McMurphy Family Homepage !

Established March 1997 . . . Updated 8 September 2016

I finished my McMurphy Family History Book in April of 2005 and
had copies printed for family members right before Christmas of 2005!
No more copies are available but there is a copy on file at the
downtown St. Louis Public Libary, genealogy section.

In the Spring of 2016 I was appointed Missouri Regent to the Clan Buchanan Society International and will be doing my best to represent Clan Buchanan
at Scottish/Celtic Festivals in Missouri, especially for Missouri Tartan Days (April/May), KC Scottish Festival (June),
SW Missouri Celtic Festival (September), and the St. Louis Scottish Festival (September).

I no longer have our e-mail address hotlinked due to the increased amount of spam that I am receiving. You can still e-mail us by using the following and leaving out the 'nospam' at the end: mcmurfy1@yahoo.comnospam. This is a new address as of 4 July 2002. - Danny


Linda and I live in Sullivan, Missouri 65 miles west of St. Louis along Interstate 44 (Old Route 66). We have four children, two sons, Kelly (44) and Shannon (43), and two daughters, Caitlin (29) and Molly (27). Our family has lived in Sullivan off and on since my grandfather, John Edward McMurphy (MacMurphy on his gravestone) moved here around 1920. Kelly is a graduate of the University of Missouri - Columbia ('94). He is married, to Tammy (Johnson), and they have two daughters, Sarah Elizabeth, 24, and Rachel Ellen, 18. Kelly is employed by Boy Scouts of America as the COO of the Yucaa Council in El Paso, TX. Shannon is a graduate of Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield ('95). He works for an IT contractor and lives in Belleville, Illinois with his wife Angelica who is employed at ATT in St. Louis. Their first child, Sydney Dominique is 13! Their son Sean Patrick is 9. Caitlin is graduated from Central Methodist U. at East Central College in Union and married Alex Beams on 3 October 2015. She is employed by Holy Cross School in Cuba, MO. Molly graduated from Southeast Missouri State in Cape Girardeau ('11) and is employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis.

Linda is a retired RN. I retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Louis in April of 2009. Linda has degrees in Nursing from East Central College (AA, ?86) in Union, Missouri and Central Methodist College (BS, ?96) in Fayette, Missouri. I have a BS in Geology ('71) and an MS in Engineering Management ('93) from the University of Missouri - Rolla (now Missouri S & T). We have all been involved in the Boy Scout Program over the years. I am an Eagle Scout and so are our sons Kelly and Shannon. Linda retired on 29 March 2013. She has served as a Den Leader, Explorer Advisor, and Venturing Advisor. I spent several years as a Scoutmaster, Webelos Leader, Explorer Advisor, and still serve as a Venturing Leader and Merit Badge Counselor. We attend St. Anthony Catholic Church in Sullivan. My parents were Edward Payne McMurphy and Ruby Ellen (Mendenhall) McMurphy. My paternal grandparents were John Edward McMurphy and Dulcie Love (Vest) McMurphy and my maternal grandparents were Oscar Wilde Mendenhall and Marie Louise (LeClaire) Mendenhall. I also have information on my grandparents that I can share by hardcopy. Thanks for visiting and please come again!

Danny McMurphy

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McMurphy Genealogy

I have been involved with tracing our McMurphy ancestors for the past 25 years. However, the past 10 years has been the most fruitful. My direct ancestors settled in New Hampshire in 1718 and helped to settle the town of Londonderry and later Alexandria, New Hamsphire. Three McMurphy brothers, John, Archibald, and Alexander settled in Londonderry, NH with their families and parents (James McMurphy) after migrating from Ireland. My immediate family is descendant through the brother Alexander. The McMurphys had only been in Ireland for a few decades as they were forced to remove themselves from Scotland and settle in northern Ireland. Excerpts from a manuscript that I am preparing follow below. Genealogy information that we have gathered has been put into an LDS genealogy program for retrieval. Please e-mail me for help, additional information, or to provide information. All information and inquiries are welcome and will be responded to. Historically, we are considered Scotch-Irish. Only a few other McMurphy lines exist in the U.S. (i.e. there is a large line through the southern states) but our genealogy information on them and other lines is sketchy when it comes to tracing them back to Ireland and into Scotland.

We have had no success in tracing ancestors in Northern Ireland or back into Scotland. We would appreciate anyone that has such information, or knows where such information is available. Several cousins have made trips to Ireland and Scotland but to no avail. I hope you enjoy the information that is provided below. It has been put together from the resources listed in the bibliography. Here is a Coat of Arms that serves for Murphy and McMurphy (MacMurphy). You can also see this Coat of Arms in color on a bottle of Murphy's Irish Whiskey. There is no tartan recorded for McMurphy since we are a Sept of Clan Buchanan. However this MacMurphy Cordurory Plaid appeared on the cover of Martha Pullen's Sew Beautiful Magazine, Fall 1996, and in the enclosed article. The Clan Buchanan Society of America also list MacMurphy as one of their Septs. A Sept is a subsidiary family within a clan. Often these families became affiliated with a larger clan for protection or because the sept's founder married into another clan. Some of the Septs are large enough to have held their own tartans, castles and Chiefs. All McMurphys are welcome to join the Clan Buchanan Society Society International.

