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Crosby County Biographies

In Remembrance of

Murray Family

John and Rebecca Murray

Rose Spray
Birth Date:   Jun 15, 1843       Birth Date:   Jun 22, 1849
Death Date:   Nov. 8, 1919       Death Date:   Feb. 26, 1927


U.S.Flag   Rank: Private
Commanding Officer: Hunter
Organization: Co. D. 11th Missouri Infantry Confederate States of America
Date of Enlistment: 30 May 1862
Date of Discharge: 3 July 1864 Warsaw, MO.
Remarks: On taking the Oath.
Enlisted: Memphis, TN
NAR 3-18-65, 5-11-65
Source: Roll No. 106, sheet 6
Taken prisoner while on detail, June 25, 1862.
Hunter's Battalion Missouri Infantry, consisting of seven companies which had previously served as cavalry, was organized August 31, 1862. The Battalion was increased by the addition of other companies and organized as the 2nd (also known as Huner's) Regiment Missouri Infantry September 15, 1862; its designation was changed to the 8th Regiment Missouri Infantry and finally to the 11th Regiment Missouri Infantry.

Submitted by Ralls Historical Museum


Quote, article "Some Early Day History", by Judge John W. Murray, first man to establish a newspaper on the Plains at Estacado in 1886, is taken from an Old Timer and Present Day Edition of the Crosbyton Review, Feb. 29, 1912..."Judge Murray is only one of the first settlers in this county, and the first man to publish a newspaper in all this part of this country, but his history as a pioneer in this part of the West antedates his coming to Crosby County. He was one of the very first to ever cross what is known as the Staked Plains or the Great American Desert with a herd of cattle. This was in 1866 and the cattle were driven from Central Texas to Montana. There were only 6 men in the party, though the country was infested with hostile Indians. The route was from the Concho River, and thence across the divide to the Pecos into New Mexico, and thence by circuitous routes through Colorado and Wyoming. He writes, ' The Crosby County News was the pioneer newspaper for the entire Plains country and there were only two papers along the T & P between Colorado City and El Paso. It was no inviting field for the business, as a few of dozen people composed the entire colony, and two stores, a hotel, and a public well composed the town, so the paper depended for its advertising support upon Colorado City and Amarillo, 125 and 140 miles distant."

"The mail route was from Colorado City. Some time in 1887, word was received that the Ft. Worth & Denver Railroad had been completed into Amarillo, so Judge Murray decided the freighting would soon be across the level country north. He was mail contractor, too, so he made the first trip from a settlement on the South Plains to Amarillo, and established what became the main road from Estacado to Amarillo. The country was a virgin. The buffalo had disappeared, but green heads and carcasses still lay by the thousands; and everywhere under the Caprock were signs of Indian camps. Teepee poles, broken vessels, arrows, etc. showed that the Indian had departed only a few months ago. He secured several good advertisements and Colorado City and Amarillo became strong rivals for the trade of this section."

"The Crosby County News was a booster for as the cattlemen and Quakers were opposed to settlement of the country and he was soon threatened. He saw that the only way to end the fight was to move the county seat, so a town company was quietly formed and the section of land where Emma was located became the new site. In December, 1890, he moved his house, family and printing press to the new location; and in the Spring of 1891, several people moved to Emma. The county seat election was held in October and resulted in favor of Emma."

Ruth Adams, a granddaughter of Mr. Murray, tells of his being the first County Judge of Taylor County, at Buffalo Gap. Then after a county seat move to Abilene, he moved to Benjamin only to become involved, again in a fight to move the seat of the county.

Esther, the only daughter of the Judge and Mrs. Murray, married Marsh Wheeler; they had eight children. The three sons, were Hal, longtime editor of the Post City Post, Garza county; later moving to Denver and became connected to Denver Post. John Watt Murray was a doctor in Springfield, Missouri. Don A. Murray was a flourish in Houston, Texas. Mrs. R. Marsh Wheeler resided in Lubbock, TX. (1968), moving there from her ranch in southwest Crosby County after the death of her husband. Ruth Adams, her daughter, is an English teacher in Ralls High School (1968).

The burial place in Emma Cemetery, Crosby County, Texas is marked with a beautiful double marker, Rebecca R. Murray was born June 22, 1849, and she died February 26, 1927.

Source: "Through the Years, A History of Crosby County, Texas" by Nellie Witt Spikes and Temple Ann Ellis ©1951; The Naylor Company, San Antonio, Texas
Submitted by Ralls Historical Museum

Rebecca Frances Son Murray

Rebecca Frances Son was born June 22, 1847 in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas. She was the eighth child of 11 children born to Eda Trotter and Abraham Franklin Son. Her mother Eda Trotter was born July 04, 1813 in Caldwell County, Kentucky and died May 21, 1883 in Brownwood Texas at the home of her son William F. Son. Her father Abraham Franklin Son was born March 08, 1809 in Kentucky and died October 24, 1884 in Brownwood Texas. The couple married April 08, 1832 in Pope County, Arkansas.

Rebecca was a school teacher and taught at Fayetteville Arkansas, Brownwood and Dallas Texas. Several of Rebecca’s brothers and sisters were also teachers.

Rebecca’s family migrated to Brownwood, Texas where she met John Murray. Judge Robert J. Brown married the couple December 13, 1874 at the home of her brother William F. Son in Brownwood, Texas. Rebecca taught school while her husband learned the newspaper business from her brother William.

