Gen. W. W. Murray, a prominent lawyer of West Tennessee, was born at Blairsville, Ga., on the 27th of June, 1838, and was educated in the common schools. When a small lad he was taken by his parents to Arkansas, and at an early day became a citizen of Carroll County, Tenn., where he has since made his home. Having a predilection for the medical profession, he began studying and became a graduate of two of the leading medical colleges of the country, Rush Medical College at Chicago, Ill., being one of them. During the late war he espoused the Union cause and in September, 1862, joined the Federal Army as a private and was soon raised to the rank of second lieutenant, and was afterward captured with his regiment, the Seventh Tennessee Cavalry, at Union City, by Gen. Forrest’s command, and was taken south as a prisoner of war. He made his escape at Macon, Ga., by digging a tunnel under the prison walls, and after suffering many hardships, finally reached the Federal lines at Pensacola.

He was then promoted to the rank of first lieutenant and soon after to adjutant, holding the position until the close of the war. He commenced the practice of law in 1868, and the same year was elected to represent Carroll County in the State Legislature. In 1872 he was the Republican candidate for Congress in the Eighth Congressional District, and on June 27, 1873, was appointed United States District Attorney of West Tennessee, by President Grant. He was re-appointed by President Hayes in 1877. During his official career he became an eminent lawyer and his speeches were noted for their power and logic. In 1884 he was elected railroad commissioner of Tennessee, and in 1885 he was one of the Republican nominees for supreme judge. In 1887 he received the unanimous vote of his party in the Legislature for the office of United States senator.

January 1, 1869, he married Mary H. Strange, born in 1853, and daughter of Henry and Lucinda Strange. Mr. and Mrs. Murray have three children: Joseph, born in 1871; Eddie, born in 1873, and Charles H., born in 1878. In 1860 Mr. Murray was married to Mary Cox, of Mississippi, who died in 1861, leaving one son—Dr. Robert M. Murray. Our subject’s early ancestors were from Perth, Scotland. He is a son of Rev. James W. and Amelia Murray, whose maiden name was Reid. Her parents were Jesse and Elizabeth Reid. James W. Murray was born in Georgia, in 1813, and died in 1860. His wife was born in North Carolina, and died in 1863.


Transcribed by David Donahue

Source: History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Carroll, Henry and Benton Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1978.