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George Murray Tree-Jan 2020.jpg

George Murray (junior)




  • Born in Rathen, Scotland July 9-10, 1850

  • Christened August 16, 1850

  • Immigrated to Canada in 1889

  • Married Elizabeth McRobbie February 21, 1874. She died after childbirth in 1875

  • Married Elizabeth Thom June 16, 1877

  • Died in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in April 23, 1939

George Murray (junior) was baptised in the parish of Rathen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. At that time, his father (also George Murray) was a farmer of 85 acres on the Redhouse farm on the estate of Cortes, in the parish of Rathen, Aberdeenshire. The family of George (senior) and Barbara (nee Robertson) Murray with their children had moved to Redhouse around 1848 to 1850.


As George (junior) grew up he most likely worked on the farm. In the 1871 census, his father was farming up to 100 acres and had 4 employees.

Some time between the censuses of 1841 and 1851 the family of Alexander Dalrymple Fraser moved into Stonehouse which was next door to Redhouse and less than 1/2 mile away. Alexander and Magdalene Fraser had a daughter, Anne Greig Fraser, born April 2, 1844. Anne grew up in Stonehouse and gave birth to John Robertson Murray there on April 5, 1872. John's father was listed as George Murray, farmer's son, living at home at Redhouse, Rathen. The Fraser family continued to live in Stonehouse until after the 1891 census. For more information about Anne and the Fraser family, please CLICK HERE.

On February 21, 1874, George Murray (junior) married Elizabeth McRobbie.  Elizabeth was born October 1, 1851. The 1871 census for the Parish of Rathen, shows the McRobbie family consisting of Elizabeth's parents, George and Elizabeth (nee Davidson), and her siblings; one of which was her twin brother Edward (age 19). George Murray and Elizabeth (nee McRobbie) had a daughter, Elizabeth, born February 8, 1875. The mother Elizabeth died on February 13, 1875, 5 days after her daughter was born She was 23 years old.


By the 1881 census, the Murray family no longer lived at Redhouse. It is thought that George (senior) lost tenure of the farm between 1871 and 1881. In 1881 George (junior), his wife, and children lived at Glendaveny Cottage, in the parish of Peterhead. Did they farm at Glendaveny?

George (senior) died in Aberdeen city on June 28, 1886. Eventually, George (junior) could see no future for his family in Scotland and decided to immigrate to Canada in 1889. George went ahead of his family, leaving them in Glendaveny until he got established in Canada. The ship he most likely took was the Vancouver, of the Dominion Line. This ship departed Liverpool on August 22, 1889, and arrived in Quebec city on August 31, 1889, then on to Montreal the same day. In Saskatchewan Canada, George got work on the railway and was able to send for his family in 1890.

For historical context, Louis Riel led the Northwest Rebellion in Saskatchewan in 1885. Saskatchewan became a province in 1905.


George's family followed and took the ship Pomeranian of the Allen Line Steamship Company. It departed from Glasgow, Scotland on August 9, 1890. On board were Elizabeth (listed as Housewife), and children John, George, Agnes, Jessie, Robertson, and Alex. Daughter Elizabeth stayed behind in Scotland to care for her ailing grandmother, Barbara (nee Robertson) Murray. The ship arrived at Quebec City, Canada on August 20, 1890, where they disembarked. (The ship went on to Montreal the same day.)


They traveled by train to Winnipeg, where John stayed to work, then on to Saltcoats (then in Assiniboia, now in Saskatchewan), arriving there around August 29th, 1890. They appear on the May 23, 1891 census with children Agnus, Jessie, and Robin (Robertson), but not Alex, who had died September 7, 1890. George (father) is shown as a Farmer. Son, George, is enumerated with the Kumph family, who owned the hotel in Saltcoats. That June (1891) they moved to the homestead  near  Saltcoats.


The quarter section they were granted as homesteaders was:

SE  quarter section of Section 20, Township 24, Range 2, west of the 2nd meridian. They reached their land by traveling about 6 miles north westerly on foot along a prairie trail, now called Highway 16 (the Yellowhead Route) which runs right through their land. To see maps, CLICK HERE.

