Preston McMurtry was born in Modoc County, California. His father had come from Jackson County, Missouri in 1875, eventually settling on government land in Watts Valley (southeast of Fresno, California) in 1883, and later moving to Tollhouse, California in 1904.
In 1913, he listed his occupation as rancher and merchant (grocery clerk). In 1922, McMurtry served as eighteenth Master of Las Palmas Masonic Lodge No. 366 at the age of 43. Mr. McMurtry served as a Fresno County Supervisor (3rd District) from 1924 to 1948.
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