Murray, Adam (d. 1706), soldier and hero of the siege of Derry, was probably of a Scots family, originally from Philiphaugh in Selkirkshire and settled for one or two generations at Ling near Claudy, Co. Londonderry; several versions of his antecedents have been offered. Nothing certain is known of him until he emerged as a soldier in 1689. By April of that year he had raised a troop of volunteer dragoons in the vicinity of Derry in order to resist the forces of James II (qv).
Under the command of Colonel Robert Lundie (qv), governor of Derry, he took part in the unsuccessful attempt on 15 April to defend a ford on the Finn river at Clady, near Strabane, against a Jacobite advance. He was then invited to enter the city of Derry by some of the citizens, who doubted their governor's resolve to resist King James. Lundie was unwilling to admit him, but an officer acting without authority on 18 April opened one of the gates for him. Once inside, he galvanised popular disquiet about Lundie and was acclaimed as the leader of the resistance to James. Murray made several addresses to the citizenry and confronted Lundie, who on 19 April fled. Murray, considering himself better suited for military than political service, apparently declined an offer of the governorship, which was then assumed jointly by Henry Baker (qv) and George Walker (qv). His troop of horse, which he later claimed was the first raised in Ireland for William III (qv), had been brought into the city; however, owing to the scarcity of food in Derry, the horses had to be eaten and Murray's men then joined the rest of the foot soldiers.
Unwaveringly opposed to capitulation (he refused a Jacobite offer of a colonel's commission and £1,000), he led several sallies against the besieging forces. In one of these, to Pennyburn Mill on 21 April, he was said to have killed the French general, the marquis de Maumont. In mid-May General Richard Hamilton (qv) seized Murray's father, then over eighty years old, to persuade his son to surrender; although the mission failed, Hamilton did not carry out his threat to hang Murray senior, but granted him protection instead.
Adam Murray led a mission in June up the Foyle river to land some boys who were to go overland to Enniskillen, but it failed when the messengers refused to disembark. A wound received during a Jacobite attempt to storm the city walls on 16 July, a fortnight before the siege was lifted, put Murray out of action until November 1689 and he does not appear to have been in active service during the remainder of the war. After his recovery he went to England, where William III promised him a place on the Irish army establishment. That promise was apparently not made good, and in February 1690 Murray received a payment to assist his return to Ireland. However, in 1691 he had a commission, which lasted until 1694, to command the militia forces of Ulster. He was lieutenant-colonel of Viscount Charlemont's regiment of foot from 1694 to 1697, and afterwards was on half-pay of six shillings a day until his death. He was not a man of property, and appears to have been unable to live on his pay. In 1700, imprisoned for debt in London, he asked the government for fifty guineas so that he could return to his family in Ireland.
He died February 1706, according to one of his widow's petitions, which, with related documents, provide the only reliable personal and family information. They show that her name was Mary, and that Murray left four children. In 1707 she was granted a bounty of five shillings a day in consideration of her husband's services; she was still living on 4 July 1727, when the corporation of Londonderry granted her a certificate.
The nineteenth century saw a heated but inconclusive debate on the question of whether Murray was a dissenting or a conforming protestant. Derry Cathedral Chapter House has items that he owned: a watch, a snuffbox, and a sword supposed to have been Maumont's or, alternatively, the one with which Murray killed Maumont.