From the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, you will find homestead documents about this land when you  CLICK HERE.


After many hardships they eventually gave up farming and came to live in Winnipeg, Manitoba, likely early in 1894. They first stayed with a family named McInnis. Shortly thereafter, still in 1894, they moved into a block at 220 James Street, across the street from the police station at 221 James Street. They stayed in this block “Maybe just for the Winter”, Jessie says in “The Murrays Come to Canada”. At this time, the father George is a labourer in a livery barn.

In 1895 the Murray family moved into 259 Princess Street, which Jessie described as the “little house on Princess Street” where “Johnnie and George had a room and Mother and we girls slept in two double beds in the front room.” ['The Murrays Come to Canada']. George's occupation is unknown at this time.

The next move for George and Elizabeth Murray was to 324 Ross Avenue where they lived in 1896 with daughters Agnes, Jessie, Robertson, and Margaret. George (the father) was a labourer. Later in 1896 George, Elizabeth and daughters moved to Pacific Avenue where their last child, daughter Mary Ur(e)y, was born on October 7, 1896.

There is no information for 1897, but in 1898 George and Elizabeth Murray, with their 5 daughters moved to 294 Ellen Street. George is listed as a teamster in this year, which was a person who drove a team of horses, not uncommon in those days. Remembering that George grew up on a farm in Rathen he would be very familiar with horses.

As the century came to a close, in 1899, 1900 and 1901, George Murray and family are still living at 294 Ellen. The family at 294 Ellen consisted of : (parents) George and Elizabeth, son George, and daughters Agnes, Jessie, Robertson, Maggie (Margaret), and Mary U. The father, George was still a teamster in 1899, becoming a labourer in 1900, and a dairy man in 1901.  Their son, George, is not listed in 1899 but in 1900 his occupation is listed as a tinner (tinsmith) for W.W. Cross and he continued to live with his parents at 294 Ellen. Son George remained unmarried, living with his parents throughout their lives.

The father George's occupation is unknown in 1902, but in 1903, now a milkman (milk delivery by horse drawn wagon), he and Elizabeth, with son George (the tinsmith) and daughters Agnes, Jessie, Robertson, Margaret, and Mary moved to 262 Nora Street. They lived there in 1904.

In 1905, George, Elizabeth and family moved to 255 Sherman, which could be 259 re-numbered or the house 2 doors over. So, at 255 Sherman were Jessie, Agnes, Robin, and son George (the tinsmith) and parents George and Elizabeth. Father George is listed as a ‘dairyman’ which is likely the same occupation as the year before (milkman).

The year 1906 was a census year in Manitoba. The population of Winnipeg was 90,153 people. In this year George, Elizabeth, and family (son George, daughters Agnes, Jessie, Robertson. Margaret, and Mary) moved to 659 Simcoe. [Robertson was known as Robyn and Margaret was known as Nellie]. The family will live at 659 Simcoe until 1920 or 1921. George's occupation will be 'dairyman' until 1910 when he became a coal merchant. Subsequent occupations for George were:  coal dealer (1911), coal oil salesman (1912), traveller (1913), no occupation (1914), salesman (1915), market gardener (1916), oil delivery (1918), and oil dealer (1919).  George's occupation was not found in 1920. In 1920 daughters Mary and Margaret moved into 701 Banning which would become the family home in 1921.

In the 1921 census, (the father) George is living on a farm, while his wife Elizabeth, son George (occupation listed as Tinsmith-in a workshop), and daughters Margaret and Mary Ury are living at 701 Banning Street in the west end of Winnipeg. The farm land where George lived is located at Section 33, Township 12, Range 3 east of the 1st meridian, in the municipality of St. Paul, north of Winnipeg. George is shown as a Farmer, working on a farm. He was 71 years old at the time. 


Margaret married Hugh Campbell Anderson and moved out of 701 Banning, possibly in 1923. Mary married Charles Nicholson Hendry and moved out of 701 Banning, possibly in 1924. George (the father), Elizabeth, and their son George continued living at 701 Banning until the end of their days. Elizabeth passed away September 12, 1938. George (the father) passed away less than a year later on April 23, 1939. Their son George passed away on October 10, 1949.

