William McMurtry

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William McMurtry

Birthplace: Mercer County, Kentucky
Death: April 10, 1875 (74)
Knox County, Illinois
Immediate Family:

Son of James McMurtry and Elizabeth Lucas
Husband of Ruth McMurtry; Ruth Champion and Ruth McMurty / McMurtry
Father of Francis Marion McMurtry; Francis Marion McMurtry; Mary Elizabeth Adcock; James Champion McMurty / McMurtry; Nancy Pool and 1 other
Brother of Nancy Condra and James McMurtry / McMurty
Half brother of Mary Ann Means; Lydia Todd Jones; John McMurty / McMurtry and Mary Ann Means

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About William McMurtry


William McMurtry (February 20, 1801 – April 10, 1875) was the 11th Lieutenant Governor of Illinois and a colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

McMurtry was born in Mercer County, Kentucky. William's parents were James and Elizabeth (Lucas) McMurtry. His great-grandfather, John McMurtry, who descended from French Huguenots, fought in the American Revolution; dying in the Battle of Cowpens. He and his family settled in Crawford County, Indiana in 1818. It was here that William married Ruth Champion (1795–1864, also of Mercer County, Kentucky), on November 23, 1826. In 1829, William and his young family moved to Knox County, Illinois along with his father and brother James and his wife. It was here that William McMurtry's home remained until his death.

McMurtry was appointed in Knox County's first ever election in 1830 as foreman of the grand-jury of the Circuit Court. In 1832 he was elected as the county's first school commissioner. From 1836 to 1840, William was a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1842 he was elected to the Illinois State Senate, where he stayed until being added to the Democratic ticket of Governor Augustus French after the previous Lt. Governor Joseph Wells decided not to run again. During his time in office, 1849–53, a new state constitution was adopted as well as the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was completed. After his term as Lieutenant Governor, William ran for office in the US Congress in 1854 in Illinois' 4th Congressional District losing to Opposition/Republican Party candidate James Knox. This effectively was the end of McMurtry's political career, with respect to seeking elected office. McMurtry was known as a close personal friend of fellow Illinois Democrat Stephen A. Douglas and remained a prominent voice in the state's Democratic party in the years before the Civil War.

During the Black Hawk War, McMurtry organized a group of between 70 and 90 men from Knox and Warren counties — which consisted of nearly all the able-bodied men from the area — to form a company of mounted rangers with him serving as captain and his brother James serving as sergeant. At the outset of the Civil War, he organized and led as colonel the 102nd Illinois Infantry, which was made up of men from Knox County. William McMurtry though only served a couple of months before receiving an honorable discharge due to poor health attributed to his advanced age.

At home, McMurtry was known as a bright man, despite only modest formal education, who was an avid reader and good neighbor. William was a Freemason and treasurer of the local Grand Lodge. He and his wife Ruth had five children. William McMurtry died in Henderson, Illinois; a town founded near his farm home after he and his family had settled there.


William McMurtry (son of James McMurtry and Elizabeth Jewell) was born February 20, 1801 in Mercer Co. Kentucky , and died April 10, 1875 in Knox Co., Illinois

He married Ruth Champion on November 23, 1826 in Crawford Co., Indiana

William Moved from Kentucky to Crawford Co., Indiana and in 1829 came to Knox Co., Ilinois, settling in Henderson Township. He was elected State Representative in the Tenth General Assembly (1836) and to the Senate in 1842, serving in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth General Assemblies.In 1848 he was elected Lt. Gov. on the same Democratic with A.C.French.Inaugurated Jan. 8, 1849.Last day in office, Jan. 10, 1853.He was the eleventh man to serve as Illinois Lt. Gov.In 1862 he assisted in raising the One Hundred and Second Regiment Illinois Volunteers and although advanced in years, was elected Colonel, but a few weeks later was compelled to accept a discharge on account of failing health.Died April 10, 1875 - Excerpted from the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois, Bateman and Selby, 1901.

