Robert Murphy, immigrant ancestor of this branch of the Murphy family, was born in Ireland, and about 1756 emigrated from England to Connecticut, where he settled. Soon after his arrival he engaged in the occupation of teaching school. He married Ann Knapp, daughter of Joshua Knapp, of Greenwich, Connecticut, and among his children was Robert, referred to below.
(II) Robert Jr., son of Robert Murphy (I), was born in Connecticut, in 1759. At the outbreak of the revolution he enlisted in the Bergen county (New Jersey) troops, and did good service during the war, serving in the battle on Long Island under General Nathaniel Greene and in other conflicts. He married Hannah Doane. Among his children was a son William, referred to below.
(III) William, son of Robert Murphy Jr., was born April 23, 1795. He married Sarah, daughter of Benjamin and Phebe (Crane) Lyon, of Elizabethtown. She was of Scotch descent, and her immigrant ancestor, Henry Lyon, was a soldier under Cromwell. Among their children was William Hayes.
(IV) William Hayes, son of William and Sarah (Lyon) Murphy, was born in Newark, New Jersey, April 15, 1821, and died October 7, 1905. He was educated in the Newark public schools and in the preparatory school at Wilbraham, Massachusetts, after leaving which he graduated from the Collegiate Preparatory School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He passed the first seventeen years of his business career in Jersey City, and the rest of his life was spent in Newark, the city of his birth. At one time Mr. Murphy was elected an alderman from the third ward in the city of Newark, where he then resided, and after holding this office for two consecutive terms he was elected twice a member of the house of assembly for Essex county. From childhood his religious affiliations were always with the Methodist Episcopal church, of which he was a faithful and consistent member for more than three score years. He was elected a delegate to the General Conference, and in August, 1901, went to London, England, as the accredited delegate from the Methodist Episcopal Church North of the United States to the Ecumenical Council of all the branches of that denomination. He was interested in the furtherance of the plan for raising an endowment fund the interest of which should be devoted to the support of superannuated ministers of the Newark Conference. He was a member of the New Jersey Society, Sons of the American Revolution, and for a number of years was one of the managers of the organization. He married (first) Abigail Elizabeth Hagar, of Bloomfield; (second) Sarah Richardson Morgan, of Poughkeepsie. Children, five by first marriage: 1. William Augusts. 2. Franklin, referred to below. 3. Howard. 4. Theodore. 5. Robert. Children of second marriage: Henry Morgan, now dead, and a daughter Florence.
(V) Franklin, son of William Hayes and Abigail Elizabeth (Hagar) Murphy, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, January 3, 184, and is now living in Newark. He was ten years old when his parents removed to the latter city. He was educated in the well-known Newark Academy, which he left in July, 1862, in order to enlist in the Thirteenth Regiment New Jersey Volunteers. He was in active service until the close of the war, a part of the time being with the Army of the Potomac, and the remainder of his term in the west under General Sherman. At the close of the war he was mustered out as first lieutenant, having been promoted for gallant and meritorious service.
In 1865, Mr. Murphy founded the firm of Murphy & Company, varnish manufacturers in Newark. In 1891 the company was incorporated as the Murphy Varnish Company, and since that time Mr. Murphy has been its president. From the commencement of his career he has taken a deep interest in all municipal and state matters. He has held various public offices, including membership in the common council of Newark from 1883 to 1886, being at one time president of that body; and in 1885 was chosen a member of the house of assembly, where he was highly regarded as a conservative and able leader. He has also held the office of park commissioner to lay out and complete the parks of Essex county. As a trustee for the Reform School for Boys during the three years term beginning March 24, 1886, he brought to that institution all the benefits of his business sagacity and wide experience. He was appointed by President McKinley one of the commissioners to the Paris Universal Exposition of 1900. He has been called upon to assume many responsibilities in connection with public institutions, banks, societies and other organizations, such as fall to the lot of a man of general activities, and which he has discharged in a manner as to command the unqualified approval of the public. Mr. Murphy has been a lifelong Republican. Since 1892 he has been chairman of the Republican state committee of New Jersey, and during his chairmanship the Republican campaigns were uniformly successful and New Jersey was brought prominently into the list of the Republican states. Since 1900 he has also been a member of the Republican national committee. In November, 1901, Mr. Murphy was elected governor of New Jersey for a term of three years over James M. Seymour, by a plurality of seven thousand one hundred and thirty-three vote [sic]. He entered upon his office at the beginning of 1902, and in his accession to the governor's chair New Jersey was to have her first experience with a business man as her chief executive of state. Governor Murphy came to the chief magistracy with a national reputation as a captain of industry. He had planted extensive trade posts of his business in Newark, throughout the country, and across the seas, and upon his election the people of the state realized that public affairs were to be administered rather upon the newer business lines than upon the conventional technical basis of the barrister's profession. With a business man's instinct Mr. Murphy had devoted himself in the common council of Newark to the betterment of the city he had been called upon to serve. In the character of his work for his home city and county there as the foreshadowing that, in his higher station, as chief executive of the state, something substantial for the civic and communal betterment of New Jersey as a whole was to be obtained. During the three years of his administration Governor Murphy gave his own characteristic touches to the progress of the state, with many excellent results. As an instance, New Jersey is no earning $80,000 a year in interest upon balances in banks that before his time had had free use of her great deposit. The conservation of the Passaic river for the benefit of the communities through which it flows was promoted by his commission to devise means of purifying its waters. The state departments, which had hitherto been unscrutinized, were obliged to submit their books to the inspection of a state auditor; an assistant attorney general was for a reasonable compensation set to doing what had previously taken a long line of special counsel and a vast expense to accomplish. An efficient system o factory inspection was established which did more than anything else to put an end to child labor in New Jersey; a tenement house commission was created to see that light and air were let into the homes of the poor; and then, applying the business man's principle of having safety checks to the nominating methods of the different political parties, he provided the people with an open primary system, surrounded by all the safeguards of a regular election.
In private life Governor Murphy is an amiable, social and cultured gentleman, and has not allowed his business and political affairs to engross all of his time. He has given special attention to the development of the patriotic societies of the nation, and his interest in the affairs of the Grand Army of the Republic is shown in membership on the board of managers of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. In spite of his large affairs and the many responsibilities upon his shoulders, Mr. Murphy has still found time to cultivate art and literature, and his business successes have not diverted him from higher pursuits. A uniform courtesy and grace of manner and geniality of disposition inherent to the man have made him friendships which his qualities of heart and mind have never failed to hold and endear. As a public speaker he has a persuasiveness and grace that lend charm to his practical business views. The degree of LL. D. was conferred upon him in 1902 by both Lafayette College and Princeton University. He is a member of the more important Newark and New York clubs, also of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion; of the Sons of the American Revolution, of which he was the president general in 1899; of the Society of Colonial Wars, and of the Society of the Cincinnati.
Governor Murphy married, June 24, 1868, Janet, born December 30, 1842, died February 10, 1904, daughter of Israel Day and Catherine Cox Gale (Houghland) Colwell. Two children are now living: 1. Franklin, born November 29, 1873; married, October 17, 1908, Harriet Alexander Long, of Chicago; he is now vice-president of the Murphy Varnish Company. 2. Helen, born September 19, 1877; married, June 8, 1901, William Burnet, son of Thomas Talmage and Estelle (Condit) Kinney (see Kinney family).