Ancestor Bio – Dennis F. Murphy (c. 1845-1890)

By Don Taylor

Born of Irish immigrants, Dennis Murphy had a rough childhood. He enlisted and went to war at a young age. He returned from the war and worked.  He married at about 40 years old, had three children, two of whom died as children. He died at age 45 leaving a wife and a four-year-old daughter.

Whitten Project 2017 – Ancestor #10

List of Grandparents

  • Grandmother: Francis Florence Murphy
  • 1st Great-grandfather: Dennis F. Murphy
  • 2nd Great-grandfather: John Murphy

Dennis F. Murphy (c. 1845-1890)

Dennis Murphy was born sometime in 1845 or 1846 in Calais, Washington County, Maine. His father was John Murphy, an immigrant from Ireland. His mother is not clear. The 1850 Census indicates that John married Joanna Murphy within the year. So, it is not clear if John was a widower or if he and Joanna were together before that and married later.

Childhood

Photo of State School for Boys, South Portland, ca. 1920

The State Reform School in Cape Elizabeth was first built in 1850. In 1898, part of Cape Elizabeth became part of South Portland. This photo is circa 1920 after it became the State School for Boys. in South Portland. The photo is courtesy of the Maine Historical Society via the Maine Memory Network.

Shortly after his birth, the young family moved to Biddeford, Maine, and his sister Mary was born in 1850.

Certainly, Dennis’ childhood was difficult.  The 1860 Census finds the family split up.  Dennis’ parents are living in Biddeford as is his sister, Mary. He, however, is at the State Reform School in Cape Elizabeth for larceny. His age is given as 13, a year younger than the 1850 Census suggests.

 

Military

In 1861, when he was 16 years-old, he enlisted in in the 5th Maine Volunteer Infantry, First Regiment, Company A.  He indicated that he was 18 years-old at the time.  The 5-foot, 4½-inch young man was described as having a florid complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair.  His was a three-year enlistment. Although he enlisted in Biddeford, he mustered in two days later in Augusta, Maine, 72 miles away.

During his three years with the Fifth, he would have seen action at Bull RunSouth Mountain, Antietam, FredericksburgChancellorsvilleMaryes Heights, Salem Heights, Banks’ Ford, Gettysburg, Hagerstown, Mine Run, North Anna, TotopotomoyCold Harbor, Petersburg and many other skirmishes before he was transferred to the 6th Maine Infantry on 23 June 1864. Today the 5th Maine Volunteer Infantry’s memory is preserved at the Fifth Maine Regiment Community Center on Peaks Island, Maine.

In September 1864, he was transferred to the 1st Regiment of the Maine Veteran Infantry. There he would have participated at the Battle of Cedar Creek. He was honorably discharged on 6 December 1864.

Adulthood

The 1870 Census finds the 24-year-old Dennis living with his father, mother, and sister in Biddeford. He and his father both work in a machine shop.

The 1880 Census still finds Dennis living with his father and mother in Biddeford. He and his father are both machinists. None of the family can read or write.

Marriage

Dennis married Margaret Alice Maloney (possibly Mahoney) probably sometime in 1885. They had three children:

Name Born Marriage Death
Frances Florence Murphy 11 Apr 1886 1911 – Herbert Winfield Whitten 1952
John Walter Murphy 20 Aug 1887 n/a 22 Aug 1887
Joanna Josephine Murphy 28 May 1890 n/a Before 1900

Dennis was living on Gooch Street when his son, John Walter Murphy, died in 1887 at the age of two days. It is not clear when Joanna died, but certainly before 1900.

The Biddeford directory of 1890 indicates that Dennis is a machinist at the Saco Water Power Machine Shop and lived at 51 Gooch Street.

On 7 July 1890, Dennis applied for a military pension.

Death

Marker – Dennis F Murphy – Photo by Steve (#46835300) via Find a Grave.

Dennis F. Murphy died at 45 years of age on November 18, 1890. Dennis was buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery, Biddeford, York County, Maine.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Visit the Fifth Maine Regiment Community Center at 45 Seashore Avenue on Peaks Island, Maine and learn more about the service of Dennis F. Murphy and the actions of the Fifth Maine Volunteer Infantry.
  • Visit McArthur Library and review the Murphy’s in the Biddeford Directories.
  • Order Margaret Murphy’s Pension Application #499,630 from the National Archives ($80). It should also contain the information from Dennis Pension application also.

Sources

  • 1850 Census, Family Search, 1850 Census – John Murphy – Biddeford, York, Maine. “United States Census, 1850,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6VD-8Q6 : 12 April 2016), Dennis Murphey in household of John Murphey, Biddeford, York, Maine, United States; citing family 1066, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  • 1860 Census, Family Search, Dennis Murphy – Cape Elizabeth, Cumberland, Maine [See Page 4 of images – Key] Page 82  (State Reform School) – Line 34″ United States Census, 1860″, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDHY-13V : 26 July 2017), Dennis Murphy, 1860.
  • 1870 Census, 1870 Census – John Murphy – Biddeford, York, Maine. “United States Census, 1870,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M6DH-DKR : 12 April 2016), John Murphy, Maine, United States; citing p. 94, family 646, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 552,063.
  • 1880 Census (A), John Murphy – Biddeford, York, Maine. com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census[database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2010. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. All use is subject to the limited use license and other terms and conditions applicable to this site. Original data: Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  • 1900 Census (A), com, Margaret Murphy. Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
  • Biddeford, Maine Directory, 1890-1891, com, Dennis F Murphy – No Image. Original data: Biddeford, ME, 1890. W. A. Greenouch & Co., 1890.
  • Find a Grave, Dennis F Murphy – Memorial 151088087. Find a Grave Memorial Created by Steve – Record added: Aug 22, 2015, Find A Grave Memorial# 151088087. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=151088087.
  • Maine, Marriage Records, 1713-1937, com, Herbert Winfield Whitten & Francis Florence Murphy. Maine State Archives; Augusta, Maine, USA; 1908-1922 Vital Records; Roll #: 60. http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=MaineMarriageRe&h=1028162&indiv=try.
  • Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957, Family Search, Dennis Murphy – Military Service. “Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:246V-9LL : 4 December 2014), Dennis Murphy, 20 Nov 1861; citing Military Service, State Archives, Augusta.
  • United States Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917, Family Search, Dennis F. Murphy – Pension App. 794,293; Cert. 518,106. “The United States Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N4J6-M44 : 24 March 2016), Dennis F. Murphy, 1890.
  • Maine, Birth Records, 1715-1922, com, Francis Florence Murphy. Maine State Archives; Cultural Building.
  • Maine, Birth Records, 1715-1922, com, John Walter Murphy – Aug 20, 1887. Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll Number: 79.
  • Biddeford Daily Journal ((Biddeford, ME), ), Newspaper Archives, 1887-08-23 – Page 3, Column 1 – Biddeford & Saco. https://newspaperarchive.com/biddeford-daily-journal-aug-23-1887-p-3/.
  • Maine, Birth Records, 1715-1922, com, Johanna Josephine Murphy – 28 May 1890. Maine State Archives; Cultural Building, 84 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0084; Pre 1892 Delayed Returns; Roll Number: 79.
  • Wikipedia: “5th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5th_Maine_Volunteer_Infantry_Regiment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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