Make your own free website on

Murrays General
Murray's General con't. 2


Murray's General con't 6 | Murray's General con't 5 | Murray's General con't 4 | Murray's General con't. 2 | Murray's General con't 3

The Murray's...con't 2

Walter and Christys family continued to grow at Barneys River. In addition to Elizabeth who was born in Scotland they had Janet (1775-1792), William (our ancestor -about 1780 {although some sources listed as late as 1784}-1854, Christiana (ca 1780-1859), David (1781-1867), Catherine (1782-1864), Margaret [Peggy] (1788-?. The children born before about 1785 were probably born at the East River Pictou property. Margaret was no doubt born at Barneys River. An 1890 article in the Eastern Chronicle says he "had two sons, William and David and four daughters". The 1784 birth date of William appears to be a little late as his wife Sarah was born in 1777 and their first child Walter was Baptised in 1799. (William would be approx. 15?) It appears that possibly William could have easily been the eldest son as he certainly married first and was having a family by 1799 while David married ca 1805 and they had son David in 1806. Youll note the above mentioned article says "two sons, William and David". Most writers would name the children in birth order unless there were using some other basis.

Walter was active in the church that was established by Dr. James McGregor in Merigomish and there are references to this in Dr. McGregors Memoirs. He and John Small and George Roy were the first elders in the congregation there, being ordained on 11 October 1789. (MacDonald, D., The First Two hundred Years in A Journey of Faith). This history of St. Pauls Presbyterian Church also contains a picture of Walter Murray (p. 7). It turns out that the picture is of Walters grandson, Walter Murray. This book goes on to describe the first 200 years of St. Pauls Presbyterian Church and the families that lived in the area.

Another paragraph of Pattersons book, History of Pictou County, mentions that there were a number of Catholics in the Merigomish area. "..the first resident priest was the Rev. James McDonald, who lived at the Gulf, but ministered on both sides of the county line. We do not know the date of his arrival but he was here as early as 1793. He offended his people by advising them to attend Dr. McGregors preaching, and otherwise showing disrespect for his own Church, so that he was obligated to take refuge from their wrath in Walter Murrays house. They then gave out that he was crazy, and he was sent up to Quebec to a monastery, from which he never returned." Possibly Reverend McDonald and Walter were a little too much in advance of the ecumenical movement.

On 17 October, 1798 a marriage bond was filed in Truro for William Murray and Sarah Crowe of Upper Onslow, Colchester County. They were no doubt married soon after that date although we have not found that record. Sarah was the daughter of Aaron Crowe, who came with his parents and siblings to Colchester County from Ireland in 1761 and Abigail Murray (b 1759), daughter of "Hector" immigrants James Murray and Lilly Sutherland. If Walter and James are in fact brothers, then William Murray and Sarah are first cousins, one generation removed. They began their family and had son Walter (b 1799), James W.( b 1800) and David (b 1802).

Daughter Christy Murray married a "Hector" immigrant, Duncan MacKenzie. Rev. Karl English,a descendant from Calgary wrote us, "Near the gravestones referred to in the article (Walters gravestone @ Murray Point Cemetery) are those of Duncan MacKenzie (my great grandfather) and his wife Christy. There is a record of a marriage between Duncan MacKenzie and Christy Murray of Lower Barneys River, as well as one newspaper reference to Christy being the daughter of Walter Murray."

From here on well primarily trace William and Sarahs family and their son William since when the family moved to Colchester County most family researchers seem to have lost track of son William and his descendants.

By 1805 Walter was 70 years old and William had started his family so we assume Walter agreed to sell some of his property to his son William. On August 8th, 1805 Walter Murray and Wife Christian Murray sold 400 acres of land on the west side of the East River Merigomish to their son William Murray for 100 pounds. This was 400 acres of Walters 500 acre grant at Avondale. The portion William bought is bounded on the north east by the east River of Merigomish (Barneys River) on the South West by land belonging to William Hattie this line running from the said River South Fifty seven degrees West to the Lands Granted to the 82nd Regt.. on the North West by part of the said Grant... . This is about how one would describe the original 500 acre grant to Walter so we cant quite tell where the 100 acres not included in this sale was located.
A condition of the sale was that William was to "pay to Walter 10 bushels of good merchantable Wheat yearly and every year during the natural life of him the said Walter Murray and from and after his decease for and during the natural life of Christian Murray, his wife during her Widowhood, But in Case of intermarriage with any future husband that the same shall Cease until she may again become a widow and the said ten Bushels of Wheat shall be lawfully demanded to be delivered at such place within the Naibour of Merrigomish as he the said Walter Murray or Christian his wife shall appoint,..." It is an interesting condition of sale and indicates he cared for his wife and wanted to make sure she was taken care of in her later years. It takes about 10 bushels of wheat to make a bushel of flour.

Another researcher, Steven Bridges, reports that Wm Murray Sr. in August 1809 had a family of six children so possibly Im a little late on the births of several of the boys.

