Grapeland Texas

Murray, Joe

Joe Murray

Grapeland Texas 75844

Joseph Marvin Murray was born in Johns, Mississippi…In 1869; He married Nannie A. Leggett (b. 1873) from Barlow. Mississippi on October 1, 1893. Joe and Nannie Murray moved to Lovelady, Texas in 1911, then to Grapeland in 1917. They bought a home from T. H. Leaverton on College Street that is now the home of their daughter Ardis Murray Slack. Joe Murray’s brother, George L. Murray had come to Texas in 1886 and worked for wages on a farm near Holly until he accumulated enough money to buy his own farm. He was a good manager and rapidly increased his holdings. His success led to his brother Joe’s joining him in Houston County in 1911. Two years later, nephew Arch Murray joined the Murray brothers in their farming operation. Joe and Arch Murray began to buy land west of Grapeland, and in 1919, formed a joint farming operation separate from George Murray, raising cotton and corn. This farm was locally called the Murray farm and consisted of 4500 acres of land on the Trinity River. In the late 1920s, a levee was constructed to protect both the upper Murray farm and the lower Murray farm from the flood waters of the Trinity River. This was a privately financed engineering project of a magnitude not seen in Houston County before. The upper Murray farm experienced a tornado in February, 1935. Fourteen people were killed and sixty-five were injured. So many houses were destroyed that most everyone had to live in Red Cross tents until rebuilding could be accomplished. In the late 1940s cattle rapidly replaced cotton until in 1965 only cattle were raised. After the death of Joe Murray, Wesley Slack, husband of Ardis Murray, took over the management of Joe Murray’s portion of the Murray farm. He and Wirt Murray developed and used the first sprinkler irrigation system for cotton in Houston County. Joe Murray, as well as being a farmer, went into the general mercantile business in Grapeland with Walter Mangum in 1917. This business continued for several years. Joe and Nanny Murray had four children: a. Wirt W. Murray married Marian Bell and had one daughter, Annabel, who married Paul Bohme and had three children, Paul Walter, Chris, and Leslie. B. Allie F. Murray married Walter Mangum and had two children, Sybil and Sue. Sybil married J. J. Kennedy and they had one son, Dr. James Kennedy. Dr. James Kennedy married Nancy Frazier and had two girls, Tara and Kristin. Sue has not married. c. Agnes Murray married George R. Darsey and had two sons, George Murray and Dr. Joe Ed Darsey. George married Betty Whitebread and has two children. Fred and Ann. Joe Ed married Dr. Sue Bowen and has one daughter, Joanna. d. Ardis Murray married Wesley Slack and had two children, Helen Claire and Dr. Joseph Lee Slack. Helen Claire married E. A. Howard and had two children, Wesley Donald and Ardis Alexa. Wesley Howard married Judy Musick. Ardis Alexa married Charlie Spence and has a daughter, Hope Elaine. Dr. Joseph Slack married Bobby Verion Lewis and had three children, Shelly Marie, Kelly Joann and Kirk Murray Slack. Joe Murray died in 1952, his wife preceding him in 1939.