A doctor in the family is always nice- we got our eye checkups every summer when we went to visit our grandfather in Newton, Iowa. He was very well known in town- when a person heard our last name, they would always ask, “Are you related to ‘The Doctor’?” Then they would speak of what a wonderful doctor he was, and how he had helped their family so much. It sure made us proud of our grandfather.
Dr. Edward A. McMurray attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, for his undergraduate work. He then was accepted to St. Louis University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, Missouri, where he received his medical degree in 1925. The picture above was taken soon after he completed medical school. His dear daughter said, “He grew a mustache so he would look older and people would believe he was a doctor.”
Dr. McMurray returned to Newton, Iowa to open a General Practice. Around 1939-1940, he moved to Queens in New York to train in eye, ear, nose, and throat medicine. Once that residency was completed, he again returned to Newton, practicing there for the rest of his career.
Iowa GenWeb has recently added some information about Jasper County physicians which verifies some of the above information, and adds a bit more about Dr. McMurray’s career. The Newton Daily News of Tuesday, April 27, 1937 included “E. A. McMurray now of ___”- it was in an area of the fold of the newspaper, so more could not be read. Two days later, on April 29, 1937, the paper included, “Edward A. McMurray, born Newton, Ia., Nov. 10, 1900. Graduated St. Louis University, 1925. Practiced Newton, Ia., 1926. Offices: city health physician, 1935, coroner, 1923; president Jasper County Med. Soc. 2 years.”
Either the transcription or the original newspaper was probably in error in the year Dr. McMurray was County Coroner. In 1923, Dr. McMurray was still in college, either in Ames, Iowa, or, more likely, St. Louis, Missouri, and did not yet have his medical degree. He is listed in the Iowa Register as being elected as County Coroner from 1933-1938.
Dr. McMurray is mentioned in some newspaper articles in his capacity of County Coroner. In the September 24, 1936 Jasper County Record, the paper reports that Dr. McMurray conducted an inquest to determine the cause(s) of death of Mrs. Harry Evans. Mrs. Evans was expecting her ninth child, and she and her husband had had a quarrel just two hours before her death. The autopsy and inquest conducted by Dr. McMurray led to a manslaughter conviction for Mr. Harry Evans.
In the information about Jasper Co. physicians on US GenWeb, Dr. McMurray was noted as a member of the Jasper Co. Medical Society in the ‘present’ roster, meaning 1937. (Note: This section bears close reading- it looks as if it is a listing of members below the headline, “25 Members in 1912.” Dr. McMurray was only 12 years old in 1912, however, so 1912 is not the year being referred to- smart as he was.) He was listed as a member of the Jasper Co. Medical Society in the Thursday, May 6, 1937 edition. It also lists him as a Doctor born in Jasper Co., in Newton.
Above: Listing for Dr. E. A. McMurray and his wife Elna Mae (Kenner) McMurray in the 1939 Newton [Iowa] City. The same listing is in the 1941 Newton City Directory.
Using a variety of sources can help us understand more about the workday world of our ancestors.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Jasper County Physicians newspaper articles, Newton Daily News, Apr 3, 1937-May 13, 1937, excerpted at http://iagenweb.org/jasper/physicians/.
2) Hold Inquest in Death of Woman (Mrs. Harry Evans): http://iagenweb.org/jasper/cemeteries/sugargrove/evans/evans2.html
3) Elected Officials of Jasper County 1882-1940: http://iagenweb.org/jasper/history/elected-officials/index.htm. Transcribed from the Iowa Official Register, 1933-1934, page 122; 1935-1936, page 166; and 1937-1938, page 347.
Note that Dr. McMurray’s uncle, Ray McMurray, served as the County Engineer for many years.
4) 1939 City Directory- Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
5) 1941 City Directory- Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
6) 1940 US Federal census for Edward A. McMurray, head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: T627_2731; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 41-586. This entry notes he had 4 years of college education.
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