to the Shenandoah Valley with his regiment, where they fought in Sheridan's campaigns. They took part in the principal engagements, and were sent to the front at Richmond, where they remained until the close of the war. Mr. Murray then returned home. In 1871 he formed a partnership with his brother John, and they conducted a general store at West Alexander, for eight years when another brother, O. E. Murray, entered the firm; the latter soon afterward sold his interest to Mr. Valentine, who is now the partner of Mr. Murray. They have a large store, and are very successful. William M. Murray was united in marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Ruth, and they have two children: Eva Belle and Charles Ruth. Mr. Murray is an active and valuable member of the Republican party. He and his family are members of the Presbyterian church, to which he is a liberal contributor.

J. W. Murray was born April 21, 1845, in Ohio county, W. Va., where he was reared and educated. On August 14, 1862, he enlisted in company D, Twelfth West Virginia Infantry, his brother William M. having enlisted in the same company on the same day. (William M. never missed a day's duty in three years, and he brought home the same gun he had carried out). This regiment was first attached to the army of West Virginia, and was stationed at Clarksburg, W. Va., whence it was sent to Winchester, Va., where it participated in the battle there June 13 and 15, 1863. The Union forces were driven back, and our subject and his comrades afterward took part in the battle of Gettysburg, July 1 to 3, following, after which they participated in all the skirmishes, etc., in the Shenandoah Valley, including the famous "Hunter raid." While charging the works at Piedmont, W. Va., June 5, 1864, Private J. W. Murray was wounded in the right arm, above the elbow, by a ball (which he still carries), in consequence of which he was incapacitated for duty for three months, at the end of which time he rejoined his regiment. On December 19, 1864, the regiment was transferred to the army of the James, in which it served until the close of the war. At the siege of Petersburg, Va., Mr. Murray was in the famous charge on Fort Gregg; was in the chase after Lee's forces when the latter were outflanked, and was present at their surrender. On May 9, 1865, the war having ended, he was mustered out of the service, June 16, 1865, returned home and took up the Arcadian pursuit of an agriculturist, which he continued until 1871, when he entered into partnership with his brother William M., in a general merchandise business at West Alexander, this county. In July, 1891, he came to Washington, and entered into partnership with J. I. Carson as pension agents, also in real estate and loan business, and after April 1, 1893, the firm will be Rodgers & Murray.

On August 14, 1875, J. W. Murray was united in marriage with Margaret, daughter of James P. Chambers, of Donegal township, and three children were born to them: James E., Arthur E., (deceased) and Alford L. Mr. Murray is a member of the second United Presbyterian Church of Washington, Penn.; in politics he is an active Republican, and takes a live interest in every measure tending to the advancement of his adopted city and the county at large.

Text taken from page 199 of:
Beers, J. H. and Co., Commemorative Biographical Record of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1893).

Transcribed March 1997 by Karen Souhrada of Pittsford, NY as part of the Beers Project.
Published March 1997 on the Washington County, PA USGenWeb pages at

[ [Back to Beers Table of Contents] [Back to Beers Project Page]