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JOHN R. MURRAY

          family

 

JULIA SIMMONS

  • Born in Monmouth, Wales, April 25, 1874

  • Immigrated from Monmouth, thru Liverpool to Canada in 1882

  • Married John R. Murray November 26, 1895

  • Children Gladys, George, Ruby, and Hazel

  • Died February 10, 1958 at the age of 83 years

Julia Thornton Murray (nee Simmons) 

                 aka (Ma) Murray

 Julia was the only girl born to Thornton and Louisa Simmons.  With seven brothers, Julia was no doubt put in charge of her younger siblings at an early age.  Her niece remembered that the family always called her ‘Aunt Sis’. She was also very close to her family and regularly took her grandchildren in later years to visit family members.

          Julia remembered that when the family arrived in Winnipeg in 1882, they first lived in a tent and then an old house where the Indians used to peer in the windows at them. The 1891 Winnipeg census shows Julia as an apprentice Dress Maker. She was 17 years old at that time.

          Julia married John Murray in 1895 and they had four children, Gladys, Ruby, George  (Geordie) and Hazel. When her daughter Gladys’ marriage didn’t work out and Gladys returned to Winnipeg with her three little girls, Julia took care of the children so that Gladys could go out and work.  They lived over the harness shop at 180 Princess Street where there was one bedroom for Ruby and Hazel, one for Geordie, one for Julia and her husband (John) and one for Gladys with her three girls, (Isabelle, Verna, and Vivian).

          Julia was very superstitious and had a ton of frightening superstitions that she passed on to the young girls. It must have been difficult for her to again have three small children to raise and she was not very patient but she had no choice.  She was good to them though, and sometimes she would make sandwiches and take them on a picnic or to visit their great-grandparents (George and Elizabeth Murray) which the girls always enjoyed.

          She worked hard, scrubbed floors on Saturday night but also arranged lots of parties.  They would roll back the carpet for square dancing, which she was very good at, and her husband John would play the fiddle. Everyone would also gather around the piano for singsongs. Her daughters Gladys and Ruby both played the piano and would always accompany John on the fiddle.  Granddaughter Vivian remembers that Ma made her a beautiful red velvet dance costume when she was preparing for a tap dancing recital where she performed on the stage at the Beacon Theatre.  She also remembers that when the party got going at home on a Saturday night Ma would insist that she do one of her tap dances for everyone.

JOHN GEORGE THORNTON MURRAY

  • Born in Winnipeg,  August 26, 1898

  • Known as "Geordie"

  • Father John Robertson Murray

  • Mother Julia Thornton (nee Simmons) Murray

  • Married No

  • Children No

  • Died in Winnipeg, July 13, 1970

Geordie was the second child. On his birth certificate it shows his father John as being a shipping clerk.

Geordie worked for his dad until the depression when John (Dada) lost the business.  George was out of work for a long time but finally was able to get on as a caretaker with the school district. 

He was good at saving his money and eventually was able to purchase the home at 227 Eugenie Street, from the school district, where the family moved in June 9, 1944. George, his dad John, mom Julia, and sister Ruby (with the exception of sisters Gladys and Hazel) continued to live there until their deaths.

RUBY FRANCES LOUISA MURRAY

 

  • Born in Winnipeg, July 14, 1902

  • Father John Robertson Murray

  • Mother Julia Thornton (nee Simmons) Murray

  • Married No

  • Children No

  • Died in Winnipeg  March 27, 1975

Ruby was the third child.  Ruby did have a boyfriend for a long time but according to family stories it seems her parents were not in favour of her choice and eventually broke it up. 

 

          She played the piano beautifully and was sought after to play at parties and family gatherings.

Ruby worked for Dr. Davidson, an extremely brilliant doctor, who had developed a treatment which, in his opinion and that of many patients, succeeded in arresting cancers. She was his secretary for several years and is pictured in the book written about him entitled Davidson of Manitoba, in 1945 taking notes from the doctor.  

