Discovering My Ancestors


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About Col. James Murray (1736-1816)

From Find A Grave Memorial# 52353197

Col. Murray served in the Revolutionary War under Col. James Potter. He was a Lt. Col. from the fall of 1776 until March 10, 1777 in Col. Potter's Pennsylvania Regiment. He was commissioned May 21, 1777, Colonel of the Second Battalion of Northumberland County Militia and served until the end of the war.

(special thanks to PattyB #47090714 for the following info) Col. James Murray was born in Sherman's Valley, Cumberland (then was Perry County), PA. Died in Chillisquaque, near Watsontown, in what was Northumberland Co. (now Montour), PA. His widow stated he died in 1816, but the stone shows 1817 (see below). His father was James Murray Sr. (~1706 County Armagh Ireland - Dec 1757 Sherman's Valley, Cumberland, PA( & his mother was Jean or Janet (last name unknown)(~1706 Ireland - after 1758 in PA).

In 1769, James and his brothers, John & William, along with James McMahon, Thomas Hewitt, Johnson Chenney & William Fisher crossed over into Chillisquaque Valley where they took up about 300 acres of land on the south side of the Chillisquaque Creek. They built their homes on the north side. (now Pottsgrove). According to the survey of James McMahan's farm it was the month of April 1769.

Col. Murray owned most of the land north of Pott's Grove including the present town site. Col. James entered and had surveyed a large tract of land on the west side of the Creek beginning at some distance above the present Catawissa Railroad Bridge and running SE to about where the Presbyterian Church of Pottsgrove now stands, and then turned SW with the bend of the creek, to a white oak tree which marked the corner between the James McMahan and Murray farms. The same white oak tree still stands and has been for many years, the established corner of 4 different farms. Brother John entered a large tract on the opposite side of the creek and William still higher up.

Col. James Murray served his country and served well. After peace was declared, he retired to private life, spending his time in his farm cultivation, was a useful man in his community and among the pioneers of Presbyterianism in the new settlement. He was found in death, having gone out to bring in his sheep. His passing came on April 1, 1816 according to his widow's deposition, though his tombstone says 1817. Ann said he was upward of 75 years old. The tombstone says age 80. It may well be that Ann's memory had faded in the 20 or so years since her husband's death when she gave her deposition. Inscription: In Memory of James Murray Who Died April 1, 1817, Aged 80 Years.

Per Samuel McMahan, Esq. in his "History of the McMahan Family":

Colonel Murray was a brave, fearless soldier and an efficient officer. He too, like Capt McMahan, gave of his own means to keep men in the field; but his descendants were more fortunate than those of his brother-in-law McMahan, inasmuch that the government reimbursed them dollar for dollar with interest. The colonel served in different capacities during the entire war. He served the country and served it well, and after peace was declared he retired from the active duties of a soldier to that of a private citizen--spending his time in the cultivation of his farm. He was a useful man in the community and among the pioneers of Presbyterianism in the new settlement--active in the formation and support of the Chillisquaque church, of which organization one of his grandsons is an active ruling elder at the present time. The colonel lived to be an old man, and died like Jacob, leaning upon the top of his staff. He had gone out in the evening to bring in his sheep to house them from the depredation of dogs, and not returning, a member of his family went in search of him, and found him cold in death, with his hand holding the top of his staff--which had run into the ground--supposed to be by the pressure of his weight in falling. Thus ended the life of a useful man. 'Verily man knoweth not his time.' Although this soldier, citizen and christian fell by the way, he still lives in the life of his descendants, many of whom were and still are active members of the same religious organization he helped to form more than a century and a quarter ago.


Children with 1st wife, Margaret or Mary Ann Fisher: Mary (~1762-1831 married 1st James Morrison, married 2nd William Reed Jr., Esq.); Thomas (~1766-1838 married Jane "Jennie" McMahan); and Samuel (~1768).

Children with 2nd wife, Ann "Nancy" Winn: James Potter (1779-1848 married Margaret unknown); Margaret (1781-1842 married Mr. McCoy); Isabella "Belle" (1785-1842 married Daniel Gray); Robert (1787-before 1846); John (1789- ? married Mary unknown); Jonathan (1792-?); Hester "Kittie" (1794-after 1855 m1 George Barclay, m2 John R. Ketler); Mary Jane (1796-1844 married Capt William Boyd Barrett); William (1798-1883 married Jane S. Kerr); and James (1800-?).

Linked toCol. James Murray, Jr.

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