Lee County Biography

OLIVE (AYRES) MURPHY


Olive (Ayres) Murphy, widow of Anderson T. Murphy, has made her home in Dixon nearly forty years, and is greatly esteemed by her many friends and acquaintances for the genuine worth of her character. She was born in Manheim, Herkimer County, N. Y., September 7, 1820, to Sylvan us and Anna (Bean) Ayres. For an extended history of the Ayres family, see biography of J. C. Ayres on another page of this work.

Mrs. Murphy was very young when her father died, and she then went with her mother to live at Buffalo, where her girlhood was passed. She was trained in all the household arts necessary to the making of a comfortable home, so that when she came to preside over one of her own she understood thoroughly what was required in the skillful management of her domestic affairs. In 1851 she paid her first visit to Illinois, coming by rail to Aurora, then the nearest railway station to Dixon, which place she reached by stage. She visited her friends in this city, which was then but a village, from October until the following March, and then went to Chicago. She found that great metropolis of today with its million and more people, a comparatively small city, with a population of about forty-five thousand inhabitants, and could scarcely have dreamed that the uninviting looking place with its swampy environments would in her time become one of the largest and most important cities in America, if not in the whole world.

Her stay in the Garden City was made memorable to Miss Alpres, by her marriage October 5th, 1852, to Anderson Turner Murphy, and the newly wedded couple came to Dixon the home of Mr. Murphy to make for themselves a place among its most useful and valued citizens. In the busy years that followed prosperity smiled upon them, and the blessing of children was vouchsafed to them, of whom two are living to be the stay and comfort of their mother in her declining years, Fanny Ayres and Laura Gracia. One daughter, Anna Louise, has joined her father on the other shore. She married the Rev. Levi Gilbert, and died in Duluth, Minn., February 3, 1885, leaving four children motherless—Paul T., Fanny E., A. Harold and Helen I. June 17, 1861, death invaded the peaceful household of the family of our subject, and the tender husband and devoted father closed his eyes to open them no more to the scenes of earth.

Anderson Turner Murphy was born at Lexington, Ky., June 2, 1812, and the same house in which he was born was the birthplace of his father, Thomas Murphy. The original name of the family was Morgan, and it is conjectured from that, that his ancestors were Welsh people. The change of the family name happened thus. The grandfather of our subject was pressed into the British service and brought across the water to fight the colonists during the Revolution. His sympathies, however were with the Americans, and he deserted at the first opportunity and joined the Continental army. He changed his name from Morgan to Murphy when he cast in his fortunes with the colonists, as he feared detection if he were captured by the English if he retained his rightful name, and his descendants have held to his adopted name. Mr. Murphy's father came from Kentucky to Illinois in 1830, and was a pioneer of Crawford County, where he spent the remainder of his life. The maiden name of his wife was Christina Musgrove, and she also passed her last days in Crawford County. Anderson Murphy was nearly grown to manhood when he came to Illinois with his parents. He learned the trade of a tailor in Crawford County. In 1840 he came to Dixon, which was then in its infancy, and from that time until the day of his death was identified with it growth. He engaged at his trade for a time, and then turned his attention to the mercantile business, which he carried on until he established himself in the forwarding and commission-business, in which he was interested until death terminated his career when he was scarcely past the meridien of life, and when he was at the height of his usefulness. He was much missed in the city, where he had won an honorable reputation in financial circles as an excellent business man, whose transactions were always open and above board, and where he was accounted a good citizen, and was held in sincere regard by all who knew him. At the time of Mr. Murphy's marriage he was Postmaster of Dixon.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County IL 1892

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