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Loyalist Directory: John Sr. Murray

(For a short explanation of each row, click on the row title ex. "surname")

Surname : Murray
Given name : John Sr.
Rank :  
Where Resettled : Arrived Island of Saint John 26 July 1784. Settled at Bedeque, Lot 19. Later at North Bedeque, Lot 25, PEI
Status as Loyalist : Proven
Proof of Loyalty : American Loyalist Claims, Series 2, A.O. 13/91, pp. 540-542 & 13/137 pp. 203, 207; PRO, Kew, London, England
Notes (Expunged, Suspended, Reinstated) :  
Regiment :  
Enlistment Date :  
Date & Place of Birth : c.1735 Scotland [possibly Eskdale, Dumfries-shire]
Settled before war : Harpersfield, Tryon Co., Province of New York (now State of New York)
Date & Place of Death : Prince Edward Island
Place of Burial :  
Wife Name : Mary Kennedy
Children : Jean
John (m Unk.)
David (m Penman, Elizabeth)
William (m (1) Wright, Hannah; (2) Gould, Ruth)
Mary (m Anderson, James)
Ellen (Helen) (m Loggie, Alexander)
Biography : Born in Dumfries-shire Scotland about 1735, John Murray was a tenant farmer who fell into arrears with his landlord. With his wife, Mary Kennedy, and several young children, the family emigrated from Scotland to America about 1772. The Murrays found land to rent in Harpersfield, Tryon County, in the Province of New York. Two more children were born there.

In the spring of 1775, a band of Patriots arrived in Harpersfield seizing some two dozen men and delivering them to the Albany goal, 60 miles to the northeast. Kept in irons, Murray languished in Albany for 6 months before being released. Returning to his farm, he was in his words "kept in a state of imprisonment for more than six years."

In 1777, he was officially indicted as a Loyalist making the whole of his estate subject to confiscation. Yet, in spite of the raids and skirmishes going on around him, the next year, John Murray purchased 300 acres of land and continued to farm, perhaps evidence of his stubborn nature. By 1780, due to the war, most residents of Harpersfield had abandoned their homes.

Finally in 1782, the Murrays and three local families, fled to New York and the following spring the Murrays were loaded on a transport ship, the Eleanor, for delivery to Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

As with many loyalist refugees in Shelburne, John Murray, in 1783, completed a sworn deposition and an estimate of his losses valued at 211. In his deposition, he states, "I was at different times by different parties of the Americans robbed, plundered and beat and at length made prisoner in close confinement in Albany. The whole of my property, within specified, was taken from me, sold, or wasted and destroyed."

Moving on from Shelburne, John Murray, his wife and three younger children, arrived at Charlotte Town, on the Island of Saint John (now Prince Edward Island), on July 26, 1784.

Five years later, Murray had not received compensation for his losses. Upon hearing that Commissioners appointed to deal with the claims were at Quebec, he immediately went there to present his claim. He was accompanied by several witnesses, who under oath would have supported his claim. Alas, on their arrival at Quebec they were informed that the Commissioners had sailed three days earlier.

Back at home, he decided to journey with two other loyalists, into Charlottetown to obtain a letter from the Governor to back his claim and to prepare a second deposition. By now, it was 1889.

Struggling to recover his war losses was just one of Murray's ongoing problems. As it was for many island settlers, the Governor would not give clear title to land grants. In addition, the 500-acre grant offered to Murray comprised 50 acres fronting Bedeque Bay in Prince County and 450 acres some distance inland. Murray refused to sign for his grant. Eight years after his arrival on the island, in 1792, he was offered 500 acres on the Dunk River, at Bedeque Bay, if he surrendered his claim to the original grant. Again, he did not like the terms. Finally, two years later he received clear title to this second grant.

Along with 37 other refugees and disbanded troops, John Murray is memorialized by having his name on the Bedeque Harbour Loyalist Monument in Prince Edward Island.
Proven Descendants : Lynne Charles, Vancouver Branch, 2010.07.12; Vancouver 2010-07-12;
Military Info :
Loyalist Genealogy : See the Certificate Application by Lynne Charles.

The sons of John Murray - John Murray, Jr. and David Murray - are reputed Loyalists
Family History : "An Island Refuge: Loyalists and Disbanded Troops on the Island of Saint John," edited by Orlo Jones and Doris Haslam; (pp. 195-201 in 1983 printing)
Family Genealogy : see Family History above
Sources : Contribution by Lynne Charles
Reserved :