George Murray rode his bicycle well into his 80's. George would ride his bike from 701 Banning over to Norwood to visit his son John who lived at 210 Horace Street, at that time.  He loved to play the fiddle and was a good tap dancer.  Occasionally, George (who was my maternal great-great-grandfather) would walk across the field (there were few houses then) from 701 Banning to 1040 Garfield to enjoy playing the fiddle while Georgina Cruickshank (who was my paternal Granny) played the piano. George is remembered as being always cheery.  He wrote poetry which is still in the family today.  He liked to have a little smoke down the basement.  Another family story says that he also worked for Hutchings Harness Company, which is yet to be confirmed.

One of George's beautiful poems is found in this PDF file.


Elizabeth (McRobbie) married George Murray on February 21, 1874. She died the very next year, February 13, 1875, 5 days after her daughter Elizabeth was born. Elizabeth McRobbie was step-mom (for about a year) to:

  • John Robertson Murray who was born April 2, 1872; died January 27, 1948.

          (his birth mother was Anne Fraser)         

               and she was birth-mom to:

  • Elizabeth Georgina Barbara Murray  Born  February 8, 1875 in Rathen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. She died 1973.

Going back in time, the Census records for Rathen in 1851 show that Elizabeth McRobbie's family was living at Ardmacron, in the Parish of Rathen. (This census reports spelling as "McRobie") Her father George was a 36 years old agricultural labourer who was born in Aberdeenshire. Her mother Elizabeth (nee Davidson) also 36 years old was born in Lonmay. The children in 1851 were Jane, 8 years old; Alexander, 5 years old; George, 3 years old; and William, 1 year old. Elizabeth was born Sept 28, 1851, after the census. All these children were born in Rathen.  George’s younger brother John McRobbie, who was a 23 year old agricultural labourer, was living with the family. Also in the home were 2 visitors: Hellen "Der???" (unclear) who is a 30 year old widow or widower occupied as an agricultural servant and 3 year old Alexander.

          It isn’t until the 1861 Census that we find the rest of the children; Edward and Elizabeth, both 9 years old; John,  6 years old; and Ann, 3 years old.  Also listed on the 1861 census were the family members mentioned above in the 1851 Census, except Jane who would have been 18 years old (possibly married?) Additionally, in the home are: James Ervin, an 18 year old shoemaker who was born in Ireland, and Mary Wisely, a 23 year old domestic servant who was born in Rathen. Their handwritten address looks like "Farmir Brae" which is very likely Ferniebrae.

          By 1871 the family members shown on the Census are the father George who is a farmer of 75 acres, born in Aberdour, which is in Aberdeenshire;

mother Elizabeth (spelled Elisabeth) born in Lonmay; children William, Edward, and John (these 3 boys are farmers servants), Tom who is a scholar, Alexander who is a 4 year old grandson, Elizabeth who is a general servant and Ann still living in the family home. Additionally in the home are: Jean Davidson who was born at Lonmay and at 84 years old is Elizabeth's widowed mother; and Grace McGregor a 19 year old general servant (domestic), born in Fraserburgh.

So we see from the 1871 census that the older 3 children (Jane, Alex, and George) are not living at home. We cannot tell the parentage of the grandson.


In 1874, Elizabeth McRobbie married George Murray.



Elizabeth Thom was born in Sandhole, Aberdeenshire, Scotland on November 6, 1855. Her mother, Ann Wallace, was a descendant of Adam Wallace, a first cousin of William Wallace (Braveheart). Her father was James Thom. She married George Murray in Lonmay, Scotland, on June 16, 1877.

Elizabeth (nee Thom) Murray

   aka Grandma Murray

Not much is known about Grandma Murray except as we glimpse her through the story written by her daughter Jessie called “The Murray’s Come To Canada”. She came to Canada with her five children and stepson, Johnnie (John Robertson Murray), in 1890 when she was 34 years old, the year following the immigration of her husband, George. They left Glasgow, August 9, 1890, in steerage class aboard the Pomeranian of the Allan line, and arrived August 20th.

