Mathew Murphy came to California in 1851, and was one of the large property owners of the state. He was born in County Wexford, Ireland, and arrived in San Francisco via New York after a journey via the Isthmus. He joined his brother at San Rafael, and inherited a large amount of property from his brother, Don Timothy Murphy, who owned the property upon which the Palace Hotel now stands. He deeded the property to Bishop Alemany of the Catholic Church for church purposes with the proviso that it was to revert to the heirs if used for other than church purposes. This was fought out in the courts but finally settled by legislative enactment quieting the title adversely to the heirs.
Don Timothy Murphy also gave about 400 acres in Marin County for the orphans asylum with the proviso that it revert to the heirs if used for other purposes. The beneficiaries, however, have kept faith.
Don Timothy Murphy had come to California while it was part of Mexico in 1828. Mathew Murphy married Eliza Kinsella, a native of Ireland. They had six children: Mary Ann, married Matthew Cullen and became the mother of Mrs. Grace Ross; Mrs. A.E. Clark; Mrs. Helen McGinnis; Minnie; Katherine Cullen, and Philomena. The second child was John Murphy. Eliza P. became the wife of Frank Sutton and was the mother of ten children: Thomas, John, Richard, Alice, Frank, Milton J., Lula, Anna, Helen Julia and Margaret. The fourth child of Mathew Murphy was Julia.
Jemima Murphy, who now resides at 342 Prospect Avenue, was the fifth child of Mathew Murphy and was born in County Wexford, Ireland. She married David Murphy, a native of Ireland who came to California in 1866, and for many years was a successful dairy rancher in Marin County, where he died in 1898. Mrs. Murphy became the mother of eight children, four of whom reached mature years. Her son, James J., was a soldier in the Spanish-American war, became a marine engineer and died in 1922. Her daughter, Anna E., is the widow of A.B. Salsig. Helen is the wife of Thomas Lacy and the mother of four children. Her daughter, Sadie, is the widow of Carlos Sanjines, who was Bolivian consul at San Francisco for many years. Mrs. Jemima Murphy has five grandchildren and one great grandson.
Mrs. Jemima Murphy is a member of the Association of Pioneer Women and an honorary member of the Independent Order of Foresters. She and her family have always been actively identified with the Catholic Church.
Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region" by Bailey Millard Vol. 3 page 161-162. Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.
© 2004 Louise E. Shoemaker