By Tom McMillan
VP/ Communications, Pittsburgh Penguin s
Third-great grandson of William Murray
bold-face names are buried in St. Clair Cemetery
William Murray (1795-1870) was born in Ireland and came to America as a young boy with his parents, George and Sarah. Young William sampled several careers – he was trained as a carpenter before becoming a baker and driving the first breadwagon in Allegheny City (now the North Side) – but in 1830 he bought a 200-acre farm on what is roughly the site of the current Village Square Mall. Five generations of the Murray family lived on parts of that property for 100 years.
William and his wife Jane Gailey Murray (1793-1870) had four children, including Henry Harrison Murray (1828-1907), a member of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives in 1887-88 and a long-time farmer in the region. Other offspring were James Gailey Murray, a noted Pittsburgh businessman and political leader; Sarah Murray Gailey (1824-1904), who married Dr. Robert Gailey; and John D. Murray.
Henry. H Murray married Sarah Jane Hultz (1828-1904) who was part of the prominent Hultz family, and whose parents and grandparents and buried elsewhere in St. Clair Cemetery. Henry and Sarah had five children: Margaret Murray Stilley (1854-1920), who married Chester Stilley; William Webster Murray, Annie Laura Murray; Sarah Eva Murray (1869-1936); and Mary Cora Murray (1873-1945).
William Webster Murray (1856-1925) became involved in local politics, like his father, and served as County Commissioner of Allegheny County from 1897-1903. He married Isabel (Belle) Espy, whose parents, William and Mary Espy, are buried nearby in St. Clair Cemetery. William Espy was a prominent landowner in Dormont and Brookline, and Espy Avenue sits on a part of his former property. William Webster Murray and Isabel Espy Murray are buried across the street in Mt. Lebanon Cemetery.
It should be noted that the old headstones of William and Jane Gailey Murray, which were erected shortly after their deaths in 1870, toppled from their foundations at some point and were face-down on the ground. There was no listing of William and Jane in a 1970 inventory of the graves here, so we know that the stones were down for at least 40 years. In the spring of 2012, a group of men cleaning the cemetery (including the Murray’s great-great-great grandson), helped lift the stones and confirm that it was, in fact, the Murrays.