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Murphy Family History

Last update 5/2/2020


The Irish


Sometime around 1767 in Enniscorthy, a small marketing town in County Wexford, in the southeast part of Ireland, my great-great-great-grandfather, Matthew Murphy, was born.

Matthew was born during a violent time in Irish history. In June of 1798 a series of battles between England and Irish rebels centering around Enniscorthy resulted in the deaths of 20,000 of the Irish citizens of County Wexford. Considering the fact that the population in Wexford at that time was 125,000, this was indeed a devastating impact on the lives of everyone who lived there and who survived to continue, at least for my ancestry.

It was from this violent and devastating atmosphere that Matthew grew up and married a woman named Catherine Murphy, in Enniscorthy, on November 26, 1802. Murphy marrying a Murphy. A very common Irish name, particularly in this part of Ireland. Catherine was born in Enniscorthy in 1781.

To see a map of Ireland showing the location of Enniscorthy and a description of the town, click here.

The only child I have been able to identify is their son, my great-great-grandfather John Murphy who was born 24 years after the marriage, in Enniscorthy on May 7, 1826. At the time of the marriage in 1802, Matthew was around 35 and Catherine 21. And when John was born in 1826, they were 58 and 44, respectively. Although I have no data to support this, John eventually made his way from Enniscorthy to Newark, New Jersey where he married Mary E. Murphy on September 26, 1850. Another case of a Murphy marrying a Murphy.

If John emigrated shortly before his marriage in Newark, then we have some idea of why he may have left Ireland. The period between 1845 and 1852 marks another devastating time in Irish history known as the Great Potato Famine. These were times of extreme poverty when 30% of the Irish populace had nothing to eat except potatoes. A disease attacked the potato crops starting in 1845 and continued for several years. This, along with Britain's indifference for the welfare of their Irish neighbors, caused tens of thousands to starve to death. Faced with the prospect of starvation, many chose to flee to the promise of a better life in other countries, including America. Perhaps this is what drove John to leave Enniscorthy and sail to America.

Matthew and Catherine continued to live to a ripe old age in Enniscorthy. Catherine was 70 when she died February 9, 1852 and Matthew 80 when he passed on December 10, 1853.


By August of 1850, John Murphy was living with the Cox family in the South Ward of the City of Newark in N.J. He was employed as a cabinetmaker. Mary E. Murphy lived nearby with the Blauvelt family. The 1850 Federal Census indicates she could neither read nor write. Shortly after, on September 26, 1850, John and Mary were married at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church, located at 91 Washington Street in Newark. The church had only been built six months earlier. The marriage was performed by Father Senez, who was largely responsible for the construction of the new church. For more details on the church, click here.

I have no evidence whether John and Mary knew each other before arriving in America. For that matter, I don't know when Mary arrived or where in Ireland she came from. On her marriage certificate she listed her father as Miles Murphy; her mother's name was Jane. On some documents, her name is listed as Margaret.

John and Mary had 5 children that I know of: John E. Murphy, born June 23, 1851; Katherine Teresa Murphy, born October 14, 1852; Mary Elizabeth Murphy , born February 1860; Matthew F. Murphy (my great-grandfather), born February 1863; and another Mary Murphy, born 1869. By 1880 they were living at 95 Prospect Street in Newark.

The first daughter Mary was listed on the 1860 census, but not the 1870 one, so she must have died sometime between. The second Mary was 1 year old on the 1870 census but she was no longer showing on the 1880 census. Obviously, she too must have died between 1870 and 1880. There are also large gaps between Katherine (1852) and Mary Elizabeth (1860), and between Matthew (1863) and the second Mary (1869). I have not been able to find any death records for anyone other than John E. and Matthew. I can only guess that there may have been other children who didn't live long enough to appear on the censuses.


John E. Murphy married Henrietta Volk on October 15, 1874 in Newark. Henrietta's parents were Peter and Mary Volk. Henrietta was born October 13, 1850 in New York. John worked as a collections clerk and a dry goods salesman. They lived at 113 Belleville Avenue in Newark. They had three children: John J. Murphy, born October 9, 1875; William Murphy, born 1878; and Harry Murphy, born May 1881.

