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The Family McMurray
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(Written by Sarah Patterson, sometime after 1933.)
(Note: Also see the rewritten version.)

Grandfather Edward McMurray was the son of John McMurray and Mary Garrett McMurray, of Drumlaugh, County Down, Ireland. He had two sisters: Mary, who married a man named Adams; and Peggy, who married a man named Jess. His father, John, died when Grandfather was young, and Grandfather supported his mother until her death - he and Grandma making their home with her.

Grandma's name was Ann McCullough, also of Drumlaugh, and she was the daughter of James and Margaret Dunbar McCullough. (Her father, James, was one of three McCullough brothers: Thomas, Hugh, and James. One of these men was the ancestor of the Rose- Hart connection in Ohio.) Each of these men had six children, (I believe our Great-grandfather's being all girls). Each of these men named his oldest daughter Ann, (after their mother), so that is where Grandma got her name.

Grandma's sisters, (though this is not the correct order, but I will look it up and send you later), were:

Mary, who married William McKee. You will remember some of their children: Mrs. Margaret Kerr, Mrs. Annie Anderson, and Mrs. Ellie Hemp. There was an older Daughter, Sarah, who married a man named McCormick, and lived in Connecticut. Possibly you will remember her visiting at your house. Aunt Charlotte would usually have a quilting when this cousin Sarah came home from Connecticut, to which she would invite these women and Mama. There was also a son, but I have forgotten his first name. (I believe it was James.) Lydie would probably remember it. He was the father of Lottie McKee.

Another sister of Grandma's was Ellen, (who became Mrs. McAmblay), whose two sons were Robert and William Henry. Robert was the father of the McAmblay girls who live in the East End; and William Henry was the father of Joe McAmblay and Mellie McAmblay Carson.

Another sister was Aunt Rebecca Ferris, whom you, no doubt, remember.

One of Grandma's sisters was Eliza, who married a man named Mullen. She was in this country at one time, but returned to Ireland. That much I know, but am not sure whether her husband died before that or not.

That accounts for the names of five of the daughters, and I think I have the name of the other among my papers, which I will look up just as soon as possible. (I cannot seem to recall, nor do I find, the name of the other sister of Grandma McMurray.) I think all of Grandma's sisters were in this country, but neither of Grandfather's were, so far as I know.

Grandfather was born 26 February, 1799 (according to Mama's story, though I believe the cemetery records show that he was 84 years and 7 months when he died in April, 1883, which would be October, 1798). Mama's birthday was 25 February, and she always said that when she was a child, her brother James, (who was Lydie's father), would tease her and make her cry by telling her that she was a day older than her father. I do not know Grandma's birthday, but I know that she died on Valentine's day, 14 February, 1887, and was 79 years old. (Which makes her birthday around 1808.)

Edward and Ann Dunbar McMurray's Children

  1. The oldest daughter was Margaret, who married in Ireland to a man named Robert Morrison, and died about a year later when her child was born. She is buried in Drumlaugh Churchyard, and I have a snapshot if the meeting-house which Mellie Carson visited some years ago. Mama said it looked much the same as she remembered it, for she was in her fourteenth year when they left there.
  2. John McMurray was the next child and eldest son. He was born about 1833, and married Jane Bowle, (you remember Aunt Jane), and I believe he was the first of the family to come to this country, the remainder all coming together in 1857. He was the father of John, George and Ed McMurray, as well as several children who died quite young and are buried in Grandfather's lot in Allegheny Cemetery. He was buried 27 December, 1879.
  3. I think the next was a daughter, Mary Ann, who married and lived away from Pittsburgh. I do not recall her name from memory as it is years since Mama told me of her. She died away from the city so we were not in contact with her people, though I believe she died early for I know that all the children, except your father and Mama, preceded their parents in death.
  4. James, (who was Lydie's father), was born about 1838 and died when only 28. He was buried in the family plot 3 October, 1866. I believe the only two children were Beckie Ford and Lydie. I am not sure of his wife's name, but I believe it was Montgomery. I do not know when she died, but it must have been when the girls were quite young, as I know they were brought up at Grandfather's.
  5. Eliza married John Rainey in Ireland and they came with the rest of the family, having been married just about six months. They had one son, Edward Rainey, (father of Ida Lyle). Eliza died at the age of 24, leaving her husband and her son, (who was then 6 years old), and these two made their home at Grandfather's. Eliza was buried 23 August, 1864, in the family plot in Allegheny Cemetery. Her husband died just four years later and is buried beside her. So far as I can remember, her grave is the only one in the lot that has a stone, though I will not say positively. (I visited the lot two or three years ago.)
  6. Sarah Eleanor, (that is, Mama), was born 25 February, 1844, so was in her 14th year when they sailed from Ireland. She and the two younger members of the family attended the Franklin Public School on Franklin Street in Pittsburgh. I do not have the dates of Mama's marriages, but she first married John McKee, (of no relation to the other McKee's mentioned), and they had two children: Ann, who married Fred Hartung, was born 26 November, 1862, and died 1 February, 1901. (She was the mother of Nettie and Eleanor Hartung.) Mama also had a son, John McKee, Jr., born September, 1864. Mama's husband, (John McKee, Sr.), died and was buried 16 December, 1864, at 30 years of age. The baby, (John Jr.), died the next April, being buried on 24 April, 1865, at 7 months in age. (He was buried in the same grave with his father.)
    Mama married again in 1867 or 1868 to my father, John McCormick, and there were six children: Samuel James, Edward John, Robert Donaldson, May McCrickert, Thomas Howard, and Sarah Patterson (myself). Robert died 24 November, 1918, Samuel died 26 August, 1924, Mama died 26 November, 1932, and May followed her on 27 July, 1933. So there is now just Edward, Howard, and myself.
  7. Rebecca was born in 1846 or 1847. She married Alex Gorman and they had two children: Anna, and James H., (who was born around May, 1864). She died at the age of 22, (around 1866). Her son died at the age of 4 years, 7 months, and was buried 22 December, 1870. Her daughter Anna was later adopted by Robert and Margaret Martin, who had been Margaret Patterson and taught Aunt Rebecca and Mama in Sabbath School in Ireland. A year or so ago, I sent my brother Edward two Bibles, one belonging to Aunt Rebecca and one to Mama. They had been presented to them by the Sabbath School when they left Ireland to come to this country, and there is such an inscription on the fly-leaf.
  8. Thomas McMurray was born 19 May, 1849, and you know the rest.

