Cliffside Youth in Wilds of Africa
Cliffside, July 2 — Erin McMurray, a Cliffside youth, is now employed in Africa. He is a member of a large expedition which left New York about six months ago for the dark continent.
Mr. McMurray’s parents of this place received a letter from young McMurray recently—the only one received from him since he reached Africa. He is encamped in the African jungle country and it takes a long period of time for communications from him to reach his parents here. He said that he liked his work very much and was having a wonderful experience. He also stated in his letter that part of his duties as a member of the expedition was to assist in capturing certain kinds of wild animals.
Although only a young man, Mr. McMurray has worked at various jobs from house painter to circus hand. Last year he returned to Cliffside and stayed two months. He then went to New York and succeeded in securing the present position.
This article, from the society archives, was printed in The Rutherford County News on July 5, 1934.
Who was Erin McMurray?
Erin Quincey McMurray, born October 6, 1909, was the son of George Pinkney and Hester McMurray. Erin had two daughters, Rose Mary and Marie, by his first wife, Grace, who may have died young for Erin left the girls to be raised by Pink and Hester.
He had five brothers: Edgar Wesley, George Fate, James Mallette, Marshall Reid, and Bobo Campbell.
Erin was a wanderer, stayed away from his family for decades at a time, and over his 93 years had five wives, the last being Florence “Poochie” Shockley, a native of Greenville, S.C.
Erin served in the Seabees in World War II. He eventually became an unordained preacher, and was once pastor of a church in Gaffney, S.C. At the end of their lives Erin and Poochie lived in Black Mountain, N.C. She died first in 2000, and Erin died two years later. He is buried in the Western Carolina State Veterans Cemetery at Black Mountain.
Photo courtesy Frances McMurray Houser. Research by Joyce Hunter