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The Family McMurray
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(Based on Sarah Patterson's account, which was written after 1933.)

Edward McMurray was the son of John McMurray and Mary Garrett, of Drumlough, County Down, Ireland. Edward had two sisters: Mary McMurray, who married a man named Adams; and Peggy McMurray, who married a man named Jess. John McMurray died when Edward was young, and Edward supported his mother, (Mary Garrett), until her death - he and his wife, Ann, making their home with her.

Edward McMurray's wife's name was Ann Dunbar McCullough, also of Drumlough, and she was the daughter of James McCullough and Margaret Dunbar. Ann's 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, and it is believed James McCullough's were all girls. Each of these men named his oldest daughter Ann, after their mother.

Ann Dunbar McCullough's Sisters

Ann Dunbar McCullough's sisters, though this may not be the correct order, were:

  1. Mary McCullough, who married William McKee. Some of their children were: Mrs. Margaret Kerr, Mrs. Annie Anderson, Mrs. Ellie Hemp, and an older Daughter, Sarah McCormick, who lived in Connecticut. Charlotte Barkley, (who was married to Thomas McMurray), would usually have a quilting when this cousin Sarah came home from Connecticut, to which she would invite these women and Ann Dunbar McCullough. There was also a son believed to be named James McKee, who was the father of Lottie McKee.
  2. Another sister was Ellen McCullough, who became Mrs. McAmblay, and whose two sons were Robert and William Henry. Robert was the father of girls who lived in the East End of Pittsburgh, and William Henry was the father of Joe McAmblay and Mellie McAmblay Carson.
  3. Another sister was Rebecca McCullough, who became Mrs. Ferris.
  4. One of the sisters was Eliza, who became Mrs. Mullen. She was in America at one time, but returned to Ireland. That much is known, but it is not positive whether her husband died before that or not.

That accounts for the names of five of James McCullough's daughters, including Ann. The name of the other daughter is not known. It is believed that all of Ann Dunbar McCullough's sisters were in this country, but neither of Edward McMurray's were.

Edward McMurray was born 26 February, 1799, according to his daughter Sarah Eleanor McMurray. (It is believed the cemetery records show that Edward was 84 years and 7 months of age when he died in April, 1883, which could place his birth date around October, 1798.) Ann Dunbar McCullough was born 12 November, 1807, and she died on Valentine's day, 14 February, 1887, at 79 years of age.

Edward and Ann Dunbar McMurray's Children

  1. Their oldest child was a daughter, Margaret McMurray, who was born 3 July, 1831, and married in Ireland to a man named Robert Morrison. She died about a year later when her child was born, and is buried in Drumlough Churchyard.
  2. John McMurray was the next child and eldest son. He was born 30 January, 1834, and married Jane Bowle. It is believed 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 Edward McMurray's lot in Allegheny Cemetery. He was buried 27 December, 1879.
  3. The next daughter, Mary Ann McMurray, was born 15 May, 1836. She married and lived away from Pittsburgh. It is believed she died early, for all of Edward McMurray and Ann McCullough's children, except for Thomas and Sarah Eleanor McMurray, preceded their parents in death.
  4. James McMurray was born 22 September, 1838, and died when only 28 in 1866. He was buried in the family plot 3 October, 1866. His wife's last name is believed to have been Montgomery, and she must have died when their children were young as they were brought up at Edward McMurray's. It is believed that they had only two children, named Lydie and Beckie Ford McMurray.
  5. Eliza McMurray was born 16 March 1841, and married John Rainey in Ireland. They came to America with the rest of the family, (in 1857), when they had been married about six months. They had one son, Edward Rainey, who was the 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 Edward McMurray'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. (According to Sarah Patterson's original letter, Eliza's grave was the only one in the lot that had a stone when she visited the lot.)
  6. Sarah Eleanor McMurray was born 25 February, 1844, and was in her 14th year when the family sailed from Ireland. She and the two younger members of the family attended the Franklin Public School on Franklin Street in Pittsburgh. 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.) Sarah also had a son, John McKee, Jr., born September, 1864. Sarah's husband, John McKee, Sr., died and was buried 16 December, 1864, at 30 years of age. The baby, John McKee, Jr., died the next April, being buried in the same grave with his father on 24 April, 1865, at 7 months in age. Sarah McMurray married again in 1867 or 1868 to John McCormick, and they had six children: Samuel James, Edward John, Robert Donaldson, May, Thomas Howard, and Sarah, (who married later and became Sarah Patterson; writing much of this family history). Robert died 24 November, 1918, and Samuel died 26 August, 1924. Sarah Eleanor McMurray died 26 November, 1932, and May followed her on 27 July, 1933.
  7. Rebecca McMurray 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. The death of Rebecca's husband is uncertain, but Rebecca's daughter Anna was later adopted by Robert and Margaret Martin, (who had been Margaret Patterson and had taught Rebecca and Sarah McMurray in Sabbath School in Ireland. There is an inscription on the fly-leaf of a family Bible that affirms that fact.)
  8. Thomas McMurray was born 19 May, 1849, and married Charlotte Barkley in Pittsburgh on 12 December, 1877. They had eleven children, four of whom died quite young. Charlotte Barkley was born 25 March, 1858, and died 6 December, 1922. Thomas McMurray died 13 December, 1929.