HAZEL (nee MURRAY) SEALEY ANDERSON

  • Born: in Winnipeg, June 11, 1905

  • Father: John Robertson Murray

  • Mother: Mother Julia Thornton (nee Simmons) Murray

  • Married: Victor Sealey and a second marriage to (Vic?) Anderson

  • Children: No

  • Died: in Winnipeg, July 12, 2000 at the age of 95

          Hazel was the third (the youngest) child of John and Julia.  She came of age in the 1920s and saw herself as a ‘flapper’.  She smoked when it was scandalous and wore the wonderful shapeless dresses of the times. She was considered to be quite ‘racy’ in her day.  She married her first husband Victor Sealey in the mid 1920s and was married a second time to Anderson.

 

          She spent her later years at the Fred Douglas Lodge on Burrows Avenue, in Winnipeg, and lived to 95 years of age.  Her niece Verna looked out for her for years and following Verna’s death her husband Art Lightfoot took care of paying her bills for her, shopping and making sure she had what she needed as her immediate family had predeceased her.

GLADYS ELIZABETH MURRAY

       (Mom Campbell)

  • Born in Winnipeg, September 27, 1896

  • Father John Robertson Murray

  • Mother Mother Julia Thornton (nee Simmons) Murray

  • Married Dave Magee December 22, 1913

  • Married William Campbell 1965

  • Children Isabelle, Verna and Vivian

  • Died in Winnipeg, March 12, 1997

          Born in Winnipeg at 148 Syndicate Street, Gladys lived in that small house 3 or 4 doors away from 164 Syndicate where her grandparents Thornton and Louisa Simmons, and family, lived.  Being the first grandchild she had lots of attention from her grandparents, and all of those uncles.  She kept many mementos through the years of special gifts and letters that were given to her from them.

ABOVE: Most likely address of photo is 160 Syndicate Street, home of Gladys's uncle Thornton and aunt Maud Simmons 

RIGHT: Gladys and her mom, Julia. Most likely address of photo is 164 Syndicate Street. Note the glass work in the front door.

          Gladys grew up on Syndicate Street in Winnipeg. She had a whole gang of kids she played with.  William 'Billy' Stevenson, who later became the Master Spy ‘Intrepid’, was one of them, along with Johnny Tate, the four Morefield kids and another little girl whose Mother would sometimes take them by streetcar out to River Park.  They skated on the river, played baseball and other kids' games and attended Argyle School. (Link to River Park HERE)

          After the 9th grade Gladys attended Commercial College and when she graduated with her stenographic skills Johnny Tate was working at Clark Brothers and got her a job there.  She worked there until she got married to Dave Magee in 1913 and moved to Cardinal, Ontario.

          She had three children, Isabelle, Verna and Vivian in Cardinal but her marriage was not a happy one and she returned to Winnipeg in about 1921, lived with her family above the Harness Shop at 180 Princess Street, and went back to work for the same company which was later purchased by W. J. Gages.  The John Robertson Murray family moved to Norwood (a suburb of Winnipeg) in 1927 where the girls attended school until Vivian was 15 when they moved to their own place.

          Always the sports fan, Gladys went to ballgames with her dad, John Robertson Murray, in the early years and then with Bill 'Pop' Campbell, her second husband.  Gladys and Bill (Mom and Pop) even went down east for their summer holidays to watch big league baseball.  She was such a dedicated fan that she would stand on the street in front of the Winnipeg Free Press Building at lunchtime during the World Series and watch the reader board that kept track of what was going on in the game.

She was always part of the gang of friends with her daughters and was always invited to the parties and picnics.  Her family particularly remembers Sunday lunches after church at Mom’s apartment.  Her granddaughter Rhonda remembers thinking all through church about the great salmon sandwiches Mom made and could hardly wait to get to her place for lunch.  All the kids remember going to her place for the Santa Claus Parade also because from her kitchen window on Bannatyne Avenue you could see the parade coming over the Salter Street Bridge and you didn’t have to stand outside in the freezing cold so long; you could just time going out in the cold after seeing the parade hit the bridge.  In the summer there were wonderful Sunday picnics at Hobans and Duggards, and Mom always had the best lunches of anybody.