John Watts Murray was the son of Russell Watts Murray born August 05, 1812 in Barren County, Kentucky. He died February 07, 1856 in California, Monitor County, Missouri. His mother was Mary Barbour born about 1814 in Kentucky. She died July 04, 1849. Russell and Mary were married February 14, 1833 in Barren County, Kentucky.

John and Rebecca moved around a lot. John studied law and was a judge in Buffalo Gap, Texas for a year. The county seat was then moved to Abilene, Texas and so he served only one term. They then went on a year long prospecting trip to California. After failing to strike it rich they moved to Dallas where two of John’s sisters lived. This is when they purchased a newspaper press in Dallas and then bought a newspaper known as the Vindicator in Margaret Texas and operated it for a year before moving to the Plains. The doctors had advised him to move there for Rebecca’s health. They moved to Estacado and set up the printing press in their 2 room home. John collected news and wrote articles and Rebecca set type. Everyone in the family helped to put out the paper.

Rebecca and John raised four children:

Henry Bruce born January 11, 1876 in Palo Pinto Texas, died June 03, 1940. He married Rena America Elkins September 06, 1898. They had 5 children. He was a teacher. He owned and edited the widely read early newspaper, "The Post City Post", of Post, Garza Co., Texas. He also worked for the Denver Post and a newspaper in Busby Arizona.

John Watts born July 09, 1880 in Buffalo Gap, Taylor County, Texas, died August 11, 1958 in Missouri. He married Susie C. Bond. The couple had no children. He was a Doctor and moved to Springfield, Missouri area, on the cattle trail. He was the author of several medical books, among them "Examination of the Patient and Symptomatic Diagnosis".

Esther Rebecca born December 20, 1882 in Buffalo Gap, Taylor County, Texas, died April 22, 1982 in Lubbock, Texas. She married Rufus Marshall Wheeler November 20, 1901 in Emma, Texas. The couple had 9 children. She and her husband owned much land and they became large stockmen and cotton farmers.

Donald Alan born January 04, 1885 in Texas, died December 18, 1960 in Houston, Texas. He married Jennie May Price. The couple had no children. He owned a men's clothing store and was also a traveling men's clothing salesman. Later in life he was the owner of Murray's Floral Company in Houston, Texas.

My grandmother, Marcia Mae Wheeler Lockwood, remembers her grandmother Rebecca as being a tall thin woman. After the death of her husband John in 1913, Rebecca’s daughter Esther worried about her living alone and so then Rebecca came to live at the Wheeler Ranch. Marcia told me that her grandmother taught her how to read and so when it came time for her to attend school she was more advanced than the other children her age. The teacher would have to make a different assignment for her.

Rebecca died February 26, 1927 in Crosby County Texas and is buried in the Emma Cemetery.

Submitted by Connie Mounsey

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Card of Thanks.
To those whose kindness and sympathy was so freely given to us during our recent bereavements, we
wish to express our heartfelt thanks. Your presence and comforting words have been a
source of deep consolation and words are too weak to convey our gratitued. May God guard you, and
in your hours of afflection raise up for you friends who will be as kind and considerate as you have been. Mrs. J. W. Murray, Sr. H. B. Murray, D. A. Murray, Mrs. R. M. Wheeler, R. M. Wheeler.
Submitted by Connie Mounsey
Genealogy Records can be found at Texas Tech Southwest Collection Library, Lubbock, Texas.


Judge John W. Murray died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Marsh Wheeler, in the south side of Crosby County last Saturday at 11:00 a.m. and was burried in the Emma Cemetery Sunday evening at 3:00 p.m. where a concourse of sorrowing relatives and friends had gathered to pay their last earthly respects. Judge Murray was one of the first settlers in Crosby County, having come to this county in the year of 1885 and has lived continuously here since his first settlement.

Judge Murray was the founder of the Crosby County News, which paper he founded in 1886 and he conducted it at that time at old Estacado, the then Quaker City of the West. The Crosby County News was moved to Emma when that town was founded some twenty odd years ago and the Judge was a successful newspaperman up to some years ago when he finally retired from the newspaper business. In 1886 when the Crosby County News was first established it was the only newspaper on the Plains from the Rock Island on the North and the T. & P. on the South and drew advertixing patronage from one of the largest territories of any paper in the United States.

Crosby County in those early days got her mail from Colorado City, 125 miles away, and some later the route was changed to Amarillo which was 140 miles, thus the reader can to some extent understand the difficulties in conducting a newspaper business at that time, when a few dozen people made up the whole population of the county. Judge Murray has lived an exemplary life; has reared a creditable family, having educuated his children and they are buisness men and women, highly respected and doing well.

Judge Murray grew the first cotton ever grown in Crosby County and has for many years contended that this was a great cotton country, which the demonstrations as we see on all sides proves that his judgment was good, and he knew whereof he was speaking. He has agitated the growing of orchards, and today stands to his memory at his old home in Emma one of the finest orchards on earth.

The funeral services were conducted by Brother Kelley of Lockney. Judge Murray was seventy years of age, has been active in all walks of life up to a very few weeks ago. He leaves as many friends as any man could hope to aquire, was always on the side of right and justice as he saw it, and was willing to express his views on any public question.

There is not a man in Crosby County who will be more missed than Judge Murray, and not a man in the County who knows the history of the County as did he.

Some weeks ago the writer had a long talk with the Judge and he related some early history for an article that will appear later in the Review. The Judge not given us what we wanted, but we have the material for articles along lines that will interest all of our readers. We will at an early date relate some of the early incidents of his early life on the Plains.

The Review joins all Crosby County in extending condolence to the grief stricken family in the loss of so good a husband and father.

©The Crosbyton Review, November 1919
Submitted by Connie Mounsey

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