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Cedar Mill News
Volume 5, Issue 8


August 2007

History in the News
Joe Murray
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.



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Publisher/Editor:Virginia Bruce
12110 NW West Rd
Portland, OR 97229