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Murray, Louise Shipman Welles (1854–1931) - Local History

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Louise Shipman Welles was born on January 2, 1854, to Charles Fisher and Elizabeth (LaPorte) Welles in Athens, Pennsylvania. Her father’s ancestors included Thomas Welles, a colonial governor of Connecticut, and her mother’s ancestors included Bartholomew Laporte, one of the French emigrés who founded Asylum, Pennsylvania. Louise attended Athens Academy, Moravian Seminary at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Brown’s School in Auburn, New York. In 1872 she graduated from Wells College in Aurora, New York, and in 1876 she married Millard P. Murray. In 1882 excavations for the Murrays’ home in Athens, Pennsylvania, unearthed an unusual Indian burial plot that included portrait pottery and skeletal remains. The Murrays theorized that they were Andastes or Susquehannochs as described in Capt. John Smith’s histories. Louise Murray worked on this theory until her death, and the results were published posthumously.

In 1898 Murray founded the Tioga Point Historical Society and the Tioga Point Museum. She was director and archaeologist for three decades, using primary sources and progressive techniques unusual for so small a town. She also carried out independent research on local history and in 1903 published The Story of Some French Refugees and Their “Azilum,” 1793–1800 . In 1908 she wrote A History of Old Tioga Point and Early Athens, Pennsylvania , which became the standard authority for the area. In 1921 she wrote an article for American Anthropologist on aboriginal sites in and near “Teaga” (Athens), and in 1929 she wrote Notes … on the Sullivan Expedition of 1799 , a series of documents in the Tioga Point Museum and other archives. In 1931 she became a charter member and second vice-president of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology; its first publication, Selected Manuscripts of General John S. Clark Relating to the Aboriginal History of the Susquehanna , was written by Murray. She died on April 22, 1931.

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