Alexander Howison Murray Jr.

Alexander Howison "Sandy" Murray Jr. (19071993), was a two-time mayor of Placerville, California and three-time president of the county's chamber of commerce, who championed regional development, including the building of U.S. Route 50 in California (US 50) and was a regular page-one name in the Placerville Mountain Democrat.[1][2]

Sandy Murray
Born
Alexander Howison Murray Jr.

April 18, 1907
DiedOctober 26, 1993(1993-10-26) (aged 86)
NationalityAmerican
Other namesA.H. Murray, A.H. Murray Jr., A.H. "Sandy" Murray
Alma materUniversity of California at Berkeley
Occupation2-time mayor of Placerville
Years active1929-1991
Notable work
U.S. Route 50 in California and City Council of Placerville (1940s-1970s)
Spouse(s)Isadeen Adela Raffetto
Children2 daughters
Parent(s)Alexander Howison Murray Sr., Katharine de la Ossa Kevane
RelativesEulalia Pérez de Guillén Mariné, John Augustus Raffetto, Lloyd Raffetto, Michael Raffetto, John Augustus Raffetto Jr.

Background

Alexander Howison Murray Jr. was born on April 18, 1907, in Long Beach, California. His parents were Scottish-American Alexander Howison Murray, Sr., and Spanish-Irish-American Katharine da la Ossa Kevane. He was also a fifth-generation "Californio" descended from Eulalia Pérez de Guillén Mariné (1766–1878). In 1924, Murray graduated Long Beach High School. He attended the University of California, Berkeley (which he reached by boat or train from Long Beach).[2] He graduated a year late in 1930 due to financial pressures brought on by the Great Depression (which started in 1929).[1][2]

Career

In 1930, Murray took a trip with college friends to Placerville, where he met his future wife, Isadeen Raffetto. He reurned to live there (1934–1991).[2]

Business

In 1929, Murray got a job with Union Oil Company in Barstow, California. In 1934, he moved to his wife's hometown of Placerville, where they bought and ran Murray's stationery store (a landmark business founded by J.C. O'Donnell as a tobacco shop in 1888) at 311 Main Street until 1949.[2][3][4] In 1944 during World War II, he joined in the US Navy through 1945; his wife ran the store in his absence. In June 1949, they sold the stationery store to Edward H. Durbin, following Murray's takeover of the El Dorado Distributing company from George Yeager.[4] From 1949 until retirement, he operated El Dorado Distributing, a beverage wholesaling business that introduced into northeastern California and western Nevada the wines of Charles Krug, Robert Mondavi, Paul Masson, and Ernest and Julio Gallo.[1][2][5][6][7][8][9] By 1975, Murray had retired from business.[10]

Politics

In 1942, Murray became mayor of Placerville for the first time.[11] In April 1946, Murray ran un-opposed for Placerville City Council.[12] In April 1948, he was re-elected to city council.[13] From 1950 to 1952, he served a second term as mayor of Placerville.[1][14][15][16][17] In 1976, he ran[18] and won a council seat again.[19][20][21][22] Later that year, Murray and fellow councilmen Andy Anderson and Mark Tetrault came under fire from the mayor and other councilmen for leading a 3–2 vote in an amendment to reduce appointive powers of the city manager.[23][24][25][26] Murray was among several councilors recalled in March 1977.[27]

In the late 1940s, Murray led town officials in a successfully campaign to have US 50 constructed through Placerville, which the State of California completed in 1953. "To help draw attention to the highway and promote businesses along it, he helped organize the first "Forty-Niner" Festival and Wagon Train (or Wagon Caravan) event in 1949,"[1][28][29][30] which he supported annually[31][32][33][34][35] as late as 1962 when he served as "chairman for the annual Highway 50 Snow Ball."[36] He continued to support the highway by serving on the board of the National Highway 50 federation with California Senator Swift Berry as chairman.[37]

In 1975, Murray took out papers to run again for city council.[10] In the late 1980s, Murray was still weighing in on town affairs. In a letter to the editor of the Mountain Democrat dated May 19, 1986, he praised El Dorado County Supervisor Bob Dorr as well as the Mountain Democrat itself over the issue of "toxic polluters."[38]

In another letter dated June 8, 1987, he called on fellow citizens to rally support for a South Fork American River (SOFAR) project.[39] (The South Fork American River is a major tributary of the American River in El Dorado County, California,[40] that drains a watershed on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada east of Sacramento. The river begins in pristine Desolation Wilderness and flows through the Sierra Nevada foothills. The river at Coloma was the site of James Marshall's discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill on January 24, 1848, which started the California Gold Rush.[41])

Community

Murray served many years also on the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce[42] and served as a director,[43] committee chair,[44] and president (elected 1935,[45] 1937[46] 1954[47]).

