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Delaware County, Iowa


 Biography Directory

Charles J. Murray

Farmer & Politician

South Fork Township



       Charles J. Murray, township assessor of South Fork township through the past twelve years and proprietor of Cloverdale, one of the fine farm properties of his section of the state, was born on the old family homestead October 21, 1864, his parents being James and Mary A. (Ronan) Murray. The father was born in County Meath, Ireland, in 1826, and came to America in 1849. He settled in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he became foreman of a tannery, remaining there for five years. In 1854 he arrived in the middle west and took up his abode in South Fork township, Delaware county, Iowa, where he purchased eighty acres of government land at a dollar and a quarter per acre. To his original holdings he added from time to time until he was finally the owner of two hundred and forty acres of valuable land. In 1863 he wedded Miss Mary A. Ronan, whose parents were born in Ireland, although she was a native of New York, in which her father and mother were married. James Murray died in 1900 and his widow is now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In their family were eight children, three sons and five daughters, of whom Charles J. is the eldest. The second, Margaret, or Maggie, born in 1866, is the wife of B. H. Magirl, a contractor of Ryan, Delaware county, by whom she has four children. Mary, born in 1869, is the wife P. P. Samuels, a grocer of Minneapolis, and they have two daughters. Anna, born in 1871, is the wife of Henry Ersfeld proprietor of a meat market of Lakeville, Minnesota, and they have two sons. Katie, born in 1873, is the wife of Frank P. McDonough, a farmer of South Fork, snf they have six children, four sons and two daughters. Lizzie, born in 1876, is the wife of C. J. Kramer, proprietor of a meat market of Farmington, Minnesota, and they have two sons. John S., born in 1879 and a car inspector at Farmington, Minnesota,  married Miss Nellie Goodman and they have three daughters. James E., born January 1, 1882, conducts a restaurant at Farmington and owns a farm near by. He married Miss Mamie Harkins and they have one child.

      Charles J. Murray was educated in the public schools and spent two years in the parochial school. Through vacation periods he worked upon his father's farm and has since been continuously identified with general agricultural pursuits. In 1892 he purchased the farm from his parents and has since made a number of substantial and attractive improvements thereon and has also added to his land until his holdings now aggregate four hundred and seventy acres of farm land and twenty one acres of timber land in Dubuque county. About ten years ago the old residence burned down,  after which a small temporary house was built, in which the family was reared. In 1911, however, Mr. Murray erected a very modern and spacious residence which is indeed an ornament to the farm. It is of attractive style of architecture and is equipped in most modern style, with two bathrooms, electric lights, furnace heat and all other accessories which add to comfort at the present day.  Not only the house but the other buildings upon the place indicate his progressive spirit. He has splendid silos upon his farm and thus is enabled to care for food products for stock. He buys western lambs which he fattens and ships to Chicago. He also engages in feeding and shipping hogs and he conducts a modernly equipped dairy. His place is called Cloverdale and is one of the finest farms of the county. He is also a director of the farmers' creamery board.

       On the 8th of January, 1896, Mr. Murray was united in marriage to Miss Mary Garrity, a daughter of William and Frances (Kenney) Garrity. Mrs. Murray was born October 22, 1869, near Cascade, Iowa, where her father was engaged in farming. He is still living, but the mother passed away in 1912. In their family were ten children, nine of whom survive. The maternal grandfather, Squire Kenney, was quite a character in his early life. He left his native land, Ireland, and became a resident of New England, where he married the daughter of a "genuine Yankee," with whom he returned to Ireland, and there Mrs. Murray's mother was born. Later the couple again came to the United States, where they reared their family, which in time numbered eight children. Mr. Garrity was born in Boston, of Irish parentage, and came to Iowa with his parents at an early day. He was one of the forty-niners who crossed the plains to California at the time of the gold excitement. He did not spend much time in searching for the precious metal, however, but engaged in the dairy business and taught school and finally made the return trip by way of Cape Horn.

       To Mr. and Mrs. Murray have been born seven children: Minnie, whose natal day was October 16, 1896; Laura, whose birth occurred on the 16th of November, 1897; Mary and James, twins, born October 28, 1900; Louis, December 25, 1903; Charles, September 5, 1907; and Alice, born January 18, 1909. All are yet at home. Minnie has completed a normal course in the Academy of the Visitation at Dubuque, where Laura is now a student. The former participated in 1913 in a great contest arranged by The Drovers Journal of Chicago, in which she won the first prize, a two thousand dollar Mitchell Six automobile, and as a consequence her name became known all over the country where the journal is circulated.

      Mr. Murray is a democrat in his political views and has been township assessor for twelve years and also president of the school board for five years. In this county the presidents of the school board elect the county school superintendent. Mr. Murray has also been a member of the democratic county central committee for a number of years and was a delegate to the state convention at Council Bluffs in 1914. However, he regards the pursuits of private life as in themselves abundantly worthy of his best efforts and is preeminently a farmer - enterprising, alert and progressive, wining success through carefully directed effort, sound judgment and unfaltering diligence.          



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume II. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Page 26-29. Call Number 977.7385 H2m; LDS microfilm #934937.

~transcribed and contributed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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