are featured in this photo taken in 2009. Hillard Murray was born in Sheffield and lives in Colbert County. Hillard has two children: Tim and Patty. The photograph shows Hillard with son, grandson and great-grandson. Hillard is one of the subjects of a prior story published on Remembering the Shoals.
Hello Soldier, I am your brother Hillard and this is our little sister Alice. <Remembering the Shoals>
Another Father’s Day Without Daddy <Remembering the Shoals>
Gregory and Sparks Family <Remembering the Shoals>
Sarah Ann Elizabeth Lucas <Rememberng the Shoals>
The Lucas Family <Remembering the Shoals>
Hillard and this is our little sister Alice.
Somehow it was always Alice who got into trouble, perhaps it was because Hillard just wouldn’t agree to punishment. Alice was in charge of seeing that her young brother got home in a timely manner from school – and herself for that matter. That must not have been an easy task because so much seemed to peak his interest. That particular afternoon the trek home from the schools across town seemed particularly harrowing for Alice.
She recounted the story of that afternoon and it seemed a movie was playing in her head as she relived the events of that unforgettable day. It was a day in early September of 1945. She was but nine years old, or almost for her birthday was in December. She was exasperated with her brother because she was sure that he would get her into trouble with his lollygagging. After all the past is prologue.
Something had caught her brother’s attention further down the sidewalk in downtown Sheffield that particular day. He hurried to the store down the street. I am sure she must have tapped those little feet and let out a few breaths of aggravation as she insisted that they go on down the road toward home; he refused to budge. Hillard later said it was a soldier with an Army duffel bag going down the street and then into the store.
When they reached the grocery store just a few blocks before the train tracks, Hillard stopped dead in his tracks. His little nose was pressed against the windowpane of the storefront window. Alice must have thought aloud and asked, what now?
World War II had just ended. Then, Alice noticed there was a soldier in there. The soldier was drinking a Coke. Alice noticed Hillard’s gaze go up to the soldier’s mouth (and his little nose go up on the windowpane) as the soldier lifted the Coke bottle to his mouth, and then down as he lowered the bottle and its precious contents to the table again. Again. Again. And again. Alice nagged at him to come on, let’s go home; but to him she was all but invisible. All that mattered was that Coke bottle and the path it took from table to mouth, from mouth to table.
But then, she noticed something else. Maybe it was the soldier’s gold tooth that had her brother in awe of the young man in uniform. Not that the little boy and girl were not patriotic, but a Coke was a rare and precious commodity, and so was a gold tooth – a real genuine gold tooth. Gasp.
Of a sudden the little boy bounded forward and entered the store. She was caught unaware. She fumed as she considered that Hillard might have a nickel in his pocket. A nickel would buy a Coke, but just one. She steamed that, dern, she didn’t know where he would get them but it seemed that Hillard always had a nickel in his pocket. A child with a nickel was exceedingly rare in those hard times that came on the heels of the Great Depression and a world war that had just ended. So, she drug her feet and went in after him hoping that he would just come on home with her and before she was to get into trouble because of his precociousness.
After entering the store, her brother continued to watch every move that the soldier made; every breath the soldier took. I insert here that I can all but tell you what happened next. That soldier asked the little boy, “What are you doing, Jabbo?” The little boy was watching the soldier’s every breath; the sister was watching what would without a doubt be the little brother’s last breath. That was a certainty and an all but done deal.
Her brother made a query of the object of his intense study. He asked, “What is your name soldier?” The soldier answered, “James Murray.” The little boy said, “Soldier, I am your brother Hillard and this is our little sister, Alice.” Now, anyone with one eye and half-sense could predict what was to happen next.
Little brother and sister remembered for a lifetime the thrill of that day. Their mother had died when Alice was just a little girl and Hillard not much older. James Murray was but fifteen and the oldest child when his mother died. There was another brother, Ed Lee, who was the second oldest child.
Hillard and Alice recalled that their brother got them a taxi cab and they went shopping. Hillard and Alice recounted that, “He bought us everything.” Hillard stated about the day and the length of time it took to get home from that point that James must have known everybody in the town. It must have seemed like the whole entire town talked to and welcomed their big brother back home. I don’t think anyone got in trouble that day for getting home late from school. To this day Hillard states that James was his hero. Much too late to ever tell him, I discover he is my hero, too.
with Part II, as promised. But where to begin?