Henrietta was only 39 when she died on October 27, 1889. John E., unable to raise the boys by himself, sent them to live with Henrietta's sisters, the widowed Mary Bradshaw and Emma Volk, who lived at 343 Ogden Street. At the time of Henrietta's death, John J. was 13, William 11, and Harry 8.

On January 9, 1890, John Murphy, still living with Mary at 95 Prospect Street, died there at the age of 63. On October 1 of that same year, 37-year-old Katherine Teresa Murphy married a 36-year-old house painter named Joseph Harrold in the same church as her parents, Saint Patrick's Church (now called St. Patrick's Cathedral). Joseph was born in Newark in June of 1854, the son of Charles Harrold and Joanna Von Anken.

At the time of the marriage, Katherine was living with her widowed mother at 95 Prospect Street in Newark, and working as a dressmaker. She and Joseph moved to 19 Summit Street in Newark. As far as I know, they had no children.

On February 23, 1894, Mary died. She was 66 years old. Mary and John are buried together at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Newark.

By 1900, John J. and Harry were still living with their aunts. John J. worked as a silk salesman while Harry was a "silk finisher." Their father, John E., was living at a boarding house at 39 Grant Street, working as a merchandise salesman. At this point, I've lost track of William.

In August of 1908, Joseph Harrold was visiting his Aunt Sarah Perry in Blairstown, a town west of Newark out near the border with Pennsylvania, when he died suddenly, on August 29. He was only 54 years old. He and Katherine were still living at 19 Summit Street in Newark. Katherine died many years later, on February 21, 1936 when she was 83. At the time of her death, she was living at the Murphy family home at 77 Murray Street in Newark. She and Joseph are buried together at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

By 1910, John E. Murphy had moved to another boarding house, at 48 8th Avenue, and was now working as a stock clerk for an auction house. He was 60 years old and still living there when he died of heat stroke during a terrible heat wave on July 12, 1911. He was buried with his parents at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Newark.

By this time, his son, John J. Murphy, was living at 222 Riverside Avenue with his wife, Kathryn T. (Walsh). Kathryn's parents were Thomas and Elizabeth Walsh. Thomas was born in Ireland in April of 1841. John J. was still working as a silk salesman in Manhattan. He was of medium height and build, with brown hair and blue eyes. When Kathryn's mother died sometime before 1910, her father and her sister Mary Walsh moved in with her and John. At some point, they adopted a boy named Thomas Struble. By 1935, they had moved to 64 Lincoln Avenue in Newark. While Kathryn's father died between 1930 and 1940, Kathryn's 58-year-old sister Mary, who never married, was still living with them in 1940. I lost track of them after that, and I have no further information on John's brothers Harry and William.


On June 15, 1887, Matthew F. Murphy married Mary Ellen McCarthy at St. James Roman Catholic Church, located at 143 Madison Street in Newark. Mary Ellen was born in Newark on November 27, 1863, the daughter of Michael McCarthy and Mary Ann Cleary. She was a member of the Rosary Society, Saint James Branch Number 165, the Loyal Christian Benefit Association, and the Guild of Saint James Hospital. She was also the sister of a somewhat famous brother, James A. McCarthy. To read more about him, click here.

Matthew worked as a salesman for many years before eventually taking a job as a stock clerk for the gas company. He was a member of the Holy Name Society of Saint Columba's Church in Newark, the Catholic Benevolent Legion, St. James Council Number 39, and the Institute Boat Club of Newark.

Matthew and Mary Ellen raised seven children while constantly moving from one location to another. Starting in 1888, they lived at 504 Ferry Street in Newark, then at 173 Lafayette Street, 268 Lafayette Street, 85 Jefferson Street (1895-1915), and finally, by 1915 at 77 Murray Street. The children were: Marguerite Murphy, born July 28, 1888; Helen J. Murphy, born August 7, 1890; Joseph Francis Murphy, born on Christmas Eve 1892; Maria Agnes Murphy, known by the family as Marie, born June 2, 1895; Grace A. Murphy, born October 10, 1896; John M. Murphy (my grandfather), born on February 16, 1898; and Eugene V. Murphy, born August 4, 1903.

