John Boyce Murray was born in Arlington, Vermont on August 13, 1822. His parents brought him to Scipio, Cayuga County, NY in 1831. In his early years, he studied law and taught in a rural shool in Seneca County.
Five years after his marriage to Angelina Savage, he moved with his wife and two children to Seneca Falls, Seneca County, NY. Before the Civil War, he became a successful lawyer and politician.
In 1862, he entered the war as a captain and commanded the 148th Regiment of New York State Volunteers. When he returned home in 1866, he was a brigadier general.
He was elected clerk of Seneca County and moved to Waterloo to assume office. While residing in Waterloo, he became the power and influence behind Waterloo's first Memorial Day celebration. The idea was suggested by Henry C. Welles, a prominent druggist. Together they made Memorial Day a reality.
In 1869, General Murray moved back to Seneca Falls. He was in great demand all over the state as a speaker. On Oct. 7, 1884, after making a speech at the Harrison Chamberlain residence in Seneca Falls, he was seriously stricken and died the next day. General Murray was described as a fiery orator, an active politician, and a natural born leader.
Some of the information for this article was obtained from Centennial Celebration, souvenir edition of the Geneva Times, printed May 24, 1966.