As Mr. Bruce related, in 1811 William erected a grist mill at Lower Barneys River. Another source mentioned William also set up a grist mill at Avondale, Pictou County, near Merigomish. We dont know if these writers are referring to the same mill at Avondale or if two mills were developed.

So far we havent determined the type of water power mill William erected. Back in the Highlands of Scotland there were many Norse-type direct -drive mills for grinding flour. The wheel was placed on a vertical axle and laid flat in a stream or in the path of water from a flume, so that the flowing water would rotate it by impact. The mill stones were located directly above the water wheel, with the upper stone mounted on the axle and rotating at the same speed as the wheel. This is a simple low production early mill and they were also found in the Carolinas where many Scots settled. A more complex and higher production mill would be one two or three floors high with a large water wheel in the mill race and gears to turn the mill stones and possibly belts to run simple hoists and elevators to aid the miller in handling the grain. If the first mill wasnt of this superior type certainly the second one that was called Murrays Mill was no doubt a typical old mill weve seen in pictures.

On December 12, 1811, Walter Murray and wife Christian Murray deeded 450 acres on the South side the Harbour Merigomish to their son David Murray "in Consideration the natural Love and affection which he hath and bears unto the said David Murray his Son and also in Consideration the sum of five Shillings to him in hand..." This is Walters grant on the East Side of Barneys River (and extends southerly across the river) and is where the Cemetery is located and near Murrays Point.

A month later Walter Murray died in January 1812 at 77 years and was buried in Murrays Point Cemetery, Merigomish. Walters tombstone stands next to those of Duncan and Christina MacKenzie. As we mentioned, Rev. English believes that Christina was Walter Murrays daughter. The inscription on Walter Murrays stone reads as follows:
"Here lies interred the body of Walter Murray who departed this life the 8th Jan
1812 in the 77th year of his age. One of the first English settlers of this place, an
honest and useful member of society".

We dont know when wife Christian passed away but she was alive when they deeded the property to son David in December 1811. We didnt see a stone for Christian at the Murray Point Cemetery. Most likely she is buried next to Walter.

Son Williams family continued to grow. They had a large family.In addition to Walter, James and David they had John Gault (b1805), Andrew, Alexander, (both probably born before 1809) William (b ca 1811- our ancestor), Elizabeth (b1815) and Aaron (b 1816). Thomas Miller in his 1873 book Historical and Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County discusses the James Crowe family and states on pg. 204, "Sarah (Crowe), their eldest daughter was born April 26th, 1777. She was married to William Murray. They had eight sons and one daughter."

In 1815 William Murray, brother David and possibly Andrew Huggin bought some property on East River Merigomish from Thomas Copeland. I believe this property was where they were to build Murrays Mill.

Reverend Patterson mentions in his History of Pictou County that 1816 was a very bad summer with much cool and cold weather. It must have been difficult to get a good crop of any foodstuffs. It was called the Year that had no summer.

In the 1817 census of Pictou area we found both Williams and Davids families. William Murray-3 Men 16-50 -father William and (assuming one of the elder sons such as Walter has left home) there would be James 18 and David 16; 5 boys, John Gault 13, Andrew 13, Alexander abt 10, William 7 and Aaron 2; Women -wife Sarah and girl would be Elizabeth 3. Davids family included 2 Men 16-50- David and possibly a boarder; 3 boys including David b 1806, Walter b 1807 and Andrew b 1814; women-wife Margaret and 4 girls, Hannah b 1811, Elizabeth b 1815 and two others whom we dont know the names. Both men were listed as farmers so milling was still a satellite business. Mother Christian was not living with either of the boys, David or William. She could have been with a married daughter or passed away by that time.

Walter and Christians daughter Catherine Murray married William Smith and they also lived in the Merigomish area. In 1817 census 2 men 16-50, 4 boys, 1 women and 1 girl for a family of 8. They had a very large family of 12 children and the youngest was James Smith, born 1831 (died 1898 in East Boston). Weve been in touch with a descendant of James, Eric Smith and his wife Barbara who live in Massachsetts. We met them at the Museum in Pictou in 1998 while we were attending the 225th celebration of the landing of the "Hector".

We recently found a listing of Scholars at eastern Merigomish in 1821. Included in the list were David, Walter, Andrew, Hannah, Jessy and Elizabeth Murray. This would be David and Margarets children. It could well be that one of the daughters we didnt know the name of in the paragraph above is Jessy. So far we havent found any further mention of her. Its interesting and good to see that the children were attending school.

In 1825 William Murray (Sr.), his brother David and Andrew Huggin evidently got a release on the East River Merigomish property from George Patterson. Probably he had loaned them money to improve the Mills. By or at this time they had both a grist mill, for grinding grain into flour, and a saw mill for making lumber. The operation was known as "Murrays Mill".

