MCMURRAY, THOMAS B., a highly esteemed citizen of Divernon Township, Sangamon County, who is cultivating the John Egan farm of 160 acres, located on Section 14, two miles east of the Divernon Postoffice, was born in Springfield, Ill., January 19, 1857, a son of Joseph E. and Nancy C. (Parks) McMurray.
Joseph E. McMurray was born in Sweetwater Valley, Tenn., and early in life decided to become a minister, but owing to parental objection, had to work his way through Lane's Seminary, in Ohio, by doing chores and housekeeping. After graduating he came direct to Mulberry Grove, Ill., where he followed preaching until 1850 and in that year removed to Hardin, Ill. Later he went to Iowa, but eventually returned to Illinois, and while in Springfield was forced to give up preaching on account of throat ailment, and subsequently became ticket agent of the Wabash Railroad Company at Cerro Gordo, Ill., remaining there twelve years and dying January 27, 1868. He was married January 28, 1852, in Springfield, Ill., to Nancy C. Parks, who was born in Middlebury, Vt., February 5, 1818, daughter of Beaumont and Nancy C. Parks, and she died May 24, 1892, at Auburn, Ill. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. McMurray: Alice B., born November 9, 1852, at Springfield, is unmarried and now lives at Pontiac; Edward P., born August 12, 1855, is a music dealer of Pontiac; Thomas B.; and Walter S., born February 18, 1859, died at the age of three years.
Thomas B. McMurray was educated in the public school of Auburn, Ill., and later taught two terms in the country schools, paying for his books by working on farms after school and on Saturday. In 1881 he went to the normal school, from which he graduated June 25, 1885, and once more took up teaching, working until 1891, and in addition teaching music during his spare hours. In 1891 he started clerking in a dry-goods store, but in 1892, after his marriage he moved to a farm in Sangamon County, carrying on agricultural pursuits and teaching a district school for three years. At the end of this time he located on the farm which he now cultivates, the John Egan farm of 160 acres, which he has made one of the best in his part of the township. Mr. McMurray is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church at Divernon. He has always been a Republican, but during the great Temperance campaign that recently swept Illinois, cast all his influence with the ticket of that party, as he has always been a great foe to the liquor traffic.
On August 3, 1892, Mr. McMurray was married in Divernon, Ill., to Fannie Esther Haire, who was born April 26, 1865, in Sangamon County, the daughter of Johnson and Margaret (Lindsey) Haire. Mr. Haire died March 22, 1869, and is buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, at Springfield, the McMurray-Haire-Aldrich monument being near the John R. Tanner mausoleum there. To Mr. and Mrs. McMurray there were born two children: Fannie Marie, born January 15, 1897; and Heywood Thomas, born February 19, 1901.