          When they moved to the homestead near Saltcoats, it was left to the mother, Elizabeth, to take care of the farm and the children with the help of her eldest son, George. The father, George, had to go back to working on the railway to care for the family. Elizabeth endured the loss of their 2 year old child, Alex, soon after their arrival in Canada.  They suffered drought, fire and a frost that eventually wiped out their dreams of farming.

          They eventually moved to Winnipeg where George, the father, got work as a labourer, in a livery barn.  From all accounts Elizabeth and George faced many hardships in trying to make a new life for themselves in Canada.  She took in borders, nursed her children and others through sickness and did her best to keep her family together.

Elizabeth (Grandma Murray) died in Winnipeg September 12, 1938.


These are the children of George Murray (Born 1850)


  1. John Robertson Murray (April 2, 1872  - January 27, 1948). He was my great grandfather so we have a lot more on his family (below). His mother was Anne Fraser.

  2. Elizabeth Georgina Barbara Murray (variously Lizzie, Lizie)

  • Born at Red House of Rathen,  Aberdeenshire, Scotland, February 8, 1875

  • Daughter of Elizabeth McRobbie.

  • Immigrated to Canada on board the Sarmatian of the Allan Line Steamship Company; departing Glasgow September 19, 1891 and arriving in Quebec City September 29 or October 1, 1891. She traveled from Quebec by C.P.R. train to Winnipeg.

  • On the 1901 Winnipeg census she is living with Elisha Frederick Hutchings and family. E.F. Hutchings is owner of the harness making company where her (half) brother, John R. Murray worked. Elizabeth (Lizie) is listed as a Domestic on this census. 

  • Married Richard Roden (1870-1952), after 1901, and they later moved to Souris, Manitoba. Richard was a train engineer.

  • Six children: Florence Lillian (1902-1992), Richard Hendry (1904-1980), Harold ‘Red’ Murray (1906-1967), Jean Elizabeth (1908–2004), Earle Robertson (1909-2009), and Albert Edward (1912-1943, Killed in WWII).

  • Elizabeth died in Winnipeg, April 1, 1973


               Elizabeth was raised by her father (George) and step-mother (Elizabeth

               nee Thom) following the death of her mother, Elizabeth nee McRobbie.

               She remained in Scotland when the rest of the family immigrated in

               August 1890, to take care of her ailing grandmother, Barbara (nee

               Robertson) Murray, who died November 21, 1890.

  3. George Murray (March 13, 1878 - October 10, 1949) Born in Rathen, Scotland.

      Son of Elizabeth Thom. 

      He sailed with his mother, sisters, and little brother Alex, to Canada; then

      travelled by train on to Winnipeg then Saltcoats. George left the farm in

      Saltcoats when his (half) brother John R. Murray found him work in Winnipeg,   

      likely at a company of E. F. Hutchings.  George became a tinsmith working for

      Mr. Wallace, after the rest of the family came to Winnipeg. He was a

      sharpshooter and traveled around to shooting competitions. George

      remained unmarried.

  4. James Murray (May 27, 1879 – December 27, 1881) was a son of Elizabeth

      Thom.  He was born at Rathen Cottage, in Rathen, Aberdeenshire. He died at 2

      years old in Glendaveny, Peterhead, Scotland.


  5. Agnes Hendry Murray (July 14, 1881 - 1960) was born in Glendaveny,

      Scotland.  Daughter of Elizabeth Thom. She married John ('Jack') Alvin

       Hudson on August 22, 1906. Agnes was a secretary in Winnipeg.

      Jack (B: August 28, 1882 - D: 1959) was a carpenter, born in Mono Mills (now

      just Mono), in Adjala district of Simcoe, Ontario, Canada. Jack's father, Robert

      was also born in Ontario, Canada; Robert's father Samuel was born in

      Yorkshire, England, where he may have been a carpenter.