Murray helped organize local support for the 1960 Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley.[1]

He was also active in the Knights of Columbus, the Placerville Lions Club, and the American Legion Post 119.[1]

Personal life and death

Murray married third-generation Italian-American Isadeen Adela Raffetto (1910-1998), daughter of John Augustus Raffetto of Placerville, California; they had two daughters.[1][48][49][50]

Murray was bilingual in Spanish and English. "He was a member of the Native Sons of the Golden West and all his life remained interested in American history, particularly that of California's and its transformation with the discovery of oil and the influx of new residents during and after World War II."[1]

By 1949, Murray was a member of E Clampus Vitus of Old Hangtown, of which his father-in-law John Augustus Raffetto was head.[51][52] In 1955, E Clampus Vitus elected him Noble Grand Humbug.[53] He was also a board member of the local Rod and Gun Club, of which his brother-in-law Lloyd A. Raffetto was a director.[54][55]

Murray converted from Presbyterianism to Roman Catholicism and spent his last active years as an elder in St. Patrick's Catholic parish of Placerville.[1]

In 1991, Murray and his wife moved East to live near their daughters.[1] "With them goes a wealth of knowledge about the El Dorado County area in the earlv 1900s," noted the Mountain Democrat.[56]

Murray died age 86 on October 26, 1993, in Frederick, Maryland of renal failure.[1][48]

Legacy

Murray made several notable and long-term contributions to California by championing:

