Samuel Franklin Murphy


SAMUEL FRANKLIN MURPHY, of South Buffalo township, belongs to a family which has been settled in this part of Armstrong county since the closing years of the eighteenth century, founded here by his grandfather, Capt. Samuel Murphy.

Capt. Samuel Murphy was born in 1756 at Bull Skin, in Frederick county, Va., and being left an orphan at an early age was reared by Colonel Stinson, a Revolutionary officer. When he first came to Pennsylvania it was on a trip to Pittsburgh to get a saddle for a certain doctor. In 1774 he was with the Earl Dunmore expedition, going into what is now southern Ohio. Becoming a member of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment he served through the Revolutionary war. He was captured by the Indians on the north fork of Salt river, in Kentucky, in the fall of 1781 and held prisoner one year, being taken by Simon Girty to an island in the St. Lawrence river, sixty miles above Montreal. His services during the Revolution and subsequent Indian wars were notable and highly valued, Major Denny calling him the best soldier he ever knew. He was very well acquainted with General Washington, and it is related that in his boyhood, at the instigation of Colonel Stinson, he played a practical joke on the General which so amused the latter that he gave him a silver coin. Shortly after the close of the Revolution he removed with his family to what is now Sharpsburg, living there, with the exception of some brief absences, until 1798. In 1792 he was appointed ensign and served six months. At the time of Massy Harbison's capture he and several others went out in an attempted rescue, but were unable to overtake her captors. In 1794 he was again appointed ensign. He assisted in laying out the town of Erie, and in1798 came to Armstrong county, where the rest of his life was spent. He settled upon land which is still owned by his descendants, and "followed the quiet vocation of farming," though for several years he plowed Murphy's Bend with a rifle on his shoulder. Here he died in 1850. He was a large man, six feet six inches in height, well built and powerful, well adapted physically for the dangerous and adventurous career which he led during the first half of his long life. His valor, courage and endurance stood him in equally good stead in his experience as a pioneer, and he was always highly esteemed among his associates. His wife, whose maiden name was Powers, was a native of Maryland, and was ten years younger than her husband. She died in1820. They had a family of thirteen children, namely: (1) William, a farmer, removed about 1818 to Washington county, Ohio, and died there in his eighty-third year. (2) Thomas died in Mississippi. (3) Mary married James Patterson. (4) James P. is mentioned below. (5) Elizabeth married Benjamin King, a prominent citizen of Freeport. (6) Margaret never married. (7) Samuel lived in 1872 in California. (8) Benjamin, born May 10, 1815, was reared upon the old farm, part of which he owned and worked until his removal to Freeport, in 1879. He married Jane Green, daughter of James Green, of North Buffalo township, and they reared eleven children, James, Elizabeth, Rebecca, Samuel (who died in the service during the Civil war), Margaret, Emily, Walter P. (who became a prominent business man of Freeport), Isabella, Theodore, Sarah and Lovina. (9) Nancy never married. (10) Susan married William Truby. (11) John never married. (12) George P. is mentioned below. (13) Sylvester. All but William, Thomas and Samuel lived in Armstrong county.

Capt. James P. Murphy was born Sept. 10, 1796, at Sharpsburg, Pa., and was reared in Armstrong county. He lived at home to the age of twenty-five years, after which he became a river man, being employed as such, in different capacities, for twenty odd years. He piloted the first steamer of the Allegheny, in 1828. In 1850 he went overland to California, walking the greater part of the way. He was out there about a year, upon his father's death returning home and settling on his father's farm, where he and his sisters Margaret and Nancy, and his brother John, all of whom like himself remained unmarried, lived together. He was a man of the highest character and standing. Captain Murphy was killed on the Valley railroad.

George P. Murphy, son of Samuel, was born March 17, 1815, on his father's old homestead. At the age of seventeen years he went to live with his brother Samuel in Louisiana and was there three years, meantime attending school. Coming back home he taught school for a time. While in Louisiana he learned to manufacture gin mills, and after his return home he followed farming, carpentry and calking. In his latter life he lived and farmed where his son Samuel now lives. He served as overseer of the poor and in politics was a stanch Republican.

On May 21, 1840, he married Margaret Walker, who was born Aug. 19, 1814, in Gilpin township, this county, and died Feb. 14, 1892. He died Feb. 17, 1907. They were members of the Lutheran Church. The following children were born to them: James, born Aug. 25, 1842, who died aged nine years; Mary E., born Nov. 2, 1844, who died young; Margaret, born May 14, 1846, who died aged twenty-two years; Samuel F.; Oliver, born June 18, 1850, who died small; Maria, born Oct. 19, 1851, who died unmarried Jan. 25, 1890; and Eliza Jane, born Sept. 9, 1855, who died young.

Samuel Franklin Murphy was born Feb. 15, 1848, in Gilpin township, this county, and was given a common school education, living at home until his marriage. He has always followed farming, with the exception of a short period during 1877-78, when he was employed on public works at Tarentum and other places, and he has long made his home on his father's old property, engaged in general farming. He is well known and respected in the township, being a typical member of a family long considered one of the most substantial in this region. Though not an office seeker he has given three years of service as school director. In politics he is a Republican.

On Dec. 26, 1872, Mr. Murphy married Elizabeth M. Srader, who was born Nov. 26, 1850, in Pennsylvania, daughter of Philip Srader, of South Buffalo township, Armstrong county, Pa., who was a carpenter by trade, a contractor in that line, and also engaged in the lumber business. He went to Iowa, where he died. Mrs. Murphy died April 13, 1912. She was a member of the Lutheran Church, to which Mr. Murphy also belongs. The following children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Murphy: (1) A daughter, born Sept.. 30, 1873, died in infancy. (2) Margaret, born Nov. 30, 1874, was married Dec. 18, 1895, to Jacob B. Kennedy, and lives at Grand Junction, Colo. They have three children, Helen, Frank and Jean. (3) Harry Lee, born April 3, 1877, has been with the Philadelphia Gas Company for the last fifteen years, and lives at home. He is a Mason, and a director of the bank at Freeport, Armstrong county. (4) James Iseman, born March 24, 1879, is now in Butler county, Pa., in the oil fields. He married Bertha Conn, and they have two children, Gladys and Robert. (5) Nancy Jane, born Sept. 2, 1881, died July 22, 1902. (6) George Philip, born Sept. 16, 1891, attended the home school eight years, graduated from the high school at Freeport, studied one year at the Carnegie Technical School, and has been one year at the Pittsburgh Testing laboratory, fitting himself for the profession of chemist.

Source: Pages 814-816, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by James R Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

Armstrong County Genealogy Project Notice:
These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format, for any presentation, without prior written permission.

Return to the Beers Project


Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project

(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project


Return to the Armstrong County Genealogy Project

(c) Armstrong County Genealogy Project