Sunday, April 29, 2018

#52Ancestors-Week 17-Cemetery: Murphy family

This week's prompt was Cemetery. I began researching my family in around 1994, when we got our first computer.  I had been wanting to start it for several years, but also wanted to be able to use a genealogy program, so I waited.  I was thrilled to begin and started researching my Murphy family.  I found my great-great-great grandparents on the census records, then started looking at cemetery records and found that the Murphy family was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois.

I finally found them there and located the gravestone for Mary Alice "Allie" Reade Murphy, my ggg-grandmother, who died in 1880.  But her husband, James Murphy, was not there with her.  Her son, James Reade Murphy, had owned the grave plot and Allie was buried with two of her son James' daughters, who had died early.  This was a great mystery to me and I could not find when Allie's husband James Murphy had died or where he was buried.

It was maybe ten years later, that two distant cousins (Peg and Mary) came to Peoria to do some research on the family and I had suggested that we drive to Crescent City in Iroquois County, Illinois to do some research on James and Allie's daughter, Ellen Murphy O'Neill.  We drove up there and spent time with the genealogical society people, then decided to drive to St. Mary's Cemetery in Gilman, Illinois where Ellen and her family were buried. As we found the family there, I was walking around, looking at the various tombstones and trying to figure out connections, I came across a tombstone for James H. Murphy!  I excitedly called for Peg and Mary to come and see what I had found. We tried not to get too excited, but we were!  Following up with the genealogical society, they found the obituary for James and yes, it was my ggg-grandfather!  He had spent the last three years of his life living with his daughter Ellen.  Later follow-up led to another obituary in the Peoria paper that gave more information on James.

I still find it a mystery why he was not buried in Peoria with Allie. I'll never know the answer to that question.

When I first found Allie's gravestone, it was quite readable.  Sadly, now it is not at all.  It read:  "Alice Read Murphy" on one line and under that it read "Alice & Jennie". Thankfully, James's gravestone is in better shape.


James H. Murphy

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