Robert E. McMurray biography

ROBERT E. McMURRAY, who carries on farming in Montague county, was born in Alabama, December 3, 1864, and in the paternal line is descended from Scotch- Irish ancestry. His grandfather, Samuel McMurray, a native of Georgia, was a blacksmith by trade and was married in Georgia, and there made his home until four of his children were born. He then removed to Alabama, where he continued blacksmithing throughout his remaining days. He served as a soldier in the war of 1812 and was a patriotic citizen, while in business affairs he was thoroughly reliable. He had two sons and four daughters: Frank; Cap, deceased; Mrs. Matilda Sims; Mrs. Sallie Kirkpatrick; Mrs. Margaret Powell; and Mrs. Martha Windom.

Frank McMurray was born in Georgia and accompanied his parents on their removal to Alabama, where his childhood and youth were passed and where under his father’s instruction he mastered the blacksmith’s trade, which he followed for many years. Subsequent to his marriage he resided on a farm which he conducted in connection with the blacksmithing until 1863. All business considerations were then put aside and he rendered active service to the Confederacy as a soldier on the field of battle, only twice visiting home during the period of the war. He returned at the cessation of hostilities to find that his farm, which was in the path of two armies, had been almost ruined by the foraging that had been done. There was scarcely anything left upon the place but the land. With strong courage, however, be began the work of retrieving his lost possessions, and thinking that he might do better elsewhere he removed to Arkansas in 1868 and in 1871 came to Texas, locating near Mount Pleasant, Titus county, where he bought land and developed a good farm. At that time he abandoned blacksmithing and gave his entire attention to his agricultural pursuits until his death. In early manhood he wedded Miss Minerva Sims, a native of Alabama, and a daughter of Joel Sims, of Georgia, who devoted his life to farming and to the work of the Baptist ministry. He was a zealous and earnest preacher of the Word and also a capable business man. His children were William, Thomas, Samuel, Doc, Andrew, Evaline, Mary, Martha, Minerva, Hattie, and James, who died after reaching manhood. While away from home in defense of the Confederacy Mr. McMurray was called upon to mourn the loss of his first wife. Later he married again and his second wife died in March, 1874, while he passed away in May of the same year. He was a stalwart Democrat but never an office seeker. He held membership in the Missionary Baptist church and his life was at all times honorable and upright, winning him the confidence and trust of those with whom he was associated. He possessed a social nature, enjoyed extending his hospitality to his many friends and was loved and esteemed by those who came within the circle of his friendship. The children of his first marriage were: Joe, a prominent farmer of Montague county; James F., of Oklahoma; Maggie, the wife of J. T. Lynch; and Robert E. There were four children of the second marriage, William, Rebecca, Minty and Milton.

Robert E. McMurray came with his parents to Texas, in which state he was reared and acquired the greater part of his education. He remained at home until after the death of his parents and then started out to make his own way in the world. He was first employed as a farm hand and gradually he made his way into Montague county, where in 1889, he married. Having the impetus to provide for a home of his own he began farming, purchasing land near the town of Montague, where he remained three years. He then sold out and removed to the old home farm belonging to his wife’s mother, where he spent for years. He next bought land southwest of Montague, living there for five years, and after disposing of that property he purchased two hundred and forty acres of well improved land in the valley of Dye creek. He has since given his attention to the further development of this property. He has repaired the buildings and cultivated the farm and now has a splendid property, thoroughly equipped with modern conveniences, including telephone connections with the adjacent business centers. He has one hundred acres under cultivation, he raises some stock and both branches of his business are proving profitable. This property he has lately disposed of and moved to a farm north of St. Jo. He has also acted to some extent as agent for the Home Relief Life Insurance Company, in which he also holds a policy.

In December, 1889, Mr. McMurray wedded Miss Mattie A. Stout, a native of Tennessee, in which state her parents, Robert K. and Malinda (Mathews) Stout, were married. Her mother was a daughter of Hider Mathews of Alabama, who removed to Tennessee and at the time of the Civil war went north to Illinois, where he continued to carry on general agricultural pursuits until his death. He was also a leading member of the Methodist church, an earnest exhorter and a helpful church worker. His children were James, Mrs. Malinda Stout, John, Joshua, William, Benajmin [sic], Robert K., Mathew, Ann and Nancy.

Robert K. Stout was born and reared in Tennessee after his marriage began his farming there, in which work he was successfully engaged at the time of the outbreak of the hostilities between the north and south. In 1861 he joined the Confederate service, in which he continued until 1865. He was never wounded nor taken prisoner but was on active duty, being often in the thickest of the fight. He returned home to find his farm devastated, owing to the ravages of war, but at once began to obliterate the traces of the foraging that had been done by further cultivation and improving the land and there continued to carry on general agricultural pursuits until 1882, when he sold that property and came to Montague county, Texas, purchasing a farm on Dye creek, where he resided until his death, July 11, 1893. He tilled the soil and raised some stock. He was quite successful in his farming operations, both in Tennessee and Texas. He was an active business man and a good financier and aggregated a desirable estate. He held membership in the Methodist church and the Masonic fraternity, and his upright lief commended him to the confidence of all. His widow survives and at the age of seventy-four years makes her home with her daughter, Mrs. McMurray. She is a worthy member of the Methodist church. In their family were five children; Wiley, a prominent farmer of Montague county; Nancy, who died at the age of eighteen years; Thomas, of Oklahoma; Tennessee, the wife of James McMurray; and Mattie, the wife of R. E. McMurray.

To our subject and his wife have been born five children: Grover C., born October 20, 1890; Robert E. Lee, September 4, 1893; Alice G., May 2, 1896; Eunice L., March 8, 1899; and Jolly Joe, November 24, 1902. The parents hold membership in the Methodist church and Mr. McMurray votes with the Democracy. He is regarded as one of the substantial citizens of the county, a position to which he has attained entirely through his own efforts, and his life record proves what can be accomplished by determined and earnest purpose and shows that success is ambition’s answer.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, pp. 563-565.