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Mary (Houser) McMurray
(1838-1907)

Mary (Houser) McMurray  -- whose middle name may have been "Louise" -- was born on Oct. 16 or 17, 1838 in or near Rushville, Fairfield County, OH, the daughter of George and Barbara (Miner) Houser

Both she and her husband appear to have known how to read and write. 

Obituary, 1906
When Mary was just age five, her mother died of causes unknown. Within a month, her father remarried and later moved to Delaware, Coshocton and Franklin Counties, OH, and eventually to Scipio, IN. How Mary met her future husband in Madison County is unknown.

On the Fourth of either January or July 1854, the 16-year-old Mary entered into marriage with 33-year-old Alexander Blaine "Alex" McMurray Jr. (Aug. 3, 1820-1906), a native of Westmoreland County, PA, and the son of Alexander and Ellen McMurray. They were some 17 to 18 years apart in age.

Alexander as a six-year-old had moved to Ohio with his parents, first settling in Highland County for two years, and then in Ross County for two more years. In January 1830, when Alexander was 10, they moved to Madison County, where they settled for good.

Most of what we know about her and her husband is found in the 1883 book, The History of Madison County, Ohio, published by W.H. Beers & Co. Said the History, Alexander "here grew to manhood, fully acquainted with the early pioneers and the hardships and trials of those days."

Mary and Alexander together produced a brood of these known children -- Alexander McMurray Jr., Elizabeth McMurray, Mary "Louisa" Leslie, Abbie McMurray, George H. McMurray, Ella Carter, Robert A. McMurray Sr., Sarah Hortense "Sadie" Ailes and Florence West, born over a 24 year span between 1855 and 1879. 

Sadly, three of their brood died young, among them Elizabeth at age 22 months on July 8, 1859 -- Abbie at age 14 on Oct. 25, 1876 -- and Charles at age 2 on Nov. 11, 1876. Their remains were lowered under the sod of Deer Creek Township Cemetery..

Madison County is located directly west of the state capitol of Columbus, halfway to Springfield, OH. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1860, the family dwelled on a farm in Somerfield Township, Madison County. In addition to their two eldest children, 14-year-old James Turpin [spelling?] dwelled in their household that year.

The McMurrays relocated during the 1860s to a farm in Deer Creek Township, Madison County and were there at the time of the censuses of 1870 and 1880. Circa 1880-1883, their post office was in the nearby town of Lafayette. Mary's married sister Elizabeth Baker Dillow and her first and second husbands also resided in Lafayette, but later migrated to Illinois, Iowa and back to Illinois.

Alexander's entry in the History of Madison County

Book profiling Alexander
Alexander was profiled in a biographical entry in the History of Madison County:

...has made farming his occupation through life, and all in this township, but three years, from the fall of 1855 to the fall of 1858, during which he lived in Iowa. In September 1861, he bought and located on the place where he now lives and has since resided. This farm consists of fifty-two and a half acres, which he purchased of Mrs. Rogers. McMurray has served his Township as Trustee, and is one of the early settlers of this county.

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1900, there were four adult children in the household, as well as Alexander's 77-year-old bachelor brother James McMurray. At that time, the couple had been married for 46 years. They marked their golden wedding anniversary in 1904.

Sadly, Alexander passed away on Feb. 8, 1906. Daughter and son-in-law Louisa and Cyrus Leslie traveled from their home in Springfield to attend the funeral.

In his last will and testament, written on Sept. 12, 1903, Alexander bequeathed to Mary the balance of his personal property and estate, including their farm of 52.5 acres where they had resided. If she was not living at the time, then the estate was to have been converted into cash and divided seven ways among their living children Alexander, Louisa, George, Robert, Sarah and Florence as well as the three children of his deceased daughter Ella. Son Robert was to serve as executor; son Alexander also was to inherit the "Wright note," apparently forgiving an IOU; and a monument was to be erected at their grave.

Mary died the following year, on Dec. 5, 1907. The Leslies again came to the funeral from Springfield, as noted in the Springfield newspaper gossip columns.

They sleep for all time under a large grey stone in Deer Creek Township Cemetery in Lafayette, OH. 

The McMurrays are mentioned in a booklet, Our Family Tree and Its Many Branches, McMurray Branch, published in November 1988 by Charles E. Parker. 

Copyright 2004, 2007, 2008, 2022, 2023 Mark A. Miner