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James Murray

James Murray[1]

Male 1721 - 1794  (73 years)    Has more than 100 ancestors and 6 descendants in this family tree.

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  • Name James Murray 
    Birth 21 Jan 1721  Ballencrieff, East Lothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Death 18 Jun 1794  East Sussex Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Siblings 12 Siblings 
    Person ID I267313  Geneagraphie
    Last Modified 8 Sep 2010 

    Father Alexander Murray,   b. 9 Mar 1677, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this locationd. 6 Feb 1736 (Age 58 years) 
    Mother Elizabeth Stirling   d. 11 Nov 1756 
    Marriage 24 Feb 1698 
    Family ID F61666  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Cordelia Collier 
    Marriage Dec 1748 
    Family ID F348136  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 8 Sep 2010 

    Family 2 Ann Witham 
    Marriage 1780 
     1. Maj. General James Patrick Murray
     2. Cordelia Murray
     3. Wilhelmina Murray   d. Yes, date unknown
     4. George Murray
     5. Elizabeth Mary Murray
     6. Anne Harriet Murray
    Family ID F108145  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart
    Last Modified 8 Sep 2010 

  • Notes 
    • Educated in Haddington and Selkirk, he began his military career in 1736 in the 3rd Scots Regiment in the Dutch service. In 1740 he served as Second-Lieutenant in Wynyard's Marines, under his brother Patrick Murray, 5th Lord Elibank, in the unsuccessful attack on Cartagena. He returned as Captain in 1742. He served as Captain of the grenadier company of the 15th Regiment of Foot during the War of the Austrian Succession, being severely wounded during the Siege of Ostend in 1745, and distinguishing himself in the Raid on Lorient in 1746.

      James Murray purchased his majority in the 15th Regiment of Foot in 1749, and the lieutenant-colonelcy in 1751. He commanded his regiment for the Raid on Rochefort, 1757, defending Sir John Mordaunt in his subsequent court-martial. He commanded a battalion in the 1758 Siege of Louisbourg.

      When Louisbourg was taken, Murray accompanied General Wolfe on a raiding expedition northwards along the west coast of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. While Wolfe destroyed French settlements along the Gaspe Peninsula, Murray harried the French fishing settlements along Miramichi Bay. Among the destruction were the homes and Church at St. Anne's, now called Burnt Church.

      Murray served under General James Wolfe at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759. He was the military commander of Quebec City after it fell to the British. Lévis managed to defeat Murray and the British in the Battle of Sainte-Foy in 1760, but he had to abandon the siege of Quebec due to a lack of supplies and the arrival of a British relief fleet.

      He encouraged his favourite nephew Patrick Ferguson to follow him in a military career. He also assisted another nephew, Patrick Murray, illegitimate son of his brother George.

      In October 1760, he became military governor of the district of Quebec and became the first civil governor of the Province of Quebec in 1764. As governor he was sympathetic to the French-Canadians, favouring them over British merchants who came to settle in the wake of the conquest and allowed the continuance of French civil law. The dissatisfaction of British settlers led to his recall in 1766 (though he remained governor in name until 1768) but his precedents were preserved in the Quebec Act. Murray successfully argued for the Quebec Act to continue slavery in Quebec as it had existed under the French; an advertisement appeared in the Quebec Gazette in 1769 for a "negro woman, aged 25 years, with a mulatto male child... formerly the property of General Murray".

      Murray was lieutenant-governor and then governor of Minorca from 1774 to 1782. In 1780, he married, as his second wife, Ann Witham, daughter of the Consul-General there. During the American War of Independence, he defended Fort St. Philip, at Port Mahon, against a Franco-Spanish siege for seven months (1781?82), until forced to surrender. He was known as 'Old Minorca' Murray as a result.

      He then returned to his home, Beauport Park, in Hollington, Sussex, where he died. Further honours came to him in his last years: he was appointed General, and Governor of Kingston upon Hull in 1783, and Colonel, of the 21st Regiment in 1789.

      He and his wife brought up his older brother Patrick, Lord Elibank's illegitimate daughter Maria Murray.

  • Sources 
    1. [S190] Peter Barns-Graham, British Pedigrees, (Stirnet), Murray of Elibank, Murray of Langhermiston, Murray of Ravilly (Reliability: 2).

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