Born: March 7, 1841, Ballard Vale, Andover, Massachusetts.
Died: March 10, 1905, Cincinnati, Ohio, of Addison’s disease.
Buried: Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.
James was the son of Walter Murray and Christine Morrison, and husband of Isabelle M. Murray.
He studied at the Musical Institute in North Reading, Massachusetts (1856–59), under Lowell Mason, George Root, William Bradbury and George Webb.
In 1862, during the American civil war, he enlisted as an army musician. His first song, Daisy Deane, was composed in a Virginia camp in 1863.
After the war, he returned home to teach piano, but soon joined the Root & Cady publishing house in Chicago, Illinois, as editor of The Song Messenger.
He stayed with Root & Cady until the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when he returned to Andover to teach music.
In 1881, Murray moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to work for the John Church Company, editing The Musical Visitor, and taking charge of the publishing department.