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Letter from John Murray to Elizabeth Inman, 9 November 1771, Murray Papers, NYHS Page 1

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Letter from John Murray to Elizabeth Inman

During her 1769-1771 visit in Great Britain, Elizabeth Murray Smith made a variety of plans for her brother John’s oldest children.  A doctor, John had ten offspring and insufficient income to support them indefinitely or set them up in business fully.  A wealthy widow after the death of her second husband, James Smith, Elizabeth decided to assist her sibling and arranged for her nieces Mary (known as Polly) and Anne, and her nephew Jack to move to America and engage in commerce, the girls as shopkeepers and the boy as a merchant’s apprentice.  Shortly after Elizabeth returned to America in the summer of 1771, she married for the third time, to long-time friend and merchant, Ralph Inman.  The two signed a prenuptial agreement that preserved much of her control over her property.  For her brother John Murray, however, the marriage threw into question Elizabeth’s immediate role as sponsor and benefactor to his children in America and potentially her future generosity to his family.  He responded to news of his sister’s marriage with this letter.

seealsoPrenuptial agreement, Elizabeth [Muray] Smith and Ralph Inman, 24 September 1771 and the Portrait of Ralph Inman by John Singleton Copley, ca.1770.