Reverend William Morphew – 6th Generation in America


Reverend William H. Morphew – 6th Generation in America

    Sarah Allumbaugh

    Mary Ann Hines


William H. Morphew 

  Born: 10 January 1829 at Putnam County, Indiana

  Died:  5 March 1912 at Garden City, Minnesota: buried at the Garden City Cemetery

  Married 1st Sarah Allumbaugh on 18 June 1846 at Fulton County, Illinois

  Married 2nd Mary Ann Hines on April, 1876 at Woodburn, Iowa

  Parents:  James Morphew (1805 – 1871) and Rebecca Hogan (1799 – 1873)


Sarah Allumbaugh

  Born:  20 October 1830 at Fulton County, Illinois

  Died:  about 1872 near Woodburn, Iowa

  Parents:  Garrett Allumbaugh (1789 – 1861) and Martha “Patsy” Wilcoxon (1802 –                             1851)

                 2nd Edition, Morphew/Murphy Story – J.R. Murphy, 1/2001


Mary Ann Hines

  Born: 9 February 1843 in Illinois

  Died: 30 January 1914 at Garden City, Minnesota 

  Parents:  __ Hines and Margaret Deeds


* See photo of William and Sarah Morphew taken in the 1860’s – photo1.TIF


     William and his family moved frequently and because of this, a list of his home locations and approximate dates will be included here.  Errors may exist.


1829  -  1845

Putnam County, Indiana

1845  -  1864

St. David, Fulton County, Illinois

1850  -  ????

Wapello County, Iowa (on 1850 U.S. Census)

1864  -  1867

Greenbush, Warren County, Illinois

1867  -  1870?

New Virginia, Warren County, Iowa

1870? - 1893

Woodburn, Clark County, Iowa


Haysville?, Sedgwick County, Kansas


Woodburn, Clark County, Iowa

1894  -  1897

Humeston, Wayne County, Iowa

1897  -  1899

Conway, Laclede County, Missouri

1899  -  1912

Garden City, Blue Earth County, Minnesota


     Back in about 1954, Granddad James W. Murphy put together a history of the Murphy family as far back as he knew them.  He did a fine job but was not able to go back further than William, and furthermore he recalled the name as Murphy.  He had forgotten that the family name was once Morphew and in those short span of years demonstrated what could and did happen when family records are not put down on paper.


     For some time after that, several attempts to research the Murphy family before William met with obvious failure.  Then in 1963, Emma Jones Wright sent a letter to me in response to an inquiry.  Emma was 100 years old when she wrote the letter and was nearly blind, but in very shaky hand she furnished the one clue needed to unlock family origins.  As she wrote:  “I knew your great-great grandfather (William) – Jim – MORPHEW – Did any one ever tell you your name is not Murphy?  Great grandfather (Riley), Jim, is my oldest and favorite nephew but I felt mad with him because he did not reclaim his rightful name.”  It should be pointed out that if the inquiry had been sent a any later, knowledge of the spelling change might have been delayed for years.


     When confronted with the letter, Granddad J.W. Murphy was very resistant:  “My Dad said the other name was not authentic and perhaps an old version which Grandfather William Murphy had known years ago in England.  None of our tribe ever used it.”  A year later in 1964, Mrs. Lucy E. Eaton, daughter of William Morphew, was located living in Garden City, Minnesota, and correspondence began.  Evidence that the original name was Morphew was now irrefutable and soon the story of William Morphew began falling in place.


     William was fairly well known among his relatives during his day.  He was a Baptist Minister in Iowa and did much work for the “Sign of the Times,” a religious magazine published at Middletown, New York.  Later, a distant relative named James M. Morphew of Riverside, North Carolina spotted William’s name in an article in this magazine.  Correspondence began with his son, Marion, writing letters for William who was now blind.  In one letter dated 1908 by Marion, he stated his father’s name was William and he was 80 years old, January 10, 1909.  He also wrote that William’s father was James, who had brothers Nathan, Daniel, Benjamin, and Joseph, and sisters Phoebe, Martha, and Elizabeth.  James’s father was Joseph; he had brothers named James, Silas, Benjamin, and Joshua.  Joseph’s father had settled on the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.   The descendants scattered from North Carolina to Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and then to Illinois.  The letter states the Morphews were Quakers and left England because of Roman Catholic persecution.  Some were primitive Baptist....”


     Our records of William Morphew begin at Fulton County, Illinois, near St. David, where William met and married his first wife, Sarah Allumbaugh. Their wedding was probably held at the Shields Chapel five miles north of St. David.  William was in a playful mood when he signed his marriage license in 1846, giving the name of “General William Morphew.”


    The Allumbaugh family lived within sight of the Chapel; in fact, Rachel, daughter of  William and Sarah, was buried there.  In 1860, James and Rebecca Morphew sold 35 acres for $800 on Section 21 in Buckhart Township, Fulton County, Illinois to William Morphew.  William’s parents, brothers, and sisters had already headed west to Iowa while William probably took religious posts about the region.  During these times, Riley Murphy recollected that William and his children went to see Abe Lincoln speak at Springfield, Illinois during a 4th of July celebration.


