Riley Hanson Murphy – 7th Generation


Riley Hanson Murphy – 7th Generation

Amy Vashti Jones


Riley Hanson Murphy

   Born:  1 January 1853 at Fulton County, Illinois

   Died:  30 September 1935 at Great Bend, Barton County, Kansas.

   Married:  to Amy Vashti Jones on 1 September 1872 near Woodburn, Clarke County,

                   Iowa.  Married 63 years!

   Parents:  William Morphew (1829 – 1912) and Sarah Alllumbaugh (1830 – 1872)


Amy Vashti Jones

   Born:  16 April 1856 in Iowa

   Died: 28 September 1946 at Augusta, Butler County, Kansas

   Parents:  Matthew Wilson Jones (1813 – 1891) and Sarah Brous (1822 – 1897)

                 2nd Edition Morphew/Murphy Story – J.R. Murphy, 4/2001


*See photo of Riley and Amy Murphy, taken shortly after September, 1872 – photo2.TIF


     From J.W. Murphy:  “Riley Hanson Murphy was born in Fulton County, Illinois on January 1, 1853.  His family moved to a farm in Iowa later and he and mother were married on September 1, 1872 near Woodburn, Iowa.” (James W. Murphy).  According to their son Harold, Riley met Amy Jones one day when he was riding his horse down the road and saw a pretty girl in the back of a farmyard.  Riley rode up and struck up a conversation with her and managed to get at date with her.  Shortly later he married her on September 1, 1872 near Woodburn, Iowa.”


      J.W. Murphy continues: “My father (Riley) and mother and I came to western Kansas in the fall of 1879 and settled about six miles northeast of the little town called Hargrave (Rush County) which was 2 ½ miles from our farm home later.  I think Grandfather Jones and Grandmother came at the same time.  They both drove out and took claims called homesteads.  This was to become the property of the settler if he remained on it for five years.”


     “Due to the primitive condition of the country, these early settlers had to do with what they had, and so built themselves sod houses.  They raised a few things and got along as best they could.  I can barely recall our sod house but not many details.  After a couple of years of no crops and lack of money to live on, our family took to the road and located in Greenwood County, not far from Eureka.  Here Dad got a job with a man named Bob Hasty who had lost his wife earlier.  He was a man of about thirty and lived on a farm which his father owned.  His Brother-in-law, Thornt Finley lived with him.  Mother did the house work and Dad worked on the farm.  This tided them over for a couple of years when they left to work on the Missouri Pacific Railroad which was being built from Eureka to Wichita.  Dad had a pretty good team of houses, and a good wagon and he could do grading on the roadway.  He lived in a tent most of the time.”  Grandson, J.F. Murphy relates how Riley told him of the commissary group in the work gang going hunting alongside the railroad property and returning with fresh buffalo meat for stews and roasts.  He also states that they had few problems with flies – they even hung the buffalo quarters in the shade to cure without any flies or sanitation problems.” 


      About 1893 or 1894, the Murphys reached Wichita.  J.W. Murphy continues:  The folks bought a lot (Wichita) and built a small house on it, later selling the place and buying a small farm 8 ½ miles south of Wichita near Haysville, which still is on the map.”


        “At Haysville was a store or two and a trading post.  A small mill was there which ground corn and made corn meal for the farmers.  The mill was located on a small stream near the dam and close to the stores.  We lived on this farm about two years when Dad thought he could not pay off the mortgage and so decided to sell it and go out to the old home near Hargrave.  This move was not agreeable to Mother who found it hard to leave the good friends we had made around Haysville, and the good fruits we had been able to raise there.  In fact, it was the best place we had lived up to that time.”


     “My Dad had gone out to Western Kansas earlier and visited the old home place and came back feeling that the move was the best for us and so we moved in the spring of 1887.  I recall that we put our belongings in the wagon, and Dad and I took turns driving the cow behind, while Mother drove the team.  We stopped along the way to spend the nights.  Finally we arrived little looking around, we went out to Grandfather Matthew Jones’s place and lived with them about two months before we bought a home south of West Point Post Office.  Then Dad built a house on it and we were full-fledged Kansans once more.  The journey had taken six days from Wichita to Hargrave and the old family home of Grandfather Jones.”