John M Murray was the father of William Deaton Jackson “John” Murray. He was also the father to Obedianah “Biddie” Murray, Tobitha “Bitha” Murray,Mahala Murray, James Murray, Mary Mahalia Mahala Mahaley Murray, John K Murray and Elijah Murray. Sons William Deaton Jackson “John” Murray, John K Murray, and Elijah Murray all served in the 1st Regiment of Independent Vidette Cavalry for the Union in the War of Northern Aggression. William D J and John K Murray had married Isbell sisters, Lucinda and Susan Anna. John K Murray was an officer and the battle was near his home in Larkinsville in Jackson County. He became sick; went home to recover; returned to battle became sick with dysentery again and died on his way home. These are known children by whoever was his first wife. Some researchers have May Hollingsworth, 1795 – 1850, as his first wife. There is a marriage record on 4 April 1815 in Madison County, Alabama for John Murray and May Hollingsworth. And that may well be his first wife. However, somewhere back in the black-hole-of-years-gone-by-research, there was a Deaton lady who married a William Murray. That data went down with the crash of the second computer I wore out from researching family back in the early 1990s. But, if I live long enough I will find it again. I will. I. Will.
It is my belief that John M Murray and Deaton Deekins Murray’s father was William Murray. It is my belief that one of the wives, an early wife, was a Deaton lady. I believe this because tradition was that the maiden name; or the father of the wife’s whole name be used in naming children. This was a method to preserve the family name; as was naming more than one child the same name. This was a practice often used when children were known to die young; and mother’s would die giving birth.
The Deaton name travels through several generations. First was Deaton Murry Murray who was John’s brother. His name was likely William Deaton Murray. Then John M Murray named a son William Deaton Jackson Murray, but family called him “John.” Then WJD “John” Murray named one of his sons William Jackson Murray, and probably there was the Deaton in there as well that just did not get documented.
Let us skip through a couple of probable wives for John M Murray and go to his marriage to Jane Pierson Pearson, 1829 – 1914, in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. These are the known children born to that marriage: Mandy Murray, Margaret Murray, Georgia Ann Murray, John B Murray, Marshall Winchester Murray, and Dawson Macon Murray. There will have to be future articles on John M Murray and his large family as there is more to discover even yet.
On the 1880 Federal Census Record for John Murray is at home in Smallwood, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. He was born ca 1783 and is 97 years of age and it gives his place of birth as North Carolina. The boundaries of Tennessee which was once or twice a part of the Carolinas may have him born in one place or the other and the family never moved. For most records his birth place was East Tennessee which had been part of the Carolinas. His father’s birthplace was given as Scotland and his mother’s birthplace was given as South Carolina. John’s occupation is farming for himself. Likely Jane Murray was the informant for the census taker given John’s advanced age.
His wife, Jane, was 47 years of age. And the family consisted of children Georgia A Murray age eighteen as well as M C and D M Murray both aged fourteen. Jane Pierson Murray was listed as a patient at Bryce Hospital on a later census record.
John Murray- Pvt in 2 Reg. under Capt. Burwell Pope.
 John Murray made a notarized statement in obtaining bounty land– Sept. 28, 1850 stated he was a resident of Tuscaloosa Co.,AL and was the same John Murray who was a Private in the Co. commanded by Capt. Burwell Pope in the Regiment commanded by Col. Jett Thomas in the War of 1812. Said he was drafted in Sept. 1814 for six months and was discharged March 1815.
 Declaration for pension- May 22, 1872- John Murray, wife Jane Pierson– stated was drafted in B. Popes Co., Thomas Div. Served 6 month in Savannah. pension # 18023
 Company Muster Roll– John Murray, Pvt- Capt. Burwell Pope’s Co 2nd Reg GA Militia– summary– Camp Jackson –Oct 12, 1814 to March 17, 1815–served 5 months, 5 days–paid $41 and 29 cents.
 Claim of Widow for Service Pension- War of 1812—-April 25, 1882, Jane Murray widow of John Murray, who was in the Co of Capt. B. Pope, under Col. Floyd–stated that he had volunteered at Oglethorpe Co. and discharged in Savannah.
John Murray gave his birth year as 1783 and 1790.
Captain Burwell Pope’s Company was formed in Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia and discharged in Savannah, Georgia.
It was this service with Andrew Jackson that yielded some reward for those who served under him while they still lived in Native American lands of the Mississippi Territory. The President had ordered Andrew Jackson to route out the ‘squatters’ on Territory lands that still were in the hands of the Native Americans. These men had served well under Andrew Jackson and were the main reason for his military success. John Murray thought so much of Andrew Jackson that he named his son Jackson in his honor. Andrew Jackson remembered that service and meandered around on his trip to route out the ‘squatters’ long enough for the area to gain statehood thereby relieving him of the necessity of removing those who served under him so well. In the year 1818 Alabama became a state and the whites there were able to purchase the land they lived upon. Below are photos of his grave markers at Big Hurricane Cemetery at Big Hurricane Baptist Church in Vance, Brookwood, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Evidently this community was once named Coaling. This is what you’ve been waiting patiently for, enjoy.
- Bang, bang, bang… (rememberingtheshoals.wordpress.com)