Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


Terence Murphy

TERENCE MURPHY. In the wonderful prosperity now enjoyed by the Sunflower state, many of the older residents become forgetful of the days which were marked by blizzards, wind storms, drouth, grasshoppers, mortgages, and the widespread destitution which in all its variations caused the eminent Kansas editor to exclaim, "What's the matter with Kansas?" Those who hung on, desperately at times, have surely had their reward. Prosperity follows thrift as surely as night the day, especially in Kansas.

Hardly a more conspicuous example of thrift following hard times of twenty-five or thirty years ago can be found than in the magnificent estate owned by members of the Murphy family in Lane County. There is a creek in that county called Hackberry. How it got its name is not known, since the oldest residents say there is not a single hackberry along its course. But the name of the creek has nothing to do with this story. For three miles bordering both sides of that misnamed stream is rich soil owned entirely by Murphy Brothers. A large part of it is under the proprietorship of Terence Murphy. His land embraces the site of the old historic Village of Filmore, which is no longer a village, only a memory.

Before telling Terence Murphy's early and later connections with Lane County it will be proper to go back to the beginning, at least to his birth. His birth occurred in County Armagh, Ireland, November 22, 1855. He comes of an interesting family, but further reference to his parents and brothers and sisters may be found elsewhere in this publication under the name Patrick Murphy, a brother of Terence and now serving as county commissioner of Lane County.

The education Terence Murphy enjoyed as a boy came from the schools of his native Village of Balleek. At sixteen he left home and worked for wages in the Irish neighborhood where he was born. In 1879 he left Ireland to seek the opportunities concerning which he had heard such glowing accounts. He sailed from Liverpool on the ship City of Montreal and reached the new world a stranger in a strange land, the only one to pay him any attention at Castle Garden being the customs officer, and that was strictly an official visit, and scant at that. From New York City he went west to Chicago. There he found a brief employment in a street car barn. Later in the same year he came on to Kansas City, Missouri, and thence went up the river to Atchison, Kansas, where he visited an uncle. At Atchison he was employed in a livery barn, and for over two years drove a transfer team. He worked for his uncle on the farm two years, and then farmed two more years on the shares in Doniphan County. From all this work he saved enough to buy a team or two, and those he brought with him as part of his modest capital to Lane County.

His first experience in Lane County was in the year 1884. He spent that year and the following one as a cattle herder for some of the ranchmen whose headquarters were in this district. In 1886 he came out to settle permanently and preempted a relinquishment, the northeast quarter of section 8, township 20, range 28. This homestead was improved under his industrious efforts and it is still part of his estate. His first home in the county was the usual sod house. It lacked all show and pretention, but it was up to the standard of most of the homes then found in the county and was not lacking in comforts. It was his home for about a dozen years, and he began housekeeping there.

In undertaking to farm he began on the raw prairies whose crops for centuries had been buffalo grass. For several years, in association with his brother, he bought and sold horses, but that industry subsequently broke them up financially, when horse flesh became a drag on the market. To keep the wolf from the door Mr. Murphy many times harvested in the eastern counties of Pawnee, Edwards, and as far east as Doniphan County. He also did tree claim improvement for others, broke up several hundred acres of sod for wages, and in 1886 did some freighting between Cimarron and Filmore, which was then a village of three stores, blacksmith shop, postoffice and popular as a horse trading point. Only the older residents know that such a town ever existed.

As a result of varied experience he learned how to grow wheat crops, though his knowledge was of little avail when there was continued failure of rainfall. With wheat and stock raising, Mr. Murphy gradually built up his solid prosperity. As a stockman he has raised cattle, horses and mules. He now grows the White Faced cattle, and has sent many carloads to the Kansas City markets. In some years he felt as though he was giving his stock away, since they sold so cheaply.

Out of the profits of his toil in Kansas Mr. Murphy has possessed himself of an estate of a dozen quarter sections. About 500 acres are now under cultivation, though his chief industry is still confined to grazing and the raising of alfalfa. Alfalfa he considers a splendid crop for this section of the country, especially along the creek bottom. He has raised alfalfa more or less for twenty years. His prosperity has been expressed not alone in additional land holdings, but also in those material comforts which are now so conspicuous a feature of the rural districts of Western Kansas. In 1909 he built a substantial stone residence, and in 1910 put up a mammoth barn. His entire estate is under fence, and it is not without reason that he looks with pride and satisfaction over his broad acres.

Mr. Murphy was in this community in time to assist in organizing his school district, which was first No. 9 and later became No. 44. He helped build the first sod schoolhouse. The pioneer teacher was Grace Hoover. For about sixteen years Mr. Murphy was a member of the school board. No other public office has ever attracted him.

He has enjoyed a very happy home life and had already made considerable progress in his efforts as a homesteader in Lane County before he married. He was married in Atchison County, November 19, 1889, to Mrs. Julia Grady. Mrs. Murphy was born in Atchison County, Kansas, October 5, 1867, and her father was Jeremiah Flynn, one of the Territorial pioneers of Kansas. He was born in the south of Ireland in 1814, came to America, lived for a number of years at Boston, Massachusetts, and in 1855 came out to Kansas, which was then in the midst of the troubles over slavery. He died in 1880. When he first came to America he worked for some years as foreman on railroad construction work, but in Kansas he was a farmer. Mr. Flynn married Julia Sullivan. She was brought to the United States from Ireland at the age of three years. Her death occurred near Atchison, Kansas, in 1902. Mr. and Mrs. Flynn had the following children: Joseph, who spent his life in Atchison County; Mary, who was drowned at the age of seventeen; Margaret, who married George Harrison and died in Atchison County; Nellie, who lives near Atchison, her first husband having been a Mr. O'Keefe, and her second John Kane; Anna, who married Ed Welch, of Atchison County; Michael, who died in Atchison County; Mrs. Murphy; Mamie, wife of John McGreevy, of Dewey County, Oklahoma; William, of Atchison County; and Edward, of Leavenworth County, Kansas.

By her first marriage Mrs. Murphy had one child, Eugene Grady. He lives in Lane County, and by his marriage to Viola Smith has two children, Vernon and John. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have three children, John and Julia, twins, and Mary. The son John, a farmer and stockman, married Maud Brennaman and has two children, Elvin and Ioma. The daughter Mary, who died October 30, 1914, without issue, was the wife of Albert Hineman.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

Tom & Carolyn Ward
Columbus, KS

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