History of Murray

Source: reprint of "Clarke County History," Lewis Pub., Chicago, 1886.

The village of Murray is the second largest point in Clarke County, and is situated ten miles west of Osceola, on section 10, Troy Township, and on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. To the construction of this line, indeed, the place owes its existence. It was laid out in 1868, by Messrs. Sigler & Mallory, of Osceola and Chariton respectively, and occupies a tract of 120 acres. It is divided into forty-eight blocks, each 316 feet square. The streets running east and west are numbered from the south, from First to Ninth. The north and south streets are, beginning at the west, Sherman, Lyon, Maple, Grant, Colfax, McClellan and Troy. Maple avenue and Fifth street are the principal thoroughfares.

The first building on the site was a temporary warehouse erected by the railroad company's contractors. This was afterward torn down and replaced by a regular station building. This was burned in 1873, and rebuilt. The station-house again burned in 1886, and a better building was put up just west of the old site.

The next building on the village site was a hotel, put up by Sigler & Mallory, who employed James Cree to run it. It changed hands a number of times, and burned down in the autumn of 1886, when owned by George Lochrie. The third building, yet standing, was put up by A.B. Straub, for a general store. It is now occupied by O.E. Garrett. The fourth building was a drug store just west of the first hotel above mentioned, and was erected by L.K. Martindale. It too burned in the spring of 1885.

Murray has never had a "boom," but has always grown slowly and steadily. The State census of 1885 gives it a population of 490.


Murray was incorporated in the autumn of 1880, the first meeting of the council being held December 7. A.L. Bowers was mayor until March, 1882; D.D. Cathels in 1882-3; H.B. Hermance in 1883-4; and C.C. Scott has held the position since March, 1884. The other officials for the year 1886-7 are: N.C. Larson, J.U. Jones, H.F. Howard, S. L. Landis, H.D. Woodward, and J.J. Hoffman, Trustees; G.G. Hallum, Recorder; H.B. Hermance, Assessor; D.B. Kirk, Street Commissioner; J.H. Martindale, Treasurer.


The post office was established in 1868, and A.B. Straub was first appointed. His successors have been W.C. Martindale, Ur Fitch, G.W. Sefrit, Aaron Cochran, Ed. Warner, J.H. Martindale, H.M. Martindale and Wesley Stiffler.

Fire Protection

A hand engine was purchased in 1883, at Ottumwa, at a cost of $180, together with fifty feet of hose. A small building on Fifth street, near Maple, is rented for the use of the fire company, which has at present eight members; F.H. Bishop is chief.

Plow Factory

The Murray plow factory (J.C. Strawn, lessee) was erected in 1880, by the present operator. It is run by steam power. The boiler is ten feet long by four feet in diameter, and the engine is twenty-five horse power. It was made at Ottumwa, Iowa. The factory has fifty feet of shafting. Plows are made here to order, and all kinds of plow and cultivator repairing are undertaken. Mr. Strawn uses the Bradley cushioned hammer, from Syracuse, N.Y. The forges are all supplied by a blast from the Boston twenty-four inch noiseless forge blower.

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