Judith Sargent Murray Society
JSM's dates: 1751-1820
John Murray Chronology
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1741               Born in Alton, England, on December 10

1750–9           Moves to Ireland; is introduced to Methodist preacher
                       John Wesley who puts him in charge of boys’ religious
                       class; meets the Little family and uses their library; begins           
                       to preach at about age eighteen

1760               Hears evangelical Methodist preacher George Whitefield

1760s             Moves to London; studies with Universalist James Relly;            
                       marries Eliza Neale; infant son dies; Eliza dies 

1770               Leaves England for America; encounters Thomas Potter

1770–4           Travels throughout the colonies as an itinerant preacher of
                       universal salvation

1774               Visits Gloucester, Massachusetts; meets Judith Sargent Stevens;            
                       settles in Gloucester

1775               Serves as chaplain of three regiments in the in Continental Army

1776               Returns to Gloucester; assists the poor

1778               Gloucester Universalists suspended from First
                       Parish Church

1779               Gloucester Universalists sign Articles of Association
                       to create their own religious society with John Murray
                       as their pastor

1780               Independent Church of Christ dedicates new meeting house

1782               First Parish seizes Gloucester Universalists’ possessions
                       in lieu of taxes they refused to pay to the church

1783               John Murray initiates a lawsuit against First Parish

1785               Travels to Oxford, Massachusetts, to help organize the first
                       Universalist convention

1785-6            Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recognizes the Universalists’
                       right to independence from First Parish

1788               First Parish challenges John’s legal right to perform the
                       marriage ceremony; he leaves for England in January,
                       but returns in October to marry Judith

1789               Son, Fitz Winthrop, dies in childbirth

1790               Helps organize the first national Universalist convention     
                       in Philadelphia

1791               Daughter, Julia Maria, is born

1793               Divides time between Gloucester and Boston Universalist            
                       congregations; eventually severs his tie to Gloucester; installed            
                       as minister of First Universalist Church in Boston; helps            
                       found and moderate New England General Convention            
                       of Universalists which becomes the U.S. General                
                       Convention (see 1837).

1794               Moves family to Boston

1799               At John Murray’s invitation, Reverend Hosea Ballou preaches            
                       in John’s absence causing irrevocable disruption in the                
                       Boston Universalist congregation; John Murray presides
                       over funeral service for George Washington

1803               Travels to Winchester, New Hampshire, for important Universalist convention

1809               Incapacitated by a stroke after years of tireless traveling,            
                       preaching, and organizing

1812               With Judith’s help, edits and publishes Letters and Sketches
                       of Sermons
; daughter marries Adam Lewis Bingaman

1813               Granddaughter, Charlotte Bingaman, is born

1815               Dies in Boston on September 3; buried at Granary Burying            
                       Ground, Boston

1816               Judith publishes Records of the Life of the Rev. John Murray

1837               U.S. General Convention of Universalists moves his casket to            
                       Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts


2008 © Bonnie Hurd Smith

Independent scholar and author Bonnie Hurd Smith is the president and CEO of History Smiths, a marketing company that works with businesses to incorporate history -- their own and their community's -- into their branding, marketing, and community outreach to attract customers, boost customer loyalty, and secure a high status reputation in the communities they serve.