A Brief History of The MURR
by John Edward Murr
son of Jonathon C. Murr of Indiana
Written 1922 ----------------- June 29, 1950
Continued by J. Bruce Murr son of J. Edward Murr (Deceased 21 August 1960)
December 1, 1961
Recopied in condensed form by Ruby Murr May, April, 1966
Forward by J. Bruce Murr
The author and researcher so to speak, of these records pertaining to the Murr family of Indiana is John Edward Murr, son of Jonathon C. Murr, great-grandson of the original John Murr.
The writer of the documents in question was my father. Upon his death at the age of 91 years and 8 months and one day (21 August 1960), I inherited all his books, papers, memorabilia and family artifacts. This arrangement had long been understood and agreed upon by both my father as well as my sister Alleen and brother Roger. I have a great interest in these things Historical as my father did.
I do not recall just when my father and I made the trip to Jonesboro, Tennessee on the hunt for family information. I think it was in 1936 or 1937, anyway Roosevelt had been President for quite awhile. We did interview William R. Murr and his brother Sam Murr. We also went to the Court House to look up records. At that time they had a WPA project in progress to sort out the records and put them in better order.
I begin with the assumption that father had the story correct from his uncles and aunts, grandmother and others. I mean the facts that John Murr was 40 when he married; that he married a Mary Brown; that was fat, jolly, red-faced and that he married a "Patience" as his second wife.
Also I must assume that William R. Murr was honest and sincere in his interpretation of his "John Murr and Aunt Patia".
I have prepared a timetable. It is all conjecture--but give or take a couple of years, and it could have happened.
1. John Murr was born 1758
2. Came to America about 1774
3. Married Mary Brown about 1798 - thus 16 years old
4. George Murr born 1800 - thus 40 years old
5. Other sons (full brothers to George, perhaps 3, 4, or 5 more (1800 - 1812). John now 54 years old.
6. Mary Brown Murr died 1812
7. John Murr remarried 1815 --- now 56 years old
8. George Murr married 1820 --- reared Jerry then 8 years old.
9. George Murr left for Indiana 1830 --- John 72 --- Jerry 18
10. John had several children by Patience from 1814 on.
11. Old John had another John, born after 1814, let us say 1816.
12. John Jr., could have married 1834-1835 at age 18 or 19.
13. He could have had a son ( ) who was the father of William R. Murr born 1835 or 1836.
14. This son could have married at 18 in 1853.
15. William R. Murr could have been born 1854-1859.
16. Thus, William R. Murr could have been 78 in 1936 when we saw him.
This forward represents my comments, now that I have completed Documents A thru G, and; therefore, represents hindsight, so to speak.
J. Bruce Murr
John Murr was the first and as far as he knew, the only representative of the family in America. The name was undoubtedly spelled differently originally since Great Grandfather was a native of Scotland.
Nearly every Old Murr on walking away from a place where he had been seated or standing, would hunch up his shoulders a time or two.
How long Great Grandfather John resided in Mississippi, I have no way of knowing or means. From there he went to the northern country of Carolina. This Indian country to the north is known today as the Holston Country in Tennessee. In later years, North Carolina surveyed and took three counties of this land.
John married and settled in Washington County, Tennessee; 9 miles from Jonesboro. His plantation was on the banks of the Nolichucky River.
Since writing the foregoing, it has occurred to me to add some comments regarding the origin of the family name--whether or not M-U-I-R was a name, place, a Scottish word or an individual meaning. The same thing would apply to the German name M-U-R. The name Muir is a rather common Scottish name. I have not a shadow of a doubt but that our forbearers originally spelled the name that way.
I noted a William Murr in the phone book of San Francisco in the mid-thirties, also a Sam Murr on a small manufacturing or commercial building while in Buffalo, New York.
In 1958 while in Houston, Texas, I met a Murr who said his family was Lebanese and that Murr was a common name in that Country. It's origin, both from Lebanon and Arabic, was the word MYRRH, meaning bitter. They had a high Priest or Monk to search out and write up genealogical treatise on the MURR family. He traced the family back as far as the 12th century.
