For nearly thirty years John Murray has been a resident of Lancaster township, Atchison county, and during this period no one here has been more thoroughly interested in the development of northeastern Kansas. First of all he is a patriot and comes from a family of patriots. Among his near relatives the records show at least five of his name who have offered their lives to this, their beloved, country. His father's brother was a hero of the war of 1812 and our subject and three of his brothers fought for the preservation of the Union in the war of the Rebellion, one of the brothers giving his life to the cause. The same public spirit and loyalty to state and native land which characterized them has ever been manifested, both in peace and in war, by the subject of this article.
Robert Murray, the father of our subject, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, his parents being Neal and Mary Ann (Brown) Murray. In his youth Robert Murray learned the trade of stone mason, which calling he pursued during his active life. He chose for a wife Miss Jane Anderson, a native of the same state and a daughter of Francis Anderson. Politically Mr. Murray was affiliated with the Whig party, and both he and his wife were members of the United Presbyterian church. He was summoned to his reward at his old home in the Keystone state when he was seventy-six years of age, and his wife was seventy years old at the time of her death. They were the parents of six sons and six daughters. Four of the sons, as stated above, were soldiers in the Union army. Robert, who enlisted as a member of the Sixty-third Pennsylvania Infantry, was killed while on duty at a fort in Petersburg, Virginia. Neal, who was a lieutenant in the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, later, on account of sickness, resigned, returned home, raised another company and as first lieutenant went out again in the Twenty-second Iowa Infantry. He is now living in Jasper, Iowa. Joseph E.. who served with the Fourteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, resides in Varona, Pennsylvania. Francis has been in the employ of the United States government on a boat running on the Ohio river. Mrs. Margaret Glenn, the only surviving daughter of Robert Murray, lives at Holton, Kansas.
The birth of John Murray took place in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, October 1, 1831. In his native state he learned the millwright's trade and in 1854 came to the west, settling in Jasper county, Iowa. In 1860 he crossed the plains to Pike's Peak. Colorado, and was there engaged in the lumber business for about two years. Returning to Iowa he enlisted in the Ninth Iowa Cavalry, under the command of Captain O. C. Howe. After serving with fidelity and marked bravery at his post of duty for three years he was honorably discharged at Little Rock, Arkansas, in February, 1866. Subsequently he returned to the Keystone state, where he continued to make his home for nine years. In 1875 he came to Kansas and located upon his present homestead in Lancaster township. He has made good improvements upon the farm and has placed it under a high state of cultivation.
The marriage of Mr. Murray and Letitia Callender was solemnized in Jasper county, Iowa, in 1861. She was a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of James and Sarah Callender. Of the eight children born to our subject and wife four are living. James Grant is a member of the firm of Murray Brothers, dealers in wood and coal. He was first married to Lou David, who died, leaving two children, John and Bertha, and later he wedded Fannie Stoner; Frank G., who was also connected with the firm of Murray Brothers, married Ida Haney, and their children are named, respectively, John, Minnie and Paul. and he died March 24, 1900; Ora Jane, who became the wife of John Cormode; Ellen M., wife of H. M. Hawk, of Center township. was engaged in teaching before her marriage; and Maggie May, the youngest of the family, lives at home. Four of our subject's children have passed to the better land, namely: Frank G., R. Simpson, Thomas Edgar and Joseph B.
In his political faith Mr. Murray is a stanch Republican. He has served his community as township trustee for some time and was the township assessor for a period of three years. One of the charter members of Jack Judy Post, No. 275, G. A. R., he has acted in the capacity of adjutant and post commander. With his wife and two of his children he belongs to the United Presbyterian church.