      The 1911 Winnipeg census shows the family consisted of: Agnus, John, and

      son Robert (born November, 1909). They were living at 120 Bannerman. John is

      listed as a Merchant at that time. He and a partner sold bicycles and Indian

      brand motorcycles. The story goes that the partner embezzled company money

      and the business failed.

      From Sylvia Brandt we know that Agnes and John had 4 children. The were

      Thom Murray Hudson (1907-1907), Robert Murray Hudson (1909-1974) who

      became a physician, Elizabeth Ruth Hudson (1914-2003) who became a social  

      worker and legal secretary, and William Bannerman Hudson (1918-1940) who

      was killed by a drunk driver.


  6. Jessie Ann (October 8, 1883 - 1965) was born in Glendaveny, Scotland.

      Daughter of Elizabeth Thom. In 1911 she was a dressmaker. She then studied

      nursing at the Weyburn Hospital in Saskatchewan and became a registered


      She married William Stevenson, a clothing salesman, and eventually moved to

      Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, where they lived most of their lives. Jessie became

      the matron of the Shaunavon Hospital. Jessie and William had twin children:

      Bess and William junior. Bess died in 1935 at age 5 years and her father

      never stopped grieving, until he fell from a high staircase to his death in 1937.


      William junior joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II. He survived

      the war. Jessie passed away in Winnipeg. Jessie was known as "Jit."


  7. Robertson ‘Robin’ (May 7, 1886 - 1941) was born in Glendaveny,

      Scotland. Daughter of Elizabeth Thom.

      Robin married Arthur Ernest Pearce, a farmer from Yorkton, Saskatchewan, in

      1910. She first met Ernest when their two families were living near Saltcoats.   


  8. Alex (1888-September 7,1890) was born in Glendaveny.  Son of Elizabeth

      Thom. Alex contracted an illness when he first arrived in Canada, likely at the

      immigration hall in Winnipeg. He died in Saltcoats, on September 7, 1890

      (Government of Saskatchewan, Vital statistics, Registration#3115). He was only

      two years old.


  9. Margaret Helenor ‘Nell’ (June 26, 1891 – June 11, 1988), daughter of Elizabeth

      Thom, was born at the homestead farm near Saltcoats which at that time was in

      the District of Assiniboia, North West Territories, but is now part of

      Saskatchewan.  Her birth was never registered. In 1922, she married Hugh

      Campbell Anderson (1892-1973) who was born in Carberry, Manitoba, and

      he became an editor in Winnipeg. Hugh Campbell Anderson flew Tiger Moths

      during World War I. He wanted to fly fighters in World War II but was too old so

      he instructed new pilots while stationed in Ottawa.

      Their son, Hugh John Anderson, edited 'The Murrays Come to Canada.'

      Hugh John Anderson was a chemistry professor and founding member of

      Memorial University in Newfoundland. Nell joined her son Hugh junior, in

      Newfoundland, after her husband Hugh senior, passed away.


  10. Mary Ury (October 7, 1896-1995) daughter of Elizabeth Thom,  was born when

        the family was living on Pacific Avenue, in Winnipeg. She married Charles

        Nicholson Hendry who was a bricklayer and they moved to Chicago.


In 1950, sisters Agnes and Nellie took a trip from Canada to Scotland and found many of the homes and places that were familiar to their parents and grandparents. Click the PDF button to read their story.


From here on we will follow John Robertson Murray:

John R Murray


  • Born at Stonehouse, April 5, 1872 

  • Son of George Murray          

  • Immigrated to Canada in 1887, possibly 1889

  • Married Julia Thornton Simmons November 26, 1895

  • Children Gladys, George, Ruby, and Hazel

  • Died in Winnipeg January 27, 1948 at the age of 75

The parish of Rathen birth records indicate John Robertson Murray was born April 5, 1872, at 5:00AM, in Stonehouse, in the parish of Rathen, Aberdeenshire, with the father being George Murray, a farmer's son of Redhouse, Rathen, and the mother being Anne Fraser, a domestic servant.

The passenger list of the Pomeranian shows John was on board with the rest of the family in 1890. However, various Winnipeg censuses show immigration dates of 1887 or 1889. It is possible he might have traveled back and forth between Canada and Scotland in this period.

