Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
MURRAY, GEORGE W. - Springfield, as the Capital of Illinois, naturally can boast of more than its share of men of legal ability residing within its limits; men who are recognized the country over as authorities on all matters pertaining to the law in all its branches, and among this class may be mentioned the eminent jurist, Judge George W. Murray, whose reputation, especially as Judge of the Juvenile Court, is national. Judge Murray was born July 7, 1839, in Covington, Miami County, Ohio, a son of David and Elizabeth (Mikesell) Murray.
The Murray family is of Irish descent, Andrew Murray, grandfather of the Judge, having come over from Ireland and settled in Franklin County, Pa., and later removing to the vicinity of Dayton, Ohio, where he settled as a pioneer. David Murray was born in Franklin County, Pa., coming with his father to Ohio when a mere boy, spending most of his life in Ohio, his father's vocation being that of a farmer and he was a minister of the German Baptist faith. He died at Phillipsburg, Ohio, in 1884. The mother of the Judge, passed away in 1854. Her parents had also come to Ohio from Pennsylvania, both dying near Pleasant Hill, Miami County, Ohio.
George W. Murray began his education in the public schools, later continuing his education in the Dayton high school. He was reared on the home farm, and in 1859, when twenty years of age he began teaching school in Bond County, Ill., but in 1860, returned to Dayton, where he taught school four years. There he became a law student in the office of General Moses B. Walker, a lawyer of great ability, under whose personal direction he was, and in March, 1871, he was admitted to the bar in Dayton, and at once began the practice of the law. In April 1886, he was chosen to represent his ward in the City Council in the City of Dayton, where he served for three years and was active in the procurement and building of the present water works of Dayton. In 1887, he came to Sangamon County, and for two years practiced his profession at Auburn. At the end of this time, he came to Springfield, and in 1882, he was elected to represent Sangamon County in the State Legislature, his election as County Judge coming in 1890. At the end of his term he became a candidate for re-election, Judge Charles P. Kane being his opponent, but Judge Kane was elected, the entire Republican ticket being elected. However in 1898, four years later he again took his place on the bench, and in 1902, he was re-elected by a majority of 2,494 votes. Judge Murray has gained a wide reputation, as Judge Ben B. Lindsey, of Denver, Colo., has repeatedly referred to him as one of the most effective juvenile judges in the United States. He gained his reputation by absolute work in the Juvenile Court. The large oil painting, modeled by himself during his official career and painted by an eminent artist, for the benefit of the children, showing "The Two Ways of Life," a copy of which may be found in another part of this work, has attracted great attention all over the country. Judge Lindsey, of Denver procured from Judge Murray, a large size photograph of this chart, and has given Judge Murray great credit on various occasions for his work in the Juvenile Courts.
Judge Murray, was a few years ago called to the State of Texas, and there delivered a lecture before the Legislature of that State, on Juvenile Court work, and aided much on that occasion in procuring the passage of the Juvenile Court Law then before the Legislature of that State, for which he afterwards received the thanks of the House of Representatives for his address on that occasion.
On October 2, 1860, Judge Murray was married at Dayton, Ohio, to Emma Niebert, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Coffman) Niebert, of Dayton, Ohio, born in Hagerstown, Md., and Rockingham County, Virginia, respectively. Six children have been born to Judge and Mrs. Murray, namely: William W., a member of the Springfield bar; Ida May, wife of Samuel J. Hanes, of Springfield; Katie Lee, wife of Frederick Latimer, of San Francisco, Cal.; George Walter, recently married and residing in Chicago; Jacob Frederick, of Chicago; and Jennie, who died at the age of two years in Dayton, Ohio. Since December, 1910, Judge Murray has resumed the practice of the law, in Springfield, Illinois.