Alexander Murray (geologist)

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Alexander Murray
Geologist Alexander Murray.png
Alexander Murray
Born(1810-06-02)2 June 1810
Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland
Died18 December 1884(1884-12-18) (aged 74)
NationalityScotland Scottish
Known forGeology of Newfoundland
Scientific career
FieldsGeology
InstitutionsGeological Survey of Newfoundland

Alexander Murray, CMG (2 June 1810 – 18 December 1884) was a Scottish geologist. Murray is best known for his career with the Geological Survey of Canada and the Geological Survey of Newfoundland.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Alexander Murray was born at Dollerie House, Crieff, Perthshire, Scotland on 2 June 1810.[2] He was educated at the Royal Navy Academy and joined the Royal Navy in 1824.[3] During his career in the navy, Murray was wounded at the Battle of Navarino and received a medal for his actions.[3] Murray became a lieutenant in 1833 and retired from service in 1835.[3] Following his retirement, Murray immigrated to Woodstock, Upper Canada.[4]

During the Rebellions of 1837–1838, Murray volunteered for service and served in Lieutenant Andrew Drew's naval brigade, which destroyed the US steamer Caroline.[4][1]

After spending a period farming, Murray and his family returned to England in 1841, and he applied unsuccessfully for re-appointment to the Royal Navy.[1] During his time in England, Murray studied geology and received an appointment in 1842-1843 to the Geological Survey of Great Britain.[4]

Geological Survey of Canada[edit]

In 1842, the Province of Canada formed the Geological Survey of Canada and appointed William Edmund Logan as its first director.[5] While spending the winter of 1842 in England, Logan made the acquittance of Murray and he appointed him as his assistant.[5] Murray returned to Canada in May 1843, and the pair commenced a survey of colony's natural resources.[5] Murray examined land in the Ontario Peninsula, while Logan surveyed Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.[6]

On 31 May 1851 Murray conducted fieldwork in Enniskillen Township following Thomas Sterry Hunt's analysis of a 100-pound sample of bitumen taken from the region.[7] In his report, Murray confirmed that the region contained various bituminous deposits, noted the presence of oil seeps and declared the material suitable for the production of lamp fuel, paints, varnishes and asphalt.[1][7][8] Although Murray was cautious in calculating the economic benefits of the gum beds, his work attracted the attention of Charles and Henry Tripp, who acquired a lot in Enniskillen in 1852 and established the world's first incorporated oil company in 1854.[9][10] In 1858, at an Enniskillen oil seep located by Murray, James Miller Williams established North America's first commercial oil well.[1][11]

Marriage and Children[edit]

Around 1836, Murray married Fanny Judkins in Scotland.[1] Together, they had a son and two daughters:[12]

Anthony Hepburn (born 30 October 1840)

Mary Ellen (born 2 October 1838)

Helen (born 19 March 1843)

Judkins died in the winter of 1862-1863 in Woodstock while Murray was temporality residing at the Geological Survey of Canada's headquarters in Montreal.[3]

Later Life and Death[edit]

In 1864 Murray moved to Newfoundland and became the first director of the Geological Survey of Newfoundland. His first major task was to produce a reliable topographical map of the interior of the island. Murray did detailed work in the area between Hall's Bay and St. George's Bay, as well as the area surrounding Conception, Placentia and St. Mary's bays. He also mapped parts of the Great Northern Peninsula and central Newfoundland.

Murray produced the first geological map of Newfoundland and his reports of rich resources in the island's interior were an important factor in the decision to build the trans-island railway in 1881.

Poor health caused Murray to return to Scotland in 1883. On 18 December 1884 Murray died in Belmont Cottage, Crieff.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography – MURRAY, ALEXANDER (1810-84) – Volume XI (1881-1890) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". www.biographi.ca. Retrieved 2020-06-19.
  2. ^ Bell, Robert (April 1892). "Alexander Murray, F.G.S., F.R.S.C., C.M.G." The Canadian Record of Science. 5: 77 – via Canadiana.
  3. ^ a b c d Bell, Robert (April 1892). "Alexander Murray, F.G.S., F.R.S.C., C.M.G." The Canadian Record of Science. 5: 81 – via Canadiana.
  4. ^ a b c "Alexander Murray | The Canadian Encyclopedia". www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca. Retrieved 2020-06-19.
  5. ^ a b c Robert, Bell (April 1892). "Alexander Murray, F.G.S., F.R.S.C., C.M.G." The Canadian Record of Science. 5: 87 – via Canadiana.
  6. ^ May, Gary. (1998). Hard oiler! : the story of canadians' quest for oil at home and abroad. Toronto: Dundurn. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-4597-1312-3. OCLC 1127560811.
  7. ^ a b Burr, Christina. (2006). Canada's Victorian Oil Town : the Transformation of Petrolia from Resource Town into a Victorian Community. Montreal. Kingston, London and Ithaca: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 70–71. ISBN 978-0-7735-7590-5. OCLC 951204013.
  8. ^ May, Gary. (1998). Hard oiler! : the story of canadians' quest for oil at home and abroad. Toronto: Dundurn. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-4597-1312-3. OCLC 1127560811.
  9. ^ Taylor, Graham D. (2019). Imperial standard : Imperial Oil, Exxon, and the Canadian oil industry from 1880. Calgary, Alberta, Canada. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-77385-036-8. OCLC 1087508620.
  10. ^ Gray, Earle. (2008). Ontario's petroleum legacy : the birth, evolution and challenges of a global industry. Edmonton: Heritage Community Foundation. pp. 17–19. ISBN 978-1-4593-3970-5. OCLC 842999352.
  11. ^ Burr, Christina. (2006). Canada's Victorian Oil Town : the Transformation of Petrolia from Resource Town into a Victorian Community. Montreal, Kingston, London and Ithaca: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7735-7590-5. OCLC 951204013.
  12. ^ Robert, Bell (April 1892). "Alexander Murray, F.G.S., F.R.S.C., C.M.G." Canadian Record of Science. 5: 80–81 – via Canadiana.

External links[edit]