John was a harness maker by trade. It is likely he was working in that trade before leaving Scotland. In Winnipeg, Canada, he initially worked for a company belonging to E.F. Hutchings, called Great West Saddlery. In 1891 he was employed as a packer (likely for E.F Hutchings) at 519 Main Street. He worked there until 1902. In 1892 John was living at 452 McWilliam Avenue, which is Pacific Avenue today. In 1893, John was living at 180 James Street. 

The year 1894 was a big one for the Murray family as John's parents and sisters moved to Winnipeg from Rokeby (now in Saskatchewan). They first stayed with a family named McInnis. Shortly thereafter, still in 1894, they moved into a block at 220 James Street, across the street from the police station at 221 James Street. They stayed in this block “Maybe just for the Winter”, Jessie says in “The Murrays Come to Canada”.

In 1895 the Murray family moved into 259 Princess Street, which Jessie described as the “little house on Princess Street” where “Johnnie and George had a room and Mother and we girls slept in two double beds in the front room.” ['The Murrays Come to Canada']. George's occupation is unknown at this time.

John Robertson Murray married Julia Thornton Simmons on November 26, 1895. In 1896 there were living at 144 Syndicate Street (which is 140 Syndicate, a vacant lot today). In 1896 John and Julia moved into 166 Syndicate (address is 160 Syndicate today). This was the first house built by Julia's father Thornton Simmons, known as "the Packing Crate house".  PUT A LINK HERE. The 1901 census shows Julia's brother Owen is living with them. This census lists John's occupation as Harness Maker. Henderson Directory lists his occupation as Shipper.

In 1902 John, Julia, daughter Gladys and son George were living at 148 Syndicate (same address today). John's occupation was coal oil merchant, so he had left E.F. Hutchings. The reason for his leaving can only be surmised but possibly he was not given the chance to apply his trade in the 10 or so years he worked there. From 1902 until 1907 John worked as a (coal and) coal oil merchant and delivering for Imperial Oil. These deliveries would have been by horse and wagon, which John would be very familar with.


The 1906 Winnipeg census shows John, Julia, and their 4 children living at 148 Syndicate Street. Julia's parents, Thornton and Louisa (nee Richards) Simmons, and family were living at 164 Syndicate Street. Julia's brother, Thornton Simmons and his wife Maud were living at 160 Syndicate Street (the Packing Crate house).

In 1907 or 1908 John went on his own as owner of J. Murray & Co. The first indication is a saddlery company at 103 Higgins Avenue. In 1909, Henderson Directory carried the first bold print advertisement for J Murray & Co. at 180 Princess Street. In 1911 John listed his occupation as Storekeeper.

In 1913, John and Julia's daughter, Gladys married Dave Magee.

John, Julia and family remained living at 148 Syndicate until 1914 when they moved to 160 Syndicate, the "Packing Crate house", again.

In 1916 John, Julia, son George (Geordie) and daughters Ruby and Hazel moved into 128 Syndicate Street which is on the corner of Sutherland. Gladys (Mom Campbell) was not living there as she had married David Magee in 1913. This was "the big house on the corner" as Mom Campbell called it. She also told me that the big building across Sutherland was the blacksmith shop.  129 Syndicate was the biggest house on the block. In this year's census John is listed as a Harness Maker for the first time. J. Murray & Co had a large advertisement in Henderson Directory (not digitized).These must have been good times for John and Julia. They lived at 128 Syndicate until 1920.

The Winnipeg General Strike occurred May 15 to June 26, 1919. WIKI: "There were many background causes for the strike, most of them related to the prevailing social inequalities and the impoverished condition of the city's working class. Wages were low, prices were rising, employment was unstable, immigrants faced discrimination, housing and health conditions were poor. In addition, there was resentment of the enormous profits enjoyed by employers during the war." As a previous employee of E.F Hutchings, John would have experienced those disparities, himself being an immigrant. I believe he brought those experiences into his role as a business owner and endeavored to make conditions better for his employees.

