H. O. MURPHY Proprietor of an extensive clothing house, and the head of the mercantile firm of H. O. Murphy &. Co., is recognized as one of the leading business men of Pinckneyville, for he is connected with various enterprises in this place. He was born here December 6, 1862, and is a son of the Hon. William K. Murphy. The family is of Irish origin. The great-grandfather of our subject was born in the North of Ireland, came to America prior to the Revolution, and was a soldier in the great conflict which ended British rule over the American Colonies. When their independence was achieved, he settled in Tennessee, and in 1818 came to Illinois, locating in Perry County, near what is known as Lost Prairie. He was a stonemason by trade, but his last days were spent on a farm, where his death occurred.
Richard G. Murphy, the grandfather of our subject, was born in Tennessee, January 4, 1801, and was the youngest of five brothers. He became a conspicuous figure in the history of southern Illinois. He served in the Black Hawk War, and in 1832 was elected to the State Legislature, where he remained for ten consecutive years. In 1847 he was appointed by President Polk as agent for the Sioux Indians, then on their reservation in Minnesota, whither he went, there spending three years. He then returned to Illinois, and in 1850 was again elected to the Legislature, and was Chairman of the committee which incorporated the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1854 he again went to Minnesota, where he lived until his death, in 1874. He was there extensively engaged in farming and stock-raising, and was also a member of the first State Senate of Minnesota. The name of Richard G. Murphy was familiar throughout Illinois and Minnesota, where he was numbered among the most prominent citizens. His brother, William C, who was also well known in southern Illinois, was for many years doorkeeper in the State Senate and House of Representatives when the State Capitol was located in Vandalia. Upon the organization of Perry, in 1827, lie was appointed Sheriff, and he also held other county offices. Murphysboro, the county seat of Jackson County, was named in his honor.
Hon. William K. Murphy, the father of our subject, was born in Perry County in 1835. He acquired such education as could be obtained in the common schools half a century ago, and then took up the study of law, having determined to make its practice his life work. In 1859 he was admitted to the Bar, and opened an office in Pinckneyville. When the Civil War broke out, he raised a company, and was elected its Captain. It became Company H of the One Hundred and Tenth Illinois Infantry, and Mr. Murphy continued in command until April, 1863, when he resigned and returned home. In 18(56 he formed a law partnership with the Hon. John Boyd, which connection was continued until 1882. This was considered the most able law firm in southern Illinois, and for many years there was not an important case tried in this part of the state with which they were not connected on one side or the other.
In local politics, Mr. Murphy has been an important factor. He was Master in Chancery, and in 1864 and 1866 was elected to the House of Representatives. In 1872 he was elected to the State Senate, and in 1880 and 1881 was again in the Lower House. In 1882 he was the Democratic candidate for Congress from the Twentieth Congressional District, but was defeated by two hundred and eighty votes in the district that two years previously had given a Republican majority of two thousand. This was one of the failures which may be regarded as a victory. In 1893 he was appointed by President Cleveland Collector of the Port of Cairo, a position he is now filling. In addition to his professional and political life, he has been an active man in business, and is at the head of the banking house of Murphy, Wall & Co., of Pinckneyville. He is President of the First National Bank of Murphysboro, and is at the head of the large mercantile house of Murphy, Crawford & Co., besides being interested in various other extensive business concerns. He owns large tracts of land, and is accounted one of the wealthiest men of southern Illinois.
Mrs. Murphy, the mother of our subject, bore the maiden name of Penina Ozburn, daughter of the Hon. Hawkins S. Ozburn, a native of Tennessee, who served as Captain in the Mexican War, and who was at one time a member of the Illinois State Senate. In the Murphy family were but two children, H. O., and Sadie V., wife of Joseph Crawford, of the firm of Murphy, Crawford & Co.
Our subject acquired an excellent education, and was a student in Washington University, of St. Louis. He entered upon his business career in 1881, when he formed a partnership with C. H. Greser, as dealers in general merchandise. This connection continued for seven years, when Mr. Murphy withdrew from the firm and established his present extensive clothing house. He has other business interests, which yield to him a good income.
In July, 1889, was celebrated the marriage of H. O. Murphy and Miss Minnie B. Lawson, of Deadwood, S. Dak., a most estimable lady, who has won many friends in this locality. He is a Chapter Mason, and was the founder of the Knights of Pythias lodge in Pinckneyville. He served as its first Chancellor Commander, and is now representative to the Grand Lodge. He is also a worthy representative of the honored Murphy family, and we have no doubt that the name will grow even brighter as he advances in his career.
Extracted from Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois, published in 1894, page 240.
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