WILLIAM MURPHY, JR.
1759 — 1959
by Henry. C. Thompson
It was on March 12, 1759 that William Murphy, son of the Rev. William Murphy was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia and at the beginning of the Revolutionary War he was a member of a company commanded by Capt. John Wilkinson. At that time he resided in Bedford County, in what was then Virginia. His Revolutionary record extends throughout that war and was granted a pension on May 7, 1833 after he took up residence in St. Francois County, which he only collected until his death on November 2, 1833.
William Murphy's Revolutionary record is not his greatest claim to our attention in St. Francois County. With his father and brothers Joseph and David he came to upper Louisiana about 1798 and located claims in and near what is now Farmington. They all went back to Tennessee but the father died at the home of his son John in Kentucky.
The father's claim was on the spot where Judge William Carter's spring was located. Joseph Murphy’s claim was one and a half miles from Farmington on the Potosi road while William Murphy settled at a place two miles south of Farmington. The brothers re-turned to Missouri about 1800 with their families bringing a younger brother Richard, who was to prepare a place for their widowed mother, Sarah Barton Murphy.
William had married Rachel Henderson on November 15, 1764. She was born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and died at Farmington at the age of seventy-nine years. His home was on the place long known as the Hopkins place where they raised fourteen children and from those children are descended many citizens of Farmington and the entire Lead Belt of Missouri.
The district became known as the Murphy Settlement until 1822 when Farmington was laid out on fifty-two acres of land owned by David Murphy and donated to the County by him, provided he be given the choice of a number of lots.
Seventy-three years ago, S.S. Boyce originated an article about the Murphy family and, William Murphy, Jr., which was printed in The Farmington News. Mr. Boyce's article has some very fine things to say about the character of William, Jr. He was a most generous man and a friend to the - needy and Boyce records several of the charitable acts of more than ordinary generousity. He was “faultless in honor, fearless in purpose and stainless in reputation during his life”
On this bicentennial of the birth of this man we can safely say that his life and place in the history of St. Francois County is safely and firmly established.