From Tribes Hill, NY to Odell, NB

Contributed by Lisa Slaski
Transcribed by Joanne Murray

JOHN E. MURPHY. - The history of Gage county tells what has been done during the fifty years of struggle, striving, and working toward the creation of a great county. It must tell of the individual achievements of the men who have taken an active part in the work of development and progress. These men are the foundations of the social structure of Gage county. One of the number is John E. Murphy, who is a son of Patrick and Catherine (McCaffrey) Murphy, early pioneer settlers on the former Otoe Indian reservation in Gage county. Patrick Murphy was born in Ireland and when a youth he there wedded Miss Catherine McCaffrey. The young couple left their native land to seek their fortune in the United States, and they landed in Brooklyn, New York, where Patrick worked as a laborer. By hard work and patient saving he was finally able to buy thirty-two acres of land near Tribes Hill, New York.

In 1878, when the eyes of the east were directed upon the new western lands being opened for settlement, Mr. Murphy decided to come to Nebraska and seek better opportunities for acquiring a living and competence. This entailed a long and weary journey over rough roads that were not drained, while in many places there were virtually no roads at all. Finally, after weeks of travel, Mr. Murphy and his family arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska. Here he heard of the Otoe Indian reservation land being opened up for settlement. He came to Gage county, and on the reservation purchased a squatter's right to one hundred and sixty acres of land, a few miles from the present village of Odell. Here the family was soon settled on the pioneer farm, and the father, with his only son, John, broke the virgin land, wresting from the soil in due time its treasures of wheat and corn.

Mr. Murphy gave unstintingly of his time and talent to the community at large. As other settlers came in, there was need of civic and religious organizations. He was among the first to give aid in the organization of Paddock township and also to organize a school for the education of the children. Mr. Murphy gave liberally of his time and money to organize the Catholic church at Odell, and later he helped in the organization of the Catholic church at Wymore. All during his life thereafter these institutions received liberally of his support. In all his labors on the farm, in the church and community Mr. Murphy's devoted wife shared. She was born March 12, 1827, in Darlyn, County Fermanagh, Ireland, and she came to this country with her young husband, settled with him in the Otoe Indian reservation, and shared with him all of the hardships and trials of pioneer life. They became the parents of six daughters and one son. Mrs. Murphy lived to the venerable age of ninety years and six months, and passed the declining period of her life in the home of her youngest daughter, Mrs. Rose Masek, where she died September 23, 1917. Of the children the following record is given: Mrs. May McCarthy resides at Wymore, this county; Mrs. Katherine Hatmaker is deceased; Mrs. Julia Comer resides in Paddock township; John F. is the only son and is the subject of this sketch; Mrs. Susan McCaffrey is a widow and resides at Hastings, Nebraska; Mrs. Abbie Stanosheck lives at Odell, Gage county, Nebraska; and Mrs. Rose Masek, of Odell, is deceased.

John E. Murphy was the fourth child and only son born to his parents. He was born October 1, 1863, at Tribes Hill, New York. His education was received in New York prior to his coming to Nebraska with his parents. He was 15 years old when they arrived on the Otoe Indian reservation and he helped his father to build their cabin, break the land, and perform the various other duties that were to be done on a pioneer farm. He remained on this farm until he went to Odell, to serve as a clerk in a general merchandise store. He remained thus engaged until 1900, when he went into the general merchandise business for himself. He successfully conducted the enterprise until 1914, when he disposed of the business, and he has since devoted his time to the real estate and insurance business.

In 1904 the Odell Independent Telephone Company was organized and Mr. Murphy was the leading spirit in the organizing of this company, of which he was elected secretary and treasurer. This substantial company has a modern building, erected at a cost of five thousand dollars, and in this the business is conducted. Mr. Murphy was interested also in a cider and vinegar manufacturing company that was organized in 1907, and in 1913 the factory at Odell, Gage county, was transferred to Atchison, Kansas, where it is now located. Mr. Murphy was secretary and treasurer of the company until March, 1917, when he sold his interest in the business.

The marriage of John Murphy and Katie A. Stanosheck was solemnized May 4, 1892. Mrs. Murphy was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and is a daughter of Albert and Pauline Stanosheck. (See Thomas W. Stanosheck sketch for the family history). Mr. and Mrs. Murphy became the parents of nine children: Frank E. is an electrician for the Atchison Railroad Specialty Company, at Atchison, Kansas; Ruth is a teacher in the high school at McCook, Nebraska; Rosa and Lillian are twins, Rosa being a dressmaker and remaining at the parental home, and Lillian being a teacher at Culbertson, Nebraska; Adelaide died at the age of twelve years; Marie is attending the high school at Odell; Frances is attending the public schools; and John and Catherine, twins, are at home. The children have received the advantages of the schools of Odell, and the family is popular in the social life of the community.

Mr. Murphy votes the Democratic ticket and has held offices of trust in his community. He has also served as a member of the city council of Odell and as township clerk. He affiliates himself with the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Royal Neighbors, the Modern Woodmen of America, and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks. He has real estate in Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, and Colorado. He is ever alert to the civic needs of Odell and is a citizen of utmost loyalty and progressiveness.

Source: "History of Gage County, Nebraska; a narrative of the past, with special emphasis upon the pioneer period of the county's history, its social, commercial, educational, religious, and civic development from the early days to the present time,: by Hugh J. Dobbs. Lincoln, Nebraska: Western Publishing and Engraving Company, 1918. Pages 455-57.

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Created: 12/6/03
Copyright © 2003 Lisa Slaski/ Joanne Murray
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