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The Murrays of Missouri River Montana

One of the sad ironies in our family story is that my gt-grandmother, Grace (Murray) McGuire, was dying in Montana while her parents were in transit back to Scotland in 1893. No one left seems to know when they had last seen her or when they were informed of her death. It has been said that Grace's parents didn't care much for her husband, Jim McGuire, because he was of Irish Catholic parents and  they were Presbyterians. I don't know if this was true. I do know that Grace's siblings liked Jim McGuire, and later, their son John Francis McGuire, who was my grandfather. Grace was buried at Canton Cemetery (about 7 miles north of present day Townsend, Montana).

 I don't know what happened to Amelia Murray. She didn't come to the USA with Grace and her parents. I don't know if she married or not.
When I began collecting our family history I managed to reconnect with our Thom cousins in the State of Washington to get details of their story. We have photos my grandfather took in 1918 when he visited the Murrays and Thoms on the old homestead and at Newman Lake, and have made the effort to identify people in the photos.
We don't know if we are connected to the Murrays of Blair Castle, but our family has a tale that Grace attended a school for girls in Motherwell, and the Queen Victoria was there for a visit and gt-grandma Grace refused to kiss the hem of the Queen Victoria's skirt. That's the story. Growing up, all I ever heard was that our Murrays were from Motherwell. Grace did complete the 8th grade, and by the time of her emigration, she had older siblings working and living in Motherwell. Her father's farm was less than 3 miles from Motherwell. but no one seems to remember the real reason for Grace's parents leaving for the U.S.
James may have left just to try his hand in America.

This was all was happening in the economy of Lanarkshire in the 1870s and early 1880s. I don't know if my gt-gt-grandfather had problems with the mortgage, but he had enough money to buy passage for himself and at least Grace on the Furnessia. I do know that in James Murray's lifetime, Motherwell went from a collection of cow sheds to a big, booming steel town, and coal production increased as well. The rural landscape and way of life was pretty radically altered. I'm guessing that the influx of cheap, Irish labor also made life difficult for locals. I have to assume that competition with mass-manufactured goods affected people like shoemakers.

Any insight you can shed would certainly be appreciated. James stayed in Carluke as an apprentice and journeyman shoemaker working for his father. I'm also assuming he left Carluke for Longridge to start his own business, and not compete with his father. He made the switch to agriculture while he was there.


Created before 2012