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The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised


Olive and the Murrays


    There is a popular myth that high school student Olive Murray died in the willows by the railroad tracks after giving birth to an illegitimate child. There is zero evidence to support this, and much evidence to refute it.
    Olive wasn't in high school, for one thing, there weren't any patches of willows by the railroad tracks, and the progress of the illness that took Olive's life was reported in the
Medford Mail in the weeks that led up to her death.
    And Olive was buried the day after she died. You'd think if she’d wandered off into the willows to die that it would have taken an extra day to find her and get her into the ground.
    So whose baby is buried with the Murrays in Eastwood Cemetery? Everything points to the child being that of Martha Murray, Olive's mother. In the 1900 Census she reported having had four children, all of whom were living. In the 1910 Census she reported having given birth to five children, only three of whom survived.
    Those few supporters of the myth who have done any research claim that Olive's mother must have claimed Olive's child as her own, to protect her daughter's memory. But i
t strains credulity to insist that Martha remembered to claim "Olive's" infant nine years later, simply because she was worried the census taker would be eager to spread the news if the story varied.


    H. L. Wright and Sam Murray of Medford were in Jacksonville during the week taking orders for the steam carpet-beater.
"Local Notes," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, May 20, 1892, page 3


     Sam Murray is at Salem and may go into the butchering business at that place.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, July 15, 1892, page 3


    Sam Murray has returned home from his northern trip.

"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, August 12, 1892, page 3


    S. S. Penwell, G. S. Briggs and Sam Murrey are up in Josephine County on a prospecting tour.
"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, October 14, 1892, page 3


    Col. Murry, of Central Point, was here on business Monday.

"Purely Personal," Southern Oregon Mail, January 27, 1893, page 3


    Mrs. S. H. Murray is visiting her parents, who reside near Anderson, Calif.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, June 9, 1893, page 2


    Sam Murray made a successful business trip down the valley last week. Sam is a hustler and knows how to drive a good bargain.

"All the Local News," Medford Mail, June 9, 1893, page 3


    Mrs. S. H. Murray last week returned from her visit with relatives in California.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, June 23, 1893, page 2


MR. S. H. MURRAY
    Between Second and Third streets and fronting on B is where the good-natured S. H. Murray has anchored a base. The property occupied by this gentleman is owned by John Dyar, of Jacksonville. Mr. Murray is formerly from Illinois but has resided in California and Oregon twenty-two years. He is one of the early-day miners of California and to him belongs the honor of having picked up the largest nugget of gold ever found in the famous Illinois Valley--$817 in clear gold. Mr. M. is now engaged in gathering up farm produce of almost all nature and does such an extensive a business as to make it quite remunerative.
Medford Mail, July 14, 1893 et seq., page 1


    Sam Murray is at Salem and may go into the butchering business at that place.

"Local and General," Southern Oregon Mail, July 15, 1893, page 3


    Ruby Murray, the fourteen-year-old son of S. H. Murray, is having a severe and lengthy run of typhoid fever. Dr. Jones is in attendance.

"All the Local News," Medford Mail, October 27, 1893, page 3


    The fourteen-year-old son of S. H. Murray of this place is having a severe attack of typhoid fever.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, November 3, 1893, page 2


    Sam'l. Murray is out again--looking several shades thinner as the result of his several weeks' illness with typhoid fever. Lots of people are glad of a chance to greet him in his present convalescent condition.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, March 16, 1894, page 3


    Sam Murray and L. Nudelman started out again this week with their wagonload of merchandise. This trip will be made from here to Crescent City, from there south to Ukiah, and from there they will go east a ways and back home. They have made a couple of trips over in Klamath County, where they traded largely with the Indians--and did well, financially, off of the trip. They carry a line of merchandise and gents' and ladies' furnishing goods.

"News of the City," Medford Mail, July 19, 1895, page 5


    Sam Murray has been appointed city marshal, vice Chas. Johnson resigned. He will doubtless make an efficient officer.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, March 16, 1899, page 3


Sam Is Somewhat Riled.
    In the last issue of the Eye there appeared an item so very misleading and so basely untrue that I feel called upon to reply to it, not because that I in any way think it has been widely circulated but because that a few of my friends have asked me to do so even though they know but few have seen it.
    The writer of the article, or rather the item, in question, even though he be from the wilds of some California timbered seaport town, and untaught in the characteristics of an even moderately equipped gentleman, should have first accorded me the justice due by inquiring into the matter before swishing his mop over the rag he calls a newspaper. It is really to be regretted that there are alleged item writers so low in base matter and so void of mental faculty as to permit them with their scurrilous insults to make even attempts at injury of our townspeople.
    But to the matter which brought forth this bit of eloquence (?) from my friend, the Eye:--On Monday of last week two carloads of mules were brought to town by the Beall brothers, and as the animals were untamed and might possibly do someone injury unless caution was observed, I was asked to keep the small boys out of their way as best I could until they were in the stock pens and then to keep the boys off of the stock yard fences. This I did, and so thoroughly did I do it that I went without my dinner in the prosecution of my duty. About half past five I went home for my combination meal of dinner and supper. At that time everything was quiet on the streets and Mr. Parker had not, to my knowledge, purchased the animal which occasioned the disturbance. Upon my return, an hour later, I found Mr. Parker endeavoring to break the horse and to drive on the streets. I at once went to him and told him to get the animal off the street or that I would be compelled to arrest him. He said he did not know he was violating a city ordinance and that if he was he would of course get out of the way, and he started toward home, but of course had to finish his way through Main Street to get out of town. He went out of town with all haste possible, and that was the last seen of him.
    If the duties of a marshal are such we will not permit him to eat at least two meals a day, then there should be two men employed, but there were no grounds for the scurrilous attack upon me, and I will leave the matter to the people to say whether or not I did my duty.
                Yours Respectfully,
                                S. H. MURRAY.
Medford Mail, September 15, 1899, page 3



