Brief History of
Murray League and
Ore City, Texas
by David Williamson

Before there was a Murray League, or Ore City; Even before there were any people here at all there was the land: streams, creeks and rivers, hills and forests. This area has been called, "The Land Between the Forks of the Cypress."

The first people who lived near the Cypress Bayous were the Caddo Indians, a peaceful tribe, growing crops and living in villages. We know they passed through this area because a major trail we know as the "Caddo Trace" passed through where Ore City is now situated.

France, Spain and Mexico all laid claim to the land where we now live at various times, but the first people to settle here in permanent homes came from the United States. After Texas gained independence, and even more after Texas became a state of the Union in 1845, many people from the Southern states poured into the area. It was at this time that towns such as Coffeeville and Jefferson began to prosper.

In the early 1850s some friends, neighbors and relatives from Haywood County in Western Tennessee settled on a large tract of land which had been divided into individual homes and farms. The land was part of a grant of a "league and labor of land" made by the Republic of Texas to a "William Murray." As far as we know, he never saw the land, but he had it surveyed and the survey still bears his name.

The settlers from Tennessee were all members of the same church, The Methodist Episcopal Church, South. They immediately formed a congregation and school in their new community in East Texas which they named, "The Murray League Methodist Episcopal Church, South" and "The Murray Institute."

The Reverend Joshua J. Clark and Mr. William L. Coppedge were leaders in the church and school. James Harvey Armstrong, brother-in-law of W. L. Coppedge was also a leader of the church and community. Armstrong bought 500 acres at the northwest corner of the Murray League survey.

James Harvey Armstrong

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800 South Mimosa Road
Ore City, TX  75683-2720

Phone: 903-968-2551