Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Alexander Murray

Murray, Alexander.  During the infancy of Clearfield county there were but few of the pioneer families that settled within its borders but that were subjected to untold hardships and privations for many years ; and of those who made the attempt none, or at the greatest, but very few, hoped for any greater acquisition than a comfortable living. In the year 1821, John Murray and Mary, his wife, with a family of small children, came from Huntingdon county and took up their abode in that part of the county that was, in later years, erected into Girard township, upon lands for which the father had a contract of purchase, but for which no payment had then been made. After three years passed in clearing the land, for it was a dense forest, and erecting a cabin in which to live, the head of this family was taken away by the hand of death, leaving to the widowed mother the care of the children, and with no hope for future comfort save her great mainstay and support,—faith and trust in God. Armed with these, and being possessed of much courage and energy, she commenced the battle for life. She was a woman of much force of character, and is kindly remembered by many of the older people of the county, to whom her sterling worth, and her faithful struggle to keep together and maintain her children, were well known. She lived to an advanced age, and died April 7, 1871, which was the fiftieth anniversary of her advent to this county.  

            Alexander Murray, the subject of this sketch, then being in the twelfth year of his age, did much to help in the care of the family. He cultivated a little land and farmed some with one horse. The mother was skilled in the art of weaving and made the cloth for her family wearing apparel, and for other families as well, receiving as compensation commodities for home consumption. Young Alexander soon grew strong and worked at Karthaus in the winter. When fifteen years old he drove team and received the same pay as older men. But little cash found its way to the family purse, only food and clothing being paid as wages, and that at very high figures. The first money received by our subject he earned by building sixty rods of the old Milesburg and Smithport turnpike. For this he got $50 cash and an order for $45 more, the latter, however, was never paid, owing to some default on the part of the treasurer of the company.  

Mr. Murray then commenced lumbering on a small scale, and saved some money with which he paid for the homestead and bought more land, and never thereafter did the family suffer for the necessaries or comforts of life.  

On the 23d day of February, 1843, Alexander Murray married Isabella M., daughter of Thomas Holt, of Bradford township. Of this marriage nine children were born, five of whom are still living : Warren P., the oldest son, now living at home ; Thomas H., of Clearfield ; William E., who died in his twenty-first year ; Alfred A., who manages the farm ; Martha A., the oldest daughter, who married Dr. W. S. Gilliland ; Sarah B., who married Robert C. Gilliland, of Snow Shoe, Pa. The other children died young. On the 1st day of October, 1879, after a pleasant journey along life's path of nearly two-score years, marred by no unhappy event save the loss of four children, the wife of Alexander Murray died : a devoted companion, a loving and affectionate mother, a kind and Christian friend and neighbor. Three years later, January 19, 1882, Mr. Murray married Mrs. Ermina J. Spackman, a lady of gentle manners and loving disposition, and with whom he hoped to pass his remaining year ; but the destroyer was not idle, for on the 5th day of May, 1885, she, too, was called from earth, leaving her husband, now on the shady side of life, not rich, nor poor, but with a glorious hope of an inheritance in heaven that is incorruptible and fadeth not away. A man of temperate habits and correct life, and though full of years, he is an exceedingly well-preserved person, and a good type of that sturdy class who have endured so much privation, and contributed so largely to the growth and well being of the county.  

Source: Pages 687-688, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed August 2009 by Charlotte Gaines for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Published 2009 by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project

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