     On October 17, 1864, William and Sarah Morphew sold their lands for $1200 and also headed west.  It is not known where William was ordained as a Baptist Minister, but this most probably occurred before he left Illinois.  They moved to Greenbush (Warren County), Illinois in January or February of 1864 and then to New Virginia (Warren County), Iowa in the fall of 1867.  New Virginia is about 30 miles south of Des Moines and their move may have been his first assignment as a Baptist minister.


    Their son Garrett (age 17) went to live with them there after his wife Mary had abandoned him.  Garrett’s diary mentioned that in the winter of 1868, he (age 18) and Riley (age 15) and Rebecca (age 14) went to the “Mourner’s Bench” at church, and that he, Riley, and Rebecca’s spirits were revived and they were baptized.  About 1870, William moved to near Woodburn, Iowa where he lived for the next 23 years. 


    After his first wife died about 1872, William was remarried to a Mary Hines at Woodburn, Iowa on April 1876.  About this time, Garrett, Riley, and Cal changed their name to Murphy.  It is not known the exact cause for the change, but there are several suggestions why.  Mrs. Lucy Eaton states that Garrett was called “Murph” in college and like the name well enough to make the change.  His brothers Riley and Cal followed suit, while the remaining brothers and sisters kept the Morphew name.


      The name-change posed as a bit of a problem.  According to Mrs. Howard Jones of Bremerton, Washington in 1965 (a descendant of Cal Murphy):  “I know my father (Cal) felt badly about the changing of his name of Morphew to Murphy.  I remember when I was small of hearing he and mother talking about it.  He was worried that their marriage wasn’t legal because he was married using the name of Murphy.”


     Of William, James W. Murphy recollects:  “Grandfather William (Morphew) was a Baptist preacher and of the missionary type so-called because they believe in missions.  He was liberal in his views and a very devout man with deep spiritual convictions.  He was nearly blind when I saw him last (1893), and I believe he lost almost all his sight before he left.  He must have lived to more than 90 years...and was a very kind man and greatly respected by all who knew him.  I liked to talk with him and listen to his early lifetime stories.”


     According the J.W. Murphy:  “Aunt Emma told me that Grandmother (Sarah A. Morphew) was a very gifted woman, quick witted, and fluent in her speech and gives her the most credit for the inheritance the boys had, not entirely discouraging my grandfather for his contribution to the family inheritance.”


     Mrs. Lucy Eaton recalls:  “In December 1892 – January 1893, my brother Riley and family visited us near Woodburn, Iowa.  Through his influence my parents sold their farm and moved to Kansas in March 1893.  They bought a farm there and planted a big acreage.  The dry weather and hot winds destroyed everything that year.  In July 1893, we packed up and shipped back to Woodburn, Iowa.  Farmed there for the next year then rented a larger farm near Humeston, Iowa.  Lived there about 3 years or so.  My brother Lee had moved to Lebanon, Missouri and wrote for us to come there so we again packed up and finally settled not far from Conway, Missouri.  Bought a small acreage and lived there two years.  Dr. Garrett Murphy came to our home for a visit and as usual through his influence my folks decided to move to Minnesota.  We settled in Garden City in the fall of 1899.  My brother Dr. Murphy had lived there for many years and had a big practice....  Father and mother made their home with Marion and family the last 8 or 9 years of their life.”


    “My father (William) was a small man, perhaps 5 feet 7 or 8 inches in height and of average weight.  He had dark hair and hazel eyes.  He was of a quiet disposition, never raised his voice to anyone...and would never hurt anyone.  Although he was almost blind for many years he could quote scripture from memory and preach a wonderful sermon.”


    “He was almost blind as far back as I can remember.  So therefore he was not able to do much farming.  My half brother Lee lived at home but was married at 17 years of age.  The next oldest was brother Marion who was only 10 when Lee married.  So our farm was leased to others.  We got a share of the crops.  My mother worked very hard and was a good manager.  We little folks helped with the garden and looking after chickens and live stock.  I learned to milk cows at 7 years of age and could dress a chicken as good as my older brother and sister.  We lived near a country school and always went home for lunch as long as we owned our own farm.  However my folks could not afford to educate us beyond the 8th grade because that would mean sending us away to high school which they could not afford.  We managed to get a few books and studied hard in our spare time.  In those days, we had to buy all our school books and supplies.  Soon as my brother Marion was old enough he took over and did all the farm field work.  We three girls and Mother always raised a big garden of spuds and all kinds of vegetable so we always had plenty of food in our home.  But after our farm was sold and we started renting we even worked harder.  But that is all in the past.  I have a very comfortable home here in town and have enough income to live comfortable for which I am so very thankful.”


