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Prominent among the enterprising and substantial business men of Jamesport is the subject of this sketch. James C. Murray was born in Belmont county, Ohio, April 8, 1847. He is the son of John and Rose (Moneghan) Murray, natives of Ireland. His education was acquired in the schools of his native State and immediately after leaving school, at the early age of sixteen years, he enlisted under the stars and stripes in Company E, Ninety-eighth Ohio Infantry, but had great difficulty in getting into the army on account of youthfulness, being several times dismissed and ordered home by the drilling officers, but nothing daunted young Murray’s indomitable perseverance and pluck finally prevailed and he was mustered into the army in the month of July, 1862, and subsequently participated in the battles of Perryville, Chicamauga, Missionary Ridge; was wounded at Jonesborough, Georgia, and sent thence to Nashville, Tennessee, arriving in titne to be present on the occasion of the battle in and around Nashville, where the Federal forces, under General George B. Thomas, brought to a disastrous close the Confederate General John B. Hood’s campaign in Tennessee.
While convelascing in the hospital he was detailed as steward, and had under his charge one hundred and twenty patients, one of whom was taken with the smallpox, and in assisting. him in an ambulance, he contracted that dread disease and for four weeks was prostrated with a very severe attack. After recovery he was detailed to take charge of the hospital guard, but was averse to this service, and asked to be sent to the front. He was ordered back to his old position in the hospital and served there during the remainder of the war, assisting the officer in making out pay-rolls and other clerical work, and was discharged at Nashville, in April, 1865. He returned to Ohio and again attended school at Belmont and then worked as a telegraph operator on the B. & O. R. R. for a short time.
Quitting this business he started on a tour through Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa, to Omaha. From there to St. Louis, via St. Joseph, Leavenworth, Lawrence, Kansas City, and the State capital, stopping for a short time at each place. After resting awhile at St. Louis, he continued his travels southward, stopping on the way at Cairo, Memphis, Vicksburg, and New Orleans. From the Crescent City he went to Galveston and visited in turn Houston, Austin and all other prominent points of interest in the Lone Star State. At Corpus Christi he bought a Mexican pony, hired a guide and made his way, in that manner, after five days hard riding, across the heavily flooded bottom lands along the gulf coast, passing over the battle grounds of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma to Brownsville. Here he bought a Spanish grammar and learned that language in order to enable him to make his intended tour of Mexico without inconvenience. (This was another exhibition of the same valuable trait of character which secured his acceptance in the army).
From Matamoras to Monterey he accomplished the distance, three hundred miles, alone; thence to Saltilo and to San Louis Potosi, passing the old historic battle ground of Buena Vista. From Potosi to Queratero, where Maxamillian was captured and shot, and thence to the capital of Mexico. Here he remained viewing the beauties and wonders of the grand old city for fourteen months, and then, resuming his Bohemian life, he visited Puebla and Vera Cruz and went to Sisal, in Yucatan, and from there to Havana. Growing tired of the wandering life he had been leading, our subject determined to return to his native land, and accordingly sailed from Havana for New York City. There he engaged in business and remained during three years.
From New York City he came west to Tecumseh, Michigan, and lived there for six years, coming then (1878) to Jamesport and entering in partnership with his brother, Michael, who was already engaged in merchandising at that point. The business has been increased and enlarged to keep pace with the rapid improvement of the town and the demands of the community until today, in variety and completeness of stock, it is second to no general merchandise store in the county.
Mr. Murray was married, in Tecumseh, Michigan, February 27, 1877, to Miss Ada M., daughter of H. J. Snell. She is a native of that place. The issue of this union is one child, named Grace.
Mr. Murray is a member of the orders of I. O. O. F., No. 330, Jamesport, Banner Encampment No. 90, Gallatin, and also of the Knights of Honor No. 870, Tecumseh, Michigan. His wife is a communicant of the Episcopal Church. In politics he is a staunch Democrat.