     “The Riley Murphy’s lived on this farm until about 1904 when they sold it and moved to Great Bend, at 22210 West 7th Street.  They lived there until after Dad died in 1935, when Mother finally came to live with us in Augusta.  In addition to the original 80 acres at this farm which they bought, they acquired 160 acres east of the place and had a farm of 240 acres.”


     “My mother was born as Amy V. Jones.  The “V” stands for Vashti and she was named for the beautiful queen whom you find mentioned in the Bible story, Chapter 1, in the Book of Esther.  Read it for the full importance.  I venture that Grandfather Jones who was an ardent Bible reader, suggested the name.  The “V” was seldom used in her writings.  She was born April 16, 1856 and passed away on September 28, 1946 at the age of 90 years.  She had lived with us several years following the death of my father, Riley Murphy.  She and Dad were baptized at the old church in Hargrave about the year 1890 as I recall.  A long time friend D.W. May was the minister who baptized them as they had wished.  The two families were neighbors and good friends for many years previously.  My father had been a member of the Baptist Church is his youth, but was not satisfied with his previous experience and asked Mr. May to baptize him.  It was a cold day and I recall they cut the ice on the little pond so as to provide a way down into the water.  Both were very happy with this renewal of their faith and became good members until the end of their lives.  Both had a membership in the Church of Christ in Rush  County and later in Great Bend Kansas.”


Early Days of Riley Murphy and Abe Lincoln

By grandson James F. Murphy (1905-1993)


      “While Bernice and I were living in Chicago, probably around 1928 or 1929, we received from Grandfather Murphy one of his delightful letters.  They were always written on the stationery of that day which was complete with guidelines, much as school tablets are printed now.  Unfortunately, in spite of our special efforts to keep this document safe, it became misplaced and lost.”


    “In this letter he related his own pleasant memories of a fourth of July celebration held in or near Salem, Illinois, where his own family was at that time residing.  He told of his father (William Morphew) taking him to a picnic grove nearby, where there was an Independence Day gathering and the speaker was none other then Abraham Lincoln.  Granddad was at that time probably five or six years of age and the occasion provided lasting memories.”


     “His description of Abraham Lincoln included observations that he was very tall, thin, had dark hair, and wore boots and a ‘top hat.’  I believe that he also said that Mr. Lincoln had his pants tucked in at the tops of his boots.”


     “Granddad did not mention the oration or what was said, but he took great pains to describe the speaker.  Since Granddad was born in 1853, this occasion would likely have been just prior to the Civil War and the subject of Lincoln’s speech might well have been related to the questions of slavery or to the presidency itself.  Little did the constituency present at the celebration dream that President Lincoln would become a martyr to the cause of freedom in just a few years.”



Memories of the Riley Murphys, from a Grandson J.F. Murphy:

Riley’s New Automobile


     “One fall, Granddad and Grandmother Murphy and their son, Harold Murphy (then about 12 years old) came to Washington (Kansas) to visit us.  Granddad had just bought a new E.M.F. five passenger automobile (touring car, no less) so they drove about 200 miles over the country trails to show it to us.  They had no more than arrived when the usually parched Kansas sky filled with rain.  The dirt roads were, after a week, almost totally impassable, so Granddad had only one choice – he maneuvered the car up to the Burlington Railroad freight station, put it on a flat car and shipped it back to his home town of Great Bend, Kansas, by freight train, while the three of them took the passenger train home.”


     “Granddad’s automobile was the first in Great Bend and he used to drive businessmen around the county for hire.  On one of our visits to their home (Granddad and Grandmother had retired and had moved to town from their wheat farm), I remember Granddad received an excited telephone call from a local physician who wanted to hire Granddad and his car for a long automobile trip.  It seemed the Doctor’s daughter had eloped with one of the local boys, and as if that were not enough, had taken his horse and buggy with which to flee the area.  They had made their getaway at night and weren’t discovered missing until the next morning, so the Doctor decided the only way he could catch up with them would be in an automobile.  Granddad agreed to help the Doctor take up the chase and the Doctor agreed to Granddad’s fees, and off they sped in the direction the distraught parents thought the young folks might have taken.  After a chase across several counties and about three days later, they did indeed catch the elopers and returned them to their homes.  Granddad was richer by $150.00, for his assistance – a handsome sum in those days when gasoline was selling for 9 cents a gallon!”