    Mrs. S. H. Murray returned this week from a six weeks' visit with relatives in Shasta County, California.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, April 20, 1900, page 6


Medford, Oregon:
Sam H. Murry, 46, city marshal, born June 1853 in Illinois
    Parents born in Pennsylvania
Martha Murry, 38, married 21 years, has had four children, all living
    Born March 1862 in Iowa, father born in Tennessee, mother in Illinois
Olive I. Murry, 17, cigar maker, born April 1883 in California
Myrtle E. Murry, 15, at school, born May 1885 in California
Annie L. Murry, 11, at school, born June 1889 in Oregon
U.S. Census, enumerated June 16, 1900



    Miss Olive Murray, who has been quite ill with inflammatory rheumatism and measles, [is] improving at this writing. Dr. Kirchgessner is the attending physician.
"Additional Local," Medford Mail, January 18, 1901, page 6


    Death has again visited our city, taking another young and promising life, that of Miss Olive Murray, the eighteen-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. H. Murray, who died at her home in Medford last Monday. Her death resulted from an acute attack of inflammatory rheumatism, aggravated by the effects of a severe cold, which she contracted last spring while she was recovering from the measles. The young lady was a general favorite among her friends and acquaintances, and enjoyed the respect and esteem of everyone with whom she was acquainted. Her illness, while it was known to be serious, was not thought to be dangerous, and the sudden and unlooked-for end came as a shock to her many friends. The stricken parents, brothers and sisters, whose grief at their loss is great, have the deepest sympathy of all in their bereavement. The funeral was held from the family residence Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Kenworthy conducting the services. Interment was made in the Odd Fellows cemetery. A large number of friends attended the funeral.

"Additional Local," Medford Mail, January 25, 1901, page 6    The other "young and promising life" referred to was that of Lida May Lippincott, whose death was reported in the Mail on January 18, page 7.


    Mrs. H. G. Fairclo of Ashland was in Medford one day last week, to attend the funeral of her late niece, Miss Olive Murray.
"Medford Squibs," Democratic Times, Jacksonville, January 31, 1901, page 7


    Sam'l. Murray and family are at Crescent City, where Sam is doing teaming. C. J. Clark and family are also there, but both families expect to return to Medford in September.
"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 12, 1901, page 6


    Sam'l. Murray and family returned last week from their summer's stay at Crescent City, Calif. Mr. Murray is of the opinion that the coast country is all right to summer in, but when winter rains and fogs commence threatening he has another opinion, which has grown into a notion--and that is that the Rogue River Valley is several shades better than any of 'em.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, August 30, 1901, page 6


    Sam'l. Murray left Tuesday for Josephine County, where he will do mining for some time.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, October 4, 1901, page 6


    Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Smith, I. A. Palmer and Sam'l. Murray drove up to Wagner Creek Sunday, where they spent the day with friends and attended a Spiritualist meeting which was held in a grove on that stream, the day being too hot to hold their meeting in their hall, which that vicinity has there.

"Purely Personal," Medford Mail, July 25, 1902, page 6


    Married--In Medford at the residence of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam'l. Murray, on Sunday, September 28, 1902, Fred Hamlin, son of Jeff. Hamlin, and Miss Myrtle Murray. The young couple left Tuesday morning for Marysville, Calif., for a short stay.
"City Happenings," Medford Mail, October 3, 1902, page 7


Pine Street, Central Point, Oregon:
Samuel H. Murray, 56, merchant, born in Illinois, parents born in Pennsylvania
Martha Murray, 48, married 30 years, has had five children, three living
    Born in Iowa, father born in Tennessee, mother in Iowa
U.S. Census, enumerated April 18-19, 1910


    A. W. Clemmens' household goods were sold at public vendue Saturday afternoon, S. H. Murray acting as auctioneer. The goods brought a good price, as they always do when Sam Murray sells them.
"Central Point Items," Medford Mail Tribune, August 29, 1910, page 2


    The many friends of Sam Murray were much grieved to hear of his sudden death Sunday morning at 4 o'clock. Mr. Murray had been on the streets Saturday afternoon laughing and joking with his friends in his usual manner and seemed just as well as anyone. The news was a great shock to everyone.

"Central Point," Medford Mail Tribune, September 11, 1918, page 7



    The funeral of Sam Murray was one of the largest ever occurring in Central Point. All the storekeepers closed their stores Wednesday afternoon and attended the funeral. Relatives from Medford and Beagle were present and George Murray, a brother of Sam, from California, was also present. Owing to some misfortune, the children were unable to attend.

"Central Point," Medford Mail Tribune, September 13, 1918, page 7



    Samuel H. Murray, a well-known resident of Central Point, died at his home in that town, Sunday, September 8, aged 65 years. He was a native of Pennsylvania and had lived in Jackson County for the past 32 years.
"Local News," Jacksonville Post, September 14, 1918, page 3




Last revised April 26, 2015