LILBURN H. MURRAY, Springfield. The gentleman whose name heads this sketch is one of the best known men in Greene County. For many years engaged in business enterprises in which his name was always a synonym of integrity, he has in more recent years been the proprietor and publisher of the Springfield Democrat, which he has conducted in a liberal and able manner.
He springs from sterling Scotch-Irish stock. John Murray, the father of our subject, was born in North Carolina, and received the common education of his day, and married Sarah Luttele, in Tennessee, where he lived some time. After marriage, 1834, he moved to Crawford County, Missouri, where he settled on a farm. He came to Greene County in 1835, and settled seven miles north of Springfield; 1837 he settled in what is now Murray Township, where he died in 1867. He was one of the substantial men of his township, owning 700 acres of land and some slaves. He reared a large family of children: James A.; M. L.; John K.; Marshall C., who died at sixty years of age, the father of a family; L. H.; Rhoda M.; Arimentia T. and David L. All the children except L. H. were born in Tennessee, within twenty miles of Knoxville. Mr. Murray was one of the prominent pioneers of Greene County. In religious opinion he was a Methodist, one of the founders of the Methodist Church in this county. His house was the home of the Methodist circuit riders of those early days, and many interesting religious meetings were held there. He was a Democrat in political opinions, and held the office of justice of the peace in his township, and county judge. He lived to the age of sixty-eight years. He was one of the honored and respected citizens in those early days.
L. H. Murray, son of the above, born in Crawford County, Missouri, September 15, 1835, on his father’s farm, received the common-school education of his day and was reared a farmer. He began his business life as a stock-drover and trader, driving horses, mules and cattle to Independence, Missouri He was engaged in this business until the spring of 1857, then crossed the plains to California, as one of the owners of a herd of cattle. He rode a mule all the way. He remained in California nine years engaged in mercantile business, running a ranch in Napa County. He married in that county Arcencth L., daughter of Young A. and Almira (Thompson) Anderson. Mr. Anderson went from Greene County, Missouri, in 1855.
Mr. Murray returned to Springfield in 1866, engaged in the hardware and implement business in company with John McGregor, in 1867. He continued this business for nine years, during which time they prospered. He then engaged in farming, purchasing 300 acres of land three miles south of Springfield. He carried on this farm for six years, mostly engaged in stockraising and trading, which business he conducted successfully. He then, in 1877, was one of a company of Springfield men who bought the Kansas City and Memphis Railroad, and Mr. Murray was elected president. It was at that time simply a road bed and this company put it on a moving basis and operated it until June, 1879, when they sold it to the Gulf Railroad.
In politics Mr. Murray is a stanch Democrat, who has always been true to his political friends. In 1871 he was elected mayor of Springfield, and in 1874 was elected to the State Legislature. In September, 1881, he revisited California on a pleasure trip. In 1885 he was elected president of the Exchange Bank, which he had assisted to organize in 1883, and held this office until January, 1893. Mr. Murray was one of the founders of the Springfield Democrat, and in 1892 bought the entire property. Since that time he has been sole proprietor and publisher. The Democrat is the ablest and best conducted newspaper in southwest Missouri. Mr. Murray was a member of the County Court for six years. He is a public-spirited man and a general promoter of public enterprise, notably the Springfield foundry, railroad, etc. Socially he is one of the members of the Masonic fraternity. Mr. Murray is a Methodist and has liberally assisted all the Springfield churches without regard to denomination. To Mr. and Mrs. Murray have been born seven children: Harry B., Lilly Y., Frank E., N. A., Jessie, W. D. and Elton B.