My Murphy Genealogy
The Murphy Family as originated by the two original Murphys, John & Katherine, is a sprawling list of names due to the large families that were created in the late 1800s, with them having thirteen kids and those children growing up and fathering another dozen each. Eventually the numbers decrease, but for my purposes here I will only deal mostly with my direct lineage
My paternal grandmother, Lorraine Murphy, was a big fan of history and genealogy. She also became a member of the Mormon Church, which also is steeped in genealogy. She did some research into the Murphy immigration to the USA decades ago as well as having kept a huge book on the Murphy family and all the other intermarriage families. Grandma’s maiden name was Brott. My sister has the book now for safekeeping and doing her own genealogy research.
One of the stories in the book from Grandma Lorraine is her growing up in New Mexico and playing basketball with the nearby Navaho children. At one point, a serious illness struck the family into quarantine and no white people in the area would come to visit or attend on them. The family’s support came from the nearby Navaho families. There’s a photo of their farm and I swear it looks like something out of the Grapes of Wrath!
Here’s Lorraine’s initial investigation with some commentary added by me.
John Murphy was born in Roscommon County in 1839. He survived the Famine period from 1845–1850. He emigrated to the USA in 1864 at the age of 25 and first worked in the US Army stables until the end of the Civil War. I did some research on the village he came from using as many free sites as possible. I narrowed it down to two villages in County Roscommon. I don’t remember the second one, but the first was Roosky on the banks of the great Shannon River. (Red marker on map to the right). My sister, Janice, paid for Ancestry.com and dug a bit deeper and did indeed verify Roosky. (She actually went to a genealogist in Roosky looking for more information. But the genealogist said that with only a decade from the An Gorta Mor (Great Famine) and continued hunger and starvation, she told my sister people were in survival mode and not likely doing much documentation. Jan had as much information as was available.
While in New York, we assume he met Susan Kellagher, though it is possible they knew each other in Ireland given that Lietrim is just next to Roscommon on the Shannon River.
Susan was born December 3, 1842 in Lietrim County. She came to the USA in 1855 at the age of 13 and worked as a nursemaid.
While we don’t know exactly when they met, John and Susan were married July 24, 1864 the same year John arrived in New York.
In 1865, they moved to Mason County Rivertown Township, Michigan (just east of Ludington) where John’s stepfather (Patrick) and mother (Margaret) had settled in 1843. Margaret’s maiden name shows up as two differing iterations: Kerr and Hoar.
Given that Patrick was a step-father, it is likely John’s father passed away and Margaret married Patrick. We don’t have information on this union. Patrick could have been completely unrelated to Margaret’s first husband but could also have been Margaret’s first husband’s brother and John’s uncle. In any event, John ended up with the last name Murphy, though it is possible his last name was different if his birth father was not a Murphy. Also
John and Susan’s first homestead was known as Section 14, Riverton Township. John’s stepfather passed away in 1878 and his mother passed away in 1898. Both are buried in the Center Riverton Cemetery. Before my internet research, I had driven to the cemetery hoping the original gravestones were there. Old stones often tell the origin of the deceased. Unfortunately, the stones probably got quite eroded and sometime in the 1960s-70s, some family member had new stones made without the ancient details.
John hired out in a saw mill in Pentwater, Michigan for a dollar a day. He bought a shack, contents and all (stove, table and furniture), from a traveler for the sum of $10. The next week John and Susan walked twelve miles to this new home. John would later buy a claim (Section 15) from one Frank Browman across from his stepfather’s property using naturalization papers to bolster claim. Over the next few years, the farm was cleared and tilled, lumber harvested.
John and Susan had thirteen children.
John passed away in January 1917 at age 78. Funeral services were in St Peters Catholic Church in Riverton and burial is in the Pere Marquette Cemetery in Ludington (Plot 1344). Susan passed away at age 75 a week later with funeral and burial in the same locations. I had the same issue with the gravestones as with his parents’ stones.
For the direct line of my personal genealogy, of their thirteen children, John Murphy 2nd (1879–1949) married Daisy Bushaw (1879–1959) and they moved to Muskegon. John 2nd and Daisy had three sons and six daughters. One of their sons, Bernard (1905–1946) married Lorraine Brott (1910–1978), the author of this research.
Bernard and Lorraine had two children: Darleen and Bernard (Bud). Bud married Sandra Joslin in 1959 and had four children: Dennis, Janice Glenna and Denise.
Bud and Sandra divorced, Bud later married Cheryl Hopkins, adopting her youngson Jeff.
My dad Bernard passed away in October 2005. Here is a link below to the Riverton Cemetery records [ http://ludingtonmichigan.net/cemetery/m.htm ]. There are a lot of Murphy’s listed as so many of the original children of John and Kathrine also had large families. Interestingly, mostly daughters. My wife and son and I went to a Murphy reunion of the descendents of John & Katherine in the early 1990s and Brenden and I were the only “MURPHY” named attendees, since so many had daughters who married and took their husbands’ names. The only other direct Murphy’s I recall were also in west Michigan- John Murphy (my dad’s cousin) and his son John. Unfortunately, I have lost track of them.
Many names get used more than once in a generation and in other generations. There are Bernard’s listed and also one Dennis. I heard about this namesake. This cousin Dennis from the 1800s sadly died at age four after falling in a bonfire on the family farm.
In a scan of Census documents I found in Dec 2007, I found three Patrick Murphys listed in the “flax growers” lists along with the actual towns they were from which might be Patrick (Margaret’s husband and John’s stepfather)- Patrick Murphy from Termonbarry Roscommon, twelve miles south of Roosky.
Genealogy can be fun. I have been to Ireland twice now, but not yet made it to Roosky for a visit. Next trip will include that as a destination to visit.