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Margaret Murphy Williams

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Margaret Murphy Williams

Margaret Murphy Williams (1827 to 1922) in M.7 in the Murphy Book. The above shows four generations of her family. From left to right; Johanna Williams Kilty (M.7.1),Mary Bertha Kilty McGuire(M.7.1.2, the baby is Lloyd J. McGuire (M. and Margaret Murphy Williams (M.7)

Margaret Murphy Williams M 7 (Murphy Book) her husband was Michael (Mike) Williams and died in 1902. They came to Polk County and by 1870 were homesteading the west end of Long Lake. They had 6 children and after Margaret husband died she stayed on the farm with son Mike Jr and wife Elizabeth until 1907 when Elizabeth died. Around 1910 Mike took his 3 children and moved to Canada and Margaret moved to St Paul and lived with her daughter Lizzie William Scott. Lizzie's husband died in 1916 and around 1920 Margaret was showing signs of being senile and went to live with her son Mike in Canada. Year later she died and your son brought her body back to St Patrick's to be buried with her husband Michael. Her son Michael died in Canada and his body was also taken back to St Patrick's to be buried I believe the only of their children to be buried at St Patrick's.

Location of Michael and Margaret farm at Long Lake; St. Croix Falls Township - T34N - Range 18-19 West, Section 1, 78.5 acres

The below writing is adapted from the Murphy Book.

Margaret, next to the youngest children born of James and Mary Anne O’Donnell Murphy of Cork County, Ireland has been given a birth date of 1827 as there are conflicting records showing various years of birth. While in her early or mid teens both of her parents died and for a while her surrogate mother was her older sister, Bridget. Shortly after the death of her parents, her older sisters and younger brother William left separately for America. Mae Hurley Pickle recalls hearing that Margaret lived with her older brother, Charles in Ireland and then followed the other to America.

The family tradition among our relatives in Ireland is that Margaret and her younger brother, William came to America in around 1847 on a sailing ship. Jim Williams (M.7.4.2 in the Murphy Book) was twenty years old when Margaret, his grandmother died and has many memories of her as well as memories of family stories connected with her. Jim’s recollection is of her sailing alone out of Cork City, County Cork, Ireland and landing in New York City after a six week fearsome trip in which storms blew the sailing ship hundreds of miles off course. That tradition has her sailing year a 1848 and her age 16.

Lastly the 1900 census indicates that Margaret had come to America in 1850. That census also indicates she was born in February, 1832 and that she had been married for 46 years and that she had given birth to six children and that all six were still alive in the 1900 census. Jim describes Margaret as about 5 feet and 4 inches tall. She had a good, Irish sense of humor. She also apparently, enjoyed the opportunity to get into a conversation as Jim describes her a good visitor. She often talked of her youth but her grandchildren typically, weren’t interested and remembered very little of what she spoke of. Jim says he’d guess she would have been willing to recall the days of her youth to anyone who would ask, but no one asked. He does recall stories of her beautiful home in Ireland with a slate roof.

Jim recalls stories of her father being an overseer for a landlord in Ireland. On both accounts the stories are true. The house in Ireland still stands in 1979 and the slate roof will outlast the rest of the house. Regrettably there is no recall of Margaret mentioning her parent’s names or of her mentioning her Irish cousins. Margaret also told of working in New York City as a housemaid for some wealth people. It was there she likely met Michael Williams who she eventually to marry. Her sister Sarah perhaps introduced her to her future husband, who had married a half brother of Michael’s, namely Lawrence Williams and they would be neighbors at Long Lake, Wisconsin.

The 1860 census of Lawrence Twp., Tioga County, Pa shows the three Murphy sisters, Margaret (Williams), Bridget (Kelly) and Sarah (Williams) and their families living next door to each other. All were to eventually end up in Polk County, Wisconsin on farms. By 1870, Margaret and her family had homesteaded at the West end of Long Lake and family tradition says that she had to walk 6 miles to St. Croix for groceries and she would carry them on her back on the way home. Shortly after they got to Wisconsin her husband Mike’s health began to deteriorate so Margaret took advantage of their location on the trail (Note: I believe this was the government road) to the pine woods country (logging) and turned their home into a stopping place for travelers.

A few new items in the “Polk County Press” at the time:

October 28, 1876 : Under Real Estate Transfers, L.A. Harper and wife to Michael Williams, 38 acres in St. Croix Township, Warranty Deed, 500.00 dollars.

October 6, 1877 : “Married, Kilty-Williams in Somerset, Monday August 13, 1877 by Rev. H.J. Wirtz, Timothy J. Kilty of Stillwater, to Miss Johanna Williams of Milltown. “The first child has left the nest!”

September 7, 1878: “Michael Williams of Milltown gave these printers a call a few days since. He reports that crops in the timber are first class.”

By 1900, four of their six children had married but one Michael, Jr. remains on the farm. Happily, Mike Jr.’s wife Elizabeth got along well with her mother-in-law so the two could live under the some roof with no great tension. In 1902, husband Mike died and Margaret stayed on with son Mike and family through the death of her daughter-in-law Elizabeth in 1907. Then in 1910 or 1911 son Mike took his three children off to homestead in Canada, Margaret moved to St. Paul to live with her daughter, Lizzie Williams Scott and her family. Lizzie’s husband, James died in 1916 and Margaret stayed on with Lizzie for another three and a half years.

About 1920 Margaret began to age and show signs of senility, so a family decision was made to send her off to son Michael and his three children in Canada. Margaret’s senility increased quite rapidly and she became a care to the family.

One of her constant desires was to “go home” wherever that was and she would wander away when not kept under observation. In 1922 the illness called “dropsy” had set in and her body began to bloat. She could no longer lay down and she had sleep in a in a half sitting position. When Margaret’s death apparent a call was sent to Moose Jaw about 70 miles away for a priest. The priest could only get transportation to Chaplin from where only a trail stretched across the prairie to the Williams farm. Margaret’s grandsons, the Jennings boys met the priest at Chaplin and brought him to their dying grandmother. The priest stayed overnight and then started the long journey back to Moose Jaw, it was some sick call by the priest.

In a very short time Margaret died and Mike decided to take her back home to Long Lake and bury her with her husband Mike and daughter-in-law at St. Patrick’s cemetery. The train trip was delayed when it was discovered that the law required a lead casket for the trip across the border. Lead caskets were not readily available so there was a delay in getting Margaret back home. In due time Margaret was back in Polk County, Long Lake, Wisconsin. Twenty-six years later her son Mike, was brought back and buried at St. Patrick’s also. The large family tombstone reads: “WILLIAMS” and engraved only for Michael, Sr. actually marks the resting place for Margaret and their son Mike.

I have not been able to find Margaret's or her husband Michael's grave marker at St Patrick's but I did find Michael's wife Elizabeth who died in 1907. We know that they are buried here at St. Patrick's, it can get a little confusing.

Click on the Murphy Family Homepage link:

Murphy Family of Polk County Wisconsin