John McMurtrie



( 24 August 1795- June 12 1849)

Updated: 14 February 2005


John McMurtrie was the son of Hugh McMurtrie (born ca1760-1807) and Margaret “PeggyCrothers (1769 – 23 April 1836) who were married 1 August 1793. Margaret died in her 67th year at the home of her son John in Pennsylvania. John was born 24 August 1795 at New Columbia, then Northumberland County, now Union County, Pennsylvania. New Columbia are only a few miles apart on the Susquehanna River, just a short distance from the place where Interstate 80 now crosses now the river. Many of their children are buried at nearby Milton, Pennsylvania. John was the oldest son of Hugh and Margaret. His father died when he was about 12 years old and, since there were many brothers and sisters, frontier life must have been rough indeed. I have not located the family in the 1810 Federal census.

John McMurtrie married Julia Ann Bailey (1798- 11 September 1871) at White Deer, Union County, Pennsylvania in 1817. I know nothing of her ancestors. The 1820 Federal census shows John McMurtrie’s family living in White Deer, Union County Pennsylvania. With him were one male under 10 (his oldest son); one male 10-16 (probably his youngest brother); two males 26-45 (Probably John and another unmarried brother); one female between 16 and 20 (his wife?) and one female over 45 (his widowed mother Margaret). The 1830 Federal census shows a John McMurtrie in house 262 in New Columbia, Union County, Pennsylvania. With him are his wife and several children, but not his mother, who seems at the time to be living with his brother George. Other McMurtrie’s with various spellings in 1830 include, West Buffalo Township; Samuel McMurtrie, White Deer; William McMurtrie of New Columbia Township. In neighboring Northumberland County we find George McMurtry, John McMurtry, and James McMurtry. The difference in spelling may only reflect a difference in census taker. Certainly John was surrounded by a large number of brothers and sisters and their children. He was to prove an extremely prolific person. The 1840 census records show John McMurtrie living in White Deer, Union County, Pennsylvania, with the following children: 1-Male under 5; 1-Male 5-10; 1 male 10-15; one male 15-20; 1-Male-20-30; 1 male 40-50; 1-Female 5-10; 1-Female 10-15; 1 Female 15-20; and one female 40-50.

In 1844 John McMurtrie became part of a large migration from Union County to St. Joseph County, Michigan. He departed 26 September 1844 and arrived, exactly one month later on 26 October. in Park Township, St. Joseph County, Michigan. Their ten surviving children made the journey with them. The trek took them across the Black Swamp of Ohio but I know of no other details except that his eldest son, Paschel Lewis, was married at the time and was one of the many family members who came with him. John lived just under five years in his new home. The 1845 Park Township census finds him living in Park Township. He may have lived in section 29 of the township. John McMurtrie died in Park Township, St. Joseph County, Michigan on 12 June 1849. His probate notice appeared in the Western Chronicle 20 October 1849, p. 3. It says little other than Paschal L. McMurtrie has been granted letters of administration. At the time of his death six children, ages 19 to 7 years were living at home. He is buried with near wife and other relatives at Riverside Cemetery, Three Rivers, Michigan.

John and Julia Ann had at least thirteen children. All but the youngest, David Thomas McMurtrie, were born in Union County, Pennsylvania. Care should be taken with all of the dates; some been generated by others and some are suspect 

