Convention Member James Murray
Born in April 12, 1803, in Pennsylvania. When a young man he went to Virginia and learned the stone mason’s trade. Mr. Murray married Miss Margaret Jane Stuart in 1813, in Virginia. In 1837, he came to Iowa with his family of three daughters and two sons, in company with his brother-in-law, John C. Stuart. They built a flat boat and on it with their families, and a few household goods, bade farewell to “Old Virginia”, guiding their boat on that river to the Kanawha and down that stream to the Ohio. There they sold their flat boat and took passage on a steamboat down that river and up the Mississippi, landing in the spring of 1837 at Fort Madison. Both Mr. Stuart and Mr. Murray settled five miles northeast of Fairfield, the latter buying a cabin from a man named Joseph Carter. Mr. Murray enjoyed the debating societies of those days, going so far as to open his house for their meetings, making seats for the people by carrying in fence rails. At one of these debates he and Frederick Lyon, a notable pioneer, combated all opponents in discussing the evils of Mormonism. Mr. Murray was a Free Mason, and his progressive character had recommended him as a proper representative in forming a state constitution. He was a delegate to the 1844 Iowa state constitutional convention from Jefferson County. He died December 5, 1848, in Jefferson.