August 23-24, 2002

Heber City , Utah

A John Murray Murdoch Memorial Program was held August 23 and 24 in Heber City, Utah, with the purposes of fellowshipping with family members, gaining a greater appreciation for the lives of John Murray Murdoch and his two wives, Ann Steele and Isabella Crawford and to dedicate a new monument in the Heber Cemetery in their memory.

Many family members stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Motel. Others stayed at various campgrounds in the area. Family members gathered primarily from Idaho and Utah , with a few from other states. The first session of the reunion was a memorial service Friday night in the chapel of the Heber City East Stake Center . It was attended by approximately 285 people. It was followed by a social in the cultural hall. The second session was the dedicatory service for the new gravestone on Saturday morning at the Heber City Cemetery . Total attendance for the two sessions was well over 300 individuals. The reunion also included a luncheon at the Charleston City Park and a tour of homes where John Murray Murdoch and his wives and family had lived...


On Friday night, August 23, a memorial service was held in the chapel of the Heber City East Stake Center . Tables were set up in the cultural hall for registration, the Murdoch Store, the Murdoch Museum and refreshments. (Click here to see the program.) 

The memorial service was presided over by Gary Lloyd. After an opening song, prayer and introductory remarks, the first speaker was Dallas Murdoch who gave some interesting history of John Murray Murdoch and explained the reason why there are two spellings of the name of Murdock (Murdoch). Apparently John changed the spelling to “k” after he had lived in Utah a few years. As time passed, some of the family elected to keep the original spelling with an “h”. Therefore, there are two spellings.

Dallas encouraged members of Mary Mair family and the William Murdoch family to hold their own family reunions, memorializing their ancestors, Mary Murdoch Mair McMillan and William Murdoch, siblings of John Murray Murdoch. He offered funds from the general fund to help defray the expenses of the reunions and any memorial stones purchased.

A musical number entitled “The Murdoch Family” was sung by the Doxey Sisters, accompanied by Bob Stevens.

Phil Rasmussen gave the life sketch of John Murray Murdoch. He reminded the audience of the great sacrifice that John Murray Murdoch and his wives had made in order to have a better place for their children to live and how we all owe them a great debt of gratitude. His talk was interspersed with two beautiful musical numbers:

Yes, my Native Land ,” a Scottish song, was sung by Susan Irwin who was accompanied by Beverly McCune.

“One Fold and One Shepherd,” was sung by Cindy Doxey accompanied by Debbie Stevens on the harp and Gary Doxey on the tin whistle. This song was composed for this occasion by Joanne Doxey.

 The theme of the reunion was based on the Perpetual Emigration Fund. John and Ann were part of the first company of Saints who used this fund to immigrate to Zion . The Church now sponsors the Perpetual Education Fund in order to help young members in foreign countries obtain an education with low interest loans. This fund is patterned after the Perpetual Emigration Fund.

  To highlight this, Elder Richard Cook, emeritus member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, was the featured speaker at the memorial service. He is one of two brethren assigned by the church to coordinate of the Perpetual Education Fund. He gave much interesting information about it and about some of the recipients who are using it. After the meeting, he expressed his feelings about the reunion, stating that he was highly impressed. (Later, it was voted on by the reunion coordinating committee to give a donation of $1000 to the Fund. $290 of the money was donated by family members in connection with the reunion. The rest came from funds generated from the Wee Granny Memorial Program.)

  Clark Kelly Price, a noted church artist and a great great grand nephew of Ann Steele Murdoch, was commissioned to do a painting of John Murray Murdoch and his wives. A much smaller painting (12 X 16 inches) than that which he painted of Wee Granny last year, it portrays a happy family activity of hauling logs and camping. Gary Lloyd introduced the painting to the audience and told some details of how it came to be. Copies are available for sale in the Wee Granny Store.  Click here to see a copy of the painting. 


Following the memorial service, a social was held in the cultural hall under the direction of David Graehl. Frappe and cookies were served. People were free to browse through the Murdoch Museum and the Murdoch Store. It was an opportunity for the relatives to renew acquaintances and much visiting was enjoyed.


Several artifacts pertaining to the history of the John Murray Murdoch family were displayed in the cultural hall during the social. Della Perry and Tressa Garrett were in charge of it. Two tables were filled with items such as:

Ann: Salt and pepper shakers, brooch in wooden window box, white handkerchief

Isabella: Two pairs of glasses

John: Cane held by John Murray Murdoch in photographs of he and Ann Steele’s 50th wedding anniversary, original photo of JMM and Isabella, original photo of JMM and his two wives. Also included were a framed explanation of the origin of the Murdoch name, a picture album of Murdoch relatives, and small trinkets from various Murdoch sources.

  Note: Tressa said that she has an original cut glass crystal bowl given to Isabella by Ann for her wedding. She didn’t bring it because it is so fragile.


