James F Murray Sr, Jersey City Commissioner (1949 – 1952)

James F Murray Sr, Jersey City Commissioner (1949 - 1952)

By Joseph M. Murray

According to newspaper accounts, Murray was alone in City Hall. Mysteriously, all the city officials had left and the building was shorn of police protection. Many suspected Kenny of ordering the evacuation so as to put Murray on the spot, thinking he would panic and flee the scene. Instead, when the angry mob stormed the steps, Murray confronted them directly. He moved a desk into the entrance doorway, mounted it and declared: “That’s as far as you go.” In fact that was the headline of the article in the newspapers. He shamed the mob to a halt, demanding the leaders identify themselves. Then he instructed the leaders to come forward and follow him into the Commission chambers to state their grievances in a civilized manner. It was also a remarkable coincidence that the press were already on the scene, camera at the ready. It’s fair to say the whole event was staged by Kenny, but it backfired to Murray’s advantage.

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7 Responses to James F Murray Sr, Jersey City Commissioner (1949 – 1952)

  1. BILL DONOVAN says:

    JAMES F. MURRAY, SR., ALONG WITH MY FATHER, JAMES J. DONOVAN, WHO
    WAS Mayor of BAYONNE FROM 1939 TO 1943 WERE COURAGEOUS MEN WHO
    FOUGHT FOR THEIR BELIEFS. BOTH MEN SUPPORTED GOVERNOR EDISON
    IN HIS FIGHT WITH BOSS HAGUE.

    • Joe Murray says:

      Hi Bill, Thanks for your gracious comment and for mentioning Gov Charles Edison (son of the great inventor). It was Gov. Edison who defied Mayor Frank Hague by appointing my grandfather, James F. Murray, Sr. Hudson County Registrar in 1942. Murray Sr. was a long-time Hague opponent, and, as a member of the Freedom Ticket, ultimately helped bring down the Hague machine in 1949.

    • Bill Donovan says:

      James J. Donovan led the “Home Rule Not Hague Rule” ticket to
      victory in 1939 in what was Boss Hague’s biggest county defeat up
      to that time. 10 years later Kenny ended Hague’s political career.

  2. Harold Ruvoldt says:

    add to your list of men of political courage in this lineage James f Murray Jr. He was s legend to my generation

    • Joe Murray says:

      Dear Harold

      Thank you for sharing your kind comment about James F. Murray Jr. I am very proud to say he is my father. It’s rather timely that you should mention him, as he passed away 50 years ago this March 12.

      I’ve been assisting my former professor Dr Carmela Karnoutsos of New Jersey City University in preparation of an essay on James F. Murray Jr for inclusion in the NJCU web-site Jersey City Past & Present. He made important contributions to the betterment of Jersey City and Hudson County that deserve recongition.

      Thanks & regards, Joe Murray

  3. Bill Donovan says:

    Joe: Great that you are assisting in your Dad’s history. Ran into
    Doc Whipple at a meeting and it was great going back in time.
    Best regards, Bill Donovan

  4. Lorraine Pannell says:

    My Mother was the secretary for JFM for many years, I would love to hear from you. As a child we would spend Sunday dinner with him and Aunt Jennie. She was a fine lady, I was the flower girl At James F Murray Jr’s wedding. I think I have some family secrets to share with you!

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