See also

References

  1. "Sandy Murray: Former mayor dies two years after leaving Placerville". Placerville Mountain Democrat. November 5, 1993. pp. 1, 14. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  2. "Murray, Alexander Howison Jr". El Dorado County Library. 11 April 1978. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  3. "Advertisement: Thanks, Folks". Placerville Mountain Democrat. June 23, 1949. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  4. "Edward H. Durbin Buys Out Murray's". Placerville Mountain Democrat. June 23, 1949. p. 7. Retrieved December 9, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  5. "Advertisement: Have You Tried Schlitz Lately?". Placerville Mountain Democrat. October 10, 1963. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  6. "For Lease: Warehouse Space". Placerville Mountain Democrat. March 5, 1964. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  7. "Advertisement for El Dorado Distributing Co". Placerville Mountain Democrat. January 23, 1964. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  8. "Advertisement: El Dorado Distributing Co. Wholesales – the best in beverages". Placerville Mountain Democrat. March 26, 1970. p. 19. Retrieved December 9, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  9. "Advertisement: El Dorado Distributing Co. Wholesales – the best in beverages". Placerville Mountain Democrat. April 23, 1970. p. 19. Retrieved December 9, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  10. "City election candidates are few so far". Placerville Mountain Democrat. December 18, 1975. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  11. "Then and Now: Locomobile". Placerville Mountain Democrat. October 15, 1997. p. 8. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  12. "Murray, Scott And Molinari Elected". Placerville Mountain Democrat. April 11, 1946. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  13. "Two candidates say campground lease is outright "giveaway"". Placerville Mountain Democrat. April 11, 1968. p. 2. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  14. "A.H. Murray Named Mayor of Placerville". Placerville Mountain Democrat. April 20, 1950. p. 1. Retrieved December 3, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  15. "City Council Names New Committees". Placerville Mountain Democrat. May 4, 1950. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  16. "Placerville Plaque Honors Pioneer Hangtown Miners". Oakland Tribune. May 21, 1951. p. 16. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  17. "Miss Nevada of 1951". Placerville Mountain Democrat. July 26, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  18. "Ad: For City Councilman, Elect A.H. "Sandy" Murray". Placerville Mountain Democrat. February 19, 1976. p. 10. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  19. "Five candidates file for city council". Placerville Mountain Democrat. January 1, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  20. "Mad about council's action City employes back Williams and Ivey". Placerville Mountain Democrat. June 24, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  21. "Recall election results by 10 pm". Placerville Mountain Democrat. July 8, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  22. "Murray charts future course as councilman". Placerville Mountain Democrat. July 22, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  23. "Council moves to cut city manager's powers". Placerville Mountain Democrat. July 15, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  24. "Tetrault, Murray, Anderson under fire". Placerville Mountain Democrat. September 30, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  25. "Tetrault joins Borelli, Carpenter in vote on city manager's powers". Placerville Mountain Democrat. November 11, 1976. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  26. "Anderson, Tetrault, Murray Say: Report on paving vote did not tell the whole story". Placerville Mountain Democrat. February 17, 1977. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  27. "New council to set policy for TV use in city hall". Placerville Mountain Democrat. March 24, 1977. p. 3. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  28. "Wagon Wheels Roll Near and Far". Placerville Mountain Democrat. July 5, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  29. "Mayor, Visiting Newspapermen, Other Dignitaries to Sample "Hangtown Fry" Breakfast". Placerville Mountain Democrat. July 19, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  30. "Wagon Train". Placerville Mountain Democrat. August 30, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  31. "Guide to the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin Newspaper Photograph Archive, ca. 1915–1965", California Loyalty Oath Digital Collection, retrieved December 2, 2018
  32. "Promotion Planned". Reno Gazette-Journal. October 31, 1952. p. 12. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  33. "Wagon Caravan Activities Spurt As Deadline Nears". Mountain Democrat. July 9, 1953. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  34. "Supervosors OK Fund to "Promote, Advertise" County In Aid To Wagon Train, Tahoe C of C". Placerville Mountain Democrat. May 13, 1954. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  35. "Biggest of All Wagon Trains Will Start Rolling Sunday". Mountain Democrat. July 15, 1954. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  36. "Tahoe weekend will be prize for queen of Hiway 50 event". Mountain Democrat. February 1, 1962. p. 4. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  37. "Western States Highway 50 Delegates in Trek". Placerville Mountain Democrat. June 27, 1954. p. 21. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  38. Murray Jr., A.H. (May 19, 1986). "Letters to the Editor". Placerville Mountain Democrat. p. 6. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  39. Murray Jr., A.H. (June 8, 1987). "Letters to the Editor". Placerville Mountain Democrat. pp. 13–14. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  40. "South Fork American River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1981-01-19. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  41. "South Fork of the American River". The American River: California's favorite whitewater river. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  42. "Improvements to Three Highway Routes Asked Following Study Tour". Placerville Mountain Democrat. May 31, 1951. p. 1. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  43. "65 Years ago Jan. 9, 1947 C. of C. Names 7 Directors". Placerville Mountain Democrat. January 11, 2012. p. 13. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  44. "Limited Supply of Tickets Available For Governor's Breakfast Talk". Mountain Democrat. April 21, 1955. p. 17. Retrieved December 2, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  45. Raffety, Michael (29 April 2019). "Belltower: Past chamber presidents reflect local history". Mountain Democrat. p. A4. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  46. "Chamber Will Boost Travel". Placerville Mountain Democrat. February 27, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  47. "Replica of Sutter's Mill At Coloma". Placerville Mountain Democrat. July 15, 1954. p. 8. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  48. "Mrs. Isadeen Murray". Frederick News-Post. 21 April 1998. p. 3. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  49. "Placerville Girl Aids Prytanean Fete at U. C." Mountain Democrat. 22 March 1929. p. 6. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  50. Yoholam, Betty (1 October 2001). I Remember" Stories and Pictures of El Dorado County Pioneer Families. Cedar Ridge Publishing. pp. 145–146, 237. ISBN 9780965876346. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  51. Robotham, N.H. (May 1949). "Clamperana of Ye Olde Days". The Pony Express: Stories of Pioneers and Old Trails: 9. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  52. Robotham, N.H. (July 1951). "Officers Who Conducted Hangtown Celeberation". The Pony Express: Stories of Pioneers and Old Trails: 4. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  53. "ECV of Old Hangtown Elects Sandy Murray Noble Grand Humbug". Placerville Mountain Democrat. January 27, 1955. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  54. "You Fishermen and Hunters". Placerville Mountain Democrat. April 4, 1940. p. 13. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  55. "Sportsmen Elect New Officers". Placerville Mountain Democrat. June 3, 1943. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  56. "Placerville Pioneers Pack Up and Leave". Placerville Mountain Democrat. April 15, 1991. p. 1. Retrieved October 28, 2018 via NewspaperArchive.com.
  57. McHugh, Paul (April 11, 2011). "California whitewater rafting: Season's on for 2014 (drought or not)". San Jose Mercury. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  58. "Wagon Train brings history alive". Mountain Democrat. 7 June 2019. pp. B2. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  59. "Photo gallery: Highway 50 Wagon Train — rollin' to the end of the trail". Mountain Democrat. 12 June 2019. pp. A3. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  60. Branan, Brad (April 22, 2017). "Record snowpack makes for wild whitewater rafting on American River". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
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