Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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John Moray of Rome PA and Berkeley Springs WV
Year:  1887, etc.
Submitted by: Jeanne Mozier  
John Moray

Berkeley Springs, WV
Painted photograph in the collection of the Museum of the Berkeley Springs

When I saw the roughly treated image of the older woman in a box of  stuff at the Museum, I knew it was a painted photograph and  immediately thought of Moray.  Then I turned it over and saw the  writing: John Moray, 1887 of Mrs. Mendenhall.  I had my suspicions  confirmed by a couple folks who agreed it was a photograph that had  been painted.  Then, I found the tiny photo in a metal case common to  the Victorian era.  It was the same woman.  The same pose.   Must have  been one of the “enlargings” Moray mentioned in his newspaper ads of  the period.

The Mendenhalls were a prominent and wealthy family in Berkeley  Springs with a homeplace in Sir Johns Run.  Their brick house on  Wilkes St., built in 1884, has been restored and is on the National  Register.

Text by Jeanne Mozier

MORAY PRINT - Panorama of Berkeley Springs,WV
Article by Jeanne Mozier submitted to Tri-Counties August 2010

I knew who John Moray was.  His famous 1889 panoramic lithograph of  Berkeley Springs can be found on local walls, notecards and online. The most recent limited edition was reprinted and sold by the Chamber  of Commerce.  It may be Berkeley Springs’ most durable piece of art.

In my marathon newspaper reading ( “The News” - 1870 through 1939 on  microfilm) I had discovered more about him and his work.

John Moray was an artist, sign painter and photographer who apparently  wanted to do his part in spreading the word about Berkeley Springs. He was a photographer when he arrived in 1885 and was first mentioned  in "The News" where he advertised himself available for sign painting  or picture enlarging.

"The News"  reported in September 1887 that Moray was busy taking  pictures of prominent places in the town and county.

“Moray, the artist, has begun to canvass for a lithographic view of  our picturesque town and has been exhibiting for that purpose a large  pencil drawing of the whole town flanked with specially excellent and  separate views of our Courthouse, school house, springs &ct.  The view  of the town was taken from the Observatory giving not only all the  details of the place, but stretching far away, ridge beyond ridge over  the eastern highlands taking in the major portion of Sleepy Creek  Mountain and giving glimpses of the distant live mountains of  Pennsylvania and Maryland.

“He has given a good idea of the scenic charms of a goodly portion of  the county and this feature makes the picture of special interest to  Morgan County citizens.  We exceedingly like that part of the title:  beautifully situated on Berkeley Springs and Potomac RR.  The town and  county ought to subscribe a large number of these views.  They make a  capital advertising medium as well as atttractive ornaments in any  household. “

In May, The News reported that Moray’s “very excellent and correct”  drawings of Berkeley Springs would be lithographed and sold for $1. By April 1889, he had turned these images into the now legendary Moray  Print.

A group of citizens saw the promotional value of Moray’s lithograph  and organized a festival in mid-July 1889 to raise funds for buying  copies and using them as advertisements for the town.  They wrote to  the News stating how enjoyable and desireable a place Berkeley Springs  was.  “This fact has been beautifully and truthfully rendered by the  lithographic view just published by Moray.  Nothing as thoroughly  effective for advertising the town.  There ought to be at least 100  such views spread broadcast over the great cities and towns of the  nation.  Another reason is that the artist has a great expense of  time, labor and money into this excellent and thorough piece of work.   The man who has shown himself so capable of illustrating the scenic  charms of our section should be substantially encouraged.”

Notable in the Moray view of town are the huge tannery complex  covering nearly a block with two large smokestacks;  the prevous  Courthouse on the same lot as today’s; the Berkeley Springs Hotel and  the Florence House (Fairfax Hotel); both the Presbyterian and   Episcopal churches; and other recognizable structures, some still  standing.

Individual buildings are detailed as a top border including the 500- room Berkeley Springs Hotel, Mt Wesley Academy, Pagoda Springhouse.  covered baths and Berkeley Springs & Potomac RR Depot.  The principal  Springhouse shown is the only building still standing today; it is now  called the Gentlemen’s Spring House at the north end of Berkeley  Springs State Park.

In his later years, Moray became a devotee of James Rumsey and was  instrumental in creating and placing the Rumsey millstone monument in  the park.

Moray worked with glass negatives. There are several prints from his  glass negatives in the Museum of the Berkeley Springs.  One subject  was a sketch of steamboat inventor James Rumsey's 1787 successful boat  trial on the Potomac River near Shepherdstown, WV.   Although not so  identified, the sketches were probably Moray's.

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 08/20/2010     
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice