James Murray Maxson was a son of Silas and Margaret E. Whitfard Maxson. He was born at Rodman, N. Y., May 24, 1857, and was the youngest of six children, He came from a family which has been vitally and actively connected with the work of higher education. Mr. Maxson secured his education in the country schools and at Hungerford Collegiate Institute. After some years of teaching he entered the employment of the Handy Package Dye Company, at Adams Center, N. Y., and, in 1882, went to Chicago where he established and managed a branch agency for that company. Later he returned to Adams Center, N. Y., where he lived until after the death of his father when he returned to Chicago and became a partner in the Ordway Heating Company. In 1896, he took over the Ordway Tailoring Company which he continued until the time of the World War.
When a boy, Mr. Maxson became interested in the Christian life and was baptized by Asa B. Prentice and joined the Seventh Day Baptist Church of Adams Centre. On his removal to Chicago he transferred his membership to the church of his faith in that city. On Ma 18, 1907, he was ordained to the office of deacon by a council compos of delegates representing the churches of Milton, Milton Junction, Walworth, Farina, and West Hallock.
On May 1, 1884, he was married to Mary Elizabeth Ordway, daughter of Ira J. Ordway.
Deacon Maxson was a man of great faith, and of unfailing courage, and unswerving purpose to do the right as he saw it. He was a lover of the Bible and a loyal supporter of the church and Christian activities. He was also much interested in denominational activities, For years he served on the transportation committee of the General Conference and helpfully assisted many travelers passing through Chicago in securing favorable transportation on the railroads. Hundreds of Seventh Day Baptists and others from the uttermost parts ‘of the earth have enjoyed the hospitality of the home which he with his good wife made a haven of refuge and cheer in the big lonely city. This home was a veritable oasis of welcome and hospitality. Though still young for their years, they had unconsciously achieved the very high honor of being “Uncle Murray” and “Aunt May” to practically all who knew them. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” “Uncle Murray” sowed love and kindness; and he reaped the sincere love of all who knew him.
After an illness which extended over months, he passed away April 25, 1922. Mrs. Maxson survives him. Liberal, loyal, loving — these attributes dominated his life. The Chicago Church has lost a strong pillar, the denomination a wise counselor, and the world a citizen devoted to beating swords into plow-shares.
Source: Seventh Day Baptist Yearbook, p. 64. Seventh Day Baptist Publishing House, 1922.