Based on a review of pension records:
Samuel J. McMurray was born in 1822 in Montgomery, Orange County, New York.
Samuel was living in Woodland, Barry County, when he married Clarissa Ann Barnum (1826-1894), at her family’s home in Carlton, on January 13, 1845, and they had at least seven children: Adelia (b. 1847), Hannah (b. 1849), Lafayette (b. 1850), Madison (b. 1852) and Lucretia (b. 1853), Samuel Eugene (b. 1861) and Effie May (b. 1864). Clarissa was probably related to Andrew Barnum of Woodland, Barry county; Andrew, too, would join Company E 3rd Michigan in 1861.
By 1860 Samuel was working as a mechanic and carpenter and living with his wife and children in Hastings, Barry County.
Samuel stood 6’1” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 39 years old and probably still residing in Hastings when he was elected Fourth Corporal of the Hastings Rifle Company in April of 1861. Although the company was disbanded shortly after it arrived in Grand Rapids to become part of the Third Michigan infantry then forming at Cantonment Anderson just south of the city, Samuel eventually when he enlisted in Company E on May 13, 1861. In July of 1862 he was detached as a teamster driving an ammunition train, by August he was absent sick in the hospital, but was back on detached service in September and October. In January of 1863 he was serving with the Brigade wagon train, with the ambulance train from February through April, probably as a teamster, and in November he was a teamster in the First Division.
He reenlisted at Brandy Station, Virginia on December 23, 1863, crediting Wyoming, Kent County, was presumably absent on veteran’s furlough, perhaps at his home in Barry County, in January of 1864, and probably returned to the Regiment on or about February 1. Samuel was transferred to Company E, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and by August he was absent sick. On November 2, 1864, he was admitted to the Third Division hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, suffering from chronic dysentery, and according to his admission report he had been suffering from this disease “for about four months previous to admission into hospital [and] when admitted was considerably emaciated & having from ten to fifteen evacuations in 24 hours. Gave astringents & tonics, rice and milk diet. Was improving when transferred.”
Samuel was sent to Grosvenor Branch hospital, Alexandria, on November 19 where he died of chronic diarrhea on January 2, 1865, and was buried in Alexandria National Cemetery: grave no. 2864.
In 1865 his widow applied for and received a pension (no. In 1888 he applied for and received a pension (no. 550156), drawing $8.00 per month by 1883. Clarrissa was still living in Hastings in 1870, along with several of her children, and she was still living in Hastings in 1883, in 1888 and 1890.