ELIJAH STITH CUSENBARY. In the subject of this sketch we have the founder of Murray, a modest farmer and one of the widely known citizens of Young county. His advent to the county dates from 1876 when he purchased the tract of land upon which the hamlet of Murray is situated and upon which his modest efforts at farming and stock raising have been since directed. The store is presided over by his thorough-going and industrious wife and she is the postmistress of the office founded in 1880, and named in honor of J. J. Murray, a leading citizen of the community of the early days.
Mr. Cusenbary came to Texas as a Missouri settler. On his way hither from eastern Texas he picked up a small bunch of cattle which he placed upon the upon range here—some of them unprotected by brand—with the consequent loss that always prevailed under the practices of cattle men of that time. His early hopes led him to plan a career of stock raising on the open range indefinitely, never expecting to need any more land of his own than the quarter section he bought, but time changed this frontier, as it has all others, and within a few years the open range was closed and there seemed nothing better than to turn his attention to farming. Born in Jackson county, Missouri, December 25, 1850, Mr. Cusenbary was a son of Daniel Cusenbary who settled there very early, improved a farm and cultivated it successfully, and who was killed on the street in Independence by a federal solider in 1863. The latter was born in Logan county, Kentucky, in 1800, entertained southern sentiments during the war and left a good estate at death. He was twice married and by the first wife had issue: Harrison D., of Arcadia, Oklahoma; James D., of Independence, Missouri; John W., who died in Colorado; George K., of Los Angeles, California; Mary, who died in Jackson county, Missouri, as the wife of Thomas Funk; and Vincent C., deceased. For his second wife Daniel Cusenbary married Celia F. Robinson, a daughter of Colonel William Cogswell, originally from Kentucky, Mrs. Cusenbary passed away at the home of her son in Young county in 1904, having been the mother of William B. Robinson, who was killed during the war by federals and E. S. Cusenbary, the subject of this sketch.
Our subject grew up in Jackson county and knew the work of the farm from actual practice from boyhood. His education advantages were fair and he came to his majority with a knowledge of the cardinal principles of an education. He first came to Texas at the age of eighteen and was employed on the cow range in Bosque county, and it was from this experience that his independent career can be said to date. Upon his marriage he at once settled in Cass county—he was then living in Missouri—and embarked in the business of raising hogs for the markets, but misfortune and losses so harassed him that he was glad to quit the business, and he then decided to return to the Lone Star state.
With wife and two orphan children he set out by wagon and followed the trail down through Kansas and the Indian Territory, crossing Red river at Denison and coming leisurely along out to his destination on the head waters of Fish creek. Believing there was an opening for a store at the postoffice of Murray, Mrs. Cusenbary took active charge of the same when it was established and she is responsible for its conduct as Mr. Cusenbary is that of the farm.
January 5, 1873, Mr. Cusenbary married Mary Catherine Hopper, a daughter of John Henry Hopper, originally from the state of Kentucky. Mrs. Cusenbary was partially reared by her husband—s mother, having been orphaned in childhood, and she has a sister, Mrs. Nora Atterbury, of Collingsworth county, Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Cusenbary have children: Mary L., wife of E. M. Tankersley, of Graham, with children, Ernie, Elijah, Andrew, David Raymond, and Ewell Profit; Zephyr Rose, Daniel David, Caldwell C., a student in the Metropolitan College of Dallas.
Mr. Cusenbary has been of the active men of the Murray community in the matter of church work and influence. The Baptists held meetings first in a log school house (in which Mrs. Cusenbary taught school when they first came), but this has been succeeded by a church edifice which Mr. Cusenbary helped to build.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 659-660.
Notes on Elijah Stith Cusenbary
Elijah Stith Cusenbary, son of Daniel Cusenbary and Celia F. Cogswell, was born 25 December 1850 in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, and died 26 May 1931 in Murray, Young County,Texas.
He appears in the 1870 Federal Census in Jackson County, Missouri, living with his mother. He also appears in the 1880, 1900 and 1910 Federal Census schedules in Young County, Texas.
Elijah Stith married Mary Catherine “Kate” Hopper on 5 January 1873 in Jackson County, Missouri. Mary Catherine “Kate,” daughter of John Henry Hopper and Ann Louise Rowe, was born 29 September 1853 in Kentucky. She died 31 October 1912 in Murray,Young County, Texas. Elijah and Mary are buried in the Tyra Graveyard, Murray.
Elijah Stith Cusenbary and Mary Catherine “Kate” Hopper had the following children:
1. Celia Ann Cusenbary was born 22 April 1875, Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, and died 8 August 1876 in Jackson County. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Jackson County, with grandfather Daniel.
2. Mary Lounora “Lonie” Cusenbary was born 5 May 1877 in Murray, Young County, Texas, and died 22 February 1916 in Young County. On 30 September 1894 she married Edward Milton Tankersley in Young County. (Marriage Record Book B, 1890-1905)
3. Zephyr Rose Cusenbary was born 19 Nov 1878 in Murray, Young, Texas, and died 10 May 1959 in Murray. She was issued a teacher’s certificate in 1902 in Young County (Register of Teacher’s Certificates, Young County, Texas, 1894—1917, A-F). Never married, no issue. She was buried in Murray Cemetery, Young County.
4. Daniel David Caldwell “D. D.” Cusenbary was born 10 Jun 1881 in Murray, Young County, Texas, and died 28 December 1981 in Young County. D. D. Cusenbary was the historian for Young County for decades.