James Murphy. Success is not measured alone by the individual wealth which may be accumulated or the high positions attained, but by the good accomplished and the services rendered to a community. Determined by this standard, James Murphy, ex-superintendent of the De Kalb County infirmary and now one of the prominent citizens of Maysville, is one of his locality's most successful men, for his life has been straightforward and upright, one over which falls no shadow of wrong, and his helpful influence will live long after he has passed away. Mr. Murphy was born in Buchanan County, Missouri, September 16, 1852, and is a son of Milton and Louise (Christopher) Murphy, natives of Kentucky.
Milton Murphy was reared in his native state, and was an ambitious young man when he came to Missouri about 1845, locating on a farm in the vicinity of St. Joseph, in Buchanan County, where he continued to be engaged in agricultural pursuits during the remainder of his life. He was for years a slave owner, and when his negroes were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation he suffered large losses. However he was the owner of much property at the time of his death, his home farm containing 240 acres of fine land. He and his wife were the parents of thirteen children, of whom one son died as a soldier in the Confederate army. Eight sons and four daughters still survive, namely: William M.; G. W.; John H.; James; Thomas J.; M. C.; Sterling P.; Robert E.; Mollie, who is the wife of P. W. Nolan; Nannie, who is the wife of G. W. Kirby; Ida, the wife of John Russell; and Glase, the wife of J. W. Dale.
James Murphy was reared on the home farm in Buchanan County, where his education was secured in the district schools, and at the age of twenty-three years came to De Kalb County, where for ten years he followed farming in Sherman Township on a tract of 160 acres. In 1891 he disposed of his interests and moved to Union Star, where he engaged in buying and selling stock, and also was well and favorably known in public life, serving as constable, collector of taxes four years, town marshal and street commissioner for fifteen years. In addition, he spent some years at the trade of carpenter, and in each capacity showed his ability and general worth. He was finally appointed by the court to the office of superintendent of the county infirmary and held that position for seven years, a longer period than the incumbency of any other man who has acted in that capacity. Mr. Murphy came to Maysville March 1, 1914, and here he has lived a somewhat retired life, feeling that his long and faithful labors entitle him to a rest. He continues, however, to take a keen interest in all matters of importance, especially those pertaining to the success of the democratic party, of which he has ever been a stanch supporter. Wherever known he is held in high regard, and his good citizenship has been proven by the fact that he has never withheld his support from any enterprise which he has believed calculated to advance the moral, intellectual or material welfare of his township, his city or his county.
Mr. Murphy was married January 14, 1875, to Miss Mary Call, who died March 19, 1885, having been the mother of four children, of whom two survive: Chloe, who is the widow of J. F. Bright and the mother of Lelah Bright, who is a graduate of the Maysville High School; and Bessie, who is the wife of John E. Burns of St. Joseph, Missouri. Mr. Murphy and his daughter, Mrs. Bright, reside at Maysville, in their comfortable home, and have a wide circle of friends. They are members of the Christian Church. Mr. Murphy is a charter member of Union Star Lodge, No. 241, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of which he is past grand, holds membership in the Masons, and in the Modern Woodmen of America, and both he and his daughter belong to the Order of the Eastern Star.
[A History of Northwest Missouri, Volume 2; edited by Walter Williams; Publ. 1918; Donated and Transcribed by Andrea Stawski Pack]