Was born in Ireland, March 17, 1755, and emigrated to America in 1782. He located at Harrisburgh, Pennsylvania, where he married Mary Beattie, also of Irish descent. He remained at Harrisburgh until 1806, and then removed to Greensburgh, Pennsylvania. About the year 1809, he located in Stark County, Ohio, where he continued to reside until 1815. In the fall of 1812, Mr. Murray volunteered in the brigade of General Reasin Beall to go to the defense of the border settlers in the northwest. His son James, then thirty-five years of age, also entered the same brigade. While quartered at Fort Meigs, the army became much distressed for want of rations. The roads to the settlements were long, rough and in poor condition, passing mostly through dense forests and across marshes and bogs. The quantity of forage consumed by the cavalry, as well as the supply of the quartermaster's department for the troops, made it difficult to furnish the necessary rations at the proper time.
For a time, the rations were reduced to but a few ounces per meal, and the half starved soldiers began to murmur over their hardships. The weather was inclement, and their sufferings were regarded as almost unbearable. General Harrison deeply sympathized with the half famished troops; and was urgent in regard to immediate supplies, but "red tape" made many delays in forwarding and distributing food. In the midst of the general distress, the privates began to remonstrate with their officers, and threaten retaliation if their hunger was not soon alleviated. Little knots of clamoring soldiers continued their discussions, notwithstanding the guardhouse menaced them.
Among those who were particularly active and persistent, was Patrick Murray, who took it upon himself to enter the marquee of General Harrison, to expostulate with him concerning the distribution of food. On entering the general's tent, Mr. Murray was asked by one of the aides-de-camp what he desired, and how he dared enter without permission?
Mr. Murray, "May it please your honor, I am very hungry, and wish to know when our rations will be increased?"
General Harrison, "I am sorry to learn that the troops are suffering for food. We have been urgent for an increased supply, which we hope will be here in a few days."
Mr. Murray, "But General, in the meantime we may all starve We can't stand it much longer, sir."
General Harrison, "You will have to be patient. We are doing the best we can."
Mr. Murray, "Do you think, General, a man would commit a great sin to steal, rather than starve?"
General Harrison, "That is a hard question. I would not like to starve so long as I could obtain food."
Mr. Murray, I thank you, General, you are right, and, as there seems to be a spare loaf or two here, I will begin at headquarters to supply myself."
Mr. Murray approached the larder, and, taking a large loaf of bread, commenced to devour a part of it, intending to take the balance to his comrades. An officer in the general's tent ordered him to put it back.
Mr. Murray, "The gineral has relaxed the moral law that he might not starve; and I decline to depart from the same principle, sur."
At this response the general laughed heartily, and ordered the officer to permit Mr. Murray to return to his company.
For this act of generous forbearance Mr. Murray always remembered General Harrison, and declared that he was "a brave officer, a patriot and gintleman."
I have preserved this reminiscence, because it is characteristic of Mr. Murray, who was never known to be without a reply, and wit enough to escape the sharp repartee of an adversary.
After Beall had returned, Mr. Murray and his son served a second enlistment, and were at the battle of Fort Meigs. In that contest Mr. Murray was separated from his company, and the grass being very tall, it was presumed, by his comrades, that he had been killed and scalped by the Indians. After a few hours, he appeared in the camp amid the cheers of his companions at his safe return. Upon the expiration of his term of service, he returned to his home in Stark County, where he remained until 1815, and then removed to what is now Orange Township, in what was then Richland County. The members of his family at that time were James, Edward, Catharine, Susannah, William, John, Mary, Elizabeth, Alice, Sarah, Rebecca, George, and Hester, and, in 1816, Hugh.
Mr. Murray was a tailor by trade, and worked at that occupation in Harrisburgh and Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, and in Stark County, Ohio. He was a "live Irishman" in company, full of wit and original humor. Although his education was defective, he had a very retentive memory, and, if now living, would relate a volume of exploits and border achievements. On the fourth of July, the year he was ninety-nine years of age, he rode to Ashland in a buggy, walked about one mile during the day, and returned home, some three miles, in the evening. He was enthusiastic, like all his countrymen when they have become Americanized, on the observation of the natal day of American Independence. Mr. Murray voted for ten different Presidents of the United States. He died at his farm in Orange Township, July 23, 1854, aged ninety-nine years and nearly four months. His wife had preceded him to the grave a short time.
James Murray studied medicine, and resided for a time in Cincinnati, where he died. John studied surveying, and afterwards became treasurer of Richland county for two terms, and then removed west, where he died. Of his numerous family, all have deceased except three married daughters, who do not reside in the county.