Family Stories

When the McMurray 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 of the passengers provided their own food and cooked it for their families. Sarah McMurray told her children of trading with other youngsters after they became tired of their own particular kind of food.

Edward McMurray was a very devout Christian man, (this according to many who knew him), and the family 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 when this dreadful storm arose. They became so frightened that they stopped, and one of them went to Edward and asked if he "could not put up a wee stump of a prayer."

On board the ship the Irish and Scotch immigrants naturally associated together, and a number of these families visited each other in America; the friendship being kept as long as many of them lived. The Moffat's, Kirkpatrick's and Johnston's, to name a few, were families who located on the North Side (of Pittsburgh). A Robert Johnston used to call on the McMurray family every so often, as long as they remained in the city.

Sarah Eleanor McMurray's birthday was 25 February, and she always said that when she was a child, her brother James would tease her and make her cry by telling her that she was a day older than her father. Sarah McMurray often talked of Ireland, and of the trip to America. When her children were growing up, their family would have visitors whom her children did not recognize. When her children would ask who the visitors were, Sarah would explain, "Oh, they came over on the ship with us," until finally her son, Edward McCormick, remarked, "Well, Ma, that couldn't have been a ship - it must have been a fleet," so for years the children joked about their Mother's "fleet".

It is of interest to notice that, despite the fact that they themselves were so long-lived, all of Edward McMurray and Ann McCullough's children lived to be grown, and to marry, but only three lived past middle-age: Sarah Eleanor McMurray, (who lived to be 88), Thomas McMurray, (who lived to be 80), and John McMurray, (who lived to be 46). When asked whether her siblings had all died from the same disease, Sarah Eleanor McMurray had said that they did not, so there did not seem to be anything of an inherited nature. Eliza McMurray died of diabetes, as did also her son Edward Rainey, and it is believed that James McMurray died of lung trouble. Sarah McCormick, (or Sarah Patterson by her married name), seemed to recall that James McMurray was a plasterer, and that he was in an explosion of ammunition in Pittsburgh during the Civil War, but whether that had anything to do with his death, she did not know.

The dates of the burials were taken from a blue-print of the family plot, which is Lot 147, Section E.E., Allegheny Cemetery, and was purchased 30 August, 1858. 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 the burials being young children, believed of John McMurray and Jane Bowle. Edward McMurray and Ann Dunbar McCullough are buried in one grave.

Edward McMurray and Ann Dunbar McCullough must have been ideally mated, according to Sarah McMurray. She said that her father, Edward, had a very even temper, and Ann was always a little more fiery, but that Ann just worshipped her husband. If Ann sometimes became a little impatient, Edward would very quietly remark, "Well, Ann, you can have your own will; but you can have mine, too."

When Edward McMurray and Ann Dunbar McCullough were married, they lived with Edward's mother, Mary Garrett, and Ann took such good care of her that when Mary was dying, she told Edward that he must always be good to any person by the name of McCullough, because Ann had been a real daughter to her.

Edward McMurray was called Ned, and he had a friend named Ned McCrickert, (who was related to the family on the McCormick side). After the two friends got up in years, they would spend alternate Sabbath afternoons at each other's homes, until Ned McCrickert broke a limb and was unable to travel, and from that time on Edward would go to see him every Sabbath. Sarah McMurray 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.

Edward and Ann McMurray were members of the Covenanter Church, and Sarah McMurray said that Edward 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 Edward 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.

Edward and Ann McMurray had a little joke - or rather Edward had it on Ann. It seems that when they were young and had but one child, Ann took very ill with typhoid. She thought that she was going to die, and she tried to make Edward promise that he would not marry again. He was not at all well himself - in fact, he was also developing the disease - 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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