William “Riley” Murray

William “Riley” Murray
b. 27 April 1873, Rosedale, Parke County, Indiana, to Joseph and Mahala (Montgomery) Murray
d. 17 October 1959, Devils Lake, Ramsey County, North Dakota

m. 3 July 1893, Rosedale, Parke County, Indiana
Elizabeth Ellen Bryant
b. 24 June 1875, Vigo County, Indiana, to William Cleaster and Julia Louise (Grindle) Bryant
d. 16 July 1946, Devils Lake, Ramsey County, North Dakota

Children with Elizabeth Ellen Bryant:

  • Raymond (1894-1894)
  • Grace Ellen (1895-1963) married (1) William Epperson, (2) Forrest E. Cox, (3) S. Alvin
  • Ethel Gladys (1897-1987) married Willard D. Greenleaf
  • Stella (1899-1901)
  • Mary May (1901-1989) married (1) Georg Frison, (2) Claude Allen
  • William Anthony (1903-1995) married Ann Mary Johnson
  • Harry Cleaster (1905-1984) married Myrtle Kline
  • Lee Harvey (1907-1987) married Lillian Standahl
  • Julia Esther (1913-1984) married (1) Walter Horne, (2) Felix Ochose, (3) Arnold Huddleston, (4) Walter Shaver

While in Indiana, Riley worked as a checker in the coal mines. He would take the metal “checks” or brass tags off of each man’s cart of coal as he weighed it and credited the man with the coal he had dug.

In 1914, at the urging of Elizabeth’s brother Bill, the family moved to Devils Lake, North Dakota. Riley worked for Bill, who maintained a coal and feed business, for the first year. In the spring of 1915, Riley went into farming. In 1923, he rented two farms of 500 acres each, with rights to 200 acres of Dry Lake. He used horses and employed quite a few men during the year, especially during harvest time.

The Murray home was noted for its hospitality and was a neighborhood gathering place on Sundays. There would be games of baseball, horseshoe pitching, and other activities with Elizabeth serving hundred of doughnuts and beverages.

In the fall of 1943, the farm machinery was sold at auction, and Riley and Elizabeth retired in Devils Lake. The farm was rented to son Bill Murray. Daughter, Ethel Greenleaf, continued to live in Devils Lake, but the rest of the family spread out from Michigan to Washington states.

Submitted by:
Jennifer Cruse
Terre Haute IN
E-mail: jencruse@msn.com

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