1.. Pascal Lewis McMurtrie [or Lewis Pascal McMurtrie in one document]. He is also listed as P.L. McMurtrie (29 August 1818 to 7 February 1896). P. L. McMurtrie was born at New Columbia, Pennsylvania. In 1849 he was executor of his father’s estate. P.L. McMurtrie was married four times. On 21 January 1840 he wed Rebecca Burke (25 January 1820 to 30 October 1850) in Pennsylvania. None of their three children reached maturity. They include Anson H. McMurtrie (31 May1842- to 22 January1844) was buried in Milton Cemetery in Pennsylvania. ; John McMurtrie (1 September 1843- 7 August 1845), and William McMurtrie (28 September 1848- 20 November 1859). In 1850 we find Paschal Living in Lockport Township of St. Joseph County. I0 30 October 1850, his first wife died.  On 19 February 1852 in Michigan, P.L. married Lorraine “Loraina” Gaskins (19 October 1822 to 7 February 1854) who had been born in Pennsylvania.  Their only child was Hiram Halliday McMurtrie who was born in Michigan 28 November 1853; Hiram would later marrry Marie Antionette Terrell, who was a daughter of Chester Hale – a son of David S. Hale – and a daughter of Laura Ann Oaks who later married Crothers McMurtrie.  He died 15 September 1924.  Three months after Hiram’s birth, P.L.’s wife Lorana died. P.L. was unable to take care of the baby; so young Hiram was adopted by Paschel Lewis’s sister Margaret Carrothers Halliday (see below). Hiram Halliday married Catherine Gentzler of Moorepark, Michigan (7 October 1854 to 24 March 1889); she died in Moorepark, Michigan. On 16 June 1897 Hiram later married Marie Antoinette (Hale) Terrill (13 September 1862 at Schoolcraft, Kalamazoo County, Michigan) of Sparta, Tennessee. F.J. McMurtrie believed she was the daughter of Chester H. Hale, a son by his first wife and that David later married Mary Ann McMurtrie’s husband David S. Hale; her mother was a sister of Laura Oakes, wife of Crothers McMurtrie. The truth of this is not clear. Hiram died in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1924. Hiram was returned to Riverside Cemetery in Three Rivers for burial next to his adopted parents. On 31 May 1855 P.L. McMurtrie married twenty-five year old Ruth (Kline) Evans (29 February 1820 to 26 September 1866). We find them in the 1860 census in St. Joseph County where P.L. is working as a carpenter and has real estate worth $4,000 and personal property worth $1,000, fairly substantial sums. With them is a five-year-old daughter Ruth McMurtrie. P.L.’s wife died in 1866. On 10 September 1867 he married a widow with at least three children, Mercy Keel Gibbs (9 December 1827 to ? who died in Osage, Iowa). Their only child was Emma R. McMurtrie (11 February 1869 to 24 September 1873) who died at age four. P.L. McMurtrie lived out the remainder of his life in Three Rivers as a carpenter and businessman.  He died in 1896 [1899?] and was buried in Riverside cemetery, Three Rivers, Michigan.

2. Margaret Crothers McMurtrie (20 September 1821 to 1 September 1884). Margaret’s middle name comes from her mother’s mother’s family. She married John Halliday (6 August1812 to 5 August 1887 [or1881]) on 9 December 1849. They lived in Park Township, perhaps on section 29, St. Joseph County and are both buried in Riverside cemetery, Three Rivers, Michigan. They adopted Hiram H. McMurtrie, the son of Paschal Lewis McMurtrie (see above).

 3. Jacob Bailey McMurtrie (18 July 1823 to 21 September 1899) On 26 November 1846, probably in Michigan, he married Mary R. Good. (11 December 1829 to 27 September 1904) on 26 November 1846. She may have been related to Edward Good who is listed in the 1845 Park Township census just below John McMurtrie. A son Harris Carlisle McMurtrie was born 25 November 1847 and died 19 November 1899; Harris married Addie Wright (21 July 1841-4 December 1918) 25 July 1865In 1860 Jacob listed his occupation as carpenter and joiner. With him were children Harris age 11 and Martha age 9.  In 1880 Jacob Bailey McMurtrie living was Cedar Springs, Kent County, Michigan where he was working as a carpenter. At that time the couple had a daughter Nellie G. McMurtrie, age 19 and a granddaughter Jesse McMurtrie, age 13. It is unclear who Jesse’s parents were. Jacob Bailey McMurtrie died while living in Cadillac, Michigan, and is listed as a “former resident of Three Rivers.” At the time of his death he was listed as a Baptist.  He is probably buried Riverside Cemetery, Three Rivers, Michigan.

.4. Mary Ann McMurtrie (13 November 1825 to 22 January 1878) married David S. Hale  (13 September 1818 to 13 November 1885) on 1 April 1847 in St. Joseph County Michigan. Details of her children are under her own file.

