Sam Henderson McMurry, Sr. was born March 6, 1853 in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was the son of Boyd Montgomery McMurry and Margaret McCammon. He had one brother and four sisters. At the age of eighteen, he left home without telling his parents where he was going. Sam had twelve dollars in cash and a few personal things with him. He worked at odd jobs making the trip. He walked from Knoxville to Memphis, Tennessee, some three hundred miles. He got a job on a river boat which brought him to New Or’eans, Louisiana. He took odd Jobs from there until he got to Blackland Community in Rockwall County. He lived with Augusta Pettigo and did day labor on the farm for him.
In a short time, Sam bought his first farm which was ninety acres in the Blackland Community. He went to Garland, Texas to visit a friend, Sam Dean, who was also from Knoxville.
This led him to Horatio and Ellen Leonard, a family formerly from Cleveland, Tennessee, and there life really began for him. Sam fell in love with Susan Ellen Leonard and they were married in Garland.
They made their home at Spunky Ridge Community, now known as Elm Grove, two miles south of Royse City.
Sam was a highly esteemed pioneer farmer in this community. He soon owned several farms and three business buildings in downtown Royse City. Sam and Susan were the parents of ten children. Two died in infancy.
Clarence moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, found employment and remained there the rest of his life. He married Nannie Sargent.
Sam Jr. married Loraine Monroe. Mary married Edd Cannon. They both died and left two Tuscaria. His body was buried in Scotland and later returned to Royse City where he was laid to rest in the family plot. He was the first casualty from Rockwall County.
Dewey married Opal Carr. Ethel married Roy Cash. She is the only surviving child of Sam and Susan Ellen. She and Roy live in Royse City. Two daughters-in-law, Opal and Loraine, also survive and live in Royse City.
All of the children except Clarence made homes for their families on farms Sam, Sr. had accumulated. A large part of these farms were still prairie land when purchased and all were in Rockwall County.
Sam became ill and was sent to a Dallas hospital by the family physician. He had surgery for gall stones and expired December 18, 1905. His remains were brought to Royse City and laid to rest in the family plot with Masonic honors in charge. Although Sam was only fifty-two years old at the time of his death, he was paying the most taxes of anyone in Rockwall County and was known as a kind and loving husband and father, a truly good citizen.
By Mrs. Hazel Akin for Rickwall County History, printed in 1984 by Rockwall County History Foundation.
Photo: Mary McMurry Cannon, Jesse and Barton McMurry. Back: Sam and Susan Leonard McMurry, Sam Jr. and Clareance McMurry.