Eli Huston Murray – Brigadier General, United States Army

Eli Huston Murray of Kentucky
Appointed from Kentucky, Major 3rd Kenturky Cavalry, 12 November 1861
Colonel, 9 October 1862
Breveted Brigadier General of United States Volunteers, 25 March 1865, for faithful and meritorious services during the war
Honorably mustered out of the volunteer service, 15 July 1865
Died 8 November 1896

Born on February 10, 1843, he entered the Union Army at the age of 17 during the Civil War, he was a Brevet Brigadier General before he was 21.

He served as Major, 3rd Kentucky Cavalry, November 12, 1861, Colonel, October 9, 1862, and Brevet Brigadier General, March 25, 1865 for war services. He commanded the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Army of the Cumberland; 3rd Division, Cavalry Corps, Military Department of Mississippi.

Following the war he had a successful career as a newspaperman. He was appointed Governor of Utah.

He died on November 18, 1896 and was buried in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.

His wife, Eva Neale Murray (1852-1938), is buried with him.

Eli Houston Murray, Governor of Utah, born in Breckinridge county, Kentucky, 12 September, 1844. He entered the United States army as a volunteer at seventeen years of age, commanded a brigade in Kentucky in 1862-‘3, and in 1865 received the brevet of brigadier-general of volunteers for services during the civil war. He was appointed United States marshal for Kentucky in 1866, and held office till 1876, when he became manager of the Louisville, Kentucky, “Commercial.” He was appointed governor of Utah by President Hayes in 1880, reappointed by President Arthur in 1884 for a term of four years, but resigned before its completion. Throughout his administration he opposed the encroachments of the Mormon church and the advance of polygamy.

Eli H. Murray, of San Diego, the subject of this sketch, has all the warrant of hereditary antecedents for the stability and integrity that in his career he has manifested. His father was born in Washington County, Kentucky, whence he removed to Hardinsburg. In the course of his business he brought goods across the Alleghanies and shipped them down the Ohio in flat-boats. He became satisfied that a certain point was a natural location for a city, and so founded there the present town of Cloverport, now of some 2,000 inhabitants.

The elder Murray, merchant and large tobacco dealer, was a man of high intelligence, a representative Kentuckian. In conjunction with Hon. William F. Bullock, he founded the common school system of Kentucky. He also gave the ground and built a church for the Presbyterians – his own faith – in Cloverport.

Mr. Murray was married to Mrs. Anna Maria (Allen) Crittenden, a daughter of John Allen, a leading land lawyer, and Colonel of the famous Rifle Regiment of Kentucky. He was killed in the River Raisin, in the war of 1812. The lady's first husband was a brother of John J. Crittenden, one of whose sons by her (Thomas F.), after being graduated in law under his paternal uncle, Thomas F. Crittenden, settled in. Lexington, Missouri, where he became a successful lawyer, a member of Congress, and finally Governor. An older son, William Logan Crittenden, having been graduated in General

Grant's West Point class, serving in the Mexican war with distinction, resigned, and in later years embarked in the revolutionary movement of La Pez, tempted by the thought of freedom for Cuba, and being a man of great impulse, dash and daring, uneasy in the “piping times of peace.” He was a Colonel in the ill-fated band, was captured and shot. When ordered to kneel before his executioners, he answered, “A Kentuckian kneels to none but his God,” and in spite of all commands and threats was shot standing firm and fearless. The noble, sweet and saintly mother of this brave son was early left a widow, with an insolvent estate and five children. Next to the anxiety for her children was that for her servants, and to avoid the sale of the latter she secured from the estate the management of a factory called a “rope walk,” where was made a coarse cloth for the baling of cotton, which she conducted with such diligence that in three years she had earned enough to redeem her servants from the fate that was impending over them, and forty years later these same servants, with streaming eyes, carried her body to the grave.

Mrs. Crittenden, by a second marriage, gave birth, in 1843, to Eli Huston Murray, named after a kinsman, Eli Huston, of Mississippi, from whose Natchez office Sargent S. Prentice started upon his brilliant career. His elder brother, Judge John Allen Murray, lives at the old Cloverport home. The third, Logan Crittenden Murray, is now president of the United States National Bank of New York, and several terms president of the National Bankers' Association of the United States. The fourth, named like his father, David Rodman, was elected State Senator before he was of the age requisite to take the seat; he is now an active lawyer of Cloverport.