          She used to write down to Chicago in the spring for a baseball schedule and then she and Pop would plan their holidays around which teams they wanted to see play baseball.  They would go for two weeks, drive down, go to the baseball games in the afternoon and then exploring and out for dinner or a show at night.  Sometimes their good friends Hugh and Flo Buchanan went with them but they weren’t baseball fans so they would go off sightseeing while Mom and Pop went to the ballgames. 

          She and Pop had hockey season tickets for years and she had an amazing knowledge of sports in general.  On her 95th birthday we wrote to the Detroit Tigers telling them of her enthusiasm for the team and the announcers in particular.  They sent her back an autographed Hall of Fame baseball postcard with a note from George Kell wishing her Happy Birthday.   She always carried it around with her in her purse and was ready to show it to anyone who was interested.

          Gladys worked for W. J. Gages Company, a stationery manufacturer, for all her working life.  She retired just after turning 65 in 1961.  Because of the divorce laws in Canada she was unable to marry Bill Campbell while her first husband was alive so they were engaged for 25 years.  She and Bill finally married in 1964 with all the family in attendance.  She was married in the home of Rev. Fred Douglas and then celebrated with a dinner at Vasalund restaurant followed by a great party for the family at the home of her daughter, Verna and Art.

          She continued to live at 608 Broadway, Winnipeg, after the death of Bill, her second husband, and always seemed to be in the middle of interesting things going on in her neighborhood.  Family friend Colin James loves to tell the story of going to visit her one night for dinner and when he arrived there were two policemen at her kitchen table on a stakeout.  She had to prepare the dinner in the dark and then she and Colin went into the living room to eat while the police continued to watch the playfield in the lot behind her house for drugs or some such tip they had received.

To track her life as far as where she lived, she was born in the house on 148 Syndicate Street in 1896, up the street from the family home of her grandparents Thornton and Louisa Simmons. She got married in 1913 and moved to Cardinal, Ontario, and then moved back to Winnipeg with her three girls to the apartment above the Harness Shop at 180 Princess Street in 1920.  From there they moved to Norwood in 1927 where they continued to live with Gladys’ parents Julia and John.

          In 1932 Gladys moved out of the family home to a place of her own with her three girls on Edmonton Street in a rooming house owned by Albert Jeb.  In 1935 they moved to Maryland Street where they lived with the Walkers and in 1937 after Isabelle got married Gladys, Verna and Vivian moved to the Westhome Apartments, 729 Wellington Avenue.  When Vivian got married in 1940 Gladys and Verna moved to the Beverly Apartments (possibly 233 Beverley at Portage Avenue) and the following year in 1941 when Verna got married Gladys moved to the Bannatyne Apartments (543 Bannatyne Avenue at Kate Street) where she lived until 1962.  She told her granddaughter Laurie that those days, at the Bannatyne, were the happiest days of her life.

          When Bill’s landlady passed away Gladys went to live at 608 Broadway to keep house for Bill and his friend Dave in the upstairs rented rooms.   Bill and Gladys were married in 1964 after her husband Dave Magee passed away.  In 1966 Bill passed away and Gladys continued to live in the upstairs of the home at 608 Broadway before moving to MacKinnon House, 969 Cambridge Street, in 1978 where she lived until she passed away in March of 1997.

          It is amazing to think that she lived alone up until she passed away.  With a lot of help from her daughter Vivian she was able to maintain her independence.  Although she was legally blind and couldn’t see much more than shadows with some additional peripheral vision she was able to use the telephone into which numbers had been entered on speed dial so she could call for her groceries, for her hair appointment, her dry cleaners, her taxi rides and her family.  She went to get her hair done every other week up until she passed away.  She loved her sports and continued to enjoy hockey, baseball, basketball, whatever the season.   One year for Mothers’ Day her family gave her a mini-series of Winnipeg Jets hockey tickets and her grandsons and great grandson Glen Grist took turns taking her to the games.

          She was alert and bright with a wonderful memory and sense of humour right up until her brief hospitalization six months after celebrating her 100th birthday with family and friends.  The 100th birthday celebration was a fitting tribute to her amazing life and she enjoyed it immensely.

Gladys (Mom Campbell) and great granddaughter

             Melanie Dawn Cruickshank-June 1978

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