Among the many energetic, skilled business men of the county, few have more sensibly left the impress of their means and wise counsels thereon than the subject of this biography. William C. Murdoch is a native of Tuscumbia, Alabama, having been born there in 1852. He was educated at Poughkeepsie, New York, and came to California in 1874. His first occupation in Colusa County was as book-keeper for J. S. Wall & Co., of Princeton. In the summer of 1877 he removed to Willows and opened a banking and commission office there under the firm name of William C Murdoch & Co. He continued in this till September, 1880, when his business was merged into that of the Bank of Willows. In the new organization he was made cashier, serving in that capacity nearly nine years, when he resigned and disposed of his interest therein to the present stockholders. Since then he has made his home in San Francisco, being chiefly engaged in the insurance business. In connection with others he built the Sanhedrien Lumber Mill, located forty miles west of Willows in the Coast Range Mountains. The paid-up capital of the Sanhedrien Mill and Lumber Company is $250,000. This mill has a capacity for cutting fifty thousand feet of lumber per day. The company will construct fourteen miles of flume, to the mouth of the Grindstone, thereby to connect with the West Side and Mendocino Railroad. Of this company Mr. Murdoch is treasurer and principal stockholder. In 1877, when matters looked decidedly “blue” for the aspiring but indomitable town of Willows, Mr. Murdoch purchased eight lots south of the bank in that town and erected two-story buildings thereon, thus aiding in giving the place a new impetus. East Willows was laid out by Mr. Murdoch. In 1884 he procured the incorporation of the warehouses at Willows into what is now the Willows Warehouse Association.
The residence built by Mr. Murdoch at Willows is unsurpassed in the county for beauty of architectural design and tastefulness of finish. It is now the property of S. C. Longmier.
Mr. Murdoch was married, January 2, 1881, to Miss Nannie Wilson, of Sutter County, a niece of the late Dr. Glenn. One child is the fruit of their union. He was a charter member of the first Masonic lodge instituted at Willows and one of the incorporators of the Willows Agricultural Association. Ill health, the result of sedentary occupations, caused Mr. Murdoch to leave this scene of so much business, push and thrifty diligence, very much to the regret of the community.
“Colusa County” – by Justus H. Rogers – Orland, CA – 1891 – pp 444-445
© 2004 Kathy Sedler