In 1920, John, Julia, and family (Geordie, Ruby, and Hazel) moved to 417 William Avenue. Interestingly this was down the road from where Julia's brother, James and his family lived in the Winnipeg Carnegie Library. James was a caretaker of that building. This is an interesting move that was short lived.

Although the 1921 Winnipeg census seems to have missed John and his family, they appear in Henderson Directory in an apartment (Suite #1) above John's harness shop, the J. Murray & Co, at 180 Princess Street. These apartments were addressed 180-1/2   Princess Street, and the building was known as the McGregor Block. In 1921 we find John, Julia, Gladys and her 3 daughters, her mother (Julia), son Geordie and their 2 sisters Ruby and Hazel all living in that apartment

In 1929 this whole family vacated 180-1/2 Princess and moved into 210 Horace, a house in the Norwood community of Winnipeg. Gladys's 3 daughters went to school in Norwood. This was the beginning of the Great Depression that started in 1929 and ended in the late 1930's.

Still living at 210 Horace in 1930, 1931, and 1932 were John, Julia, daughter Gladys and her 3 daughters, son Geordie and daughters Ruby and Hazel. In 1932 John Robertson Murray took a job as manager of Garry Shoe Repair. His company became 2 entities and they were Murray Auto Top at 280 James Street, Wm. Batchelor, manager; and Murray Tent & Awning at 180 Princess Street, J.H. (Joseph) Whiley, proprietor. Thus ended J Murray & Co.

In 1933 Gladys and her 3 daughters moved into 372 Edmonton. The rest of John's family remained in 210 Horace in 1933 and 1934. In 1934 John is listed with no occupation, Ruby is a steno, Hazel is a clerk, and Geordie is not listed in Henderson's Directory but likely living with them.

John is listed at 710 Horace in 1935 but this could be a misprint (meaning 210). John's occupation is given as retired. The other family members were not found

in 1935.

In 1936, John is listed as living at 15 Sutherland with the occupation of harnessmaker but no place of employment is given. By this time, the demand for the harnessmaking trade was very low. The other family members were not found in 1936

In 1937 and 1938 the family continued living at 15 Sutherland. In 1937 John is listed with no occupation and in 1938 John is occupied as a salesman. Ruby and Hazel are both living there in 1937, both with no occupation listed, and this is the last year Hazel appears in Henderson, so she may have been married in 1937 or 1938. Ruby might be living at 87 Donald with no occupation in 1938. In 1937 and 1938 Geordie is living with them, and he is an employee at Sheas Brewery. Prohibition had ended in 1923 in Manitoba.

The year 1939 saw the family move to 280 Eugenie.  In 1939, 1940, and 1941, John is listed as a harnessmaker with no employer given. 1941 is the very last time John lisrs his occupation as harnessmaker. The automobile has replaced the horse and the need for harnessmaking has essentially disappeared. In these years, Geordie is a labourer with Sheas Brewery. His address appears as 200 Eugenie in 1939 and 1940, but this is probably a misprint (should be 280). Ruby is not listed in Henderson's in these years.

In 1942, 1943, and 1944 the family remained living at 280 Eugenie. John is now listed as retired, Geordie is still a labourer at Sheas Brewery. Ruby is not listed in Henderson's. On June 9, 1944, the whole family moved to  227 Eugenie Street.

In 1945, the whole family is at 227 Eugenie. (I checked that this is not an address shift but it is a physical move from one house to another.)  Making this move were John, with no occupation listed, Julia, possibly Geordie (this is uncertain), and Ruby who now appears for the first time as a bookkeeper for Dr. J.R. Davidson. Hazel is still not listed with the family. This is a follow up action, to find Hazel from 1938 onward, with a different (married) last name.

John is listed as retired in 1946. With the family still at 227 Eugenie, Geordie began a new occupation in 1946 which would carry him until retirement in 1965, which was a school caretaker employed in Norwood. In 1946, he was working in the Queen Elizabeth School at 260 Kenny Street. This school was demolished in 1963. Ruby is still a bookkeeper Dr. J.R. Davidson.

