Thomas Francis Murphy
In 1841 our subject came to the United States, and in 1851 commenced learning the shipbuilding trade with Baker & Lyons, at Oswego, N.Y., under the management of George Gobell, thus beginning his connection with the lake marine. He received his education in the public schools, also attending night school during his apprenticeship.
After serving a full apprenticeship, and becoming thoroughly conversant with the lines and structure of lake vessels, Mr. Murphy went to Cobourg, Ontario, Canada, where he entered into partnership in the shipbuilding industry, with William Navaugh. This firm did not continue long, however, as they built but one vessel during the partnership. In 1858 Mr. Murphy went to Cleveland, remaining there only a short time, thence going to Cincinnati and New Orleans, in both of which places he followed shipbuilding. In 1860 he returned to Cleveland, and has made that city his permanent place of residence ever since. During the Civil war he was employed at Cincinnati in the construction of monitors for the United States Government, later going up the Big Sandy river, and was captured at Pound (or Sounding Gap), Ky., by Morgan's raiders, while getting out turrent beams for the monitors. After his exchange, he was appointed foreman of the government shipyards at Chattanooga, Tenn., and while engaged in getting out long timber for the shipyard was again captured, on Williams island in the Tennessee river, by General Wheeler's cavalry. At the close of the war he returned to Cleveland and worked in the line of his business until 1872, when he entered into partnership with William H. Quayle, the firm name being Quayle & Murphy, for the construction of vessels. During the continuance of this firm, which lasted five years, quite a number of boats were built, the first one being the schooner Verona, followed by the schooners J.B. Kitchen, Helena and Vienna, also the steamer Persian, the firm at the same time doing a large business in repair work.
In 1884 Mr. Murphy and his brother sub-contracted with F.W. Wheeler, of Bay City, for the construction of the steamer Waldo Avery and the schooner Alta. In 1886 he entered into partnership with William J. Miller, under the firm name of Murphy & Miller, which association still exists. This firm built the steamer Aurora (to the order of Corrigan Brothers and William S. Mack), which is noted as being the stanchest vessel ever constructed on the lakes. They also built several fine yachts, a government dredge, with necessary scows, a large number of lighters, and rebuilt a number of vessels. Their shipyard is located on the north shore of the old river bed, where the firm continues to build and repair vessels. Aside from his shipyard duties Mr. Murphy is in great demand to serve on surveys, as he is known to be thorough and strictly reliable in that capacity. He has been the owner of several vessels, among them the schooners C.G. Breed, L.C. Woodruff, Delaware, Wabash and James D. Sawyer, and is at this writing the owner of the schooner R. Hallaran, at this writing on the way to the coast under command of Capt. Ed. E. Williams, but laid up for the winter at Valleyfield, Canada.
In 1860 Mr. Murphy was united in marriage with Miss Catherine Nolan, of Cincinnati, Ohio, who is a sister of Major N. Nolan, of the United States army. Their children are Edmund A., secretary and treasurer of the Cleveland stockyards; Anna, now Mrs. W. T. L'Estrange; Joseph F., a lake captain; Jennie, now the wife of M.F. Barrett, councilman of Cleveland; Thomas J., a lake captain; Nellie, a charming musician; William; and Ralph, a graduate of the Cleveland public schools. The family homestead is at No. 150 Harbor street, Cleveland, Ohio.
During the years 1897 and 1898 Mr. Murphy went to Seattle, Wash., leased a shipyard and built the Argo No. 1 and Argo No. 2, two fine steamers for the Cleveland-Alaska Gold Mining and Milling Company, one being an ocean boat, the other for river navigation. Argo No. 2 was lost while in tow of the other in a storm at sea, not being built for an ocean-going boat. Mr. Murphy is one of the stockholders in the company. He returned to Cleveland after the completion of his contract, and is now awaiting developments.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.