McMurray, DeWitt (1866–1940)

By: Brian Hart

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: April 8, 2020

DeWitt McMurray, journalist and author, was born to James B. and Ann Eliza (Holt) McMurray on August 6, 1866, at Thomaston, Georgia. His family moved to Texas while he was a child, and his education, which had begun in the public schools of Georgia, was continued in public schools, with tutors, and through general reading. At eighteen he moved to Dallas and became a printer's apprentice for the Dallas Herald, which was purchased by the Dallas Morning News in 1885. For the following year McMurray held positions with a number of Dallas printing firms. He joined the Morning News composing staff on August 3, 1886. He married Jonnie Ray of Loachapoka, Alabama, on December 28, 1887. The couple raised three children.

Between 1886 and 1900 McMurray received a number of promotions, rising from a composing room worker to printer to proofreader to editorial writer. In August 1900 he was appointed editor of the Semi-Weekly Farm News, while maintaining his connection to the Morning News through the regular contribution of editorials and feature articles. Having been born and raised on farms in Georgia and Texas, McMurray possessed great empathy with farmers. This trait contributed to the rapidly acquired popularity of his column "Let's Talk it Over," which dealt both practically and philosophically with the problems affecting farmers and the difficulties of farm life. He also published poetry and short stories in a number of magazines and newspapers. In 1916 a number of McMurray's editorials were collected and published in book form as The Religion of a Newspaper Man.

McMurray served as president of the Dallas Writers' Club for six years and later became president emeritus. He was a pioneer in the development of radio programming in Dallas, where his intelligence and wit made him a popular speaker and locally prominent radio personality. For three years he contributed spoken essays "filled with humor, pathos and philosophy" to a local radio station. McMurray died on December 16, 1940, after a long illness.

Dallas Morning News, December 17, 1940. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 4.

  • Journalism
  • Agriculture
  • Politics and Government
  • Newspapers
  • Editors and Reporters
  • Radio and Television
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Dramatists and Novelists
  • Fiction
  • Poets
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Brian Hart, “McMurray, DeWitt,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 8, 2020

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