Other than my grandfather, I know a little about the others. Marguerite died at the age of 8 on March 22, 1897 at the family home at 85 Jefferson Street, of "Acute Lobar Pneumonia plus Heart Failure." What can only be desribed as macabre, she is listed in the 1900 Federal Census as an 11-year-old. Joseph was 5' 8" tall with a stout build, blue eyes and light-colored hair. In 1917, he worked as a clerk for Macy's in Newark.

Marie married William Vierling at Saint Columba's Church in Newark on October 5, 1926, when she was 31 years old. William, who was also 31 when they married, was a music teacher and a "moulder" from Elizabeth, NJ, and sometimes went by the name Paul. He was born in Elizabeth on May 4, 1895. His parents were Henry Vierling and Philippine Lapp. He was later employed as a carpenter for a company in South Orange, NJ. He stood 5' 8" tall and weighed 190 pounds, with gray eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. Following the wedding, they honeymooned by cruise ship to Bermuda. They lived at 62 Voorhees Street in Newark.

By 1930, Matthew and Mary Ellen were living at 77 Murray Street in Newark. Four of their adult unwed children lived with them: 39-year-old Helen; 37-year-old Joseph, who was now working as a foreman for a construction firm; 33-year-old Grace was employed as a bank stenographer; and 26-year-old Eugene, a clerk for an insurance company.

That same year, Grace married Thomas George Wheeler, on July 26, 1930. Thomas was born in Tweed, Ontario, Canada, the son of George Wheeler and Eliza Kenney. He was three years younger than Grace. Although Grace was living with her parents at 77 Murray Street three months before her marriage, her marriage certificate says she was living at 36 Broad Street in Newark. In any event, the couple moved to 25 Ball Street in Irvington. Two years later, Grace suffered a stroke. She lasted one week and died at Irvington General Hospital at the age of 35 on May 27, 1932. Her death certificate lists heart disease and malnutrition as contributory causes of death. She was buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. I have not been able to find out anything more about Thomas.

My memory of Eugene, the youngest of the children, was that he suffered from Parkinson's Disease and I always thought that he never married. It was a shock when we found evidence that he married Rose Harty on October 1, 1932 when he was 28 years old. Rose, who worked as a clerk-typist for the Hall of Records, was born in Newark in February of 1905, the daughter of James Harty and Sarah "Sadie" Connell. Eugene lived with his family at 77 Murray Street in Newark. The Hartys lived at 247 Isabella Avenue in Irvington, right across the street from my grandparents, Eugene's brother John Murphy and his wife Frances, and my father Bill Murphy, at 244 Isabella Avenue.

Eugene was 5' 7" tall and weighed 170 pounds. He had blue eyes and brown hair. He worked for the Smythe, Sanford & Gerard Insurance Company in New York City. For a while, he and Rose lived in East Orange before eventually settling in Newark.

Matthew and Mary Ellen were still living in the home at 77 Murray Street in Newark when Matthew died on April 6, 1933 and Mary Ellen on November 20, 1937, both of the same disease, Chronic Endocarditis. Matthew was 70 and Mary Ellen 75. They are buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.

When my grandfather John Murphy died in 1963, his obituary shows that Helen (73), Joseph (71), Marie (68), and Eugene (59) were still alive, but that Grace was not (she died in 1932). As far as I know, Helen and Joseph never married. Eugene and Rose were married for 34 years when she died on December 3, 1966 at the age of 61. I was 12 years old at the time, but I have no memory that she ever existed. Joseph and Helen died in 1970: Joseph, 77 years old on May 15, 1970; Helen 79 on August 1, 1970. Eugene died a year later on December 9, 1971. He was 68 years old. All are buried at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Newark, including Rose who is buried with Eugene.

Marie was living in Middletown, New Jersey when she died on July 6, 1985 at the age of 90. She is buried at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover, NJ. I don't know when her husband William Vierling died or where he is buried.


