History of Murray, NY
FROM: Gazetteer and Business Directory
OF Orleans County, N. Y. For 1869.
Compiled and Published By Hamilton Child, Syracuse, NY 1862


MURRAY was formed from Northampton, (now Gates, Monroe Co.,) April 8, 1808. Sweden was taken off in 1813; Clarkson in 1819, and Kendall in 1837. It lies upon the east border of the County, between Kendall and Clarendon, and is crossed by Sandy Creek, two branches of which unite in the north part of Murray. The channel of this stream has been worn by the action of the water to the depth of seventy or seventy-five feet, in some places, below the surface of the land. The embankment over which the New York Central R. R. crosses the gulf is one of the largest on the line of the road. The surface of the town is generally level, except in the south-west part, where it is rolling. The soil generally is a sandy loam, but in some places clayey. Two sulphur springs arid several salt springs are near Holley ; from the latter salt was formerly manufactured, but the works were closed after the opening of the Erie Canal. The Medina sand-stone approaches near the surface, and quarries have been opened near Hulberton, from which valuable building stone has been obtained.

Holley, (p. v.) named in honor of Myron Holley, one of the first canal commissioners, was incorporated September 3, 1850, and is a station on the Canal and Railroad, in the south-east part of the town. It contains three churches, viz., Baptist, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic; a union school, a newspaper office, a bank, a hotel, a foundry, a grist-mill, a stave, barrel and shingle factory, several stores and mechanic shops and a population of about 500.

Hulberton, (p. o.) in the central part of the town, contains one Methodist church, a hotel, a store, two groceries and about thirty dwellings.

Sandy Creek, (Murray p. o.) in the north part, contains a hotel, a store, a grist-mill and about forty inhabitants.

Hindsburgh, (p. v.) in the west part, on the canal, contains a store, a grocery and about twenty dwellings.

Brockville is a hamlet and

Murray Depot is a station on the railroad.

The first settlement of this town was commenced in 1809, or previous to that, by Epaphras Mattison. Daniel Wait, Joshua Rockwood and Peleg Sisson were among the other early settlers.

The first birth in the town was that of Betsey Mattison in 1811; the first marriage, that of Zimri Perigo and Leucetta Spafford, January 17, 1815, and the first death, that of Mrs. Daniel Reed, in 1814. Epaphras Miattison kept the first inn, in 1809, and Isaac Leach the first store, in 1815 ; Perry & Luce built the first gristmill, in 1816; and Fanny Furguson taught the first school, in the summer of 1814. Judson Downs came to Murray in 1818. He was an officer of the State Militia and had served as a volunteer in the war of 1812-15. On the breaking out of the Rebellion in 1861, he became thoroughly aroused, and though sixty-four years old, raised a company of Cavalry and took the field. He served in Maryland and in the vicinity of Washington, shunning no dangers, hardships or fatigue. At length his health failed and he was compelled to resign. He died in 1864. Those who knew Major Downs say he was always prompt and ready to do what duty required. When constable he was always intrusted with as much business as he could do, and in every position to which he was called, sustained himself with honor.

Aretas Pierce came to Murray in 1815, and located about two miles north of Farwell's Mills; he was then a boy of sixteen. He says, "We lived for two weeks in a house built for a school house, and during that time built a log house two miles north of Farwell's Mills. Our post-office was at Clarkson, and postage was twentyflve cents." The year 1816 was known as the cold season; they were obliged to go to Palmyra and pay $1.25 per bushel for rye, and $25 per barrel for pork. in June, 1817, Mr. Pierce says his father went to Vermont with a team to move a family to this place. During the father's absence his family got out of provisions and had no means of procuring any. They had cows and a good supply of milk when they could be found. When the wheat had become sufficiently mature it was rubbed out by hand or spread upon a cloth and thrashed out upon the floor, and then boiled arid eaten in milk. The sufferings of the early settlers were very great.

Artemas Daggett came in the spring and took up a lot north of Pierce's. John Hallock and Samuel Miller came in the same year. Miller had a wife and two small children and was very poor.- Daggett hired Miller to chop for him for one dollar a day and board himself. All he had to eat most of the time was corn meal and water, but he did not complain or even tell of his destitution.

Ebenezer Fox settled about one and a half miles east of Murray Depot. He had a wife and five children, and for several weeks all they had to eat was what they could pick up in the woods, and the best they could find was the inside bark of the beech tree. Mrs. Fox had a young babe, and her next oldest being in feeble health, she nursed both to keep them from starving. Ashes were the chief resource for money in this as well as in other parts of the County. They were carried to Clarkson and Gaines, where they were sold for three dollars per hundred.

John Halloek settled near where the railroad crosses the high way. He was out in the woods, west of his house, one day, when he discovered an old bear and two cubs. Desiring to capture the young ones he armed himself with a club and "went for them," catched them by the hind legs and started for home. Being suspended so suddenly and unceremoniously, they naturally yelled and made a great ado, which called their mother to the rescue. Hallock continued on his course until he was pursued too closely by the enraged bear, then dropped the cubs and charged upon her with his club. Seeing her cubs released she started off, calling them to follow, and when at a safe distance Hallock again seized the cubs and again ran towards home; this was continue& again and again, until he secured his prize. "He was a large, tall and strong man, and when excited, was the worst looking man I ever saw," says my informant. It was said that his looks were what saved him in this encounter.

The population of Murray in 1865 was 2,616, and its area 18,451 acres.

The number of school districts is twelve, employing thirteen teachers. The number of children of school age is 895; number attending school, 647; average attendance 320, and the amount expended for school purposes for the year ending September 30, 1868, was $4,857.96.


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