Children of William McMurtry and Ruth Champion are:

  1. Mary Elizabeth McMurtry, b. 1827, d. 1891.
  2. +James Champion McMurtry, b. 1829.
  3. Nancy McMurtry, b. 1830, d. 1890.
  4. +Francis McMurtry, b. 1831, d. 1920.
  5. Cynthia McMurtry, b. 1834.



12. William McMurtry 1801, b. 20 February 1801 at Mercer Co, Ky, d. 10 April 1870 at Henderson, Knox Co, Ill

   William was Lt Gov of Illinois, 1848 - 1852.
   In Black Hawk War 1831-32
   Went with his father's family to Hardin County, Kentucky. In 1815, the family moved to 
   Harrison County, Indiana, Blue River, near Corydon. In 1818, they moved to Crawford 
   County, Indiana near Fredonia and Leavenworth where the mother died the same year.

Spouse: Ruth Champion, b. 3 May 1795 at Mercer Co, Ky, d. 12 February 1864 at Henderson, Knox Co, Ill

   Married 23 November 1826 at Crawford Co, Ind.


 1 13. Mary Elizabeth McMurtry 1827, b. 26 September 1827 at Crawford Co, Ind, 
   m. Joseph Washington Adcock, 30 August 1849 at Knox Co, Ill, d. 11 November 1891 at
   Warren Co, Ill
 2 14. James Champion McMurtry, b. 3 February 1829 at Crawford Co, Ind, m. Caroline 
   Nelson, 9 June 1855 at Monmouth, Warren Co, Ill, d. 31 March 1903 at Henderson, 
   Knox Co, Ill
 3 27. Nancy McMurtry (2), b. 29 May 1830 at Knox Co, Ill, m. Thomas H Pool, 4 December
   1851 at Knox Co, Ill, d. 16 June 1899 at Logan Co, Kansas
 4 28. Francis Marion McMurtry, b. 15 November 1831 at Knox Co, Ill, m. Elizabeth 
   Pitman, 23 October 1851 at Galesburg, Knox Co, Ill, d. 16 January 1921 at Crestin, 
   Lucas Co, Iowa
 5 44. Cynthia McMurtry, b. 3 July 1834 at Knox Co, Ill, m. Joseph Henderson, 25 April 
   1850 at Knox Co, Ill, d. ca. 1864



William McMurty

  • MyHeritage Family Trees
  • Family site (Family Tree Legends), managed by Vincent Martinelli
  • Birth: 1748 - Rockbridge, Virginia
  • Death: Dec 25 1823 - Limestone, Alabama
  • Parents: James Mcmurtry, Nancy Mcmurtry (born Todd)
  • Siblings: Joseph Mcmurty, James Mcmurty, James Mcmurtry, Elizabeth Mcmurty, Samuel Mcmurty, Samuel Mcmurtry, Alice Mcmurty, Alice Mcmurtry, Mary Mcmurtry, Mary Mcmurty, Susannah Mcmurtry, Susannah Mcmurty

William McMurtry

  • MyHeritage Family Trees
  • 4352339-5 in DonMO Web Site, managed by <unknown> DonMO (Contact)
  • Birth: Feb 20 1801 - Mercer County, Kentucky
  • Death: Apr 10 1875 - Henderson County, Illinois
  • Parents: James Mcmurtry, Polly Mcmurtry (born Mckee)
  • Siblings: John Mcmurtry, Nancy Condra (born Mcmurtry), James Mcmurtry, Lydia Todd Mcmurtry
  • Wife: Ruth Mcmurtry (born Champion)
  • Children: Elizabeth Adcock (born Mcmurtry), James Champion Mcmurtry, Nancy Mcmurtry, Frances Marion Mcmurtry, Cynthia Henderson (born Mcmurtry), <Private> #1, <Private> #2


view all 11

William McMurtry's Timeline

February 20, 1801
Mercer County, Kentucky
November 15, 1831
Knox County, Illinois
November 15, 1831
Knox County, Illinois, United States
April 10, 1875
Age 74
Knox County, Illinois