About this time some of William and Sarahs older sons moved to the Cape Breton area. Walter became a sea Captain and lived at Port Richmond, Cape Breton. His descendants indicate he married Amelia Grant and we know that in a 1856 he was married to a Susannah. Amelias Mother was Amelia Susannah Grant so apparently she was referred to by either name so we expect the daughter was also Amelia Susannah and there is just one wife, not two. They had about seven children including David Murray, b 1830; Charles, b 1835; Jane, b 1838, who well discuss later; Frances, b 1841; Walter, b 1843; and Annie b 1855. David, Charles and Frances died together in a shipwreck about 1859. Mr. Bruce tells more of these sons later. We recently met via e-mail a great great granddaughter of 1843 Walter Murray and Deborah Embree, Joyce Katherine MacDonald Kaye of Brantford, Ontario.

Williams son James remained at Avondale, Pictou County. He married Margaret Grant and they had five children; Robert, David A., James, Elizabeth and J.W. Johnson Murray.

David Murray was also a sea Captain and lived at McNairs Cove, in the County of Sidney. He first married Sarah McNair. They had Sarah C., John and Colin. From a 1830 Baptism record we found David and wife Mary had son David Murray. From this I believe Sarah had died and David had remarried. Several family sources say that Davids second wife was widow MacDonald. Presumably she died in later years and David Sr. then married another widow in 1852, Mary Ann Peebles Rogers. They had two children, James William and Lucretia H. Murray. McNairs Cove is now Mulgrave.

Son John Gault Murray also went to Cape Breton and was also a sea Captain at Port Richmond. He married Catherine Grant and they had nine children; Sarah, William, Walter, James J., John G., Robert, Lewis Archibald, Harriett Catherine and Caroline. Again, via e-mail, weve met John Gaults great great granddaughter Shirley Ann (Oliver) Lindberg of Michigan so we have an ever increasing number of Murray family researchers.

Mr. Bruce in his Barneys River History relates a few more Murray stories and goes on at length about some of them and comments that James W. Murray is "one of my own blood relations." Mr. Bruces Mother was Christy Murray but were told that she was the daughter of Hector Murray who came from Scotland ca 1810 so James W. is apparently not a close blood relation although they were "Murrays" from Sutherland.

"Walter, the eldest son of "Willie" Murray is now (1886 ) residing in Port Hawkesbury, and must be nearly 90 years of age. About twenty-five years ago, he was called upon to bear a sad bereavement, the severity of which is not often the lot of man to endure. His four sons owned a schooner and traded between Cape Breton ports and Halifax. Proceeding to the latter place late in Autumn, they were overtaken by a storm, and driven
upon the rock-bound coast of Devils Island in Halifax Harbor, and all four brothers were lost.

David owned a beautiful little property at Port Mulgrave, and during the summer months, the venerable old gentleman may be seen operating a new fangled species of water power of which he holds the patent right. High up amongst the granite hills a crystal fountain send its sparkling stream down the rocky slope. The old man constructed a temporary trestle way down the wharves at Wyldes Cove, and supplies the trading vessels with water from the rock profitably to himself and conveniently to his patrons.

John, William and Alexander Murray are not living. The latter was killed on his fathers farm at Avondale by falling of a tree in 1828. He was married only a week or two before his death.

Andrew is still living and resides in New Brunswick.

Aaron, the youngest of the eight sons is upwards of sixty years, and resides near Earltown in Colchester Co.

I have purposely, for "auld acquaintance" omitted James W. Murray, the second of the family in order of birth, well known for the ability of his disposition as for the healing properties of the Balm of Gilead ointment, which he manufactures. Mr. Murray has just seen the close of his 85th years, and with his aged partner, who is two years his senior, is among the few octogenarians we have. But he is still able to make a horse-shine, and if duly anointed by a drop of "mountain dew", I have no doubt could shame many a younger lad in the execution of a horn-pipe. "You must be a strong man, Mr. Murray to retain such vigor at your time of life." "Tolerably strong," he replied, and a roguish twinkle kindled in his eye. "When I was 17 years of age on the farm up there at Lannanus?? one spring, I carried half a ton of hay on my back before breakfast, from Sandy Robertsons in Piedmont, a distance of two miles and the roads werent good either." I was upset. I had never heard of our venerable blacksmith posing as an athlete, and perhaps I looked incredulous as I was about to record the remarkable feat- when he modified the startling assertion, and spoiled my best item by adding, "we worked oxen up on the farm at that time; and the spring I refer to we were short of hay. Every morning I would be out at Robertsons by daybreak. This I continued to do until the half ton was taken home."
I could never forgive a man for letting a fellow down in such a way, if he was not one of my blood relations. I was escaping down the lane as he continued, "Remember me to the Grits, will you; and when writing to the CHRONICLE dont forget to record that I am going to vote for the Tories in the next election." Wont Blake tremble in his slippers when he learns our friend is a man who keeps his word. "

Enter supporting content here