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Debbie Murray hopes to engage residents with Morristown’s history

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MORRISTOWN - Debbie M. Murray’s appointment as town historian comes as a natural continuation of her love of history, and she hopes to make the town’s past more accessible in the present.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “It’s going to be challenging and fun.”

Mrs. Murray was appointed by the town council at their Dec. 30 meeting. The position comes with a $600 per year stipend which is split evenly by the village and town.

Mrs. Murray is replacing Gloria Scott Johnson, who served as historian for the past seven years.

Mrs. Johnson did a “nice job” organizing the office and collecting interesting historical items, Mrs. Murray said, adding that she hopes to make Morristown’s history more accessible to the general public.

Her first major goal is to get a website up and running that includes information about Morristown’s history.

In addition she plans on digitizing newspaper clippings from throughout the town’s history that will give people a chance to access primary sources from the past.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done,” she said.

This isn’t Mrs. Murray’s first foray into history.

Since moving to Morristown 38 years ago with her husband, David J., Mrs. Murray has been active in a host of organizations including the Hammond Historical Foundation, the Morristown Foundation and the Fort la Presentation Association.

Some of her achievements include helping to get Wrights Marina, the United Methodist Church building, the Morristown Public Library and the stone windmill at Chapman Park on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mrs. Murray and her husband are also reenactors with Forsyth’s Rifles, which stages the Battle of Ogdensburgh annually.

A retired postmaster, Mrs. Murray said she is currently vice president of the board for United Helpers Columbia High Manor in Morristown and is active at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

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