Memorable Manitobans: Alexander “Sandy” Murray (1839-1913)
MLA (1875-1878), MLA (1878-1879), MLA (1879-1883), MLA (1883-1886), Speaker (1883-1886), MLA (1886-1888).
Born in Kildonan on 18 April 1839, son of James Murray and Elizabeth Holmes, he was educated at St. John’s College under Bishop Anderson and won a scholarship in 1857.
He was elected to the Manitoba Legislature in December 1874 and acclaimed in December 1878 for the constituency of St. Charles. He vacated his seat to serve as Police Magistrate in East Marquette but remained in the position briefly. In 1879 he was elected to the legislature for Assiniboia, and re-elected in 1883 as a Conservative.
In April he was appointed Speaker of the House in which capacity he served until December 1886, when he was re-elected for Assiniboia. He was appointed Minister of Municipal Affairs 7 July 1887, and remained in office until resigning on 20 December 1887. He then accepted a post in the Municipal Commissioner’s office which he held for many years. He was twice a delegate to Ottawa as a promoter of “Better Terms.”
In 1861, he married Letitia Flett (1838-1920, daughter of the Rev. George Flett and Francis Flett) and they had six children: James Murray (1863-?), Donald Murray (?-?), Isabella Ann Murray (1869-?, wife of James Newman Richards), Marie Laura Murray (1871-?, wife of Louis Dauphinais), John Holmes Murray (1872-1963), and William Stevenson Murray (1875-1949). He was one of the founders of the Winnipeg Board of Trade, in 1873.
He died at the family residence in St. Charles on 12 May 1913 and was buried in the Holy Trinity Anglican Cemetery.
1881 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
A Political Manual of the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories by J. P. Robertson, Winnipeg: Call Printing Company, 1887.
1891 Canada census, Ancestry.
Marriage registration [Marie Laura Murray, Louis Dauphinais], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Marriage registration [Isabella Ann Murray, James Newman Richards], Manitoba Vital Statistics.
“Hon. Alex. Murray, Winnipeg pioneer, died yesterday,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 May 1913, page 1.
“Legislator of early days dead,” Manitoba Free Press, 14 May 1913, page 9.
“Birthdays,” Winnipeg Free Press, 3 August 1946, page 13.
“Last rites held for W. S. Murray,” Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 1949, page 19.
Obituary [John Holmes Murray], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 September 1963, page 41.
Pioneers and Early Citizens of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Manitoba Library Association, 1971.
Obituaries and burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
We thank Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 9 April 2022