Hugh Murray (1839-1916)

Hugh Murray (1839-1916)

Hugh Murray was born in County Down, Ireland, December 18, 1839. His father, Michael Murray, also a native of Ireland, was a farmer by occupation; he married Catherine Murray, a native of the same place, and they had ten children, five sons and five daughters. Hugh, the seventh child, came to the United States in 1857, settled in Washington County, Mo., and commenced working at the trade of wagon-making, which he has since followed. He married Miss Mary Maloney September 10, 1866. She was born in Connecticut, and was a daughter of Michael and Ann Maloney. Mr. and Mrs. Murray have eight children living, viz.: William, Katie, Annie, Nora, Hugh, Edward, Andrew and Paul; one daughter, Emma, was deceased at the age of six years. Mr. Murray has recently added to his business a stock of coffins and undertaker’s supplies, and has done a satisfactory business in this line. He is a man of strict honor and commands the respect of all his acquaintances.”

– History of Washington County Missouri. (1888) Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Company.

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Teaching Jobs & Women

I think my mother, Virginia (Brown) Murray (1917-1982), would have loved to know and talk with her grandchildren. I am thinking of one of her grandchildren in particular who today is leaving one high school, in which she taught business courses and coached girls’ soccer, for a position in another high school. She never knew my mother, who was also a teacher.

In contrast to my successful niece, my mother was not successful in getting a permanent teaching position as a mathematics teacher when she graduated from college in 1937. The country was still amidst the Great Depression, jobs were scarce, and math teachers tended to coach boys’ athletics.

From family reports, it seems she would have preferred to work and earn money rather than attend college in 1933. Continue reading “Teaching Jobs & Women”

Kate Harding (1843-1917)

Michigan has put up some death certificates on their Seeking Michigan site. It was here that I discovered the death certificate for Kate Harding, my 2nd great grand aunt, who died in Detroit in 1917.

My interest in Kate is that she was a sister of Mary Ann (Revels) Delaney, my 2nd great grandmother, who died in Prescott, Ontario in 1906. I estimate that their parents, Michael Revels and Catherine Carthy, immigrated from Wexford, Ireland about 1830. Kate Harding was born Catherine Revels and is listed on both the 1851 and 1861 Canadian census living with her parents in Prescott, Ontario. Continue reading “Kate Harding (1843-1917)”

Daniel Murray (b. 1854)

County histories can be a wonderful source of information. And in the case of Daniel Murray, born in County Down, Ireland, the following Greene County, Missouri, biography from the 1883 History of Greene County, Missouri by R. I. Holcombe, Editing Historian, is rich in details.


Mr. Murray was born in county Down, Ireland, October 12th, 1864, and was educated in the common schools of that country. He emigrated to America, landing at Castle Garden in January, 1870. He soon after came to St. Louis, but remained only a short time, and then went to Potosi, Washington county, Missouri, where he served an apprenticeship at wagon-making. In the fall of 1874, he went to Dade county and set up a shop at the Pemberton mines, which he ran a year and then came to Ash Grove and opened a shop, and does a good business. He is the patentee of the now adjustable vehicle wheel, for wagons and buggies, by which a wheel can be set to any grade or dish desired. It is a most useful invention and likely to come into general use everywhere. Mr. Murray’s parents are yet in Ireland. He has one brother in Manchester, England, and one in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Murray is a member of the Knights of Labor.

— Chapter 20, Boone Township – Biographies

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Potosi, MO: A Texas Connection

We just returned from our first meeting as new members of the Dallas Genealogical Society. I had a wonderful time! Lloyd Bockstruck presented an enjoyable, fact-filled lecture entitled The Call of the West: MO, AR, and TX.

It was nice to hear mention of Potosi, MO, the town to which my great-grandfather, Hugh Murray, emigrated in 1857. Potosi was built on land donated by Moses Austin in 1813.

By the time Hugh settled in Potosi, Moses Austin was dead and his descendants had moved to Texas. Moses Austin’s son, Stephen F. Austin, is called the “Father of Texas”. The plaque marking the Austin homestead site, Durham Hall, in Potosi refers to it as the “Cradle of Texas”. Unless he was out of town, I’m certain Hugh Murray would have experienced the great fire in 1871 that destroyed Durham Hall and much of downtown Potosi.

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Old Newspapers Reveal Surprise

I guess having ingested some silly childhood myth that went “no one in our family (except for Uncle Eddie) has ever been divorced” explains why I was surprised to find the following news about my great aunt, Mary Brown, reported in 1924 and 1935 in The Ostego Farmer.


Mary Brown (1888-1976) married Pearly Hanlon in 1907. They had 2 children: Doris and William Hanlon. She was buried in a plot with her two children in Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Oneonta, NY. The name on her gravestone is Mary B. Norwood. I assumed Pearly Hanlon had died prior to Mary’s marriage to Mr. Norwood. Au contraire! Continue reading “Old Newspapers Reveal Surprise”

An SS-5 Form Points the Way

I’ve been doing some family history research for a friend and sent off for her grandmother’s 1937 Social Security application, her SS-5 Form. My friend did not know much about her grandmother’s family so I was hoping for some leads from the SS application. I wasn’t disappointed; the form listed the applicant’s parents’ names.

Armed with this information, I was able to discover a good deal about her family, who have farmed in Gibson County, Tennessee for many generations. I was struck by the fact that one ancestor, Samuel Hughes, was born in 1805 in North Carolina. I wonder when his parents arrived in America? Differently from my own ancestors, my friend’s ancestors have deep, even pre-revolutionary war, roots in America.

One interesting discovery was that David (Davy) Crockett, himself a descendent of pre-revolutionary war ancestors, was an early settler of Gibson County, Tennessee. At first, when I saw “David Crocketts” on 19th century US census records in the same civil district as my friend’s ancestors, I smiled, not yet knowing that these Crocketts were actually relatives of the famous man himself! Nice.

Patrick Brown 1841-1901

To the best of my knowledge, Patrick was born in Murraugh Parish, County Cork, Ireland in February of 1841. He immigrated to the United States about 1851, along with his parents, James Brown and Johannah Murphy, as well as his sister, Ellen, and his three brothers, John, Michael, and James. The 1860 US Federal Census indicates that Patrick, his parents, and his sister Ellen could neither read nor write.

Patrick was 43 when he married Mary Watson in 1884 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg, New York. Mary died at home from Typhoid fever in 1899 at age 44. Tragically, Patrick died two years later at age 60. Continue reading “Patrick Brown 1841-1901”

Beginning the Journey

After thinking about my own blog for the last few years, this evening I finally took the plunge into what appears to be the shallow end of blogspace. I was recently encouraged to do this by Tony’s willingness to collaborate in the effort. We both thought it might be fun to have a place to share discoveries, travels, and adventures regarding our family history research. So, today we’re up and off!

Fargo, North Dakota was a significant stop on the first family-history vacation we took. Tony had hooked up with the Red River Valley Genealogical Society in Fargo and we went there to see if they could help solve the question of where his great grandparents from Norway were buried. This was our first experience of sitting in a room with a bunch of records and books, splitting up the names we were interested in, and combing for facts.

We now fall easily into this divide-search-conquer method of research in any library or archive or repository we visit. But Fargo was our first significant effort.

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