Thomas Murray, member of the Local Parliament for North Renfrew, is a native of the county of Carleton, Out., dating his birth in the township of Gouldbourn, January 18, 1836. His father, James Murray, from King’s county, Ireland, came to Canada about 1825, and was engaged in commercial pursuits and afterwards farming, dying at Gouldbourn about 1846. The mother of our subject was Elizabeth Burrows, who died in 1854. Mr. Murray received his education in his native township, and at Smith’s Falls; and when fourteen years of age became an apprentice to the mercantile business with the late W. R. R. Lyon, of Richmond, county of Carleton. Mr. Murray married Miss Jane Copeland, of Richmond, in 1855, being about that time in business for himself in Ottawa; in 1859 removed to Pembroke, where, in company with his late brother Michael, under the firm of Murray Brothers, he commenced and did an extensive business as general merchants, for about five years, when Michael, who was a shrewd business man and very popular, died of brain fever, leaving a young widow and one child, now Miss Elizabeth Murray. He then took his next youngest brother, William, as a partner, and changed the name of the firm to T. and W. Murray, and has since carried on a large general business, dealing in lumber, and extensively in produce and raw furs. They have had their set back in the last four or five years, like hundreds of other lumber dealers, but remembering the good luck of former years, they are pushing on, full of hope and good cheer, fortune already beginning to turn a friendly face toward them once more, the depression of business gradually passing away. They own a large amount of real estate, which, in their section at least, has a buoyant tendency.
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Mr. Murray was a councilor and reeve of Pembroke for several years, and, at the time of the Confederation (1867), contested the North Riding of Renfrew and was defeated. He sat for the last two sessions of the first parliament of the Ontario Legislature, succeeding John Supple, who resigned and has since died; was defeated for the same legislative body in 1871, by Thomas Deacon, Q. C., and in June, 1879, contested the riding again and defeated his old opponent, Mr. Deacon, by more than a hundred majority. His brother, already mentioned, was elected to the House of Commons, in 1874, over Mr. White (who was unseated), and sat one session, when he was also unseated, and was defeated at the next election by his old opponent, Mr. White.
Mr. Murray is a Liberal, an independent thinker, and stands well with all parties. In his religion he is a Roman Catholic, and is a man of sterling integrity. Both he and his brother have the fullest confidence of the farming community and of all classes with whom they have dealings; and they owe their success in life, no doubt, in a large measure, to their strict regard for their word, and their straightforward course in all business transactions.
A few years ago, the Murrays, in connection with Judge Doran, purchased a large tract of real estate in the corporation of Pembroke, laid it out in town lots, much of it in prosperous times having been disposed of to good advantage, and is being rapidly built up, that section of the town being known as the Murray ward.