Murray, Irwin (1834-1907)
Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by J.G. Bowran
On January 9th, 1907, Mr. Irwin Murray passed to the life beyond. Long years he had seen on earth, more than the three score and ten, and his end was peace.
During the fifty years of his residence in Hexham he had become widely and kindly known. One of the prosperous of its tradesmen he was able to spend his later years without the cares of business. He was a member of the Urban District Council, and at the time of his death was its Vice-Chairman. Of the Board of Guardians he was also a member. In the political life of the town he took an active part.
Throughout his life he had been identified with our church and few have rendered such devoted service as he. In his early days the area of the circuit was much wider than now. There were many places and the journeys were lengthy. As a local preacher he shared the strain of the times, taking when appointed even the most distant places. In addition to his work as a preacher he fulfilled the duties of a class-leader and testimonies are abundant of his success in spiritual edification. He was altogether interested in the weal of the Hexham Society. For some years he had been the assistant circuit steward.
He was laid to rest amid every sign of esteem and respect. There was a very large gathering, the members of the Urban Council attending, and his colleagues on the Board of Guardians, together with the foremost residents of the town. Our people throughout the circuit were numerously represented.
The present writer, speaking in the cemetery chapel, referred to the deceased as a genuinely religious man. Those who knew him could not doubt that he had a vital experience of God. Through faith he had come into the life eternal. A splendid proof of that was afforded in the heroic way in which he faced death. Many had visited him in his long affliction, and all had marvelled at his perfect equanimity and joyousness, To him indeed death was gain. He was a man of striking individuality. There were traits in him which marked him off from others. His shrewdness, his humour, his buoyancy of disposition, were the things which gave his character distinction. Of his loyalty to his church the highest could be said. He had love for all the churches, but his heart was at rest in his own. Primitive Methodism met every need. He was at home in its evangelistic fervour, and its fellowships and freedoms were in sympathy with his heart.
Two daughters are left to mourn his loss. Comfort they have in the knowledge of the character which the grace of God evolved in their father and in the service with which he filled his years.
Rev. John Hallam writes: “I made acquaintance with Mr. Irwin Murray thirty-nine years ago. Hexham was my first superintendency. Brother Murray frequently undertook the longer journeys, which cost him much effort and even suffering. He was also a class leader, and my son who first joined membership in his class has never forgotten his kindly loving counsel, and has ever since cherished for him a warm respect.”
Irwin was baptised on 15 May 1834 at Nether Denton, Cumberland. His parents were James and Elizabeth.
Census returns identify the following occupations for Irwin.
- 1861 shoemaker
- 1871 shoemaker
- 1881 shoemaker
- 1891 restaurant keeper
- 1901 retired restaurant keeper
He married Ann Vipond (1836-1894) on 13 February 1859 at St John, Garrigill, Cumberland. Census returns identify three children.
- John James (1859-1897) – a general labourer (1881)
- Elizabeth (b abt1861) – married Jonathan Nicholson, a farmer, in 1897
- Margaret Ann (1863-1922) – married William Andrew Rutherford, a gas fitter (1901), in 1890
Irwin married Jane Graham, nee Bibbey, nee Burn (abt1841-1903) in the spring of 1898 at Hexham, Northumberland.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1907/660
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers