Biography of John Murphy

JOHN MURPHY. This prominent farmer and stockraiser of Harrison township, Boone County, Arkansas, was born in Miller County, Missouri, January 7, 1838, and probably inherits much of his push and energy from his Irish ancestors, his great-grandfathcr Murphy having been a native of the Emerald Isle.

The latter came to America after the Revolutionary War and settled in the Palmetto State, where his last days were spent. His wife was a native of Wales. His son, John Murphy, grandfather of subject, was born in South Carolina, but at an early date settled near Murfresboro, Tennessee, where he died when his son, John J. Murphy, father of subject, was but a small boy. The latter was born near Murfresboro, Tennessee, in 1811, and was married in that State to Miss Perlinta Davis, a native of Tennessee, born in 1813. About 1837 this worthy couple removed to Miller County, Missouri, where they resided one year, and then came to Madison County, Arkansas Still later they removed to Newton County, Arkansas, and from there to Boone County in 1875, where Mr. Murphy died the following year. His wife passed away in 1877. They were Methodists for many years. Mr. Murphy was a successful farmer and stock dealer, owning many horses and mules, and was a public-spirited and enterprising citizen. Idiotically he was a Democrat until the war, but after that he affiliated with the Republican party. Our subject’s maternal grandfather Davis was probably a native Tennessee, but was of English origin. He was a farmer by occupation and died in Illinois. Our subject’s brothers and sisters were named as follows: Isaac N.; Phoebe; James; V. W., who served in the United States Army, first sergeant in Company C, First Arkansas Regiment . He was a brave and gallant soldier, and has since been sheriff of Newton County and postmaster at Harrison, Arkansas; Samuel; Alex.; Marion; Addison, deceased; Sarah; Matilda, deceased; Rebecca, single, and Nancy.

John Murphy, the third in order of birth of the above mentioned children, passed most of his youthful days in assisting his father on the farm, and as a consequence received but limited educational advantages. On November 14, 1858, he was married in Newton County, Arkansas, to Miss Elizabeth J. Penn, a a native of Newton County, Arkansas, and the daughter of John and Rosy Penn, who came from Kentucky to Arkansas many years ago. Both are still living. They had one son in the Federal Army, and is now residing in Oklahoma. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy’s union was blessed by the birth of nine children: Sarah, died young; James R., died of smallpox during the war; Mary M., married John R. Newman Martha Ann, wife of Joseph Thorn of Garfield, Washington; Ida, died when four years of age; Louisa; Rosa; William C.; and George Alexander. Like nearly all his brothers, John served in the Civil War. He enlisted February 12, 1863, in Company C, First Arkansas Infantry, but was soon transferred to Company E,, and operated in the Trans-Mississippi Department, principally in Arkansas. He fought at Jenkins Ferry, was in numerous skirmishes, and received a wound while recruiting in Newton County, having just formed a command of forty men, of which he was elected second lieutenant. As soon as able John Murphy went to Springfield, and soon reported to his command at Ft. Smith. There he was office clerk until his discharge, August 10, 1865, after which he returned to his family then residing in Springfield, Missouri.

Later he removed to Osceola, St. Clair County, Missouri, and was engaged in stock business until 1869, when he returned to Jasper, Newton County, Arkansas, and followed merchandising until 1876. From there he moved to Boone County, where he farmed for two years, and on January 3, 1879, he was appointed register of Land Office at Harrison, Arkansas, serving in that capacity until December, 1885. Since then he has been residing on his excellent farm, three miles northwest of the town, where he has 490 acres, for which he paid $I1,000. He has this well improved, and it is one of the best in the county. He is extensively engaged in the stock business, and for a number of years was engaged in breeding fine horses. While in business in Jasper he was postmaster there for a number of years, and since residing in this county he has held other local positions. Although his schooling was limited, Mr. Murphy has been a student all his life, and is a man of more than ordinary ability and intelligence. He is a member of the A. . & A. M., Harrison Lodge No. 43, and has filled all the chairs. He is also a member of Phil. Carney Post, G. A. R., at Harrison. He is a Republican and an active worker for his party. His first presidential vote was cast for Lincoln in 1864.


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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