It was under the direction of Gina Smiley and Pat Wodskow and provided an opportunity for relatives to purchase many items pertinent to Wee Granny and to the John Murray Murdoch family. This included Clark Kelly Price’s paintings of Wee Granny and John Murray Murdoch and his wives, a booklet of the pioneer trek of Wee Granny (The Long Road to Zion ) a booklet of the history of John Murray Murdoch and his family, and a memorial booklet compiled by Gina Smiley. Click here to access the Wee Granny Store.


The dedication ceremony of the new gravestone for John Murray Murdoch and his two wives was held at 9:30 on Saturday, the morning of August 24th, 2002 at the Heber City Cemetery . It was under the direction of Wayne Lloyd and was attended by a large number of people. To see pictures of the service, click here.

Opening remarks: Wayne Lloyd gave a history of the old stone/new stone. He explained that the name, “Murdock”, was placed on the new gravestone because this was the spelling that was used on the original headstone. This was the spelling for Murdoch that was used by John Murray Murdoch after he moved to Utah .

Opening prayer: Dallas Murdoch.

Bagpipe music: David Barkley. He played several Scottish songs.

Dedicatory prayer: Gary Lloyd.  To access a copy, click here.

Old gravestone: After the prayer, Gary explained that when the old gravestone was removed, it broke into pieces, even though great care was taken to preserve it during the removal. Anyone who wants a piece of it can let Gary know and a piece will be mailed to them.

Additional music: Following the program, it was requested that David Barkley play “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, which he did. Then he volunteered to play “Praise to the Man”, which with different words, is apparently the national anthem of Scotland . We then sang, “God be with you ‘Till We Meet Again.” This was followed by “Auld Lang Syne,” accompanied by the bag pipes. People lingered, photos were taken. A sweet spirit permeated the area. .


On Saturday, August 24, 2002 , a lunch was held at the city park in Charleston with a large number of relatives attending. Box lunches were sold to those who wanted them for $6.00 each. Those who didn’t want the box lunch were encouraged to bring fast food or their own lunch and eat with the group.

Program: The crowd started gathering at 11:30 . Remarks were made by Gary Lloyd and Dallas Murdoch. Ukulele music was provided by Phil Rasmussen and his daughters and those present sang the favorite songs from the reunions of the past. It was very much enjoyed by all.

Lunch: This was followed by lunch. The box lunch consisted of a large half sandwich, a salad (potato or pasta), a dessert and a drink.

The Murdoch Store was again open in order for family members to continue purchasing items.


Addresses, map and photos of the three homes that John Murray Murdoch and his wives and families had lived in were provided for those interested in visiting them. A fourth home where Isabella lived during the final years of her life was not identified in time for the tour, but was identified later. Those homes visited are as follows:

1. Large two story red home. John, Ann, and Isabella lived here with all of their children. It is located at 261 North, 400 West.

2. This is a one story, blue/gray home that is now a store. John and Ann lived here. It is located at 18 South 500 West.

3. Double home for retirement. Ann and Isabella each had a side with a common bath. It is located at 64 West 100 North

4. David Hicken home. Isabella lived here with her daughter, Catherine, after John and Ann had passed away. It is known as “The House of Many Rooms and is located at 415 South 200 East


1 Tressa Murdoch Garrett: (daughter of Brigham Murdoch, son of Isabella)

2. Howard Murdoch: (son of Brigham Murdoch, son of Isabella)

3. Della Murdoch Perry:(daughter of Thomas Todd Murdoch, son of Ann)

4. Jennie Ann Hicken Larsen: (daughter of Catherine Murdoch Hicken, daughter of Isabella)

5. John Nicol: (son of Isabella Crawford Murdoch, daughter of Isabella)


This concludes the information about the reunion. It was a historic occasion and will forever remain in the memories of faithful descendants of John Murray Murdoch and his wives, Ann Steel and Isabella Crawford. It is the hope of those who organized it that this reunion isn’t the last one, but merely one in a long line of reunions of the past and reunions of the future. Each child of John Murray Murdoch and of his brothers and sisters has a large progeny and it behooves each of us to stay close to our families by meeting with them from time to time and enjoying the fellowship of relatives from all generations.


Gary Lloyd, Chairman

Wayne Lloyd

Joanne Bushman Doxey

Dallas Murdoch

David Graehl

Helen Murdoch Hall


Holiday Inn Express gave a special discount to reunion members. The cost was $79.00


A box lunch was provided at a cost of $6.00 for those who were interested. It consisted of a large half sandwich, a salad (potato or pasta), a dessert and a drink. 70 lunches were provided and 60 were purchased.

 Other reunion ideas that were enjoyed:

1. Lunch at the Dairy Queen fast food restaurant. It contains a lot of interesting trains which go around the upper walls. There are also trains on the floor for children to play with. Some booths are in the shape of railway cars.

2. Riding the small train called The Midway Shortline Railroad. It is free (donations accepted) and children have a lot of fun on it. It is located just north of The Homestead in Midway.

3. Free fishing in the pond at the Wasatch Park Visitors Center can be very enjoyable for children. There are picnic tables and shade trees there. The Visitors Center is located just north of the Shortline Railroad. The poles and bait are in the Visitors Center .


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