W. D. Murray Grant County, New Mexico

W. D. Murray, residing at Central, New Mexico, has been a promoter of many important business enterprises of this section of the Territory and his labors have been of direct benefit and far-reaching effect in the work of growth, progress and development here. He is president of the Silver City National Bank, is interested in the wholesale firm of Jones, Downes & Company, of Silver City, also in the firms of Murray & Layne and M. F. Downes & Company, and in many other mercantile and corporate enterprises. He came to New Mexico in 1880 with his parents, the family home being established at Fort Selden. He was a student in St. Michael's College and in the Christian Brothers' School at St. Louis, Missouri, and in 1886 he went to Fort Bayard, his father being in the federal service at the old Fort Bayard, a government post. While in St. Louis he was fitting himself for telegraphic work, and after his graduation he acted as operator for a short time at Fort Bayard, also serving as clerk in the government trading post there, the store being conducted by B. W. Maginn. Following the sale of the store by Mr. Maginn to H. Booth, Air. Murray continued as clerk and remained there until 1892, when the government discontinued the commissioning of post traders, and Mr. Murray removed to Central. Here he opened a store for his former employer, Mr. Booth, in January, 1893, and the following year purchased an interest in the business, the firm of Booth & Murray being then established. This relation was maintained until 1897, when Mr. Murray became sole proprietor, conducting the business alone until 1900, when the firm of Murray Brothers was established, with W. D. and J. T. Murray as partners. This has been a leading place of business in Central since that time, and a number of branch houses have been established at various places in Grant County. In Hanover the business is conducted under the name of the Hanover Mercantile Company.

Mr. Murray is interested in the Alley Canyon Lumber Company. In April, 1904, he accepted the presidency of the Silver City National Bank. He is also a director and heavy stockholder in the Silver City Savings Bank, also practically owns the Silver Valley Waterworks., which supplies the town with water; is a stockholder and director in the recently organized life insurance company known as the Occidental Life Insurance Company, doing business in New Mexico and Arizona. In 1900, in connection with J. W. Bibb, of Hanover, he organized the Grant County Telephone Company, of which he is president, with Mr. Bibb as vice-president. They now have 'phones over the greater part of Grant county, and this enterprise has been of material benefit in the advancement of business interests and conditions in this portion of the Territory. The firm of Murray Brothers owns a half interest in the Mimbres Hot Springs, located twenty miles east of Santa Rita. Mr. Murray is a man of keen business discernment, recognizing the difficulties as well as the possibilities of a business situation, and planning to overcome the former and to utilize the latter. He has labored with good results, making- the most of his opportunities and steadily progressing toward the goal of prosperity. At the same time his business career has been of a character that has contributed to general progress as well as to individual success.

In politics Mr. Murray is a Republican, and upon the party ticket was elected in 1900 to the office of county commissioner and served as chairman of the board for four years.

At the Republican convention held at Las Vegas in 1906 he was nominated for the council from the tenth district, embracing the counties of Grant, Luna and Dona Ana. In the November election he was the only Republican who was elected in the county of Grant, the balance of the ticket being defeated. His majority in Grant County was 223, his majority in Dona Ana county was 523 and he lost Luna County by 95; hence the total majority was 651. He carried his own precinct. Central, by 129 out of 144 votes.

He is likewise a school director at Central and he belongs to the Elks Lodge, No. 413, at Silver City, and to the Knights of Pythias Lodge there. He was married in 1893 to Mattie Jones, Silver City. They have two girls, Lyda and Hazel, and one boy, Harry B. Murray.

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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