29 June 1940
Today, I learned of the death of Alva Morton Babcock. He was 75 years old and the last child of Aunt Delilah (the second oldest child of George Murr and Catherine Hammond Murr).
John Murr, born in 1820, was the first born but died in infancy. Aunt Delilah was born at Jonesboro, Tennessee in 1822. Her children were Taylor, Elbert, William, Eliza Jane, Joseph, Catherine, Hiram and Morton. There was another who was burned to death though I do not recall her name.
Elbert Sevier Murr born at Jonesboro, Tennessee, 6 August 1824, was 6 years old when his family moved to Indiana. He was named Sevier for his fathers people who were descendants of Governor John Sevier, who died in 1816 and was buried beside Public Buildings of State in Knoxville.
Uncle Elbert rode horseback from Jonesboro, Tennessee by way of Cumberland Gap, Lexington, and Louisville, Kentucky and thence out to Indiana.
Grandpa George and Grandma Catherine Hammond Murr came through in a two-horse wagon piloted by Adam Ingle, who was a neighbor at Jonesboro, Tennessee. He emigrated to Indiana in 1829.
Mary Brown, great grandfather John's wife, was a daughter of Judge George Brown and wife, Sarah Sevier (we Murr's came by way of Sarah). Sarah was the daughter of General and Governor John Sevier and his wife, Sarah Hawkins.
Joseph Hawkins (son of Sir John Hawkins) was the father of Elizabeth Hawkins, who married a man named "Davey" Crockett, a bear hunter and hero at the Alamo in Texas. Another girl married a Mr. Byrd and from this line came Admiral Byrd of little America fame. Senator Byrd of Virginia is likewise a grandson.
Old Grandfather John Murr was a raw Scotchman, having a red face, a chuckling laugh, and a very pronounced brogue. He married Mary Brown, 22 December 1798, when he was 40 years old.
Grandma Catherine was born 1 January 1800. Grandpa George was born 30 January 1800 (dates reversed elsewhere). Grandpa died of Yellow Fever in 1841 and Grandma died in September 1875.
When Grandpa and Grandma Catherine were married, Great Grandfather John gave them two slaves, named Aunt Sarah and Uncle Charles who Grandma later set free.
Uncle Bartley Murr and Uncle Thomas Murr married sisters. Bartley married Matilda Burgess, and Thomas married Lucindia Burgess.
Levi Murr born 1836 and Jonathon C. Murr (my father) born 1837 were only a year apart in age.
Uncle Elbert possessed an unusual memory--he never forgot anything.
Aunt Mary Tipson was a babe in arms when our folks moved to Indiana, all her family gone, save her son Joseph.
Simpson Murr and Alice Murr Lincoln are the only living children of Thomas Murr and Lucindia Burgess Murr.
William R. Murr of Jonesboro, Tennessee stated he used to correspond with Elbert Murr. He also recalled an Alec Murr, but nothing more. William R. Murr and Samuel Murr knew nothing about our Grandfather George Murr or Jerry Murr.
Grandfather George Murr died of Yellow Fever contracted at Memphis, Tennessee. He was a Democrat and a Whig. Great Grandfather John Murr certainly came to America prior to the Revolutionary War (perhaps 1775). He was a large man toward the last, weighing around 500 pounds and walked with canes to help support his weight.
Great Grandfather John Murr married a "Miss Sevier" who was of French extraction. The original French Sevier came from France to Virginia. John Sevier was in the mercantile business in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and subsequently emigrated to East Tennessee, settling near Jonesboro. The old Sevier homestead is still standing near the Murr Plantation.
French Sevier outlived his son; General John Sevier who died in 1816, lived to be 100 years old.
John Murr was born in North Scotland in 1757.
George Murr, son of John, born at Jonesboro, 1 January 1800, married in 1820 in Jonesboro, Tennessee to Catherine Hammond. She was born 30 January 1800 in Woodstock, Virginia and died 5 September 1875. George died in 1841.
© 1998 Larry A. May