Family Stories

When the family came to America, they came on a sailing vessel and were five weeks and three days on the water. Enroute they encountered such a dreadful storm that for one whole day they were headed back to England, and for one whole week no passengers were permitted on the deck. At that time all passengers provided their own food and cooked it for their families. I have heard Mama tell of trading with other youngsters after they became tired of their own particular kind of food.

You know Grandfather McMurray was a very devout Christian man, (I have been told this by many who knew him as well as by Mama), and they often laughed about an occurrence on shipboard. It seems that on the ship there was a group of young men, who were not particularly noted for Godliness. They happened to be playing cards, (and probably indulging otherwise), when this dreadful storm arose but became so frightened that they stopped, and one of them went and called on Grandfather and asked if he "could not put a wee stump of a prayer."

On shipboard, the Irish and Scotch immigrants naturally associated together, and I can remember a number of these families visiting us, for the friendship was kept up as long as many of them lived. There were the Moffat's, Kirkpatrick's and Johnston's who located on the North Side, and this Robert Johnston used to call on us every so often, as long as we remained in the city, but I understand he has since passed away.

Mama often talked of Ireland, and of the trip here, as well as telling the other members of her family. So often when we were growing up when we would have visitors whom we did not recognize we would ask who they were, and Mama would explain, "Oh, they came over on the ship with us," until finally my brother Edward remarked, "Well, Ma, that couldn't have been a ship - it must have been a fleet," so for years we joked about Mama's fleet.

Do you notice that of all the sisters and brother of your father, that none but himself and Mama lived to past 28 years of age, with the exception of Uncle John, who lived to be 46. I asked Mama one time whether they had all died from the same disease, but she said they did not. There did not seem to be anything of an inherited nature, though I do not recall the causes. Aunt Eliza Rainey died of diabetes, as did also her son Edward Rainey, and I rather think that Lydie's father died of lung trouble. It was my recollection that he was a plasterer, and he was in an explosion of ammunition during the Civil War, (in Pittsburgh), but whether that had anything to do with his death, I do not know.

I have always thought it strange that every member of the family lived to be grown, and to marry, but only two of them lived to be past middle age, particularly as the parents were so long-lived. I never saw any of them but your father, and of course, Grandma.

The dates of burial are taken from a blue-print of the family plot, which is Lot 147, Section E.E., Allegheny Cemetery, and was purchased 30 August, 1858. You know it was the custom then to bury more than one person in a grave, so there are a number of such interments in this lot, several of them being young children, I believe of Uncle John and Aunt Jane McMurray. Grandma and Grandfather are buried in one grave.

Grandfather and Grandma must have been ideally mated from what Mama has always told us. She said her father had a very even temper, and Grandma was always a little more fiery, but that she just worshipped Grandfather. If Grandma sometimes became a little impatient, Grandfather would very quietly remark, "Well, Ann, you can have your own will, but you can have mine, too."

When they were married, they lived with his mother, and Grandma took such good care of her that when she was dying, she told Grandfather that he must always be good to any person by the name of McCullough, because Grandma had been a real daughter to her.

Grandfather was called Ned, and he had a friend, Ned McCrickert, (who, by the way, was related to us on the McCormick side). After they got up in years, they would spend alternate Sabbath afternoons at each other's homes, until Mr. McCrickert broke a limb and was unable to travel, and from that time on Grandfather would go to see him every Sabbath. Mama said it was funny to hear them talk - when they wanted to emphasize something, one would say, "Well, I declare to goodness, Ned," and in a few moments you would hear the other use the same remark. Each one "Nedding" the other.

You know they were members of the Covenantor Church, and Mama said Grandfather would take his tithe out of his salary just as soon as he would receive it, and set it aside for church purposes before anything else was met. It was the custom of that day that the Thursday before Communion Sabbath was a fast day, and Grandfather never worked on that day, though very industrious at all times. And on the Saturday afternoon before Communion they all went to church to receive the little lead "token" which entitled them to attend the Communion service.

They had a little joke - or rather Grandfather had it on Grandma. It seems that when they were young and had but the one child, Grandma took very ill with typhoid. She thought she was going to die, and tried to make Grandfather promise that he would not marry again. He was not at all well himself - in fact, was developing the disease himself - and he replied with, "Well, Ann, I am as like to die as you are, and if I die, just marry whomever you please." In latter years he teased her by telling that she had willed everything away from him and then would make him promise he would never marry again.


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