      “In Great Bend my grandparent had a large garden and kept chickens and a Jersey cow.   They sold milk and eggs to the neighbors who came by each evening with their milk pails.  In his spare time, Granddad repaired the car and had it in readiness for a drive in the country on warm Sunday afternoons.  One of the highlights of the trips was the  inevitable blowout or puncture which had to be repaired on the spot as there were no already-inflated spares aboard as is the case today.  I recall that on a trip to Larned, Kansas, one afternoon, we had a couple of tire failures and the sun went down before we could return to Great Bend.  This occasioned the lighting of the two large brass trimmed headlights in front.  Since there was a carbide gas tank on the running board to supply gas for the lights, the operator had to turn valves and get up pressure, then they were lighted with matches.  The light was not blinding but it certainly helped us to see the way home.”


50th Wedding Anniversary of R H. Murphy and Wife, Married Sept. 1, 1872

From a Newspaper Clipping of 1922


     “Mr. and Mrs. R. H. Murphy of this city yesterday celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary with a family dinner at the home of their son, Harold, on East Broadway.  Both Mr. Murphy and his wife, then Amy Jones, were born and grew up in Clark County, Iowa, where on Sept. 1, 1872, they were united in marriage.  He was 20 years of age at the time and she 17.  In 1879 they decided to cast their lot with the Kansans and located on a claim in Rush county in that year where they underwent the joys and hardships of the pioneer days, and looking back over them now the hardships of the 90’s do not seem so great as they did then.  They stayed on the Rush county farm until 1910 when on account of rheumatism Mr. Murphy had to give up his farming and selling some of his land he bought property in Great Bend, where they have since lived.  Three children were born to them, one dying when young.  The two living children are J.W. Murphy, superintendent of schools at El Dorado, Kan., for the past seven years, and Harold Murphy, of the Moses Motor Company, this city.  Later Mr. Murphy disposed of all of this Rush county property.  Since moving to their city he has conducted an auto livery and travels day or night.  His rheumatism has disappeared and he is the youngest man in town of his years....”  


     Children are:


1.  (William), lived a few days


2.  James Wilson Murphy, born 26 June 1876 near Osceola, Iowa.  Married Clara Fredericka Klaumann at Iola, Kansas on 28 June 1904.  See next generation.


3.  Riley Harold Murphy, born 15 September 1898 at La Crosse, Kansas.  Married 1st  Essie Pearl Bishop at Pittsburg, Kansas on 6 September 1919 and 2nd Ruby Blanche Bishop Blair at Oklahoma City, Okla. on 5 February 1966.  Pearl Bishop was born 28 August 1899 at Lodi, Virginia and died 4 September 1964 at Oklahoma, City, Oklahoma.


      According to J.W. Murphy:  “My brother Harold was educated in the local school at West Point and later in Great Bend High School.  He went to Pittsburg Teachers College at the beginning of World War I, and this interrupted his schooling when he went into the services and although not being sent overseas, he was an army man for some time.  When the war was ended he and Pearl Bishop were united in marriage, later moving to (Hoisington ?), Kansas and then to Enid Oklahoma.”


     From J.F. Murphy:  “My grandfather’s brother Harold Murphy is alive and healthy at this writing (1974).  He attended Kansas State Teachers College at Pittsburgh, Kansas, preparing to be a manual training instructor.  In about his Sophomore year, World War I broke out, he enlisted in the army, married Pearl Bishop, and I believe never returned for his degree.  After the war he was a sales representative for the Oliver Corporation, manufacturers of farm machinery and implements.  For a time prior, he sold Dodge automobiles in Great Bend, Kansas.  He is now retired and living in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  He has two daughters and seven grandchildren.  After the death of his first wife he married her sister Ruby Blanche Bishop (Nov. 27, 1897 at Lodi, Va. (2nd marriage for her, 1st was to S.M. Blair and two children), who had been widowed several years before.”