My grandfather John Michael Murphy was of medium height and build, with brown hair and eyes. Early in his career he worked as a machinist for the Lambert Street Engineering Company on Poinier Street in Newark. By 1930, he was working for the telephone company.

John married Frances Smith on November 21, 1925, at the Blessed Sacrament Church in Newark. Frances' family name was Dyszkiewicz but she and several of her siblings changed their name to Smith. Her father was Lawrence Dyszkiewicz and her mother Marya Mazurkiewicz; both were born in Poland. Lawrence had died the year before the wedding. At the time, Frances and her mother lived at 644 South Eleventh Street, while John lived with his family at 77 Murray Street.

John's sister, Marie Murphy, was Frances' only attendant, while John's brother, Eugene Murphy, was his best man. Frances wore a gown of gray georgette trimmed with silver lace and a matching picture hat. She carried a bouquet of Killarney roses. Marie wore old blue georgette with a matching picture hat and carried pink chrysanthemums. John and Frances honeymooned in Atlantic City.

For some reason, Frances always called John "Harry".


On October 22, 1928, John and Frances' only child was born, my father, William (Bill) Joseph Murphy. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to 55 Kuna Terrace in Irvington, NJ.

Bill grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. By the late 1940's, the family was living at 244 Isabella Avenue in Irvington. From 1945 to 1950, Bill worked as a mechanic for the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company in Newark.

He also worked part-time for United Parcel Service delivering packages. A frequent customer was my great-grandfather, William A. Bittlingmeier, who found young Bill Murphy to be a polite, clean-cut and good-looking individual, and a possible match for his 17-year-old granddaughter, Jacqueline (Jackie) Bogner, daughter of Jacob (Jack) Bogner and Margaret Bittlingmeier.

Jackie was born in Newark on October 15, 1933. The Bogners lived at 10 Silver Street in Newark. Jackie attended the Lincoln Grammar School and West Side High School (Class of 1950) in Newark. She worked for a time as an executive secretary.

William Bittlingmeier invited young Bill to his house and arranged to have Jackie there, also. Jackie and Bill's first impressions of each other were not favorable; Jackie acted very snobbish. But there were a few more "meetings" before he finally asked her for a date.

On January 12, 1951, Bill enlisted in the Army and served in the Korean War with the 1st Calvary Division, 5th Calvary Regiment, 3rd Battalion, Company 'M'. During his service, he earned the Korean Service Medal with three stars, the United Nations Service Medal and a Purple Heart.

Following his honorable discharge from the Army on December 31, 1952, Bill returned to his job at the Bell Telephone Company, which eventually became the Bell Atlantic Telephone Company. Bill and Jackie continued seeing each other.

Jackie and Bill lived in Newark for a short time, where my twin sister Lee and I were born. Not long afterwards, we all moved briefly to Belmar, NJ, then to Middletown, NJ, where Bill and Jackie lived until moving to Brielle in 1982.

John and Frances were still living at 244 Isabella Avenue in Irvington when he died on December 7, 1963. He was 65 years old. Frances died five years later on December 16, 1968, at the age of 69. They are buried together at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover. It must have been extremely depressing to lose both parents right before Christmas, but for the sake of his own children, my father never showed any sadness during these two particular holidays.

Bill worked for the Bell Atlantic Telephone Company and eventually became manager of their motor vehicle operations in Freehold, NJ. He worked for Bell Atlantic for 43 years before retiring in 1990. He was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America and the American Association of Retired Persons.

After raising her family, Jackie worked for ten years as a travel agent at Accent on Travel in Deal, NJ. Using her skills as an executive secretary, she often wrote notes to the other agents in shorthand, much to the consternation of those who couldn't read them. She was only 61 years old when she died of a heart attack on September 21, 1994. Dad died of a stroke and the effects of high blood pressure on November 30, 2000. He was 72 years old. They are buried together in a mausoleum at St. Catherine's Cemetery in Sea Girt, N.J.


On January 14, 2018, my dear twin sister Lee died at her home in Granville, Ohio. She was 63 years old.


Where did the name Murphy come from? Are we descended from the Vikings? To find out, click here.

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