John Murray (Naperville founder)

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John Murray (born November 15, 1785) was one of the original founders of Naperville, Illinois, with his children Sarah, Robert Nelson, Ruth, Amos and Cordelia. He was born in 15 November 1785 and was married to Joseph Naper's sister, Amy Naper.

Murray was a laborer for hire and a music teacher in the early 19th century, and was among the first settlers of Ashtabula, Ohio, along with Benjamin Naper, an older brother of Joseph. Benjamin's sister kept house for him, and John and Amy were married in 1809. John and Benjamin both served in the local Ohio regiment during the War of 1812.

Amy's family soon joined them in Ohio, and her younger brothers became Great Lakes captains, ship owners and ship builders like their father and older brothers. John Naper married Betsy Goff and started his family in Ohio, but Joseph and his wife Almeda Landon moved to New York state.

In 1831, Joseph and John Naper chose a spot near the DuPage River in Illinois where they planned to relocate. They recruited family and friends from both states to accompany them and form an instant settlement. About 60 men, women and children loaded their belongings onto the Telegraph, Joseph and John's ship, along with seeds, provisions, and the iron works to build a saw mill. Amy and the Murray children were on board, but John Murray walked cross country with the settlement's livestock. The ship took nearly two months to navigate the Great Lakes, and John Murray arrived at Fort Dearborn before the Telegraph did.

At the new settlement, John Murray drew up the first school subscription and ran for Justice of the Peace and Constable. Predeceased by his wife Amy, John Murray died 18 April 1868 in the home of his son Robert Nelson Murray, who was the first mayor of Kankakee, IL.


  • Gingold, Katharine Kendzy (2007). Ruth by Lake and Prairie; True Stories of Early Naperville. Gnu Ventures Company. ISBN 978-0-9792419-0-1. 
  • Williams, William W. (1878). History of Ashtabula Co., Ohio. William Bros. 
  • Anonymous (1894). Portrait and Biographical Record of Cook and DuPage Counties. Lake City Publishing Company.