GEORGE S. MURPHEY

GEORGE S. MURPHEY. For over forty years George S. Murphey has been a banker. Nearly thirty of those years have been spent in Kansas, and as president of the First National Bank of Manhattan he is at the head of one of the strong and stable financial institutions of the state.

Most of his life has been spent in the West and he was in the Middle West at a time when it was really the Far West. His birth occurred in Delaware, Ohio, September 24, 1846. His father James Murphey was born in Pennsylvania and his mother Rhoda Carpenter was born in New York, and after their marriage in New York State they moved to Delaware, Ohio. In 1856 the family moved out to Blackhawk County, Iowa, where the parents settled on a farm and there spent the rest of their honored and useful careers. Of their children five sons and one daughter reached maturity.

The State of Iowa sixty years ago was a new and undeveloped portion of American territory. George S. Murphey from the age of ten until he was twenty-five lived on a farm in that state and necessarily his education was confined to such advantages as the common schools of the day afforded. When twenty he assumed the management of his father's farm, and five years of that work and subsequently three years of experience in the agricultural implement business at Elk Point in South Dakota gave him a practical insight into agricultural conditions and an understanding of the life of a farmer which have been valuable assets in his later business career.

When Mr. Murphey entered banking it was at the bottom. In 1874 he was clerking in a bank at Sibley, Iowa. In 1879 he had progressed so far in confidence and experience as to organize the Farmers Bank, afterwards the First National Bank, of Jesup, Iowa. He remained cashier of that institution until 1887.

Coming to Kansas in the latter year, he took the initiative in organizing the bank of which he is now president. The doors of the First National Bank of Manhattan were opened for business September 12, 1887, with Mr. Murphey as president. When the cashier resigned six months later Mr. Murphey stepped from the office of chief executive into the cashier's cage, and was succeeded by Col. John B. Anderson. At the death of Colonel Anderson Mr. Murphey again became president, and so remains. Without question the splendid growth and the stability of this bank can be properly credited to the financial judgment and management of Mr. Murphey. His name is quite well known in banking and business circles throughout the state. He was one of the organizers of the Bankers Deposit and Surety Company of Topeka, and has been a director and treasurer of the company ever since. He is a member of the Kansas Bankers and the American Bankers Association. Politically his support has always been given to the republican party. In earlier years he took considerable interest in politics but the increasing demands of his business have since caused him to forego that activity. The only position he ever held was that of regent of the Kansas State Agricultural College.

He is an old and prominent Mason, having taken his first degrees at the age of twenty-five. In June, 1886, he was elected grand treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Masonry in Iowa. At Manhattan he was among those who instituted Oriental Commandery No. 48 of the Knights Templar. He is a member of the Scottish Rite Consistory at Topeka and of the Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Salina. Many of the official honors of these various Masonic bodies have been given him. He became affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in 1876 and also belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

In 1872 Mr. Murphey married Miss Hattie Franklin of Blackhawk County, Iowa. She contributed to his success as well as to his happiness in life until her death more than forty years later on February 8, 1916. Mrs. Murphey at that time was sixty-four years of age. Surviving her is one daughter, May, the wife of Dr. E. J. Moffitt, a successful physician and surgeon at Manhattan.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed October, 1997.
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