William H. Murray bigraphy, stories - Ninth Governor of Oklahoma, First Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives

William H. Murray : biography

November 21, 1869 - October 15, 1956

William Henry Davis "Alfalfa Bill" Murray (November 21, 1869 – October 15, 1956) was an American teacher, lawyer, and politician who became active in Oklahoma before statehood as legal adviser to Governor Douglas H. Johnston of the Chickasaw Nation. Although not American Indian, he was appointed by Johnston as the Chickasaw delegate to the Convention for the proposed State of Sequoyah, and was later elected as a delegate to the constitutional convention for the state of Oklahoma.

Murray was elected as the first Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives after statehood, as U.S. Representative, and as the ninth Governor of Oklahoma (1930–1934). His campaign was marked by racist appeal and he supported Jim Crow laws. During his tenure as governor in years of the Great Depression, he established a record for the number of times he used the National Guard to perform duties in the state and for declaring martial law. He was a Democrat.

Early career

Murray then moved to Corsicana, Texas, where he founded a newspaper that survived for only two years. During this time he ran for the state senate, but failed both attempts. He moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he worked as a writer for the Fort Worth Gazette. While at College Hill, Murray had taken an interest in law and "read the law" in Fort Worth. He passed the Texas bar exam in 1897, and first practiced law in Fort Worth, Texas.

State of the State Speeches

Early life and education

William Henry Davis Murray was born in the town of Toadsuck, Texas (renamed "Collinsville" in the 1880s), on November 21, 1869. He was born to Uriah Dow Thomas Murray, a farmer, and Bertha Elizabeth Jones. His mother died when he was two years old and, after his father remarried, the family moved to Montague, Texas. At the age of twelve, Murray left home.Henry, pp. 10-11.

During most of Murray's adolescence, he worked on farms during the summer and attended public schools in the winter. Murray worked and studied hard, and was admitted to the College Hill Institute in Springtown, Texas. He graduated from College Hill with a teaching degree in 1889 and began teaching in a public school in Parker County, Texas.

Murray became politically active and joined the Farmers' Alliance and the Democratic Party. He was a skilled orator and campaigned for James Stephen Hogg when the latter ran for Governor of Texas.

Later life and death

In 1938, Murray ran for Governor, and lost in the Democratic primary.Henry, p. 14. Later that year, he tried to run for the United States Senate as an independent, but his nominating petitions were filed late. In 1942, he ran for the Senate again, and lost in the Democratic primary.

His wife, Mary Alice, died in Oklahoma City on August 28, 1938. Her body lay in state in the Oklahoma Capitol building on the afternoon of August 29, 1938, the first woman to receive the honor. She was buried in Tishomingo on the following day.

After his retirement, Murray became widely known for his radical racist and conspiracy views. Murray also wrote articles and books dealing with constitutional rights. In his books, Murray seemed to indicate his support for fascism.

Murray's legacy continued in his son, Johnston Murray. He also joined the Democratic Party and entered politics. On January 9, 1951, Murray administered the oath of office to his son as the fourteenth Governor of Oklahoma.

Murray did not live long past his son's governorship as he died on October 15, 1956 of stroke and pneumonia. He is buried in Tishomingo. Murray was considered the last surviving member of the Haskell Dynasty.

Marriage and family

On July 19, 1899, Murray married Mary Alice Hearrell, niece of Chickasaw Governor Douglas H. Johnston. She was born January 9, 1875 and died August 28, 1938, and is buried in Tishomingo Cemetery. They had five children together. A son, Johnston Murray, born in 1902, was elected Governor of Oklahoma in 1951.

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Living octopus

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