MCMURRAY, THOMAS - Agricultural conditions in Sangamon County have changed to such an extent during the past few decades that the enterprising farmer has been compelled to change to a large degree his methods of treating the soil. New discoveries have been made, powerful machinery invented and innovations introduced, and he who would reap the most beneficial results from his property must keep in touch with the changes of the times. Thomas McMurry, for many years a scientific farmer west of Springfield, and one of the "Snow Birds", but now living retired in the Capital City, was born in County Mayo, Ireland, in 1839, a son of Michael and Nora (Fitzgerald) McMurry, both natives of the same county.
Michael McMurry came to America June 10, 1852, his wife having died in 1848, and went first to Jacksonville, Ill., where the rest of his life was spent in agricultural pursuits. Thomas McMurry was educated in the schools of his native country and at Jacksonville, Ill., and until reaching his majority he worked on his father's farm. In company with two brothers, he engaged in farming in Morgan County, eleven miles southeast of Jacksonville, which they continued until 1860, when they moved to Sangamon County, and there farmed together until 1880, when Mr. McMurry retired from business activities and purchased his present home in Springfield, at No. 921 West Lawrence Avenue, although he still retains an interest in the land. He is a faithful member of St. Agnes parish of the Roman Catholic Church, and as a citizen ranks high in his community. He is an independent in politics.
On June 16, 1867, in Petersburg, Menard County, Ill., Mr. McMurry was united in marriage with Catherine Kelly, who was born in that place, December 12, 1850, a daughter of Michael and Mary (Hogan) Kelly, both natives of Ireland, the former born in County Roscommon and the latter in County Kilkenny. Her father came to America in 1848, settling in Menard County, Ill., and died July 6, 1906, the mother having passed away November 4, 1905. They were both members of the Roman Catholic Church, and were married by Rev. Father Conlon in the first Catholic Church erected in Springfield. Mrs. McMurry was the oldest of a family of thirteen children, of whom nine are still living.
There were sixteen children born to Mr. and Mrs. McMurry and of these the following survive: Michael J., retired, living at No. 225 West Grand Avenue; James P., an engineer on the Illinois Central Railroad; John A., who also is an engineer on the same railroad; Frank A., a conductor on the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad, residing in Springfield; Nicholas E., a teacher in the Wright School at Riverton; Richard H., a brakeman on the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad; Mary W., a teacher in Sangamon County public schools, and Agnes, living at home with their parents. Both of the daughters were educated in the Catholic convent in Springfield. Miss Mary graduating from the Dominican Convent with the class of 1904.