Captain Alexander McMurray
Captain Alexander McMurray, who has been connected with the traffic of Niagara River since some time in the "forties, was born in Bertie township, Welland county, in the Province of Ontario, Canada, April 21, 1829, and received but an ordinary education. His father, John McMurray, came from near Belfast, in the North of Ireland, to America about the year 1820. He was a baker by trade, but followed farming after settling in the Province of Ontario. His wife's name was Margaret Mills.
Alexander McMurray began life as a deckhand on the Erie canal. He took only one trip, to Albany and return, which he considered enough, as it lasted thirty-two days. This was in 1846. During the year of 1848 he was engaged most of the time at farm and carpenter work. In 1849 he engaged in business at Grand Island with David Hibbard, continuing thus for about six years, and then carried it on alone for the four years following. During the balance of the time until 1868 he conducted a summer resort and managed the pleasure yacht Jerome C. Keyes, which he built. This yacht he sold in 1868, and he then removed to Black Rock, where he was employed variously in farming, boating and carpenter work for about eight years. From 1873 until 1878 he worked at the carpenter's trade at Buffalo, and from that time until 1889 he lived at Grand Island. While there he farmed a tract of land of about fifty acres which he owned, did some carpenter work, and engaged also in the boat trade on the river. Part of this time he was master of the steamyachts Emma V. and Minnie, owned by David Sutton. From 1889 until October, 1895, Captain McMurray was master of the S.D. Cornell, of the Buffalo and Grand Island ferry, at the end of that time retiring to his quiet home at Bridgeburg (formerly Victoria), Province of Ontario, Canada, where he is enjoying rest from his many years of steady labor.
Captain McMurray was married, November 5, 1850, to Eliza Jane Wightman, and they have the following named children: William E., now (1898) thirty five years of age; Robert J., aged forty-four, captain of the tug Internation; John A., aged thirty-eight, engineer of the ferryboat Niagara; Mary Jane, aged forty-one; Cora, aged twenty-nine; and Stella, aged twenty-two. William was captain of the Idle Hour during the season of 1896.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.