5. Lydia Ann McMurtrie (1 October 1827 to 4 November 1832). She died at age five in Pennsylvania and is buried at Milton, Pennsylvania.

.6. John Henderson McMurtrie (20 October 1829 to 21 June 1919). John Henderson McMurtrie married Anna Fisher  (13 August 1836 to 3 March 1857) on 16 March 1854, in St. Joseph County, Michigan. On 6 June 1858 he married Annie Elizabeth Corner (11 August 1839 to 27 September 1916) who had been who had been born at Amotherby, near Scarborough, England. The wedding took place in Park Township, St. Joseph County, Michigan. Hugh McMurtrie and George Corner were witnesses. . She was still alive in 1880.when the Federal census found them living in Three Rivers, Michigan where John was working as a carpenter. He served as a private in Company K., 16th Michigan Voulenteer Infantry and was discharged in 1867. Living with them were their children the future genealogist Frederick James McMurtrie (born17 September 1867), who married Rose Linn Blue (born 27 September 1869) and Ida Jane McMurtrie (20 January 1860 to 27 September 1916) who is buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan. . Ann Elizabeth Corner McMurtrie died in Detroit, Michigan, 27 September 1916 and is buried in Evergreen cemetery in Detroit. John Henderson McMurtrie died in Detroit 21 June 1919 and is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.

7. James McMurtrie (26 September 1831 to 12 May 1889). He married Flora Comstock Van Brunt about 1861. She was the widow of his business partner, George Van Brunt (1821 – 1857) who had been born in New York, Migrated to Michigan, and had married Flora in 1843 in Comstock, Michigan. In 1853 the Van Brunts moved to Mankato, Minnesota where George died 5 January 1857. I do not know when James McMurtrie married Van Brunt’s widow. James died in Mankato, Minnesota, in 1889. Flora had two daughters by her first marriage, Mary E. and Henrietta E. James’s wife Flora, Christian Gable McMurtrie, and Christian’s wife are all buried at Manketo, Minnesota.

8. William Thomas McMurtrie (17 December 1833 to 5 March 1838). He died of “scarlitina and putrid throat” at age five in Pennsylvania. He is buried at Milton, Pennsylvania.

 9. Julia Ann McMurtrie (15 October 1835 to 14 February 1899). On 29 May 1856 Julia Ann married Benjamin Haines (died 6 May 1902), probably in Three Rivers, Michigan. In 1880 she was living with her husband, a farmer, in Grant Township, Grand Traverse County, Michigan. Both Julia and her husband are buried in Benzie County, Michigan.

10. Hugh McMurtrie (5 October 1837 to 11 November 1921) Hugh married Theresa Grignon in August 1865.  and then in August. In August of 1871 he married Sarah D. King.  He is buried at Tacoma, Washington.

11. Crothers McMurtrie [Cruthus McMurtree in 1850 Census] (2 September 1839 to 30 April 1919). Crothers McMurtrie married Laura Ann Oakes (4 November 1843 - ?) 1 November 1862.She had a daughter Marie Antionette who was first married to Richard Terrell, was divorced, and then Hiram McMurtrie. He died Madison County Alabama. Both Crothers and his wife are buried at Huntsville.

12.  Martha Hewitt McMurtrie (3 May 1842 to 7 August 1889). Martha married Christian Gable (born ca 1839 in Pennsylvania and died 13 November 1919) on 11 February 1864. In 1880 he was a carpenter living in Osage, Mitchell County, Iowa. At that time the couple had Ella M. Gable, age 15 born in Michigan and Magge S. Gable born in Iowa.

 13.  David Thomas McMurtrie (19 March 1845 to 2 April 1847). F. J. McMurtrie says he died in Pennsylvania and is buried at Milton in that state, but this would make his date for the family migration to the west incorrect.


Genealogist Frederick J. McMurtrie was to use the middle names of some of John’s Children to support his claim to a link with William McMurtrie.  These are: Crothers, Lewis, Henderson, Bailey, Thomas and Hewitt. None of the ones we can recognize go back further than his parent’s generation.

Written by William D. Walters, Jr.
[email protected]

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