December 26, 2012

Father: Alexander Howison Murray, Jr.

Alexander Howison Murray, Jr.

Alexander Howison Murray, Jr., was born on April 18, 1907, in Long Beach, California. His parents were Alexander Howison Murray, Sr., and Katherine D. Kevane Murray. 1

He was known all his life as “Sandy” to his family and friends. He was completely bi-lingual in English and Spanish, the second language being the native tongue of his mother’s Californio family. He was a Native Son of the Golden West.

Sandy graduated from Long Beach High School in 1924. He received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1929. His classmate there was John Raffetto, through whom he became acquainted with Isadeen Raffetto, known to all her family and friends as “Sis” (the little sister of three brothers: Lloyd [“Raff”], Elwyn [“Mike”], and John). Sandy and Sis married July 24, 1933, amidst the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Sandy found work in Victorville at a Union 76 gas station. There, he saw “Okies” streaming out of the Mojave Desert in their jalopies on their way to California. 2

In 1935, Sandy and Sis moved to a new house on Lewis Street in Sis’s hometown, Placerville. Sandy opened “Murray’s Stationary,” a fixture on the town’s main street for more than two decades. 3 During World War II, he served in the United States Navy in the Pacific but saw no action. 4

Daughters Patricia and Moria were born in 1936 and 1939. Both girls were confirmed in the Catholic Church. While the girls were attending UC Berkeley, Sandy converted from the Scottish Episcopalian to the Catholic Church. He remained a devout Catholic for the rest of his life and served on board of St. Patrick’s Church. 5

Sandy as president and member of the Eldorado County Chamber of Commerce and as mayor and council member of the city council of Placerville. 6

He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Lions Club, the American Legion of Placerville, and the Shriners‘s Islam Temple 7 in San Francisco and E Clampus Vitus (James W. Marshall Chapter No. 49 – Placerville 8). 9

Placerville’s Mountain Democrat chronicled many moments of his life, including:

In 1937, he became president of the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce. 10

In 1940, he ran the town’s soapbox derby. 11

In 1941, he joined Placerville’s Defense Council during World War II. 12

In 1946, his Mother Lode Office Equipment Company became agents for Remington-Rand Typewriters and other office equipment. The company used to cover El Dorado and four adjacent counties. “Mr. Murray states that this is the first time an agency of this kind has been granted to a small territory.” 13

In 1947, he became one of seven newly elected directors of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. 14

In 1951, he was mayor of Placerville during the dedication of the town’s firehouse. 15 16

In the 1960s, Sandy sold the store and expanded a thriving business in wine and spirits distribution. Suppliers included Miller brewery and Gallo and Charles Krug wineries.

Sandy retired in the 1970s and took his wife traveling to their ancestral homelands: Ireland, Scotland, Italy, and Spain.

In 1989, Sandy and Sis decided to move into assisted living in Frederick, Maryland, near the home of their older daughter Pat. He spent his last years at Homewood Retirement Center.

He died on October 26, 1993, aged 86, in Frederick, Maryland, of kidney failure (like his father).


  1. “Mr. Alexander Murray,” Frederick News Post, 1993.10.27, p. 5
  2. “Mr. Alexander Murray,” Frederick News Post, 1993.10.27, p. 5
  3. Mountain Democrat, January ??, 2011
  4. “Mr. Alexander Murray,” Frederick News Post, 1993.10.27, p. 5
  5. “Mr. Alexander Murray,” Frederick News Post, 1993.10.27, p. 5
  6. “Mr. Alexander Murray,” Frederick News Post, 1993.10.27, p. 5
  7. Islam Temple
  8. E Clampus Vitus (PDF)
  9. “Mr. Alexander Murray,” Frederick News Post, 1993.10.27, p. 5
  10. Mountain Democrat, February 25, 1937
  11. Mountain Democrat, June 27, 1940
  12. Mountain Democrat, July 31, 1941
  13. Mountain Democrat, August 8, 1946
  14. Mountain Democrat, January 9, 1947
  15. Mountain Democrat, July 5, 1951
  16. El Dorado County GenWeb, Placerville Fire Department

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