Biography of Hon. James H. Murphy

HON. JAMES H. MURPHY. In scanning the lives and enterprises of the citizens of Newton County, it is interesting to note the exercise of enterprise in every walk of life. James H. Murphy, one of the prominent farmers and stockraisers of Jackson Township, Newton County, Arkansas, is a native of Madison County, Arkansas, born in 1840, to the union of John J. and Perlinda (Davis) Murphy, both natives of Tennessee, the father born in Giles County about 1813, and the mother in Maury County in 181I.

When quite young the father went to Johnson County, Illinois, where he met and married Miss Davis, and in 1833 he came to Arkansas Territory, locating on King’s River in Madison County, where he improved a good farm. In 1846 he came to Newton County and located in the beech woods, where he improved a good farm and resided until 1878. From there he moved to Harrison, Arkansas, and there passed the remainder of his days, dying in April, 1882. He was a lifelong and very successful farmer and stockraiser, and one of the pioneers of northwest Arkansas. Public spirited and progressive, he contributed his full share toward the county’s improvement and progress. In politics he was a Democrat until after the war, when he affiliated with the Republican party, and fraternally was a Master Mason. For forty years he was a member of the Methodist Church. His father, Alex. Murphy, was a native of South Carolina, but an early settler of Tennessee, where he resided for a number of years. He then returned to his native State and there followed farming until his death in 1869. After-ward his wife removed to Illinois, and there died. His father, Jenkins Murphy, was born in Ireland, where he remained until 1771, and then came to America, locating near Charleston, S. C., where he passed the closing scenes of his life. For three years he was in the war of the Revolution. The mother of our subject died in 1883, at Harrison. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Her parents, John and Nancy Davis, were probably natives of Tennessee, and there passed their entire days, dying when Mrs. Murphy was quite young

The original of this notice, is the third of thirteen children, as follows: Isaac enlisted in Company C, First Arkansas Infantry, U. S. A., as a private, and died in 1863; John resides in Boone County, and is one of the county’s best farmers; Vincent W., of Boone County; Samuel, treasurer of Oklahoma Territory; Alex., farmer of Greene County, Missouri; Marion died in Newton County; Addison died in Newton County also; Phcebe, widow of James Hark, who was killed in the Union Army; Sarah, wife of A. Carlton, of this county; Matilda, deceased, was the wife of William Dugger, of Boone County; Rebecca, single; and Nancy, widow of James Carlton. Our subject had limited educational advantages in youth, but being of a studious disposition and a great lover of books, he became a well informed man. He received private instruction in mathematics and became quite proficient in that branch. Our subject and five brothers served through most of the Civil War as Federal soldiers, but was not subject to enrollment. While in Newton County recruiting, or on January 12, 1863, he was wounded twice in the same engagement, but returned to his company as soon as able. He was captured in that county by the Confederate Home Guards in October, 1862, but was soon released. In the month of December, 1866, he was married to Miss Theresa M. Johns, a native of what is now Christian County, Missouri, and the daughter of Joseph and Abigail Johns, natives of Tennessee and Indiana, respectively. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Murphy: Mary died young: Mattie, William, Samuel, John J., Oliver Otis, Vincent Jasper and Roscoe. Mr. Murphy resided in Christian County a short time after the war, and then removed to Barry County, where he made his home until 1872. Two years later he moved to Newton County, near Mt. Parthenon, and settled on a farm of 160 acres, 80 acres cleared. After settling in this county Mr. Murphy followed teaching for some time, and from 1882 to 1884 he was county school examiner. In the latter year he was elected probate and county judge, serving two years, and for some time was justice of the peace. He and wife have been Methodists from childhood, and in politics he has always been a Republican, casting his first presidential vote for A. Lincoln in 1864. He is an active worker for his party.


A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region: comprising a condensed general history, a brief descriptive history of each county, and numerous biographical sketches of prominent citizens of such counties. Chicago: Goodspeed Brothers Publishers. 1894.

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