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The Life and Times of John Murray Murdoch, Utah Pioneer
Kenneth W. Merrell
Now in paperback, this award-winning history tells the story of the author’s great-great grandfather, John Murray Murdoch, who came to America from Scotland to gather with other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the nineteenth century.
Murdoch embraced Mormonism and set out for the Utah Territory in 1852 with his wife, Ann, and their family. En route they suffered the deaths of their two young children. Two years later, John’s mother, Wee Granny, and Ann’s brother, James Steele, both perished, along with many others of the ill-fated Martin handcart company, as they attempted to immigrate to Salt Lake City.
Murdoch was a respected member of the community and participated in the military preparations and maneuvers against the U.S. Army in the 1857 Utah War. Eventually the family moved to the Heber valley as early settlers there. Murdoch later became one of Wasatch county’s first elected officials and helped establish the sheep-ranching industry in Utah.
The "everyman" aspect of John Murdoch’s life makes his a compelling story. It will fascinate anyone interested in the individuals who helped create Utah's history.
Kenneth W. Merrell lives in Eugene, Oregon. He has an avid interest in western social history with particular interests in Mormon history, Utah history, and the history of the Oregon Trail.
Table of Contents:
Prologue: An American Odyssey
2. The Murdochs
3. Early Years
4. The Journey
5. A New Start
6. Wee Granny
7. Living the Principle: Isabella
8. Family, Sheep, and War
9. Hard Times Once More
10. The Final Years
Epilogue: Beacon on a Hill
Appendix: Children of John Murray Murdoch
Praise and Reviews:
"Very solid work...A good example of how a ‘family’ history can be written and produced for public consumption."
—Evans Handcart Award Selection Committee
"In reading this account even a person unacquainted with Scottish and Mormon history will receive an excellent introduction to the larger context of John Murdoch’s ‘life and times,’ while at the same time gaining an appreciation of his personal values as a committed member of the Mormon community."
— Frederick S. Buchanan, emeritus professor of educational studies, University of Utah
"A solid piece of scholarship."
—Journal of the West
"The book is more than a biography; it is a case study of all Murdoch's activities. Merrell artfully weaves these stories together. ...the book is a pleasure to read. Scottish Shepherd will be enjoyed by the many descendents of John Murray Murdoch and by Mormons of Scottish ancestry who want to understand more about Scots in Utah. It is a fun read for those interested in historical biography."
—Utah Historical Quarterly
2006 Evans Handcart Award