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Sunday’s Obituary: Frederick Asbury McMurray

Frederick Asbury McMurray, circa 1890?
Frederick Asbury McMurray, circa 1890?

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

This obituary was posted on Iowa GenWeb by the late Donna Sloan Rempp. Her family was kind enough to give us permission to post it on the blog.

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Well known Auctioneer Dies From Stroke Thursday

Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon for Frederick A. McMurray, well known Jasper county auctioneer and one of the leading Democrats of the county, who died last Thursday evening at his home in Newton at 7:15, following a stroke of paralysis, which he received the previous Sunday afternoon as he was returning from the funeral of a friend, Mrs. C. L. Good.

Frederick A. McMurray was born Aug. 28, 1859 in Bedford county, Penn., son of Henderson and Mary Ann (Horn) McMurray, the third child in a family of 12 children. At the age of two years he came west with his parents and three children crossing the Mississippi river at Muscatine. The family settled on a farm south of Tipton in Cedar county, where they remained until 1869.

The McMurray family then moved on west again, this time settling in Jasper county on a farm about two and one half miles north west of Newton. Fred McMurray here continued his education, which was started while he was living in Cedar county, finishing at the age of 18 years and starting out for himself.

At first he spent his time breaking the raw prairies of the rich corn belt through Jasper county, later in 1872 taking up grading work in the Rock Island right of way between Newton and Reasnor.

He purchased his first piece of real estate in 1874, when he negotiated for an 80 acre tract of land about three miles northeast of Newton on old No. 14, which he owned at the time of his death. He lived on this farm until 1922, farming for himself, putting on many improvements.

In addition to being one of the leading auctioneers of his time, Mr. McMurray was connected with the Jasper County Agricultural Society for many years as marshal, and even in the last years he was considered as an advisory part of the governing organization.

Mr. McMurray is survived by his wife, and eight brothers and sisters: Joseph of Fort Madison; Mary, Mrs. Ella Aillaud, and Henry of Newton; Mrs. Sam Raugh of Exeter, Calif.; James T. of Rodondo Beach, Calif.; David of Valley Junction; and Mrs. Margaret Maytag of Marshalltown. One brother John and two sisters Mrs. Newt Edge and Emma, preceded him in death.

He is also survived by one daughter, Mrs. Forrest Gillespie of Oak Park, Ill., and four sons, William, Harry J., Roy and Ray of Newton; three grandchildren, Dr. E. A., Mrs. Maude Cook, and Herbert of Newton; and two great grandchildren, Edward A. Jr., and Mona Lynette Cook of Newton.

Source: Newspaper Unknown; __ December 1929 (Newton Union records say he d. 12 December 1929)

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Fred’s wife was Hannah Melissa (Benjamin) McMurray, but she was not actually named in his obituary.

Family records do state his death was 12 December 1929; his headstone lists only his birth and death years.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. IA US GenWeb– http://iagenweb.org/jasper/

 

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Mystery Monday- The McMurrays in America

Henderson McMurray- Family Tree
Henderson McMurray- Family Tree (Click to enlarge)

One hot, muggy, August visit to Newton, Iowa, included the moment I found my passion for genealogy. It was in the late 1960s, and my grandmother drove me and my tag-along younger sister all over the county in her old, immaculate black Dodge to visit family and learn our family history. Distant cousins and elderly aunts pulled out shoeboxes, family bibles, etc., for us to see the obituaries, letters, and other treasures that had been passed down from generation to generation. The family we visited knew so much family history, but as a young teen,  I knew so little of how to record it well. I had read one very old genealogy how-to book found at our local library, but did not know about citing sources or provenance. However, I did see these items with my own young eyes, and my sister and I copied many pieces by hand, using notebook paper and a purple Flair pen- the latest cool writing instrument and one of the first felt-tip pens, I believe. I was enraptured with the stories the family told- I loved the “Little House on the Prairie” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, so this was heaven, to know my own family traveled in wagon trains across the prairie and ploughed the fertile soils of Iowa, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. There were no copies or scanners in Newton, Iowa at that time, so it was laborious to copy all, but I am so glad that I have these items, as some, like the following, might be gone forever, if we had not copied them.

Part of a letter from Aunt Ibe Raugh to Aunt Mary McMurray:

“… I am also enclosing in same package two old silver spoons and a breast pin that Huldah wanted us to have as there are four of us. Now I have seen them, I am sending them to you three girls.

They were brought from England by Mary Proctor when she came to the states with her father, General Proctor, at the close of the war. This was father’s mother. The pin had been a clasp to a neck chain but was fitted with a pin and had been used as such for about one hundred years. When Mary died she gave the pin to her daughter Sarah, Huldah’s mother, who took care of her during her last sickness.

The spoons were also handed down at the same time.

Huldah also states that James McMurray, father of William McMurray, father of Henderson McMurray, came to America in 1779.

Well girls, I have had these things for some time but I thought perhaps some of you would come out and I could give them to you all. Huldah did not know how old they really are but we know they were keepsakes one hundred years before the close of the War of England.”

We met a lot of relatives but at the time I couldn’t place them all into a family tree until I learned more about that. I am not sure which war was “the War of England” nor what the spoons or pin looked like; I believe all I saw was the letter or a copy of it.

I wish I had taken notes as our relatives spoke of their parents and grandparents- what wonderful stories they were! I was busy copying as they spoke, as many were very elderly and would be too tired if we stayed too long.

‘Aunt Ibe’ (sometimes called “Iba”) is Hepzibah Jeanetta McMurray (1865-1954) who married Samuel S. Raugh (b. 1860) and they lived in Orange, California in 1906 and also in Exeter California. ‘Aunt Mary’ is Mary McMurray (1856 – 1956) who never married and lived in Newton, Jasper Co., Iowa in 1906 and probably most of her adult life; she lived to be over 100 years old. They are just two of the thirteen children of Henderson McMurray and Mary Ann Horn.

‘Huldah’ is a cousin to the McMurray girls, as she was the daughter of Sarah McMurray _____, (married name unknown) who was Henderson McMurray’s sister. (Both were children of James McMurray & Mary Proctor.) There was another sister, who became “Mrs. C.C. Meyers of Waverly, Iowa” who is mentioned in Henderson McMurray’s 1906 obit- this is probably Minnie, born about 1820, as there is a “FC” and “Minnie Meyers” listed in the 1905 Iowa State Census in Waverly.

[Edited 15 Jan 2018– Mrs. C.C. Myers is actually Catharine C. (McMurray) Myers, not Minnie McMurray.]

The letter was probably written after 1940 and before 1954, as one of the 5 sisters who lived to adulthood died in 1940, and Ibe died in 1954, so there were just the “four of us” still living during that time span.

What mysteries do I hope to solve about this letter? I would like to know who Sarah McMurray married, and thus what Huldah’s maiden name was, plus who Huldah married. I only have one census- 1850- for William McMurray and his wife Mary Proctor McMurray. I have been unable to find any information about “General Proctor” or James McMurray- there are SO many McMurrays in Pennsylvania during that time period and it is challenging to separate them to know which is our ancestor.

 

I would also love to know what the pin and spoons look like- I do hope that someone in the family still has them and knows the story that goes along with them. They are a wonderful legacy.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Hand copied section of letter owned by author.

 

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Copyright 2013-2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
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