Melbourne S. Murphy

M. S. Murphy for Half a Century a Resident of Warren, Called Home Last Wednesday

Death of Melbourne S. Murphy

Melbourne S. Murphy was born at E. Nassau, Rensselaer county, New York, November10, 1831, and died at the home of his daughter Mrs. George R. Eby, in Warren, March 29, 1916, age 84 years, 4 months and 19 days.

Mr. Murphy was married to Elizabeth Pitcher, November 16, 1852. Mrs. Murphy died October 6, 1904. To this union one child was born, Mrs. George R. Eby, at whose home Mr. Murphy died. He is survived by one daughter, three grandchildren and one great grandchild; also one brother, John Murphy of Warren and a half brother, Smith Murphy of Port Leydon, N.Y.

After a long and useful life in Warren, our friend and fellow citizen, Melbourne S. Murphy, has passed to the other side. He was a long and patient sufferer and resigned all that would be for the best.

Moving from a farm in Rush township to Warren shortly after the close of the Civil war, "Mel" Murphy, as he was familiarly called, was always among our leading citizens. For many years he followed the occupation of detective. At the same time he served the people as a constable. Later he was elected justice of the peace, holding that office at the time of his death. His life was largely given to the people. He did not court litigation but sought rather to smooth out difficulties among neighbors by good advice and compromise. In his active days he was interested in the young people and did many a good turn to parents and children in a quiet way that suppressed public gossip.

He was a good and true friend as those can testify who were closest to him. He could always be trusted for when he gave his word he kept it.

Since the death of his beloved wife he lived largely in his office. When asked why he did not live with relations he said to the writer as tears came to his eye "This is home to me. It was here my wife died". And as he lived somewhat lonely perhaps, but with the feeling that his wife was always near.

More to his exertion than to anyone else is the public indebted for the Pitcher telephone system. While Mr. Pitcher finished the capital for the building of the lines Mr. Murphy was tireless in his efforts to make the Pitcher telephone a success. He was superintendent of the lines until a stock company was formed and the system purchased.

It is hard to say good-bye to an old friend, and especially so in this case. For nearly fifty years we were warm personal friends. He did not know what it was to deny a friend a favor if within his power to grant it. Nor did he turn a deaf ear to charity. While not endowed with wealth he gave freely of his time and money when convinced that the charity was deserving.

As a detective, in his earlier days, he met with considerable success. It was his boast that he had captured and convicted more horse thieves than any other officer in Jo Daviess county. It was largely owing to his efforts that horse stealing in this section came practically to an end.

In religious matters Squire Murphy was a Baptist and a member of the Baptist church. In politics he was a Republican and took an active part in party affairs. At one time he sought the Republican nomination for sheriff and came within one vote of getting it. He would have made a good sheriff and richly deserved the nomination and election, but other interests conflicted, and after trying twice, he gave up the ambition.

Last Sunday he was laid by the side of his wife whose death he mourned so sincerely. The little office he called “home” is vacant. He has solved the problem and we shall meet him here no more. True old friend, hail and farewell!

From: Sentinel-Leader; Warren, Jo Daviess County, Illinois

Submitted by Wendy Fjelstad