History in the News
By Nancy Olson, co-author, Cedar Mill History
The name Murray Road serves as a reminder of one Irish immigrant family
who settled in the area. Owen Murray came from San Francisco, where he had
become a citizen in 1876. The next year he bought a 200-acre tract in Cedar
Mill which included the sloping forest area from NW Pettygrove to Highway
26. Here he built a two-story house with at least seven rooms and a fireplace
in each room. Murray and his wife Mary raised five children, Ellen, Ann, Joe,
Thomas and Mary.
They cleared 120 acres for farming and raised horses and a few cattle. A
20-stall horse barn was constructed next to the family home on Cornell. They
belonged to St.Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. Joe attended the parochial
school until all the children were enrolled in Union School on NW 143rd.
Owen died in 1909 and son Thomas in 1915, leaving
Joe to manage the farm for his mother and sisters. He raised dairy cattle
and also worked for other farmers in the area. He was a colorful figure in
the community for many years. He wore a dirty work cap and sported a long
red beard. Children were both frightened and fascinated by his appearance
and flamboyant behavior. He had a bachelor’s habit of visiting Portland
on weekends for entertainment and returned home with his wagon and team down
Cornell whistling loudly for all to hear.
In 1936 the Depression and Joe’s easy-going
work habits contributed to his financial ruin. He was forced to sell the
200-acre farm to cover his debts. Part of the acreage eventually became the
Terra Linda housing project and Sunset Mall shopping center. Joe remained
nearby in a small rented house and continued to work for farmers in the area.
In 1947 he suffered a fatal heart attack as he was cutting hay for a neighbor.
He is buried at St. Anthony Cemetery on Murray Road along with Owen, Mary,
Joe, Thomas and Ann.