A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.


James Murray

9 August 1713 - 1782

James Murray was born in Unthank, Scotland in 1713. In 1735, he emigrated to North Carolina, where he prospered by exporting tar, pitch and turpentine. After a brief return to Scotland (1745-49), he and his family returned to America, sailing into Boston, where his sister Elizabeth remained and established herself as a shopkeeper. Murray returned to North Carolina, but eventually moved to Boston for health reasons in 1765 and began working in the sugar business. In 1768, he offered his sugar warehouses to the British regiments arriving in Boston, which made him unpopular with some patriot leaders. That same year, he was appointed Justice of the Peace and in 1770, he served as magistrate during the trial of Captain Preston following the Boston Massacre. His loyalist sentiments forced him to evacuate Boston in 1776 and flee to for Halifax where he died in 1782.