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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

Important Biographies

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."

Community Information

There are approximately 46,746 people living in Murray Utah. The population breakdown of Murray is as follows- Race: 88% white, 9% Hispanic/Latino, 2% of Asian descent, 1% African American, <1% Native American, 9% “Other Race”, 2% two or more races. Gender: 52% Female, 48% Male. The median age of people in Murray is 34 years. All this information is as of the end of 2013.

There are approximately 3,300 businesses currently operating within the Murray area. There is 1 high school in the Murray school district, along with 2 junior high schools and 7 elementary schools. There are four colleges/ trade and vocational schools in Murray. There are also a variety of parks and recreational areas located within the city. Many of them funded by Murray itself with the others funded by Salt Lake County. The library in Murray makes it one of the few municipalities in Utah to have its own library.

Neighboring Community Websites

  • Taylorsville- Taylorsville is a closely neighboring community to Murray. Taylorsville is 3.3 miles to the west of Murray. For more information on Taylorsville please visit http://www.taylorsvilleut.gov/.
  • Cottonwood Heights- Cottonwood Heights is another closely neighboring city to Murray. Cottonwood heights is 6.3 miles to the southeast of Murray. For more information on Cottonwood Heights please visit http://cottonwoodheights.utah.gov/.
  • Holladay- Holladay is yet another closely neighboring small town. Holladay is 3.6 miles to the east of Murray. For more information on Holladay please visit http://www.cityofholladay.com/.
  • Salt Lake City- Salt Lake City is the nearest major city to Murray Utah. Salt Lake City is 8.2 miles to the north of Murray. For more information on Salt Lake City please visit http://www.slcgov.com/.
  • Millcreek- Millcreek is a small town neighboring Murray. Millcreek is 2.1 miles to the north-northeast of Murray. For more information on Millcreek please visit http://www.millcreektownship.org/.
  • West Jordan- West Jordan is another city (though not as large as Salt Lake City) near to Murray. West Jordan is 5.5 miles to the southwest of Murray. For more information on West Jordan please visit http://ci.west-jordan.ut.us/.
  • Sandy- Sandy is a moderately sized city close to the south of Murray. Sandy is 8.2 miles to the south-southwest of Murray. For more information on Sandy please visit http://sandy.utah.gov/.
  • West Valley- West valley is a collection of communities near Murray. West valley is about 10 miles to the west-northwest of Murray. For more information on West Valley please visit http://www.wvc-ut.gov/.

Cemetery History

        The city of Murray has one cemetery located on 5490 S Vine St. This cemetery has a rich history. Through the years, there have been many people and events involved in the establishment of the cemetery in bringing it forth to the cemetery it is today.

        The original land owners for the cemetery were William Wooten, William McMillan and John Benbow. William Wooten deeded a large portion of the land to the LDS South Cottonwood Relief Society. William Mcmillan deeded his part of the land to James Godfrey. Eventually, the land was deeded over to the LDS South Cottonwood Ward.

        On June 6, 1872, the bishop of the ward, Joseph Sharp Rawlins, decided to plan a cemetery over the land. Before the cemetery was established, the pioneers would bury their loved ones in the Salt Lake Cemetery, in nearby community cemeteries, or in private cemeteries near their properties. The cemetery was established around 1872. It was named the Murray Cemetery.

        The very first grave for the new cemetery was for pioneer John Benbow, who now has over 275 descendants. Afterwards, some private graves were transferred over. The first graves belonged to early Mormon Pioneer settlers who traveled to Utah from the British Isles and

        Scandinavian countries. As the smelting industry in Murray started to expand, so did the cemetery. It began to include families who traveled to Utah after 1870 from Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, and many other Eastern European Countries.

        In 1913, Bishop William B. Erekson began negotiations to transfer the cemetery lot to the city of Murray. The cemetery needed more upkeeping and the church did not have the authority to tax people to maintain and beautify it. The city, on the other hand, did have this power, and so it was reasonable to sell the land. Murray City purchased the land on August 1917 for $3,150 and renamed it the Murray City Cemetery.


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  • This page was last modified on 25 April 2014, at 23:25.
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