    From the Mankato Free Press of March 15, 1912:  “Rev. Morphew passed away Tuesday morning at the home of his son, Marion Morphew.  ...He was 85 years of age.  He was twice married and Dr. Morphew who was well known here, was a son by his first marriage.  He leaves a wife, two sons, Lee Morphew of Lake Crystal, Marion of this place (Garden City); also three daughters, Dolly who resides in Northern Minnesota; Mrs. Lucy Eaton, Mrs. R. H.Norton of Garden City.  The funeral will be held at the Baptist Church of which he was a member Thursday afternoon and the remains laid to rest in the Garden City Cemetery.  He was known as a good, kind neighbor and it was a pleasure to step in and talk with him, as he was always cheerful and pleasant.”




1.  James Garrett Murphy, M.D.  “Garrett,” born 3 January 1850 at Fulton County, Illinois and died 1905 at Garden City, Minnesota.  Graduated from George Washington University Medical School.  Garrett was married 1st  to Mary Jane Wright in January 1876 and 2nd  to Elizabeth Ann Brown on 12 November 1876 at Nora Springs, Iowa.  With his marriage to Eliza Brown, Garrett used “Murphy” on the marriage application.


     Children of Garrett Murphy and Mary Jane Wright: (1) Adelaide Murphy (22 November 1867). 


     Children of Garrett Murphy and Elizabeth Ann Brown:  (1) Annie B Murphy (26 August 1877), (2) Eugene Darwin Murphy (29 June 1878), (3) Lula Rosebud Murphy (18 August 1880), (4) Amesta Agatha Murphy (11 March 1882), (5) Irene Murphy (27 January 1884), (6) Mignonette Murphy (6 January 1886), (7) Cleveland Garrett Murphy (13 January 1888), (8) Christine B. Murphy (15 December 1889), (9) Sarah Theresa Murphy (20 January 1891), (10) Clement Joseph Murphy (6 August 1893), (11) Genevieve Murphy (17 February 1897), (12) William B. Murphy (26 May 1899).   See next generation.


2.  Riley Hanson Murphy, born 1 January 1853 at Fulton County, Illinois and died 1935 at Great Bend, Kansas.  Riley married on September 1, 1872 near Woodburn, Iowa to Amy Jones.  Children of Riley H. Murphy and Amy Jones:  (1) James Wilson Murphy (26 June 1876), and (2) Riley Harold Murphy (15 September 1898).  See next generation.


3.  Rebecca Ann Morphew, born 9 November 1854 and died 1874 at the age of 20.  Rebecca married John Ramsey.  She is supposed to have a son and daughter who died when very young.


4.  Jordon Calloway Murphy  “Cal,” born 28 March 1860 and died 1937.  Married 1st to Louisa Van Dusen at Clark County, Iowa.  Married 2nd to Millie.   See next generation.


      Children of Cal Murphy and Louisa Van Dusen:  (1) Oswald Murphy (died at birth), (2) Albert Lee Murphy (16 January 1881), (3) Chauncy Calloway Murphy (3 March 1882), (4) John Barton Murphy (25 August 1885), (5) James Orris Murphy (26 August  1886), (6) Charlotte Rachel Murphy (18 October 1888), (7) Jesse Earnest Murphy (4 August 1892), (8) Doris May Murphy (18 January 1898).


      Children of Cal Murphy and Millie __:  (1)  Ruth Murphy (Williams) and (2) Kathleen Murphy (Hunsacker).  


5.  Charles Lee Morphew “Lee,” born 16 May 1870 and died 9 January 1942 at Lake Crystal, Minnesota.  Married May Evan and children are: (1) Geralda May Morphew (4 September 1888), (2) Lilly Ocean Morphew (8 December 1889), (3) Orrie M. Morphew (born ?)


6  William Elijah Morphew, born 8 June 1857 and died in infancy.


7.  Rachel E. Morphew, born 22 October 1862 and died 22 January 1864.  She is buried at the Shields Chapel Cemetery at Canton, Illinois and is next to her maternal Grandfather, Garrett Allumbaugh.

8.  Harrison Morphew.  1864 – 1870

9.  Martha E. Morphew 1866 – 1872

10. Infant daughter. April 1872 to April 1872.




1.  Marion H. Morphew, born 9 May 1877 at Woodburn, Iowa and died 9 June 1964 at Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Married Celia Ann Lee who died on the day after Marion. Children:  (1) Leland Morphew (21 December 1903), (2) Ruth Edna Morphew (12 April 1905), (3) Elsie Morphew (17 January 1907), (4) Morton Field Morphew (29 February 1908), (5) Ester Mabel Morphew (24 August 1909).


2.  Rachel J. Morphew, born 17 September 1878 and died 18 January 1920.  Married Robert Harvey Norton.  Children:  (1) Kenneth Norton (25 July 1901), (2) Melera Norton (April 1907), (3) Mary E. Norton (12 March 1912)


3.  Lucy E. Morphew, born 3 March 1880 and died March 1976.   Married Arthur William Eaton and lived at Garden City, Minnesota. Children:  (1) Margaret Eaton (24 June 1905), (2) Florence Eaton (29 November 1916), (3) Wilma E. Eaton (8 June 1919), (4) Arthur W. Eaton (19 January 1924).


4.  Veturia M. Morphew  “Dolly,” born 26 October 1881 and died 30 November 1962 at Smelterville, Idaho.  Married Charles Ellig.  Children not known.