Other On-Line McMurphy Researchers

Nancy McMurphy Kildahl, the author of "275 Years of McMurphys in America" can be contacted as follows:

Mailing Address: P.O. 1233, Goldbar, WA 98251
Telephone No.: 360-793-2596

Nancy has the McMurphy genealogy files on her computer and can send you copies of information and would like updates, corrections, changes, etc. mailed to her or mail to Danny and he will copy and forward.

Betty G. McMurphy, my (Danny's) sister-in-law, also has the McMurphy genealogy files on her computer. She can also be contacted directly for help. I also send her copies of all updates and information that I receive.

Mailing Address: 1354 Mustang Street, Ridgecrest, CA 93555-9650
Telephone No.: 619-377-4116

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Excerpt from my Manuscript


In the Spring of 1718 a body of Scotch-Irish from Northern Ireland sent a petition, signed on 26 March 1718(1), by 319 representative men, to Governor Shute of Massachusetts Bay in the New World requesting land for settlement. The McMurphys were among this body. The Rev. William Boyd was dispatched from Ulster to Boston with the petition as an agent of the Scotch-Irish to express their desire on settlement in New England. The petition read as follows:

"We whose names are underwritten, Inhabitants of ye North of Ireland, Doe in our own names, and in the names of many others, our Neighbors, Gentlemen, Ministers, Farmers, and Tradesmen, Commissionate and appoint our trusty and well beloved friend, the Reverend Mr. William Boyd, of Macasky, to His Excellency, the Right Honorable Collonel Samuel Suitte, Governour of New England, and to assure His Excellency of our sincere and hearty Inclination to Transport ourselves to that very excellant and renowned Plantation upon our obtaining from His Excellency suitable incouragement. And further to act and Doe in our Names as his prudence shall direct. Given under our hands this 26th day of March, Anno Dom. 1718."

Governor Shute was in the third year of his administration of the colony. He was an old soldier of King William, a Lieutenant-Colonel under Marlborough in the Queen Anne wars and had been wounded in one of the great battles in Flanders. The McMurphy family first arrived in America in August 1718(2) when five ships(3) sailed into the little warf at the foot of State Street in Boston with one-hundred and twenty Scotch-Irish families from Northern Ireland. Ships recorded as arriving from Londonderry in 1718 include the Maccullum (or McCallom) with 100 passengers and linen, the William and Elizabeth with passengers and provisions, and the Mary and Elizabeth with 100 passengers and linen (Dickson, 1966). Boston was a town of approximately 12,000 people at this time. Many of the families were natives of Scotland whose heads had passed over into Ulster during the short reign of James II. Several of these families were well off, including the Cargills. John McMurphy, Esq. (1682-1755) had married Mary Cargill. These families, or their fathers and neighbors, had felt the edge of the sword of Graham of Claverhouse in Argyleshire, Scotland (Scotch-Irish Society, 1889).

Others in the body were the descendents of those who had participated in the original colonization of Ulster dating from 1610. Still others included descendents of those Scotchmen and Englishmen that Cromwell transplanted at the middle of the century to replace those wasted by his own sword. A few native Irish families were also mingled in. They were escaping the economic and religious oppression there and the fear of their lives from the warring religious factions. On one of the ships was James(4) McMurphy with his wife and his family of three sons, John, Archibald, and Alexander, and daughters, Jean, Elizabeth, and Mary. John McMurphy, Esquire, the eldest son, was born in Ireland in 1682 and was accompanied by his wife, Mary Cargill, who was also born in Ireland, and at least five children all of whom were born in Ireland. The elder McMurphy, James, had migrated from the area of Argyleshire or Dumfries, Scotland to Northern Ireland as a young man (about 1680). He had participated in the seige of Londonderry in 1689 and was supposedly primary in closing the gates of the city during the seige. Several references written in the 1890's (Willey, 1895,1896) indicate that cousins of the McMurphy clan could still be found near Ballycastle, County Antrim at that time.