In 1947 living at 227 Eugenie Street, we find - John (retired), Julia, Geordie (caretaker at Norwood Collegiate), and Ruby (receptionist).

John Robertson Murray died January 27, 1948. It is impossible to carry on without stopping to reflect upon the life of this great but unassuming man. Born out of wedlock in a stone house and raised by his father (or maybe his brother), he was uprooted from the rural life that he knew, around age 17, and went to work in the third largest city in Canada, which was Winnipeg, even before his parents and siblings arrived. Patiently working and waiting to be recognized in his trade of harnessmaker he eventually started his own harness making business and provided employment for several people, bringing a sense of fairness for the worker. Always the family-man, John rescued his daughter from a failed marriage and provided a home for her and her three daughters. Never evading what he perceived as his responsibility, he continued to employ and pay his employees into the Depression years. Finally relinquishing control of his business he sought employment himself, to provide for his family. Then he listed his occupation as harnesmaker long after that trade had effectively ceased to exist; but that is who he was, and that is what he achieved. In my book, John Robertson Murray is truly an unsung hero who deserves this space and more.


ARRANGING HERE and DOWN.   leave where is, or move up???

J. Murray & Co manufactured harnesses for horses in the early days. During the height of his business he would go to all the fairs.  He made decorative saddlery for all the parades


When the automobile came he switched to auto tops and rad covers, along with tents and awnings until 1931 when he was forced to close because of the Great Depression.  He had tried to keep all his employees during the depression but eventually had to let go of his business.  Both his daughter Ruby and son George worked with him in the family business.

J. Murray & Co eventually became Murray Tent and Awning, which is still in operation in Winnipeg.

          John loved sports and took his daughter Gladys with him to all kinds of sporting events.  He liked to go to the bonspiel and was always joking with the policemen on the beat that passed his store oat 180 Princess Street.  He loved to play jokes on his pal Mr. Sam Cassissa, who also had a store on Princess Street, and the two men were always trying to catch the other one in a joke.  For example, John would take something that sounded like a cat meowing into Sam’s store and the poor guy would be looking all around to see where the cat was when it was only John playing a joke on him.


As mentioned, in 1920 John arranged for his daughter Gladys and her 3 daughters to come 'back home' and live with him and his wife, Julia. Gladys had married David Magee and moved to Cardinal, Ontario, but the marriage did not work out. They all lived in an apartment above the shop at 180 Princess Street, in Winnipeg. The 3 granddaughters were somewhat raised by their grandparents, John and Julia, while Gladys went to work to support the family.

         During those days, John had a car and he would always take the kids (his 3 granddaughters) for rides.  Sometimes they would go away out to the north end to the circus and that was a great treat. He played the fiddle and was popular at parties.  His daughter Gladys would chord for him on the piano. 

          He loved geography and his granddaughter Vivian, who did not like geography, remembers him telling her more about geography than she really wanted to know.

          Later, John often went down to see Gladys at work and she would take him out for lunch and give him a little money as the family was on rations following the loss of his business during the Great Depression.

note: Addresses and occupations are taken from Winnipeg censuses and Henderson's Winnipeg Directory.

1927 Postcard with little girl on back of wagon. Who do you think it is?

Business card from 1925 

Auto Top Picnic at Winnipeg Beach 1925 - with Isabelle Verna and Vivian in front

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My Story

My maternal grandmother’s (maiden) name was Gladys Murray. You might remember her as Mom Campbell. She grew up on Syndicate Street in Winnipeg, Canada, with siblings George, Ruby, and Hazel. I recall hearing how my Mom (Helena Isabelle Magee, known as Isabelle) and my Dad (Charles Norrie Cruickshank, known as Charlie, Chuck, Chas.) met in Winnipeg at the Murray family home. They got together for a musical evening of playing music. My Granny (Georgina) Cruickshank (nee Norrie) played violin and piano. My Dad played violin. Apparently the Murrays and the Cruickshanks “hit it off” and found they were from the same area of Scotland, which was Aberdeenshire and specifically the Buchan area. They possibly had common relatives or acquaintances, too.

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