The story of the Louisiana Murrys


The focus of this web site is on the descendents of the John Murry family that settled in Union Parish, LA in 1849. Most of these descendents lived or live in Louisiana. The family history after 1849 is relatively easily to follow using census records, cemetery records and family input. All this information is documented in the family tree on this site. This story here tells more about where the Murrys came from, who they were and where they went, which are things not so easily recognized from looking at names and dates in a tree.

Ancestors of John Murry

First I'm going to tell the story of the ancestors of John Murry which is not so well documented and proven with facts. Not yet anyway.

The story starts with Archibald Murry who was the father of John Murry. Archibald Murry was an Irish school teacher that came to the new world and married a girl named Delilah Ward. They lived in North Carolina and had three kids, Elizabeth, James and John. While the kids were still young they moved near Charleston, South Carolina near the Lee family. Elizabeth Murry married Timothy Lee. John Murry married Tabitha. John and Tabitha Murry, and Timothy and Elizabeth Murry Lee stated families while still in South Carolina. Archibald Murry sailed back to Ireland to obtain property and the ship went down at sea. This information is based on facts. See the bottom of this document for possibilities not based on facts.

Before leaving South Carolina, John Murry's oldest son Solomon married Catherine Berry.

In the late 1830's the Murrys and the Timothy Lee family moved to Macon County, Georgia. Living next to each other in 1840 were Timothy Lee (age 60), John Murry (age 45), and Solomon Murry (age 22). James Murry (age 46) lived nearby. John Murry's household had four kids. Solomon Murry and Catherine Berry's first son was born about 1841. James Murry was living alone. Timothy Lee and Elizabeth Murry had eight kids living with them.

Timothy Lee passed away in Georgia in 1846.

In 1849, The Murrys and the Lees moved to Union Parish, LA. Elizabeth Murry Lee moved to Alabama for a few years with her sons and daughters. By 1860 the Lees moved on and settled in Jasper County, Texas. This Lee family is very large and well researched.

Descendents of John Murry

In 1849 the Murrys settled in Union Parish, LA. Land was purchased in an area between Laran and Truxno. These first families included John Murry and his sons Solomon Murry, W S Murry, William Jackson Murry and Wesley Murry. Also included in this group were the Elizabeth Murry Lee family and the Moses Lee family. All the Lees moved on to Jasper County, Texas by 1860.

John and Tabitha Murry were probably deceased by 1860. There is a Murry family cemetery located on the old Murry home place where many of the original Murrys were buried. This cemetery has not been kept up for years and most of the markers are long gone.

These early Murry families were large and stayed close to Laran slowly spreading out to other parts of Union Parish. Laran is only about five miles from the Arkansas border. Some of these descendents moved into the southern-most part of Arkansas. The Murrys married into many of the other original Union Parish families. Most of these families were Irish families that moved from the east during the 1840's when land became available for purchase in this area. Union Parish is known to have some of the fastest growing pine forests. It is a very wooded area with some swamplands.

Several Murrys joined up with confederate units raised in Union Parish. Most were captured and paroled at Vicksburg, MS in 1863. Some of the Lee kinfolks that moved to Jasper County, Texas also joined up with the confederate army during the Civil War and at least a couple were killed or died from wounds of the war.

The first few LA Murry generations were very large families with some having as many as 20 kids. Most Murrys stayed very near Union Parish, but a few spread out. One group of Murrys found their way to Grant Parish which is in Central Louisiana. These are descendents of William Jackson Murry who married Melissa Jane Sweeny and had four kids. They were divorced and Melissa then married William Henry Creed. They settled near Williana in Grant Parish bringing with them Murry kids and grandkids. This was the beginning of all the Murrys in Grant Parish. The cemetery containing the most Murrys is Liberty Chapel located in Williana.

John Murry's grandson, George Solomon Murray, married Eliza Hudson from Union County, Arkansas which borders Union Parish, LA. They settled in Johnson, AR. This family branch is one of a couple that spelled their name Murray.

John Murry's grandson, William Jasper Murry, settled in Nevada County, AR raising a very successful and well-respected branch of Murrys there.

Interesting Facts and Trivia

Is it spelled Murry or Murray? What I've come to realize is that back in the old days many people didn't read or write so well and there were very few records kept compared to the present time. There were no birth certificates. If you were lucky you might have your name and birth date written in a family bible. Many times the Murry name would be spelled differently from one census to the next for the same family. Given names also changed a lot. Many times I see where a person's first and middle name would be swapped or their names changed completely. Back then your name was whatever you said it was. Things just were not so exact back then. There is at least one instance of two brothers, one a Murry and the other a Murray buried in the same cemetery. About 70% of descendents spell their name Murry while 30% spell their name Murray. Currently the earliest known ancestor is Archibald Murr(a)y and there is evidence of both spellings.

Is it true?

Don't be so sure. What I've learned over the years is that people take facts and try to fill in the empty spaces with guessing. There is nothing wrong with that until the guesses are assumed to be fact by others. I've seen and can show where people will record something as assumed and even note it as not proven. The problem starts when others copy the information and assume it is true. It gets worse when 10 people copy the information because its harder to dispute a large group of people showing the same information. Just because more people have the same info doesn't make it correct.

Facts, fiction and notes for additional research:

FACT: In a letter written in 1917 by the last surviving grandchild, an estate back in Ireland worth "millions" is discussed. It was never recovered.

FACT: In 1768 a group of eight Murrys arrived from Northern Ireland at Charleston, South Carolina on a ship called the Snow Betty Gregg. This group included a 40 year old Archibald Murry and a 5 year old Archibald Murry.
NOTE: "Archibald Murry may have been a descendent of the Snow Betty Gregg Murrys or actually been the five year old on the ship."
FACT: If Archibald Murry was about 12 years older this would be a perfect fit. Records show that he was born in Ireland in 1775 so this story does not fit.

NOTE: "Archibald Murry's wife, Delilah Worde, had a wealthy father who passed away back in Ireland. Archibald sailed to Ireland to obtain property from the estate. On the way back from Ireland the ship was lost and Archibald Murry drowned at sea."
NOTE: Census records in Greene County, NC from 1800 indicate that Delila Ward was a decendant of the Ward family from NC and not the reason that Archibald Murry sailed back to Ireland. These records show a Delila Murray with three small children living next to Needham Ward and Ann Ward. This connection was first suggested many years ago by a Ward family researcher.

NOTE: Archibald and Delila Ward Murry's daughter was Elizabeth that married Timothy Lee. Timothy's mother was Sarah Worde/Ward. I have often wondered if Sarah was also a descendant of the same Ward family and could be how the Murrys and Lees first came together. If could be that Archibald Murry died prior to 1800 leaving Delila widowed with three small kids. She may have then moved to South Carolina to be near her sister, Sarah Ward Lee. I have no evidence other than a simular maiden name.

FACT: In the 1917 letter the granddaughter stated, "He went to Ireland after Property and the ship was distroyed about thirty".
NOTE: People have translated this into meaning it happened about 1830, but I think she could have meant that Archibald drowned when he was about 30 years old.
FACT: The granddaughter also stated that it had not quite been 100 years which supports the idea that Archibald drowned about 1830.
NOTE: If Archibald was alive until 1830 and the Delila Murray on the 1800 NC census was his wife then where was he?
NOTE: My head hurts.

FACT: Timothy Lee had a sister named Tabitha. John Murry had a wife named Tabitha. Could this be the same person?