Upon arrival, the Scotch-Irish petitioned the assembly of Massachusetts for a tract of land. The signatures of Archibald Mackmurphy and John Macmurphy are found among the early petitioners of the inhabitants of Londonderry before 1738 (Belknap, 1970). The assembly gave them permission to stake out a settlement of six miles square in any unappropiated lands eastward. The McMurphy family, along with many of the Scotch-Irish families, settled in an area above Haverhill in New Hampshire referred to as Nutfield because of the great number of chestnut and walnut trees there. They first built huts near a brook which falls into the Beaver River. They brought with them the necessary materials for the manufacture of linen and their spinning wheels. They planted flax, cultured pototoes, churned milk, drank buttermilk, and made barley broth, none of which the English did (Preston, 1930). The motive of Massachusetts in providing settlement lands to the Scotch-Irish was to have them settle on the frontiers as a living shield against the French and the Indians. The motive of the Ulstermen in coming to New England was to establish homes and commercial activities with ownership of the land and less government control, and to be free to worship as they saw fit.

The Scotch-Irish emigrants were also offended at being called 'Irish' because they had frequently ventured their lives for the British crown against the Irish papists(5). The people in New England did not understand the distinction and it was some time before they were treated with common decency. Inter-marriage among the Scotch-Irish families was very common for the first few generations because of the ill-treatment that they received from established settlers. The first dwellings were made of logs but, as saw-mills were built along the area were Beaver Brook tumbles from the pond into he Merrimac, two good frame houses were erected. The first frame house was for Pastor McGregor and the second frame house was for John McMurphy, Esquire (Scotch-Irish Society, 1889). John McMurphy, Esq. held a commission as justice of the peace, dated in Ireland, and so antedated the commission signed by Governor Shute on 29 April 1720, to Justice James McKeen, the foremost man of the settlement.


The Scotch form of the family name, McMurchy, meaning Murchison, (Preston, 1930) was changed to McMurphy after the family moved to Ireland. The name McMurphy is also found in several variations, including MacMurphy, Macmurphy, McMurphey, etc. It is noted that some ancestors dropped the Mc and may have melted in with the multitude of Murphys.


There is a county court record in 1786 of Daniel McMurphy (1731-1807) being charged with an assault on his brother-in-law Joshua Tolford. The incident took place on 30 October 1785 with "clubs and weapons" while uttering "profane oaths", and speaking "threatening and menacing words against the life of his wife and family and neighbors". He was also charged with providing an "evil example to others". Daniel was 55 years old at the time and still suffering from the chest wound that he had received at the Battle of Bennington. He was fined 8 shillings and payment of the costs of prosecution of two pounds sixteen shillings and eight pence.

Daniel McMurphy's (1731-1807) son Alexander, called Sanders or Sandy, had an experience that has survived from the terrible winter at Valley Forge 1777-1778 (Shattuck, 1982). Sanders served three years under Captain Ebenezer Fry of Colonel Cilley's regiment being dismissed in 1780 and then re-enlisted in the New Hampshire line in February of 1781 serving until October 1783 under Captain Rowell, Captain Samuel Cherry, and Captain Benjamin Bell, all of Colonel Reid's regiment. His discharge was signed by Major General Henry Knox. As reported in the Bristol Enterprise, Washington was reviewing his troops during November 1777 and noticed the poorly clad Sanders. General Washington asked, "My brave boy, why are you so poorly clad, having no shoes and only half covered with rags." Sanders replied, "Because, sir, my country provides me with nothing better." Washington was stirred by Sanders' remark and promptly issued him a pass and directed him to come to his headquarters at three in the afternoon. That afternoon Sanders was halted by General Washington's guard who thought the pass to be forged or stolen. A loud argument began between Sanders and the guard and was overheard by Martha Washington. She directly intervened and directed the guard to let him pass. Martha then proceeded to give Sanders a full suit of clothes from the General's own wardrobe since he and the General were the same size. In jest, his comrades later referred to him as the "second Washington".

Mary McMurphy (1804-1893), the daughter of Alexander (1768-1853) and Sarah (or Sally) McMurphy (Duncan), was one of a committee of young ladies to welcome the General Marquis de Lafayette passing thru Londonderry on his journey from Portsmouth to Concord, New Hampshire (Jackson, 1905). She married Nathaniel Corning 4 April 1831. They had seven children. Mary was a graduate of Adams' Female Seminary.

(1) The original petition, on parchment paper, still exists at the Historical Society of New Hampshire in Concord, New Hampshire.

(2) Various references show this date as being July, 4 August 1718, 14 August 1718, or 14 October 1718. It is probable that the five ships did not arrive simultaneously.

(3) One of the ships was sent to Casco Bay in Maine and quarantined for the entire winter because of smallpox (the Maccullum?).

(4) Several references refer to him as Alexander and several refer to him as James.

(5) The Scotch-Irish were Presbyterians and had brought three ministers with them to Massachusetts besides the Rev. William Boyd, who had stayed the summer in Boston after he had brought the original petition to Governor Shute. They included the Rev. James McGregor, Rev. Cornwell, and Rev. Holmes.

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