JOHNSTON MURRAY was born in Emet, Oklahoma. He graduated from Murray State School of Agriculture in 1924 and received a law degree from Oklahoma City University in 1946. He was involved in a variety of businesses and professions, serving as a newspaperman, spending six years with his father in Bolivia, laboring in the Oklahoma oil fields, working with Douglas Aircraft Company, and serving as a legal investigator, trial lawyer, and clerk. He was Chairman of the Eighth Oklahoma Congressional District in 1932 and 1933, a member of the Kay County, Oklahoma, Democratic Central Committee and Chairman of the Oklahoma Electoral College in 1940, a member of the Electoral College again in 1948, and a member of the State Election Board in 1949. His gubernatorial administration was opposed to the imposition of any new taxes and in favor of greater economy in state government. Accordingly, Murray established the Governor’s Joint Committee on Reorganization of State Government to study methods for eliminating waste and streamline administration—methods that he ultimately sought to implement through the liberal use of vetoes. During his term, a decline in the state’s population led to the loss of two congressional seats and forced reapportionment. Also during his administration, an amendment was adopted to Oklahoma’s state Constitution permitting women to serve on juries. After leaving office, Murray practiced law in Texas and Oklahoma and served as a consulting attorney for the Oklahoma Department of Welfare.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
Oklahoma Governors Since Statehood
Who Was Who in America, Vol. VI. Chicago: Marquis Who’s Who, Inc., 1976.