Biography of George H. McMurray
Poweshiek County, IA Biographies





GEORGE H. McMURRAY.
Occupying a position of leadership in connection with many of the most important interests, business enterprises and public projects of Grinnell, George H. McMurray has contributed in substantial and gratifying measure to the growth and prosperity of the city, and has so indelibly impressed himself upon the community in the work of advancement that no history of this section of the state would be complete without prominent reference to him. Iowa may well be proud to number him among her native sons.

His birth occurred in Bellevue, Jackson county, on the 18th of October, 1863, his parents being James H. and Thirza (Smith) McMurray, the former a native of Delaware county, New York, and the latter of Galena, Illinois. They were married in Bellevue, Iowa, the father having located there in early manhood. The mother was a daughter of Judge Joseph Smith. who presided over the court of his district in Iowa. He had taken up his abode in Bellevue early in the '50s, removing to this state from Knoxville, Tennessee. On becoming a resident of Bellevue James H. McMurray had turned his attention to merchandising and some years later he removed his business to Dewitt, Iowa, and afterward to Brooklyn, Poweshiek county, in 1869. He was prominently identified with the business interests of that town for eighteen years when he went to California for the benefit of his health, spending seven years in Los Angeles. In 1892 he became a resident of Grinnell and purchased a half interest in the business owned by his sons, G. H. McMurray and James H. McMurray, since which time the enterprise has been conducted under the name of J. H. McMurray, Jr. & Company. For the past thirty five years or more father and son have conducted the largest stores in their respective lines in Poweshiek county, their combined stocks representing an aggregate investment of seventy thousand dollars. The name of McMurray is a synonym for progressiveness in commercial lines and their activities have constituted a standard that others have followed.

George H. McMurray was reared at home, acquiring his education in the public schools and also in a boarding school at Clinton, Iowa, where he finished the work of the freshman year. From the early age of twelve years, however, he has devoted much of his time to merchandising, assisting in his father's store when not in school. In 1882 he embarked in merchandising on his own account, forming a partnership with Wesley Manatt, in which connection they established business under the firm name of McMurray & Manatt. After five years they sold out and George H. McMurray and his brother J. H. McMurray, Jr., organized the firm of McMurray Brothers and opened a store in Grinnell. The business relation between them was maintained for five years, at the end of which time, in 1892, the father returned from California and George H. McMurray sold his interest to him and opened his present clothing business, which he has successfully carried on for the past eighteen years. He is today the leading clothier of Poweshiek county, employs five people and conducts a very extensive business. During much of this period he has been interested in branch stores at West Union and Anita, Iowa, and elsewhere. However; he has since disposed of these and now gives much of his time to the operation of a valuable farm of four hundred acres which he owns in Chester township. On this place he raises horses and feeds cattle and also carries on the usual farm work in the production of grain. He leads an extremely busy and useful life and his determined nature enables him to carry forward to successful completion whatever he undertakes. His cooperation is counted a valuable asset in any business venture and it is felt that his aid will secure a prosperous outcome. He was one of the organizers of the Citizens' National Bank and is a member of its board of directors. He readily solves intricate and involved financial problems and seems to see from the circumference to the very center of things, recognizing with almost unerring judgment the possibilities for the attainment of success in any given connection.

On the 6th of July, 1886, Mr. McMurray was married to Miss Margaret C. Wright, of Brooklyn, this county, and unto them have been born three children: Harry F., who is now a senior in Grinnell College; Arthur R., who is pursuing the work of the junior year; and Donald J., who is yet a student in the public schools. The family are prominent socially and their own home is most attractive by reason of its warm hearted and cordial hospitality. Mr. McMurray is a member of Brooklyn Lodge, No. 174, A. F. & A. M., and he gives his political allegiance to the republican party, but has never been an aspirant for office. Many look to him as the leader in all public enterprises and follow his example, for it is known that his judgment is sound and his loyalty to the best interests of the community above question.

From:
History of Poweshiek County, Iowa
A Record of settlement, organization
progress and achievement
By: Prof. L. F. Parker
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1911


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