Stewart Murray, general freight agent for the Northern Steamship Company, was born at Newport (now Marine City), Mich., July 29, 1850, a son of Peter and Euphemia (Blackie) Murray, who were both natives of Scotland, and who were the parents of nine children, as follows: Margaret; Peter; Mary, who died in childhood; Euphemia; James, who, as marine engineer, was drowned on the steamer Sunbeam, which was wrecked or foundered in Lake Superior in August, 1863; Stewart; Mary; Bessie, who died in 1876; and John. Peter Murray became a marine engineer early in life, and served in that capacity on various vessels sailing out of Glasgow, and trading to ports all around the British Isles, until May, 1850, when he came with his family to the United States to take charge as chief engineer of the E.B. Ward's line of steamers, settling in Detroit. Afterward he moved his family to a farm about eight miles back of Newport, Mich., himself continuing on the lakes. He remained on the lakes until 1884, when the steamer Montgomery, of which he was engineer at that time, was burned at her docks at Port Huron. He then retired from the lakes and returned to Detroit, and for a portion of the time was stationary engineer until his death, which occurred September 30, 1892. Mrs. Murray is still living in Detroit.
Stewart Murry lived upon the farm from 1854 to about 1859, when the family moved to Marine City (then Newport), and there for a couple of years he attended a private school conducted by Misses Mary and Ada Brindel, nieces of Emily Ward, who is well know to all lake people. In 1861 they removed to Detroit, where for about two years he attended the public schools. Then his father was appointed chief engineer of the City of Milwaukee, of the Detroit, Grand Haven & Milwaukee line, whose steamers City of Detroit and City of Milwaukee, plied between Detroit and Milwaukee, and were familiarly known as the "black boats." The family removed to Milwaukee, and Mr. Murray there attended the public schools until 1864. In this latter year he left school against his parents' wishes, and went to work in the Western Union Telegraph office as messenger boy. Remaining in this position about a year he entered a commission house, in which position he remained about six months. During winter of 1865-66 he was in an architect's office in Milwaukee, and in the fall of 1865 he secured a position with D. M. Brigham, agent for the Evans line of steamers, taking this position in May, 1866, and retaining it until April, 1890, a period of twenty-four years, during which time he was advanced through all the grades, from general clerk up to confidential bookkeeper and contracting agent. It was during this time that the Evans line became the Erie and Western Transportation Company, more familiarly known as the Anchor line.
In April, 1890, Mr. Murray was appointed agent for the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company, securing for them their docks and opening their agency at Milwaukee, thus being their first agent at that place. In February, 1891, he was removed to Chicago, where as western agent he remained until 1892, when a change in the management took place, the Philadelphia & Reading railroad system buying out the Lehigh Valley, which then became a part of the Reading system. Mr. John Gordon, then manager of the Northern Steamship Company, was appointed manager of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company, and held the position until January, 1894, bringing Mr. Murray to Buffalo, September 1, 1892. During 1892 and 1893 Mr. Murray was in fact acting general freight agent of the line, without the title, but acted more particularly in the interest of the Lehigh Valley Transportation Company. On April 21, 1894, Mr. Murray was appointed general freight agent for the Northern Steamship Company.
On December 10, 1873, Mr. Murray was married to Miss Alice C. Williams, daughter of Joseph Williams, one of the earliest settlers of Milwaukee, who in 1833 left the State of New York, traveling by canal to Buffalo, by lakeboat to Detroit, and thence by team around the southern end of Lake Michigan all the way to Milwaukee. Mr. Williams died in 1877. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Murray are as follows: Stewart W., born May 8, 1875; Bessie R., born October 29, 1876; Charles B., born July 16, 1878, died in 1888; Alice S., born April 13, 1880.
During Mr. Murray's connection with the lake transportation business he has witnessed wonderful changes, not only in the methods but in the rates. He has himself billed wheat at twenty-two cents per bushel from Milwaukee to Buffalo, and flour at $2.50 per barrel, Milwaukee to New York. During the season of 1896 the average rate of freight on wheat from Chicago to Buffalo was one and seven-tenths cents. When he first went into transportation the maximum carrying capacity of lake steamers was five or six hundred tons, now it is five or six thousand tons. Mr. Murray is a man who has profited by observation, and by careful study and keen insight into men and affairs has attained his present position.
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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.