Samuel James Conroy

Encomium about William Murray

Encomium about William H.H. Murray

            William H.H. Murray was a, “handsome young preacher from Boston,” (Perrottet) who was successful in increasing the interest in American travel. Murray was born as a poor farm boy in Guilford, Connecticut who ended up attending Yale with nothing more than his handmade clothes and $4.68 in his pocket. Murray was quite different from the common man for the late 1800s. People would often consider the great nature spots of America hurdles to their lifestyles and areas that needed to be conquered. He would start to enjoy nature and specifically the Adirondacks at a young age. A good friend of Murray’s growing up got him into traveling to the Adirondacks, where he would write stories about it for a local newspaper. The congregations that Murray would minister were often confused by his love for nature, one time, “he arrived to give a sermon while still wearing his shooting jacket and hunting breeches, and leaned his rifle against the pulpit” (Perrottet).

Murray would write a book titled, Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, that would become hugely successful in convincing people to get out into nature. Europeans had already been interested in travel and nature, yet Americans had not yet been turned to these ideas. His book would become a best seller post-civil war. Unfortunately for Murray, the summer after his book would happen to be one of the worst in Adirondack history. This wet season would ruin many travelers’ experiences making people question Murray and nature.

Murray was forced to defend himself in the New York Tribune to which he stated it was not his fault for the poor weather. Murray would go on to state the travel to the region would only grow, and he would happen to be correct as the next summer the Adirondack region flooded with travelers. Murray would be described as, “the right person, in the right place, with the right words, at the right time” (Engelhart). This meant that despite previous famous writers like Emerson or Thoreau also encouraging going into nature, they were too niche and did not reach a broad audience like Murray did. Murray did a great job in encouraging the common American to get out into nature allowing us to see just how great a vacation can be for the body and mind. Many travel industries and people have Murray to thank for their current successes.

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