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General Murray History
The area where Murray City is located now started out as a temporary home for several different Native American tribes. They camped there during migrations. These tribes included the Bannock, Paiute, and Shoshone. The Mormon pioneers permanently settled the area, which was originally called South Cottonwood, in 1848. It started out as an agricultural community before transitioning into an industrial and then suburban community.
As a part of Murray’s industrial development, the first smelter was built there in 1870 because of the city's proximity to the railroad. A few of the largest smelters in the region were in Murray around that time. They were a major landmark. Their first official post office was also established in 1870. The post office was originally named South Cottonwood Post Office, but its name was changed to Murray Post Office in 1883. The post office was named after the civil war general and territorial governor Eli Murray, and Murray City got its name from the post office. Murray continued to grow and develop as a city in the coming years.
In the early twentieth century, Murray was considered to be very successful in terms of business and government cooperation. However, during the Great Depression in the 1930s, Murray's industry experienced great economic loss. The smelting industry that had been a large part of Murray began to vanish around this time. Intermountain Medical Center, one of the most prestigious hospitals in the region now lies on the land where the smelters once were and is a big and important part of the community. Due to the Murray's central location, the city became a major retail area around the 1950s and remains this way. Murray's borders have been expanded several times over the past century, forming the city into what it is today.
Family History Resources
Eli Houston Murray: Murray was born in 1843 in Cloverport, Kentucky. After serving as Civil War General, Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him Governor of Utah territory in 1880. Murray served as Governor for the next six years before Grover Cleveland discontinued his term. Best known for his opposition to the LDS influence and culture, Murray is remembered for overriding the election of LDS church leader and polygamist George Q. Cannon to appoint Allen G. Campbell as delegate to Congress to minimize LDS representation and influence. In 1883, the South Cottonwood Post Office was changed to Murray Post Office in his honor, and the present-named city soon followed just years before Murray’s death in 1896.
George Huscher: After following a Mayor-Council form of government from 1903 to 1911, George Huscher was appointed the first mayor of Murray, Utah following the new Commission form of government. He served from 1912-1915 and to date remains the only socialist elected to a major office in the state of Utah. The area’s influential labor and union populations rallied immense support for the socialist party and were critical to Huscher’s appointment. Huscher is best known both for the establishment of the presently named Murray City Power Department, which was critical in the development of Murray’s municipal power plant.
Brigham Young: Brigham Young, successor to Joseph Smith as President of the Church of the Latter Day Saints after Smith’s death in 1844, believed Salt Lake Valley would be the optimal place for the LDS population to settle. After years of confrontation and conflict with neighboring settlements due to religious beliefs and practices, Young sought after an area unattractive to these other cultures and religions. In July of 1847, the first company reached Salt Lake Valley. Scouts Erastus Snow and Orson Pratt arrived in the Valley on July 21, followed shortly by Wilford Woodruff, driver of Young’s wagon, and Young himself on July 24. Days later, on July 27, Young established a site for the Salt Lake Temple. Within the next six months, over 2,000 members of the LDS community had completed the journey to the Salt Lake Valley.
Emily S. Richards: In 1870, the Utah Territorial Legislature granted women the right to vote, making Utah the second state in US history to legalize women’s suffrage. Seventeen years later, congress repealed the legislature as part of a national anti-polygamist movement. Just one year later, at the age of 38, Emily S. Richards proposed the creation of a Utah sector to the National Women’s Suffrage Association. The LDS church approved her proposal, setting Utah’s territorial women’s suffrage association into motion on January 10, 1989. Richards was appointed a state organizer and acted to form local community sectors of the association throughout the state of Utah. Through her constant efforts, along with several other active members of the association, Congress adopted Utah’s new Constitution on November 5, 1895 with the following provision: "the rights of citizens of the State of Utah to vote and hold office shall not be denied or abridged on account of sex. Both male and female citizens of this state shall enjoy equally all civil, political and religious rights and privileges."
Family History Web Sites
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