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Defender of Londonderry

Adam Murray


Adam MURRAY, according to the LANDED GENTRY OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND,  by Sir John Bernard Duke, was a son of Gideon MURRAY and Miss MACKY.  We are not sure when Adam was born and there is apparently some debate as to whether he was born in Scotland or Ireland.  We do know that in the late 17th Century, Adam was living where his father had settled at Ling on the River Faughan, about 9 miles from the Northern Ireland city of Derry/Londonderry.  It was there that Adam found himself in the middle of the boil that has divided Northern Ireland to this day.

Back in 1685, James Stuart became the Roman Catholic King, James II, of a mostly Protestant England.  James II attempted to promote his faith with wholesale dismissals of Protestant Nobles and replaced them with Roman Catholics.  His delegate in Ireland likewise began to shelve Protestant Officers in the Irish army in favor of Roman Catholics.

In 1688, English Protestants were faced with the real possibility of a Roman Catholic dynasty when a son was born to the King.  (That son, James Stuart, was eventually known as the 'Old Pretender' and later became the father of Charles Stuart, a.k.a. 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'.)  English Protestant Nobles invited a Dutch Prince, William of Orange, to be the Protestant King of England. When William of Orange arrived, fully supported by Protestant England, Roman Catholic King James II was forced into exile.

Almost immediately, James II attempted to regain the throne of England.  As his delegate in Ireland had assembled a powerful Roman Catholic led Irish Army, Ireland was the obvious place to build Jacobite momentum.  Soon the Jacobite Army had swept through most of the major towns in Northern Ireland and set its sights on Derry/Londonderry.  Adam MURRAY found himself right in their path.

For whatever reason, the Governor of the City of Derry/Londonderry, intended only token protection from the Jacobite might.  Adam MURRAY had raised a troop of thirty horseman among his neighbors so the Governor dispatched them as part of the force whose purpose was to turn the Jacobites at the River Finn near Clady.  It is unknown how the Governor thought this plan would succeed as he armed each defender with only three rounds of ammunition.  The Jacobites quickly dispersed this 'defense' and three days later were poised outside the very walls of Derry/Londonderry.

The Jacobites and the Governor must have had quite a shock when about this same time Adam MURRAY showed up at the city gate leading what was left of his troops.  The Governor's real intentions became clearer when he refused to readmit Adam and the troops.  In defiance of the Governor's orders a Captain of the City Guard offered to let Adam MURRAY into the city without his men.  Adam indignantly refused until all his men were given admission too.

Adam MURRAY then led a group of angry Derry/Londonderry citizens who confronted the city's Governor.  When the Governor showed his true hand and ordered the capitulation of the city without a single defensive shot, Adam MURRAY boldly countermanded it, "NO SURRENDER!"  Adam accused the Governor of treachery and called the people to arms.

With that said, Adam MURRAY found himself in charge of the defense of the city of about twenty thousand people.

King James then attempted to buy Adam MURRAY and offered him a thousand pounds and a colonel's commission.  Adam met the King's Men at the gate and rejected these schemes with contempt.  The Jacobites then seized Adam's father, Gideon MURRAY and threatened to hang the old man if he could not induce his son to surrender the city.  Gideon, who was nearly eighty, went into the town as ordered, but once inside he only encouraged his son to fight on.

King James' forces then surrounded the city and began to pound the inhabitants with artillery.  The resulting siege would last over 100 days.

The citizens of Londonderry requested that Adam MURRAY become the town's new Governor.  He refused, saying that he was rather for the field than for the conduct of government.

For the field indeed.  Adam MURRAY led numerous cavalry charges outside the gates.  During one of these harassing attacks Adam had his horse shot from underneath him.  During another attack, Adam himself killed the enemy's French Commander.  On yet another attack, a ball struck Adam on the helmet and left him badly injured.  However, only a month later, Adam was out there in the field again and this time he suffered a shot through both thighs.

The city was rescued a couple of weeks later but Adam MURRAY did not full recover from his many wounds for several months.  The inhabitants who now call that city Londonderry have never forgotten Adam MURRAY's courage, his leadership, and his sacrifice.  Adam MURRAY will always be known as the soul of the NO SURRENDER party and his name has been locally perpetuated by the MURRAY Club, formed in his honor in 1847.  The MURRAY Club is still active today.

Adam MURRAY married Isabella SHAW and this couple had a least two children.  Adam MURRAY died in 1706 and is buried in the Glendermot Churchyard.

Children of Adam MURRAY and Isabella SHAW:

i.  a daughter

ii.  James MURRAY.  James married Anne PATTERSON.  Anne was the daughter of Thomas PATTERSON, Esquire, then Provost of Strabane.  James MURRAY and Anne PATTERSON had the following children:

1.  Adam MURRAY, who died in 1812.

2.  James MURRAY.

3.  Anne MURRAY.  Anne married Mr. ELLIS, of Donain Castle and their son was Henry ELLIS, Esquire of Innisrush House