General Murray was educated largely by private tutors, and in part at Professor Hogan's High School, Cloverport, from which he entered the army at the age of eighteen years. General Anderson, of Fort Sumter fame, then commanded the department of Kentucky. Mr. Murray was one of the first soldiers commanded by Sherman in the early part of the war. After several months' service on the front lines of the Union forces, he enlisted under General James S. Jackson, later killed at Perryville, who raised that splendid regiment, the Third Kentucky Cavalry. Murray recruited many men for this regiment, and on its organization he was commissioned Junior Major. His first fight was a hand-to-hand encounter of four companies of this regiment against Forrest, with two regiments, at Sacramento, Kentucky. This was also the first fight of Forrest. In this engagement one-third of Murray's command was on the list as killed, wounded or captured. Forrest was wont to say after the war that this was “the biggest little fight” in which he had shared. In this fight the horse which Murray in boyhood had reared from a colt was shot under him, and he escaped only by seizing a horse from which a Confederate officer had just been killed. He served through Tennessee with Buell, to Shiloh, Corinth, across to Alabama, and through what was known as the Bragg campaign in Kentucky. He received promotion to the Colonelcy of Jackson's regiment, having been promoted on the field of Perryville, upon which his old Colonel, General Jackson, was' killed. Murray served with the regiment continuously in the campaigns of the West, re-enlisting it and making it a veteran regiment. He served with McCook's and Mintie's brigades, and later commanded Kilpatrick's first brigade, from Chattanooga, and his division after he was wounded at Resaca, Georgia, continuing to serve tinder Kilpatrick and to command his division in the noted raid around the Confederate army at Atlanta, also commanding half of Kilpatrick's cavalry in Sherman's march to the sea. He received complimentary mention in various reports, and special mention by General. Rosecrans at Stone River, his promotion having more especial reference to his service in the march to the sea. He was sent back with a view to his taking a cavalry command under General Thomas, in a contemplated movement of Thomas on Richmond. His last military service was when he succeeded General Hugh Ewing, at the close of the war, in the western district of Kentucky, where he received the surrender of many Confederates in the grand finale. Being mustered out of service, he studied law with his half brother, Governor Crittenden, of Missouri, after graduating from the University of Louisville. At the time of his graduation, a student who had failed presented at Murray's breast a pistol, which at the moment of discharge was struck down by a fellow student, wounding Murray in the leg. Settling for practice at Owensboro, Kentucky, he was later appointed United States Marshal for that State. He then removed to Louisville, and was reappointed by Grant. He successfully tided over the trying and delicate times of the Civil Rights bill, and of the “Moonshiners,” and fought openly and actively the Ku-Klux organization in that State. Helping to found the Louisville Daily Commercial, he became its editor and manager, establishing it firmly as about the only Republican journal south of Mason and Dixon's line, which succeeded amid adverse surroundings. While thus engaged he accepted President Hayes' offer of the Governorship of Utah, to which post he was successively reappointed by Garfield and Arthur. He promptly tendered his resignation on Cleveland's succession to office, but was retained for over a year by that Democratic President, serving, all told, some seven years in Utah.

Having thoroughly studied the situation on arriving in the Territory, he devoted himself to the establishment there of a sound government. To his efforts is due the banishment of polygamistic members from the halls of Congress. The infamous Mormon leader, Cannon, had boasted that he wore at his girdle the scalps of the preceding Governors unfriendly to them, and that he would have that of Governor Murray. But not so. This incumbent sought to surround himself with able prosecuting attorneys and upright judges; he battled against vexatious Congressional delays; against misinterpretations and misrepresentations, venal and ignorant, from metropolitan journals; against determined savage opposition from the wealth and power of Morrison leaders and their slavishly obedient constituents; but at last he succeeded in procuring the passage of laws, pure and strong, whose faithful execution sent the corrupt Mormon leaders either into permanent exile or the penitentiary. Time has proved the justice of Governor Murray's opinion as then announced; that no man can be a faithful Mormon and a loyal citizen of the United States; and that the exercise of political power by Mormon leaders is un-American, and in no sense or manner to be tolerated: Thus the establishment of a good government in Utah is mainly due to his long service, his wisdom and determination.

On leaving this office, Governor Murray, becoming interested in a railroad enterprise, removed to San Diego, California, where he is now engaged in these and other active enterprises. He is a Lower California land owner, having purchased a large tract of land ten miles south of the Mexican boundary.

General Murray was a bachelor, a husband and a father in the Centennial year, having married in 1876 Miss Evelyn Neale, daughter of E. P. Neale, a Louisville merchant. Their children are: a daughter, Evelyn, and a son, Neale, both born in Kentucky. Mr. Murray positively refused to be put forward again as Governor of Utah on the election of President Harrison. He was frequently mentioned in connection with cabinet appointments, although declining to enter the lists of any public official position. The newspapers to-day are quoting Governor Murray as a possible Gubernatorial nominee for California. In view of his past record, certainly it is a strong factor in his honor that no man received more solid support from Republicans and Democrats alike than he, during his service in Utah, and from the press and people of the United States.

November 20, 1896 – Eli Houston Murray, ex-Governor of Utah, died at his home, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, last Wednesday.  Although he had won a national distinction, he was only fifty-two years old.  He was born in Cloverport, Breckinridge County, Kentucky, February 10, 1843.

When the War of Rebellion broke out he was eighteen years of age, but soon after the attack on Fort Sumter he organized a company and entered the Third Kentucky Union Cavalry.  He served gallantly throughout the war, and in recognition of his services he was made a Brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers in 1865.

General Murray was prominent in the councils of the Republican Party after the close of the war, and he took an active part in the nomination and the election of General Grant as President.  He was the United States Marshal for Kentucky from 1866 to 1876. Unexpectedly to himself, he was appointed Governor of Utah by President Hayes in 1879, and his services in that capacity made him a conspicuous figure in public affairs for several years.  He administered the officer with a firm hand, and with an unrelenting opposition to polygamy.  Governor Murray was reappointed by President Arthur, but he resigned before the expiration of his second term.  His name was mentioned in the National Republican Convention in 1884 in connection with the nomination for Vice President.

General Murray was married in January 1876 to Miss Evelyn Neale, daughter of Edward P. Neale of Louisville, Kentucky.  Two children resulted from that union.


  • BURIED AT:   SITE 303


  • DATE OF DEATH: 04/27/1938

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